Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - NOT Ukraine OT 2022-65

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

---
Other issues:

Murder:

NATO expansion:

It is possible that Russia's response to this will be similar 'military technical measures' as used in Ukraine. If so we are all f***ed!

U.S. Dollar:

China:

Covid-19:

Use as open Not Ukraine thread ...

Posted by b on May 15, 2022 at 11:39 UTC | Permalink

Comments
next page »

Could it be that I am the first post on the week-in-review thread? At 22:22hrs on an unseasonable warm May Sunday night in Sydney I find myself at the top with nothing to say.

Great spread, b. I'll read a few and turn in. Happy Sunday to all.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 15 2022 12:23 utc | 1

Thank you b, for another juicy collection. There were a few noteworthy details in that Global Times article on new treatment for the Sars Cov2 virus. … “It is also able to restrict other viruses like HIV, SARS, HBV and Ebola, which make it a potential broad-stream anti-virus treatment, according to Tong.” … “His team was issued the patent on May 10…”

I’m glad you linked again to Bhadrakumar, he is a source of especially fresh insight recently IMHO. This sentiment, expressed in a Tweet from his account, caught my attention:
https://twitter.com/BhadraPunchline/status/1525359644436500480

Is this a common feeling in India and other Asian countries, I wonder?

Hey, maybe Putin can use that newly-patented Chinese medicine to treat his ailments! I noticed that, below that article, in the Sponsored Financial Content section, there is a link to Canada’s own Globe & Mail newspaper: “What is unconscious bias and how to manage it at work.” Cute.

Off-topic a little, but I thought that when the Associated Press reports on America vs. China in the ASEAN region — with India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Solomon Islands in the area… they might be looking away from, or excluding, one key actor. At least one.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 15 2022 12:45 utc | 3

Gasoline and diesel prices continue to set new records. While diesel prices have been going up fractions of a cent, it has been a relentless march into new daily records for at least 3 weeks. Gasoline had plateaued, even gone down, but prices have been surging for well over a week now. It is now clear that the winter to summer formulation is having its effect; summer formulations are more expensive in terms of raw material consumption.

gasoline


Current Avg. $4.470

Yesterday Avg. $4.452

Week Ago Avg. $4.317

Month Ago Avg. $4.073

Year Ago Avg. $3.042

diesel


Current Avg. $5.568

Yesterday Avg. $5.565

Week Ago Avg. $5.539

Month Ago Avg. $5.011

Year Ago Avg. $3.166

Again, the US uses about 100 billion gallons of gasoline and 40 billion gallons of diesel - so multiply the difference between today vs. year ago to see the impact.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 13:32 utc | 4

c1ue | May 15 2022 13:32 utc | 4

And that is on top of US buying more Russian oil and releasing strategic reserves to try and keep prices down.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 15 2022 13:43 utc | 5

Re: Pozsar
Interesting writeup as always.
I would add this as well: one of the ways the Washington Consensus has traditionally shored itself up in times of need is the strengthening of the dollar/interest rates and the subsequent drain of liquidity (i.e. hot money capital flight) from emerging markets.
This capital flight lowers the earnings power of commodities even as it pulls capital out of the 2nd and 3rd world - into the 1st world.

However, this time around, it seems much of the drain is from Europe as opposed to South America, Africa or Asia.

Secondly, it is not clear at all that this time around - the dollar index strengthening will be reinforced by commodity price decreases.

To beat the (not dead but very beaten) horse, we are very possibly in the early stages of a commodity supercycle caused by a combination of COVID-induced underinvestment and ESG, now compounded by Russia sanctions.

Consider this: The dollar index (DXY), 1 year ago, was at 90.
As of 5/13/2022, it is 104.5 - a 16% increase.

Oil in May 2021 was $65/barrel; oil price on 5/13/2022 was $110/barrel.

So not only has the price of oil increased by 69% - the dollars used to buy it have strengthened 16%. The net to an oil importer is an astounding 96% in own currency revenue increase from oil exports.

A similar situation exists for pretty much any commodity you can name; Kuppy noted a couple weeks ago that he is bullish on the entire periodic table.

Now consider Europe. The euro has fallen in opposition to the dollar: euro dollar exchange rate was 1.21 in May 2021; it is now 1.04 - a 14% fall.

The amount of relative euros needed to pay for oil has increased from $65/1.21 to $110/1.04 = an increase of 96.9%

Do you see what I am seeing?

Unlike the past where commodity over-bought situations (like 2008) were offset by capital flight from 2nd/3rd world resulting in higher USD/Euro to offset (to varying degrees), this time we are seeing high commodity prices multiplied for Europe. Note that the euro dollar exchange rate in May 2008 (the previous energy price spike) was 1.55...

So what happens if, this time around, the traditional 1st world interest rate hikes - but in a commodity supercycle environment - result in European capital replacing "hot money" capital flows out of the 2nd/3rd world? And normal "hot money" capital outflows from the 2nd/3rd world into the US offset by surging commodity (food, energy, metals etc) prices that hold up?

Perhaps what we are seeing is not so much a de-dollarization (some, yes but not the primary) but a "de-euroization":
The EU imports 61% of all its energy.
Europe now imports as much steel/steel products as it exported in 2008 source.
Overall, the EU was approaching $40B in net deficit of raw commodities imports in 2021 - it seems highly likely this deficit will explode in 2022: source

Something to think about.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 14:17 utc | 6

@Peter AU1 #1
Indeed.

The SPR releases are almost pure window dressing.

Harris Kupperman has said many times that there is a roughly 1 million barrel per day shortfall between oil demand and consumption, worldwide at the moment (3 months ago). So divide SPR release by 1 million - that's what the impact of the releases is in days of shortfall offset.

Even if oil companies were jacking up capex (which they are not), increases in oil production would not happen for at least 12-18 months.

So a 165 million barrel SPR release would offset 5.5 months of this 12-18 months - the problem is the oil companies are not increasing their capex much even in absolute terms, much less compared to past oil price spikes over $100.

So the net effect is nothing more than to drain US oil reserves which will have to be filled at some point - very possibly for a far higher price.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 14:22 utc | 7

I haven't seen many people discussing the implications the war on Ukraine holds for Taiwan.

The current government of Taiwan is a wholly captured subsidiary of the CIA. The current Preznit of Taiwan--Cai Yingwen--is a full-formed cutout prepared by the CIA to do its bidding, which she happily performs without any second-guessing.

Do y'all remember the "太陽花“ (wrongly translated as "Sunflower") movement, back about 10 years ago, where kiddos from Taiwan "occupied" the ROC Legislature to block a "Free Trade" bill with China that would have gone into effect at about the same time as the TPP bill that Trump ultimately killed?

That Taiwanese "protest" and occupation happened not too long before the Hong Kong Umbrella movement kicked into full acceleration; thus, many of y'all might not recall it all that well.

Nevertheless, it happened. What many (including Taiwanese) people do not realize is that the entire "protest" was coordinated by an NED-funded group headed up by the current Taiwanese Preznit (Cai Yingwen) and her chosen few "advisors" (who, if i recall correctly, are largely advertised as LGBT).

I mention that "protest" largely in passing: it's a US-funded NED color-revolution project that has likely passed under the radar of most people on this blog. I am only recalling it to anyone's memory who's forgotten it.

My greater point--the point of this post--is that, without a doubt, all of China's political and academic classes are hotly focused upon the international response to Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.

We've already seen, here--well, I noticed, and perhaps a few of you did, too--that a month or so ago Xi Jinping ordered China's academics to start wargaming invasions of Taiwan.

This is not a negligible event.

China is zeroed-in on what's happening in Ukraine because China realizes that--unless it takes pre-emptive action--any attack upon its territory will originate from Taiwan.

Also, the current preznit of Taiwan is a batshit stupid academic who was elevated to her position by the CIA and Taiwanese oligarchs, without any regard for competence, intelligence, or capability outside of following orders.

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 15 2022 14:37 utc | 8

Dissolve NATO.
Remove all sanctions.
Remove all US nukes from Europe and Asia.
Remove all US troops from Europe and Asia.
Will then live harmonious and prosperous lives.
Good luck with that.

Posted by: Joe | May 15 2022 14:48 utc | 9

Pacifica Advocate #8
There's not much to say.
It seems clear to me that China is content to let Taiwan wither on the vine so long as US troops/bases don't happen.
There are jobs that pay higher in China, than the same job in Taiwan these days.
The analogy that comes to mind is the classic investing "vacuuming nickels in front of a steamroller": the groups in Taiwan that believe they can become independent without China responding, are delusional as you say but they are reaping short term benefits.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 14:49 utc | 10

Re: organic farming

In Bihar, it isn't working out:

Pest infestations, low yield plague organic farming along Ganga in Bihar - scroll.in

Pests are a problem, low yield is a problem, but it seems price is the biggest problem:

Among them is Buddhan Singh who has about two acres of his land earmarked under the scheme. Pointing towards his tomato fields, he says, “Producing 1 kg of tomatoes by organic method has cost me Rs 10 per kg but buyers are not willing to pay the price. I talked to one trader who was willing to pay Rs 12 per kg, while another was willing to pay at Rs 14 per kg. But for this, I must sell the tomatoes immediately. If I even delay by two or three days, the price will fall and I won’t be able to recover the cost.”

The problem of limited market is also true for other crops. “We get the same price for paddy and wheat as farmers who produce using chemical fertilisers,” Singh says. “If I go to the vegetable market and tell traders that I have grown vegetables organically. They have a good laugh.”

I wonder what the price of non-organic tomatoes would be, in comparison?

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 14:54 utc | 11

The current shortage of "baby-formula" in most states of the USA is another unparalleled disaster, brought to us by apparently incompetent powers that be. It really is getting scary for young parents, just trying to keep their babies alive! This can be viewed as the latest wrinkle in the trainwreck of late capitalism out here. "Trainwreck" being mainly metaphorical, as our commerce rolls in rigs on highways, on diesel, on truckers. Not quite as bad as farming, yet, but if you can make a living driving a truck in USA, you're just scraping by already -- forget about luxuries like health coverage. With diesel getting dearer, it's not getting any better.

Why we urgently needed a war: So we can find someone else to blame this mess on.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 15 2022 15:00 utc | 12

@Aleph_Null | May 15 2022 15:00 utc | 12

The current shortage of "baby-formula" in most states of the USA is another unparalleled disaster, brought to us by apparently incompetent powers that be.
Is it true or is it a cousin of the toilet paper crisis at the beginning of "covid"?

Posted by: Norwegian | May 15 2022 15:13 utc | 13

Re: baby formula crisis
Matt Stoller has pretty convincingly (to me) shown that the baby formula crisis is due to oligopoly.
In particular, the WIC program of the US government effectively confers monopoly control of any given regional market to 1 or 2 providers of baby formula. This in turn caused the rise of 3 companies that own 98% of the entire baby formula market in the US.
The present shortfall is almost certainly entirely due to this plus the fact that a key baby formula plant owned by Abbot - the biggest player - was shut down due to problems that caused a couple babies to die.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 15:19 utc | 14

An interesting new idea from Trump that could become an official campaign plank, is that the President as leader of the executive branch of government, should have more power over the bureaucracy. The President, Trump believes, should be able to make reductions in workforce as needed when entering into office. There is currently very strong protections and rules regarding government employees and how they can be fired or laid off. The deep state or “swamp” under this scenario could be drained by simply firing the Marxist employees hired by Obama. There were numerous cases during the Trump presidency where these Obama bureaucrats would arrogantly refuse to cooperate with the administration and haughtily acted as if they were untouchable. The State Department, where the Zionists are most active, falls under the executive branch as does the unnecessary Homeland Security Department and Department of Justice. (FBI) So here is an example where this president is trying to come out from the shadow of the deep state. He is not just a puppet or willing participant as so many here like to pontificate.

Posted by: Obamavirus | May 15 2022 15:21 utc | 15

Re: Dr. Tan Kee Wee presentation

Very weak overall.

Dr. Tan is an economist working for a private investment firm.

Failures involving his expertise in the presentation include:
1) Misreading of the Federal Reserve M1 monetary supply data. I did the same, but I'm not a paid economist.
2) Failure to highlight the historic negative effective Fed Funds rate today vs. the 1970s and 1980s.
3) Failure to take into account that the Euro arose from combining multiple European national currencies as opposed to appearing out of nowhere.
4) Failure to identify a possible commodity supercycle
5) Failure to note that high inflation in the US is also mirrored by high inflation elsewhere - Europe, Asia etc.
6) Failure to identify the challenges of China becoming a reserve currency. He accurately shows what China needs to do but does no work in showing the reasons why this won't necessarily occur very fast.

The worst part is that a lot of this presentation involves military and geopolitical - for which Dr. Tan is clearly parroting other people's work.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 15:24 utc | 16

Here is someone actually noticing the Palestinian cause; a rare treat.

https://therealnews.com/johns-hopkins-students-commemorate-74-years-since-the-nakba

Posted by: vetinLA | May 15 2022 15:37 utc | 17

It seems clear to me that China is content to let Taiwan wither on the vine so long as US troops/bases don't happen.

Yeah, but not so much. My point--apparently poorly made--is that China has now upped the ante. China has now given public notice that it is actively planning for an invasion of Taiwan.

In regards to your "so long as US troops/bases don't happen" bit: those troops/bases long ago happened. Have you heard of "Spook Mountain" out in Zhubei (Xinzhu county)? It's the largest 5-eyes listening station on the planet, a redesign of the original Japanese WWII listening station that was held over and over-staffed until the late-90s.

There's a Taiwanese Air Force base located under a mountain in Hualian that supports a permanent staff of US "advisors."

Yes, it's true that Taiwan doesn't currently support a fully supported US military base, but it certainly supports a fully funded and technologically advanced undeclared military station. China knows this and will act against it at the first opportunity.

Taiwan decided it was going to stop selling chips to Russia and China. That is the last single thing that might stop China from taking action against its own congenital aggressor: if it can't purchase the chips, why should it allow other countries to benefit from that technologilical profit?

Mark my words: as goes Ukraine, so shall go Taiwan.

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 15 2022 15:40 utc | 18

Posted by: Norwegian | May 15 2022 15:13 utc | 13

yes, "a cousin of the toilet paper crisis", FIFTH WAVE is a Void, S n+1, E05
After 50 years educating middle-class striving, neonatal gestational carriers about the scientific merit and psychological benefit of breast-feeding, world discovers that MISOGYNIST FORCES conspired to obviate breast pump equipment and rooms at their workplaces and lactation innovation.
FDA, Biden ‘dropped the ball’ on baby formula crisis, experts say

“Somebody, whether it be Abbott or the FDA, should have realized, ‘We’re stopping production at one of a handful of plants that produces baby formula and what are the repercussions,’ ’’ said William Marler, a lawyer specializing in food-safety cases, to The Post. “That’s where the FDA and Abbott dropped the ball. … They could have recalled the product without shutting the facility. They do recalls all the time without shutting the facility down.”

Posted by: sln2002 | May 15 2022 15:42 utc | 19

About the infant formula crisis

What ever did we do before the marketing and sales folks convinced women that their breast milk was not good enough for their children?

You know, those same marketing and sales folks that have created income streams like vaccines and highly processed "food".

The God of Mammon cult insists that everything be financialized.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2022 16:09 utc | 20

I read the Science article about the new variants of Omicron and it hit me why China has the lockdown policy they do.....stop new variants from happening...an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2022 16:14 utc | 21

thank you b...

i read the indian punchline article and see he has another one up that is quite good....

Why Ukraine war has no winners

@ Pacifica Advocate | May 15 2022 14:37 utc | 8

i have the perfect solution... taiwan becomes a NATO member!

@ c1ue | May 15 2022 14:54 utc | 11

thanks.... obviously there are challenges and there are costs too, but there is a cost to sustainability too.. what is happening now is unsustainable...

from canada... the junos are an award for different types of music styles that happens once a year here in canada... here is the winner from the solo jazz category..
Jazz album of the year (solo)
Change of Plans, Will Bonness

change of plans will bonness

Posted by: james | May 15 2022 16:55 utc | 22

Thank you b, for all the week's posts, and this valuable Week in Review. Especially thanks for the CJR article you have headed Murder on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. That article has given me a go-to journalistic link sorely needed at the current time.

The site asks for donations with the following phrase:

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now?

(I note also several links at the site to articles about investigations of Supreme Court legal advice issues that deserve attention. Again, thanks b.)

I also thank those commenters who have previously drawn attention to the beating of those carrying Ms. Akleh's coffin.

Posted by: juliania | May 15 2022 17:19 utc | 23

Who the f**k needs baby formula? We’ve raised two kids, never ever gave them baby formula.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | May 15 2022 17:23 utc | 24

@Pacifica Advocate #18
Care to put a timeline on your assertion? i.e. this year, within 3 years, within the next decade etc?

From my view: a listening post on Taiwan is meaningless because the US can do the same from South Korea, from Japan, etc etc.

The CCP has historically not been big on acting until it is absolutely necessary. The PLA is working hard at it, but simply isn't ready to confront the US just yet.

Ritter thinks the Ukraine distraction makes this an ideal period, but again, he is a hammer that sees everything as a nail.

From my view, I have yet to see any evidence that the CCP wants to either stop the gravy train from the US and Europe - which an invasion of Taiwan would absolutely do - or that the CCP needs to resolve the Taiwan situation barring the actual emplacement of US troops or ships there.

If anything, the ring of artificial reefs around Taiwan makes a blockade strategy quite viable. Anti-ship missiles is one area where China is well positioned, and Taiwan imports 65% of its food and 98% of its energy.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 17:27 utc | 25

Here are a few reasons for why formula is needed first the mother is not able to breastfeed. Secondly the baby is not able to latch on to their mother's breast. Lastly the mother is not able to produce enough milk to nourish the baby.

Posted by: Quiet Rebel | May 15 2022 17:29 utc | 26

Col. Richard Black — U.S. Leading World to Nuclear War

Posted by: james | May 15 2022 17:30 utc | 27

INVASION: USA!!! so patriotic, you'll pine for the subtlety of "Red Dawn" ("Avenge me...Wolverines!")

They've been prepping us for this moment since the day we were born - the hyper-repressed whitebread middle class patriarchy as "family" is a branch, maybe the trunk itself, of the Birch tree that is Amerikkka. The gang at MST3K were on fire w/this one. One of them makes a crack about how footage of the Blitz has been memorialized as filler for this movie.

But that's the whole story isn't it? that's what's happening w/the Ukraine narrative, right? unending psychological battering ram of WW2 imagery to justify resurgent fascism (incl of the Nazi variety) in the name of fighting the evil Rus.

(spoiler alert: at the end, it's revealed that all along the "Invasion: USA" story has been a hypnotizing fantasy told by someone suspiciously "German-sounding". All of the characters in the end submit to the Nazi fairytale, except the bartender who plans to go on mixing drinks, come what may. After all this nightmare imagery of various WW2 bombing campaigns, incl tactical nukes and new "superweapons", were the filmmakers trying to smuggle a message into the American psyche by having the narrator be a Nazi? I don't think so. Nothing about this movie reveals any irony or self-awareness whatsoever on the part of its creators.

in any case, to contemporize, Hydra is Shield. Shield is Hydra. and the salad still needs more butter.)

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 15 2022 17:35 utc | 28

If we have "Invasion: USA", of course we will also need RADAR SECRET SERVICE.

In both the PSA preceding and the main feature itself, the freedom of the "miracle" of technology necessitates the police state. Cops to police and patrol car drivers, and the "miracle" of radar serves to spy on the criminal element of society. The word "magic" is used at least twice to refer to this technology born of world war. We get the briefest glance at what other benefits might come from radar, like not crashing the Titanic this time around, before we get back to what really matters: the state at war with itself developing new means to spy on and control the populace. the miracle, the magic of science at work: maintaining the class structure.

despite the magic of radar, trains still crash into cars. such a confusing world. if anyone needs me, i'll be with the ice cream in the fridge.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 15 2022 17:58 utc | 29

Ride of the “Volkyries” - Zoltan Pozsar / Credit Suisse -- well worth reading. Of course, it is objective in the Credit Suisse mode, which is to say that it does not look at the real economy as a factor in the 'economy'. Yes, it appears that the Fed is levering the stock market down and mortgage rates up (to slow the rise in real estate prices). And, per author's suggestion, it will probably continue these actions in a slow and measured approach. Hiccups - which is to say real events - are not accounted.

Commodities are - in the Credit Suisse world - markets controlled by USUK financial centers and somewhat influenced by several EU-based financial interest centers. OPEC was, of course, a contravention of this situation when it revolted against the post-WWII petroleum cartels. They made peace (bribed primarily) with the USUK/EU centers during the '90s and on into the mid 20teens. Then OPEC+ appeared, which recognized Russia's outsized and well-developed resource in the context of declining reserves and plummeting EROI of the main producers of the last century. Now we add the context of 'western' sanctions against Russian petroleum products.

That development is compounded by commodity market obstructions - under the financial sanctions primarily - of minerals, grains, fertilizer, etc. These items did not by-and-large have their own production cartels, but are now organized by bloc - USUK/EU vs Asia and the Global South. Problem again for the 'western' bloc is that the other side has most of the resources. (There are other problems within the US as an example - logistics, labor and labor restiveness, competing corporate interests jockeying for primacy, incompetence and skill devolution, 'political' animosities...)

So - problems within commodities' markets are not really regarded in the Credit Suisse article. It's all about financial manipulations. They don't get the fact that the real economy is separating itself from the 'western' financial centers via trade in national currencies, the BRI land routes, new pipelines, and trends toward self-sufficiency - not to mention populist politics.

Posted by: paul spencer | May 15 2022 18:08 utc | 30

c1ue, I have a few bones to pick with you!

First of all, the nonsuccess of your organic tomatoes farmer in India simply points to the bad practices of chemical farming which have surrounded said farmer, killing off the soil by overstressing soil organisms with chemical fertilizers, eliminating beneficial insects with chemical pesticides, and last but not least driving traditionally motivated farmers to suicide by the gm practises of such companies as Monsanto (now Bayer) and motivated corporated behemoths whose only goal is profit. India has plenty of positive organic farming motivators, as do other countries. Russia is an example of better agricultural practice, and o yes, profitable grain exports this year thanks to non-gmo policy.

Note for new tomato growers: my son has a great plant food: grind up egg shells, add coffee grounds, mix into earthworm compost. (Works for other plants as well.) As with breast feeding for humans, what is good for the fruit is good for the earth as well!

Posted by: juliania | May 15 2022 18:10 utc | 31

Posted by: Quiet Rebel | May 15 2022 17:29 utc | 26

Well, there are a few extremely rare medical conditions where formula might be necessary if you can’t get donated milk (most mothers overproduce). But I don’t think that’s what the shortage is about.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | May 15 2022 18:12 utc | 32

i'm probably the 10,000,000th person to immediately think of this, but:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzbw8q-W1Jw

supposedly the "happiest people on earth" while acting like twats on the world stage (and being a cultural void).

Posted by: the pair | May 15 2022 18:34 utc | 34

While Palestinians were in the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, Israeli settlers plundered their homes...But they are all fully vaccinated and boostered....I really suspect that fullfilling with those requirements was correctly interpreted by certain sector of the citizenry as a carte blanc to do whatever they want...

https://twitter.com/pdxKatherine/status/1525352206731317248

It´s all about plundering right now, everywhere, there is no law in force except where the Russians arrive...

Posted by: Ghost of Mozgovoy | May 15 2022 19:23 utc | 35

@juliania #31
The issue the farmers had in Bihar was the cost of production was higher than they could realistically get for the product.
In the West, we have enough rich people to buy expensive organic produce to support a few organic farmers - the problem is that 80%+ of the population is not wealthy enough to do so.

As for "grinding coffee grounds, adding egg shells and adding to earthworm compost" scales to a even moderately large sized farm. How much coffee does a professional tomato farmer have to drink?

And yet again: maybe you are right in what you say.

The failure of organic farming to proliferate into the non-Whole Foods rest of the market will have to change to demonstrate that.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 19:38 utc | 36

@ c1ue | May 15 2022 19:38 utc | 36

it is a question of what you want to support.... large corporations, or small independent farmers... it is a bit more complicated then this, but that is the idea...

Posted by: james | May 15 2022 19:45 utc | 37

A most interesting conundrum.

Yankee pirate land of the non free slaves. An economy that relies on all forms of undocumented citizen slaves.

One of of absolute profit first. Buy for five cents on the international market. Then resell same item for ten dollars to the sheep. Thus price gouged citizen consumer customer is always absolutely last.

All this countries Oligarch owned and run corporations employing slaves. Are in a complete mess due to a total lack of forward planning. Or even possess the ability to predict it's own internal market demands.

The same profiteering price gouging Oligarch's who legally/illegally evade all forms of tax. All to the last one standing!
Have absolute zero forward planning, absolutely.

Then will will turn around using the paid shills to blame 'Sleepy Joe Biden'. For all their mistakes and errors in judgement.

As for the foolish countries under educated citizens(slaves). Trained by a shoddy education system. To believe the local "ministry of truth" is telling them the whole truth. Not the usual oligarch paid for 2%. Will sing the same chorus as taught to them by the plutocrats "Blame Sleepy Joe". lol

Stupid is as stupid does...............

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 15 2022 19:58 utc | 38

Posted by vetting LA @ 17

Thanks for posting on Palestine.

Palestine remains the touchstone issue that sorts the sheep from the goats. Here is the heavy hand of the incompetent NZ [Labour] government bullying the Wellington council in practice.

Ouch, those coloured lights hurt [my feelings].

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/128648310/palestinian-commemoration-ruled-out-after-wellington-mayor-pulls-pin

Jacinda was well trained in WEF objectives and methods by Klaus Schwab.

However, it is comforting to know the NZ government supports the downtrodden and the dispossessed. /sarc.

Posted by: Paul | May 15 2022 20:01 utc | 39

Re: Formula

It would sure be great if all women had Pregnancy Leave and diet sufficient for feeding their babies the old fashioned way. It's better in many ways. However, widespread medical conditions resulting from financialized economy (selling of bad foods leading to diabetes and heart disease for example) plus widespread ill nourishment, stress,and the time required for two full time jobs and night school make that difficult to impossible in many cases.

I'd be happy with the more widespread promotion of the natural method, combined with alleviation of many of the above problems, including long promised programs and never delivered programs such as as universal paid leave for parenting. But meanwhile it's near difficult to impossible for most women to switch gears if they'd been expecting or relying on formula already.

Now is such a looming crisis were about to unfold, say, in military equipment you might expect the government would be right on top of the situation, or at least doling out massive funds to fix it.

But this seems a lot like asleep at the switch, the combination of market and government failures and a crisis that should have been prevented.

Posted by: Charles Peterson | May 15 2022 20:01 utc | 40

Reading that article on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, I was struck by the description of her fatal injury: “Shatha Hanaysha, of the Palestinian Quds News Network, was also present and concurred, suggesting that whoever shot Abu Akleh evidently targeted an exposed part of her head since she was wearing a helmet at the time.”

That sounds like a sniper gunshot. Like in the Maidan, Revolution of Dignity. Which was organized by Victoria Nuland.

“Al Jazeera concluded that Israeli forces “assassinated” Abu Akleh “in cold blood.” “ How does Israel, as a nation-state, benefit by shooting this journalist right before the World Cup in Qatar? The Embassy of India in Doha held a world-record yoga session.
https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1507551275378180096
Qatar is opening a Panda Park later this year. Iran is encouraging World Cup guests to visit.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/12/iran-preparing-to-host-world-cup-fans-after-agreement-with-qatar
Those visitors will arrive, experience this hospitality, with the journalist’s death fresh in their minds. What can Israel possibly gain from that?
This is Bloomberg, so I don’t know if it’s hype or what, but apparently Qatar is a big winner from the sanctions against Russia, by gaining new LNG contracts with European customers.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-04-29/war-in-ukraine-is-making-qatar-even-richer-as-europe-ditches-russian-gas

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 15 2022 20:21 utc | 41

@Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 15 2022 20:21 utc |

I saw this assassination as an intent on setting the Middle East, again, on fire, so that to distract people´s attention in the obvious NATO´s defeat in Ukraine and the unfolding inflationary, energy and food crisis started by the, advised by "experts", lockdowns, historic trnasvase of welath from the populations of Europe and the US to a tiny minority of oligarchs and worsened by the harsh sanctions on, allegedly, Russia, but which really are a definite trransvase of wealth from the EU tapxayers, mainly, tpo the Eu elites, to fulfill Davos plan on "You will own nothing and will be happy" started with the "pandemic"....

It is not only me, but the whole European population starts wondering when the "happy" part comes...before gping out there pitchforking the European Comissioners...starting with professional thieve, Von der Plunder, and ending with professional looter Plunderrell...taking in the middle Plundreton

Posted by: Ghost of Mozgovoy | May 15 2022 20:38 utc | 42

I wish I could disable auto correct and other "suggestion" functions. I don't need the gadget to do my thinking for me.

Posted by: Paul | May 15 2022 20:39 utc | 43

Eric Topol this morning on his Substack "Ground Truths"... Read the whole thing with the figures. I believe b has mentioned Topol is one of his main sources on the pandemic in the past.

The Covid Capitulation
As the virus accelerates its evolution, humans retrogress
https://erictopol.substack.com/p/the-covid-capitulation?s=r

The United States is now in the midst of a new wave related to Omicron variants BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 with over 90,000 confirmed new cases a day and a 20% increase in hospitalizations in the past 2 weeks. That belies the real toll of the current wave, since most people with symptoms are testing at home or not testing at all; there is essentially no testing for asymptomatic cases. The real number of cases is likely at least 500,000 per day, far greater than any of the US prior waves except Omicron. The bunk that cases are not important is preposterous. They are infections that beget more cases, they beget Long Covid, they beget sickness, hospitalizations and deaths. They are also the underpinning of new variants.

Meanwhile, the CDC propagates delusional thinking that community levels are very low (as my friend Peter Hotez called the “field of greens”) while the real and important data convey that transmission is very high throughout most of the country. Not only does this further beget cases by instilling false confidence, but it is conveniently feeding the myth that the pandemic is over—precisely what everyone wants to believe....

To recap, we have a highly unfavorable picture of: (1) accelerated evolution of the virus; (2) increased immune escape of new variants; (2) progressively higher transmissibility and infectiousness; (4) substantially less protection from transmission by vaccines and boosters; (5) some reduction on vaccine/booster protection against hospitalization and death; (6) high vulnerability from infection-acquired immunity only; and (7) likelihood of more noxious new variants in the months ahead

A Delusional Congress

With that handwriting on the wall, how could our government legislators turn their backs on funding critical initiatives to get us through the pandemic? This is frankly absurd, staring at millions of more Americans to get infected that is happening right now (no less the Biden administration has projected 100 million this fall/early winter) that will translate to an unknown number of more hospitalizations and deaths. Ironically, the same administration, via the CDC, is downplaying the risk of our current Covid wave as reviewed above. And this is all happening when we just crossed the 1 million confirmed American deaths (far more via excess mortality), with at least a few hundred thousand of these preventable with vaccines and boosters.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 15 2022 20:54 utc | 44

About the infant formula crisis

What ever did we do before the marketing and sales folks convinced women that their breast milk was not good enough for their children?

You know, those same marketing and sales folks that have created income streams like vaccines and highly processed "food".
The God of Mammon cult insists that everything be financialized.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2022 16:09 utc | 20

Absolutely!

Baby formula is manufactured chemical poison. the old days if you couldn't breast feed it was cows or goats milk plus a bit of molasses or just the milk. Even soy milk will do in a pinch. Nobody needs manufactured formula unless its a true emergency .

This business is the very dregs of our idiotic capitalist society

Posted by: K | May 15 2022 21:05 utc | 45

Matters AzovNazi usually belong in the Ukraine thread (I did mention this over there). Now that AzovNazi terrorism has been ignited on USA soil, in the person of Buffalo mass-shooter Payton Gendron, we see USA's mass media put into an interesting pickle. This punk has been dressing up in all the fascist regalia, shouting "AzovNazi" from the rooftops as at Eurovision. It's not a rumor: aspirationally, operationally, our latest mass-shooter is identifiably Azov.

How could our media possibly face this obvious truth? One way it could go is to just pretend we don't see it -- that's the usual practice, but it might involve branding evidence of Gendron's AzovNazi affiliation (there's a lot of it) as "Russian misinformation".

Will that work? The trend we're headed in is acceptance of, even boastful pride in AzovNazi associations. That's the default route. Then again, might some US American writers come to realize that playing with Nazis is not very nice? Nah...

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 15 2022 21:17 utc | 46

The failure of organic farming to proliferate into the non-Whole Foods rest of the market will have to change to demonstrate that.

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 19:38 utc | 36

C1ue there are successful large scale organic systems all over the world. As in all things Empire you will more easily find hit pieces on the "failure "of organics" than you will find honest reporting.

In short there are two levels of organic farming aside from organic gardening and homesteaders who aren't commercial and who do have time to crush eggshells and recycle coffee grounds: LOL are you serious bringing that up?

Small farms who sell at local markets for good prices
Broad scale agriculture that has to compete with conventional farming

For now the exponential growth of the industry tells the story:

"Organic agriculture is the most popular alternative system worldwide, with global acreage of organic crops growing 550% from 1999 to 2018 — reaching 71.5 million acres4.20 May 2021"

Chemical farming is not even 100 years old, it is like the rest of our warped society a chemical fabrication that relies on more and more chemicals and lies and propaganda to stay "successful". Historically yields have never been proven to be consistently better than old fashioned farming pre WW2.

And they had to do something with all those wartime biohazard chemicals didn't they?

A huge error in our capitalist system is making food a commodity, it isn't and should never have been, the market is rigged and if the PTB have their way the organic industry will never succeed.

Bothr organics and vegan markets are exploding, they aren't the same market but they influence and support each other.

Also inevitably there is big money and evil corps in organic agriculture too.

Posted by: K | May 15 2022 21:32 utc | 47

Thanks for all the interesting commentary on USA's baby-food shortage. It's like the toilet-paper shortage, in that our system is geared such that a little shortage triggers hoarding triggers a bigger shortage, and so forth. Late capitalist deterioration. But it's also very real -- scary as hell -- for mothers who were persuaded to go the bottle-baby route.

The man tells you your body isn't much good, we've got a better substitute for sale. Okay, it sounds incredibly absurd, but it goes to show how advertising can be geared to sell you practically anything, if the campaign is continuous and relentless enough. Under such circumstances, opting for formula is the respectable thing to do.

It takes so long to grow up, to attain sufficient maturity that sales campaigns lose their effectiveness. Young folks hardly stand a chance against tsunamis of pathological sales jive.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 15 2022 21:39 utc | 48

Paul @39

Yeah it's a far cry from the Clark govt expelling the Israeli ambassador over the use of NZ passports for Mossad ops (welcomed back under Key to oversee a little opportunistic cable tapping during the Chch earthquake). And at least Clark pretended our Air Force cargo loaders were only dealing with aid deliveries when sending them to the West's war du jour (Iraq), in Ukraine the weapon smuggling is explicit.

But I think you'll be sadly disappointed if you are expecting better from the corporate skinhead waiting in the wings to return the NZ govt to the time honoured principle of "those who own the country shall run the country, the rest of you get back to work". As a member of an elite Christian cult closed to everyone except for multimillionaires, I'm sure Chris Luxon has plenty of loopy end times theology to justify abject submission to the US empire's 'little Sparta' on the Mediterranean.

Posted by: S.P. Korolev | May 15 2022 22:05 utc | 49

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | May 15 2022 17:23 utc | 24

And indeed who the f**k needs anything? More and more my turn is back to Greek thought on what the good life entails. It turns out not to be Hobbes' war of all against all, but neither is it necessarily an organized economy run by grey mandarins and their manager-knows-best clap-trap. Our starting point must be: what are the conditions for the affirmation of life? Above it cannot be lies. When a man lies he murders some part of the world.

And infant formula is, at its core, a lie.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 15 2022 22:21 utc | 50

In appreciation of

"
Our starting point must be: what are the conditions for the affirmation of life? Above it cannot be lies. When a man lies he murders some part of the world.

And infant formula is, at its core, a lie.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 15 2022 22:21 utc | 50
"

Nice and thanks!

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2022 23:13 utc | 51

Posted by: c1ue | May 15 2022 19:38 utc | 36

Thanks for your reply, c1ue. My response to you included everything GM because India was hit hard by that, and as in the US, individual farmers had a very hard time competing with that corporate onslaught. I'll agree growing organically became a high priced racket with difficult rules, and I admit, I'm not a fan of big agro.

If you ever happen to be in Santa Fe on a Tuesday or Saturday, you will find the downtown train station area occupied (good word) by local farmers and their stalls. They may not all be strictly organic but they are local so fresher produce. They have even operated in favor of low income customers in the past; I'm one of those so I know local is better. I buy organic foods where available, (avoid Whole Foods - way too pricey). And yes, my advice was to gardeners, not corporations. Home gardeners can definitely save growing their own greens and tomatoes - it's not rocket science (it tastes better too). Plus with the price of coffee, better save and use those grounds! (win/win.)

Still, if those big ag corporate organic producers are keeping the soil alive as they grow, my hat is off to them for that. It's at least something.

;)

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 0:45 utc | 52

Still, if those big ag corporate organic producers are keeping the soil alive as they grow, my hat is off to them for that. It's at least something.
Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 0:45 utc | 52

Hi Juliana, I grow some of my own food organically and also shop locally. I was involved in a small commercial production for a while. In Australia there are fantastic organic resources for the commercial producers. And research to back up the actual increase in output and the health benefits to farms for not using dangerous chemicals. Minerals, soil conditioners, all kinds of inputs safe for organic farming with the ultimate aim of soil health and rejuvenation.
I don't know if OZ is particularly ahead of the curve or if it's the same in most countries, but it is definitely a growing industry here.
GM is a scourge no matter where you are in the world, but I believe in India it is the most eggregious.

Posted by: K | May 16 2022 1:40 utc | 53

Imran Khan has gone on the warpath; has publicly announced that there is a conspiracy to assassinate him and that he has prepared a video expose of the culprits should anything happen to him. He appears to be speaking to what looks like hundreds of thousands of supporters:

https://t.me/BellumActaNews/77133

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 16 2022 3:24 utc | 54

@ c1ue | May 15 2022 17:27 utc | 25:

I worry that some time in the next 5 years Taiwan's oligarchs and the CIA will come up with some very bad idea that will provoke China into aggressive action against the island.

I hope I'm wrong, but the sense I get from rank-and-file Taiwanese is that they are fully convinced both A) that the US is capable of defending them, and B) that China is the root of all evil and must be defended against by any means possible.

That pretty obviously means that more and more people at the top of the government pile are starting to think those US bases you were mentioning up there should become a reality, soon. John Bolton and the Neocons have been pushing for just that for over 10 years, now, and with this Ukraine thing they may soon be given more freedom to attempt something like that.

Plenty of people, here, have been commenting about how the US is fighting Russia now so that it can defeat China later. Taiwan will be the lever used to flip that switch.

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 16 2022 3:31 utc | 55

Just FYI, I recently made the acquaintance of a recently-retired Lt. Colonel over here. This guy was in charge of defending Kinmen Island and ran half the base over there (the other half was by the General above him, I believe). He seemed very surprised when I told him that the US had run 18 (!) war games against China, these last two decades, and had lost every one (apparently w/increasingly greater losses each time).

If a newly-retired Lt. Col is that out of touch with the actual military capabilities of the US and China, then I do fear that there aren't many on this island who are capable of making a realistic assessment of the political and military situation Taiwan is currently facing.

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 16 2022 3:36 utc | 56

Aussie humor...

gentlemen, why'd we need 40b for our defence budget ?

To protect that vital Oz/sino trade route

From who ?

China !

!

hehehehe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD5FiPq_iOs

Posted by: denk | May 16 2022 5:44 utc | 57

If mothers had proper work benefits and guarantees, baby formula sales and use would take a huge hit, although it wouldn't disappear. Having an alternative to breastfeeding is useful, it's over-reliance on it which is harmful.

OTOH, the sort of methods for organic growing outlined here are good for orchards, not for industrial-level farming.

Would it be an improvement if everybody could have an orchard? Yes

Would it be an improvement if industrial farming used less biochemically-aggressive methods? Yes

Can the organic orchard methods be upscaled to industrial-farming production levels? No

Can industrial agriculture be renounced without widespread starvation of the working masses and civilizational collapse?

Not that we know, specialized agricultural productors are the first step of a differentiated economy which allows surplus and further specialization, without this cities and industry can hardly exist. It is a great idea to reinforce this food-production system with other backup systems, it is also a great idea to develop this system in the direction of less harmful methods, but the degree specialization is irrenounceable unless you have a primitivist fetish; and the scale can only be tweaked, not cut, on pain of a food debacle.

And by "primitivist fetish" I mean "egyptians were star trek compared to it".

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 16 2022 9:06 utc | 58

Quick addition to my comment @ 41 - al mayadeen’s report on the shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/journalist-shireen-abu-aqleh-martyred-by-occupation-forces-i

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 16 2022 10:27 utc | 59

Grayzone scoop "operation surprise" gonna guess they got their material from a British site whee it hasn't struck out the addresses and other parts of documents. Just do a phrase search on "colleagues and cia cronies" will find the source There's like huge zipfiles of emails on it

Posted by: Concerned Reader | May 16 2022 11:22 utc | 60

The Eurovision Song Festival is a song contest, simultaneously broadcast in a few dozen countries, after which there is a vote for the best song. Romanian TV states they voted neighboring Moldavia as best song; and were surprised to see that the contest organizers changed their vote. In the changed vote, Romania votes Ucraine as best song.

I'm not into the Eurovision Song Festival, but I'm not surprised.

TV Romania press release (In Romanian)

Posted by: Passerby | May 16 2022 11:24 utc | 61

Posted by: Passerby | May 16 2022 11:24 utc | 61

Georgian also complaining that they DID give the Banderreich the most points but, surprise surprise, voting was "corrected" to give the most (12) to Perfidious Albion and only second highest (10) to Banderreich.

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 16 2022 11:27 utc | 62

Canada qualified for the FIFA World Cup this year for the first time in 36 years.

https://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/article/canada-qualifies-for-2022-fifa-world-cup-with-win-over-jamaica/

If you think the Qatar 2022 World Cup is abuzz with controversy, check out this summary of the 1972 Olympics held in Montréal. (Pierre Trudeau was PM.)

https://montrealgazette.com/news/1976-montreal-olympics-days-before-opening-ceremony-city-was-a-nervous-wreck

https://www.lapresse.ca/international/moyen-orient/2022-05-11/cisjordanie/journaliste-tuee-lors-d-une-operation-israelienne-appels-a-une-enquete-transparente.php

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 16 2022 11:38 utc | 63

I grew up on a farm in the American Midwest in the 50s and 60s. Everything my father's generation believed about farming was wrong. They discarded the cyclically minded practices of their fathers' generation like diversified farming with row crops and livestock, returning livestock manure to the soil, crop rotation and letting land lie fallow. Pushed by capitalist fools like Nixon's SecAg Earl Butz to get big or get out, they treated the soil like some kind of inert medium to which they must add chemical inputs in order to grow a crop. So they plowed and disced and harrowed, perhaps thinking if we tortured the soil enough, the weeds wouldn't return. What they got was indeed an inert, dead soil that now requires ever greater chemical inputs. Some of those inputs are growing scarce, like phosphate. Others, like nitrogen, derive from fossil fuels. All of them continue to destroy the tilth of the soil while polluting waterways and creating dead zones in the oceans where the great rivers pour into the sea.

The soil is a living thing, full of fungi, bacteria, insects and earthworms, all of whom work with plants to produce life in abundance if left alone. The first step in destroying the life of the soil is tilling. Growing up, I was taught that having weeds in your fields was a disgrace. When I was young, that meant tackling those weeds with a hoe, but along came herbicides. Of course, life adapts, and the weeds adapts to the herbicides. So the chemical companies invent more and more lethal herbicides and apply them in ever greater quantities. Eventually, it's like chemotherapy. The herbicides are so lethal that the plants that the farmer wants in his fields must be "engineered" to withstand the herbicides. The life in the soil is destroyed completely. The topsoil itself, which formed over thousands of years before man began destroying it with tilling, is washed away into the sea.

There is a better way. One of the sources of hope in this bleak story of humans destroying the Earth's productive capacity is North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown's work in restoring soils. His Dirt to Soil completely changed my conception of what soil and farming really are. He never tills. He plants and plants and plants, native grasses and native herbs, and then he grazes small, fenced fields intensively for a few days. He's had success in rebuilding soil at a rapid rate, all while using no pesticides and no chemical fertilizers.

But all this take much more human labor. Human beings will have to return to the soil. One farmer with huge, expensive and energy-guzzling machinery growing crops on several thousand acres will have to come to an end. Instead, rather than sitting in some cubicle in one of Graeber's bullshit jobs pushing paper for some bureaucracy, we will need to pick up a hoe and some seed and set about planting, not monocrops of Bill Gates's Frankenplants but diverse plantings of warm and cool season native grasses, native herbs, trees and shrubs. The beauty of all this effort will not only be the restoration of the soils upon which all human life depends but sequestering carbon by growing plants that naturally pull carbon out of the air and store it in the ground.

No one puts it better that Wendell Berry:

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us... We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 11:54 utc | 64

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 11:54 utc | 64

thanks for this, my dad grew up on a small farm during the Depression, and even majored in agriculture, but he rarely talked about it. i occasionally saw my grandfather, and i remember him talking about how much better food tasted back then, when it was fresh and free of pesticides and additives.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 16 2022 12:59 utc | 65

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | May 16 2022 3:24 utc | 54

that's excellent news. I hope he survives, because they will be coming for him.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 16 2022 13:03 utc | 66

@james #37
The farmers in Bihar are the definition of small.
From the reports, not obvious that organic is the answer to combating big farms.

Proof is in the pudding - I am not seeing pudding.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 13:40 utc | 67

@K #47
The coffee grounds etc was in direct response to a specific reference from another poster.

As for successful large scale organic operations: Please provide links to some examples.

And lastly: regarding the acreage mentioned: 71 million acres would be impressive except for 2 things:
1) We don't know how many people were actually fed by these acres/how much food was produced vs. non-organic equivalents.
2) Worldwide farm acreage is something like 5 billion. 71 million divided by 5 billion = 1.4%
Now consider the market for organic today: the 1%
Hmmm.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 13:45 utc | 68

@juliania #52
There are farmer's markets everywhere.
But so what? That itself is meaningless. There are also luxury shops everywhere, including Santa Fe.

A more productive comparison would be: what is the average price of produce in said farmer's markets vs. grocery stores.

I've browsed farmer's markets in both high end cities and low end ones in California and Florida; everything in the farmer's markets was consistently much more expensive than the "regular" grocery stores albeit less than Whole Foods. To me, this is the opposite of evidence that "local" farming is either progressive or more cost effective.

I have also caught many such "farmers" who actually are taking other people's production and selling it as their own - including cases of literally foreign imported fruit.

Don't get me wrong: I do believe that the distribution chains are taking advantage of farmers - something which a farmer's market can help offset. But the reality that I saw was that farmer's markets are really for self-identifying people who are willing and able to pay more for product.

The product might be superior, might be organic, whatever but the common factor is the customer segmentation and not basic subsistence economics.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 13:52 utc | 69

@Pacifica Advocate #55, #56
If I understand your posts correctly, your fear/belief is that Taiwan is going to do something stupid and trigger China's hand in the next 5 years.

Well, never underestimate stupidity.

As for your anecdote: that is consistent with my interactions in Taiwan. People there are super nice but most are literally small mindset people.

It doesn't shock me the least that a high level officer is clueless in Taiwan...

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 13:55 utc | 70

@Henry Moon Pie #64
Your belief is nice - the economics of cheap food is not.

As my example showed above - labor is a huge factor if the crop is wheat.

As a non-farmer, I don't know if it is possible to replace the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the GMO seeds and the mechanization of plantings/maintenance/watering/harvesting with human labor - partially or otherwise - and end up with anything much beyond subsistence farming.

But the top level data certainly isn't promising at all.

Nor have I yet seen a single example of successful replacement of industrial farming methods by organic methods without a completely different economic basis - i.e. selling to super rich people.

The problem is real world economics isn't like the Gold Rush Chinese Laundry story: we cannot all become or remain rich by washing each other's laundry.

Now if you wanted to change the basis of American and European spending, then such change is possible.

Reduce the percentage people spend on housing (and health care in the US), and increase the amount available to spend on better food - that could work. But of course, in order for that to happen, you need to pull off a successful revolution to reboot the entire economic system and political order.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 14:02 utc | 71

I've browsed farmer's markets in both high end cities and low end ones in California and Florida; everything in the farmer's markets was consistently much more expensive than the "regular" grocery stores albeit less than Whole Foods. To me, this is the opposite of evidence that "local" farming is either progressive or more cost effective.

I have also caught many such "farmers" who actually are taking other people's production and selling it as their own - including cases of literally foreign imported fruit. [snip]

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 13:52 utc | 69


My experience as well. A small number of the farmers actually sell at reasonable prices, and then usually when they have more of a product (usually corn) than they can easily get rid of. I regard such markets as open air boutiques, especially because farmers comprise a plurality but not a majority of the booths/stands: lots of boutique coffee, boutique baked goods, boutique soaps, arts/crafts, etc. Oh, and buskers.

I suspect that much of their real value lies in areas outside of farmer subsistence: the markets are places to see/be seen (rather like the opera, but with leashed dogs) and do lots of virtue signaling.

I wonder whether the primary benefits for farmers lie in secondary considerations: occupying that lovely legal gray area in which sales tax isn't collected or reported (why am I reminded of similar markets in the USSR?); signing people up for weekly co-op baskets (yay, more squash).

Posted by: malenkov | May 16 2022 14:05 utc | 72

More technotopian nonsense:
It will soon be easy for self driving cars to hide in plain sight

This is such garbage as is only possible to imagine.

First of all, the author of this article clearly expects no one to actually look at the link in question: the Cruise vehicle being pulled over has literally 2 different Lidar systems on its roof.

Secondly, the author clearly doesn't live in San Francisco and didn't ask anyone who does. The self driving cars moving about the city these days are increasing the numbers of lidar, not decreasing. The original self-driving cars had 1; the Cruise has 2 but there are cars with 5 lidars: 1 on each corner and a ginormous one on top that looks like a helicopter turbine housing.

And then there's this: A self-professed Tesla fan (and owner) tests Tesla's ability to recognize common objects in the road and avoid them

Hint: it doesn't end well.

Now consider how many years it has been and billions of dollars.

As with most real world problems - providing a solution that gets 80% or even 90% of the way to success is utterly meaningless because the remaining portions are asymptotically harder. And that excludes deliberate deception practices.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 14:12 utc | 73

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 14:02 utc | 71

I think the problem is that the small labor-intensive family-farming approach cannot compete in a hydro-carbon fueled market economy.

It is very productive in terms of food, not so much in terms of cash.

It will keep a lot of people employed and fed.

Implementing it as national policy requires massive government interventions, and there was a time here when we did a lot of that, when we were mainly a country of small farms. Mostly at the state level. The Grange Movement for example was very big here at one time.

And 330 million people will make for a lot of small farms. We are very far from that now. I'm not sure if we have enough arable land.

I do think the current approach of factory-farming is demented, stupid, in a variety of ways.

National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

Posted by: Bemildred | May 16 2022 14:19 utc | 74

The hacker group Killnet has declared cyber war on the governments of ten countries that support the Nazis and Russophobia. The countries targeted by hackers include the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Posted by: alaff | May 16 2022 14:37 utc | 75

Bastards are really out to get us today. It's hard to read and post at the site.

Our food is cheap, unhealthy even if it looks pretty on the outside because its nutrient value has been lost, and completely unsustainable because it's destroying our soil and water as it consumes limited resources like chemical phosphates, potashes and nitrogens.

It works only in the short term, and that limited window is coming to an end.

The issue is not whether growing food in a sustainable way can produce the same amount of food per acre as industrial ag. It can. But it requires much more human labor. This chart (scroll down a bit) depicting the percentage of people engaged in agriculture in five European countries from the Middle Ages until 2019 is illustrative of how radically humans have reduced the amount of labor used to grow food. This labor has been reduced by the intensive use of cheap energy and at the price of massive environmental damage. We're reaching the end of the period when we can continue this kind of exploitation.

You keep wanting to use a market measure of success. Using The Market as the sole way of allocating food has been disastrous. Limited groundwater in the American West is used to grow cash crops exported abroad. Subsistence farms, which successfully fed their inhabitants from India to Central America, are destroyed economically by The Market so that they can be replaced with corporate ownership raising tropical fruits to be eaten by rich Americans in winter.

And we're not even talking about how much food is wasted through The Market's progeny in the form of supermarkets and restaurants.

We can grow the food needed to feed all of us in a way that does not destroy the Earth and render it unproductive, but it will take a lot more of us engaged in agriculture.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 14:41 utc | 76

@ Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 11:54 utc | 64

great post! thanks for offering your viewpoint on this topic..

@ c1ue | May 16 2022 13:40 utc | 67

i don't know what to say to you...... maybe all this has to be worked out at the ground level.. maybe we will all learn something in the process...

@ alaff | May 16 2022 14:37 utc | 74

wish they had of included canada in the list!

Posted by: james | May 16 2022 14:41 utc | 77

@ Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 14:41 utc | 75

what better connection to life then thru growing our own food... hear, hear to your post!!

Posted by: james | May 16 2022 14:43 utc | 78

@Bemildred #73
In theory, anyone can go and become a subsistence farmer.

However, in reality, you have to pay cash for all kinds of stuff including property taxes, manufactured goods, health care etc.

It is not clear, at all, that this situation can be reversed with even a "comprehensive national plan" because of the economics of the situation.

One acre of Iowa farmland costs $9,751 according to agriculture.com while property tax in Iowa is 1.53%. So property tax on this 1 acre alone is $149 a year. The USDA is saying that the average wheat yield per acre is 174.6 bushels this year; wheat price is projected to be $6.24 per bushel.
So income is $1,089 vs. $149 taxes - and the remaining $950 goes to living costs, production costs, etc.

$950 a year, max, seems like an awfully small number to live on. You certainly can't afford a car much less medical care. So you need more acres. How many acres are needed? Iowa average income is $32,963 so we're talking 33 acres assuming literally zero costs to farm except taxes.

Now just how much can an organic farmer handle on his own?

I'm sorry, but I don't see any part of this equation which yields an educated, self-sufficient, adequate medical and retirement, middle class citizen.

But again, I'm not a farmer so the equation might be totally wrong.

If so, please educate me.

The Grange movement, if I am understanding the same as you are referencing, was in the Civil War era. The equation back then was different: there were probably no property taxes, there was no organized health care system, nobody had a car etc.

But I am not the least bit interested in living an 1860s era lifestyle.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:01 utc | 79

@Henry Moon Pie #75
Please reference the above: you can absolutely become a subsistence farmer. It is a lot less clear if you want to.

I am also confused by your statements: if something is unsustainable, then it will go on until it fails, at which time the problem fixes itself.

So why does it matter what you or I think?

Nor am I the least bit convinced that any significant number of people are willing to lose enormous portions of the standard of living given any alternative.

Do you live a subsistence lifestyle?

If not - then your sentiment would seem to be more hypocrisy than genuine idealism. I am not impressed by people who advocate other people do what the proclaimer wants them to do, but doesn't do him/her self.

That's classic "do as I say, not as I do", and I'm not a 5 year old.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:06 utc | 80

Posted by: james | May 16 2022 14:43 utc | 77

Thanks to you and pretzelattack.

I like the ideas of Chris Smaje, a sociologist who left academia to tend a small farm in Cornwell with his spouse. He's written a book named A Small Farm Future and posts regularly at Resilience.org. The idea is that we've done so much damage to the Earth that restoration has to be the first priority. Tending the soil restores the ability of that place to grow healthy food while putting carbon back in the soil. That's a pretty good twofer.

Maybe behind that idea is the conviction that it's time for us to give up on being gods. It turns out we're not very good at it.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 15:09 utc | 81

Posted by: K | May 16 2022 1:40 utc | 53

Thank you K! It makes sense to me to grow as much as I can as stores are not local - I've always preferred the boondocks. But even the stores I get to twice a month have organic food sections - it has taken a while but what produce I can't grow well is nearly always an organic buy. And I am NOT wealthy!

My son who grows tomatoes as a teen had summer employment at a nearby organic farm; parents, that's a good start for your kids! My last best job was working at a greenhouse. Low pay, great folk. Many of their plant 'orphans' ended up with me. Some died, but they were free; many thrived.

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 15:18 utc | 82

@ Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 14:41 utc | 76

Limited groundwater in the American West is used to grow cash crops exported abroad.
And worse, where I live a lot of that limited groundwater is pumped out and poisoned forever as part of oil extraction via fracking.

Posted by: malenkov | May 16 2022 15:18 utc | 83

I am also confused by your statements: if something is unsustainable, then it will go on until it fails, at which time the problem fixes itself.

So why does it matter what you or I think?

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:06 utc | 80

Kate Raworth, whose Doughnut Economics is an example of some smart thinking about economics and sustainability, likens our situation to being on a plane running out of fuel. It would be nice to have a fuel gauge, in that situation, no, so we have some notice? And maybe look for an open field or a strip of empty road where we could attempt a survivable crash landing rather than just waiting to nose dive into the ground?

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 15:23 utc | 84

@ c1ue | May 16 2022 15:01 utc | 79

Strange you should mention Iowa. My ex comes from an Iowa farm family. Dad farmed his and his father's land, about 250 acres in all. Twenty years ago they had livestock; had to give that up, couldn't do it profitably. This left the typical monoculture crops -- corn, soybeans, etc. -- but as you note, it's hard to get by on the proceeds unless one has literally thousands of acres. So farms get bought out by the few families with money to expand. A few lucky farmers have sold some of their more scenic acres to folks from Chicagoland looking to build getaway countryside estates; I don't know if that trend is continuing.

Last I checked, ex's dad was caroming from one niche market to another, hoping to find something that brought in decent money. First it was mushrooms; when I last saw him it was wine grapes for the local vintners. Iowa wine is pretty nasty.

Posted by: malenkov | May 16 2022 15:26 utc | 85

On food security

Two generations ago, my family were all farmers. My ancestors didn't live in cities. They grew their own food, and they were dirt poor. That was the case with my ancestors on both sides who came from Oppland and Hedmark in Norway, as well as the ones in Eastern Washington, in Iowa, and in Missouri.

Nevertheless, when we were hippies in the late 1960s-early 1970s, myself and my brother wanted to farm, and our parents said they would help set us up in it. We were partly inspired by Living the Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing, who gave practical advice on making a small farm based on their experience in Maine. We prospected around in Washington looking for what we could do, visiting a commune in Stevens County, a pea farm in the Skagit River delta, a vegetable stand in Sequim, a hydroponic tomato operation in Duvall, and our relatives near Walla Walla, who were quite sarcastic about the idea of a family farm, and we concluded it just couldn't be done. It had to be either industrial farming or nothing as far as actually earning a living was concerned. A small farm would only work as a hobby farm, not a main source of income. It was not possible to escape the dragnet of the main economy, and thus to sell oneself. After all, the small farmers had all been driven out of farming in the first place by that economy, so how was one to manage?

So now we hear from Michael Hudson the main project of the World Bank is to prevent countries from growing their own food at all in order to place them under the control of the US power elite and to enslave everyone to the banks by threatening to cut off their food supply. Russia has evaded this through careful preparation, and other countries are also attempting to restore control by emphasizing agriculture in various ways; even Saudi Arabia has been trying to grow at least some of its own food, but through industrial agriculture.

To restore small farming, where Henry Moon Pie @ Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 11:54 utc | 64 states, "But all this take much more human labor. Human beings will have to return to the soil," that is very true. But as my mother used to say, "How can you keep'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" Some people, including myself, love gardening, but to get any young person today to aspire to go back to the land for a career is well nigh impossible. Here in Philadelphia, urban agriculture is largely carried on by people in their sixties and seventies who migrated from the rural South. People will only go back to farming for a living when they have to in order to survive. Someday that will happen, probably after some kind of catastrophe. As pointed out before, one of the main consequences of nuclear war will be mass starvation caused by the inability of people to grow their own food.

So, while it would be desirable to create independent small farming in a way that it never really existed in the past, it seems we are bound to the wheel of industrial agriculture until that and the rest of the technical society fail and collapse.

Posted by: Cabe | May 16 2022 15:31 utc | 86

On food security

Two generations ago, my family were all farmers. My ancestors didn't live in cities. They grew their own food, and they were dirt poor. That was the case with my ancestors on both sides who came from Oppland and Hedmark in Norway, as well as the ones in Eastern Washington, in Iowa, and in Missouri.

Nevertheless, when we were hippies in the late 1960s-early 1970s, myself and my brother wanted to farm, and our parents said they would help set us up in it. We were partly inspired by Living the Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing, who gave practical advice on making a small farm based on their experience in Maine. We prospected around in Washington looking for what we could do, visiting a commune in Stevens County, a pea farm in the Skagit River delta, a vegetable stand in Sequim, a hydroponic tomato operation in Duvall, and our relatives near Walla Walla, who were quite sarcastic about the idea of a family farm, and we concluded it just couldn't be done. It had to be either industrial farming or nothing as far as actually earning a living was concerned. A small farm would only work as a hobby farm, not a main source of income. It was not possible to escape the dragnet of the main economy, and thus to sell oneself. After all, the small farmers had all been driven out of farming in the first place by that economy, so how was one to manage?

So now we hear from Michael Hudson the main project of the World Bank is to prevent countries from growing their own food at all in order to place them under the control of the US power elite and to enslave everyone to the banks by threatening to cut off their food supply. Russia has evaded this through careful preparation, and other countries are also attempting to restore control by emphasizing agriculture in various ways; even Saudi Arabia has been trying to grow at least some of its own food, but through industrial agriculture.

To restore small farming, where Henry Moon Pie @ Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 11:54 utc | 64 states, "But all this take much more human labor. Human beings will have to return to the soil," that is very true. But as my mother used to say, "How can you keep'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" Some people, including myself, love gardening, but to get any young person today to aspire to go back to the land for a career is well nigh impossible. Here in Philadelphia, urban agriculture is largely carried on by people in their sixties and seventies who migrated from the rural South. People will only go back to farming for a living when they have to in order to survive. Someday that will happen, probably after some kind of catastrophe. As pointed out before, one of the main consequences of nuclear war will be mass starvation caused by the inability of people to grow their own food.

So, while it would be desirable to create independent small farming in a way that it never really existed in the past, it seems we are bound to the wheel of industrial agriculture until that and the rest of the technical society fail and collapse.

Posted by: Cabe | May 16 2022 15:33 utc | 87

...Can the organic orchard methods be upscaled to industrial-farming production levels? No
Can industrial agriculture be renounced without widespread starvation of the working masses and civilizational collapse?

Not that we know, specialized agricultural productors are the first step of a differentiated economy which allows surplus and further specialization, without this cities and industry can hardly exist..."

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 16 2022 9:06 utc | 58

That 'not that we know' is the kicker. Agrobusiness wants us to believe that NO.

It isn't true!

And the Russians know it, because agribusiness on a communist program scale did not work for them -- they were saved by small intensive farms being allowed to have farmers' markets. Intensive farming practices can be put in place - organized by communities, not big business. It takes time to rebuild depleted soils, but it can be done. Not on a gigantic scale but community by community. You can rotate crops and animals, put back into the soil what it needs to thrive - my uncles did that in NZ back in the day on their small farms that fed into a community run industry for milk. It might be considered 'costly' these days but it fed more people, employed more, and the local dairies (small shops) had little coupons you put into your empty milk bottles, set them out as many at a time as you wished, with a milk box beneath your mailbox. Convenient? I'll say!

Nobody got mega-rich, but do we really need that??

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 15:39 utc | 88

@Cabe #86
You said

So, while it would be desirable to create independent small farming in a way that it never really existed in the past, it seems we are bound to the wheel of industrial agriculture until that and the rest of the technical society fail and collapse.

Indeed. I am not opposed to organic farming per se - but I am opposed to pie-in-the-sky (or moon) notions that organic farming can trivially replace the present system.

I demand proof: proof by personal doing or public examples where organic farming has successfully replaced industrial farming while still producing affordable food.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:45 utc | 89

Do you live a subsistence lifestyle?

If not - then your sentiment would seem to be more hypocrisy than genuine idealism. I am not impressed by people who advocate other people do what the proclaimer wants them to do, but doesn't do him/her self.

That's classic "do as I say, not as I do", and I'm not a 5 year old.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:06 utc | 80

No, I can't make that claim. But I do live in a 1880s house that had been vacant for more than 10 years before we bought it for $3,500 and restored it from the studs in: plumbed it; wired it; dry-walled it.

Starting with goose grass and dog shit for a yard, we now grow strawberries, blackberries, wine grapes, hops and a variety of herbs ranging from valerian to self-heal to fever few. I'm presently engaged in dealing with what we call on the East Side of Cleveland a "side lot," where once a house stood before it was demolished. They backfilled the basement with sludge mixed with fist-sized rocks and gravel, then gave it to us for $100 in recording fees. So I'm using a big pile of "sticks" I've accumulated from pruning to make hugelkultur mounds which I'll seed with a local nursery's mix of native warm and cool season grasses along with wildflowers like echinacea and marshmallow. I've already done something similar with a rain garden on the other side of the house where we dump runoff from the old sidewalk to the back house.

And then there are the annuals that we eat and sometimes preserve: paste tomatoes; green beans; cabbage (for kraut) along with lettuce, spinach, snow peas and English peas for the baby granddaughter.

Do we grow everything we eat? Not even close. In fact, that's not even an aim. I'm trying to make this place as friendly to my fellow creatures, two-legged and otherwise, as I can. And that includes the ground hogs that have been living under the deck of the back house since before we were here, and who nibble on the peas and spinach and even have the gall to pick San Marzanos off the vine, then throw them on the ground.

Are you glad you asked? ;)

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 15:47 utc | 90

@juliania #87
Your Russian example is a really bad one - particularly since it is precisely the enormous industrial farms that are killing the small farmers in the US.
The main reason the Russian kulak experiment failed is that kulaks actually knew how to successfully farm, and it is doubly ironic that capitalism is doing what the Marxist-Leninists desired but couldn't make work.

Ditto for Cambodia in the Khmer era - you can't take city people, shove them on a farm and expect them to live much less produce enough surplus to enable science, industry, art, politicians, lawyers, doctors, etc.

So while I understand the desire to "farm sustainably" - I am still waiting for any evidence that conversion to sustainable farming will not involve eihter/both radical societal change (in which case, there are many other things I would change first) or mass starvation.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:48 utc | 91

I'm with c1ue on the organic farming stuff. I've read/followed Berry, Salatin and a ton of grass-fed-beef folks (once was subscribed to the top magazine on such). The reality, and c1ue brought this up, is that you have to have INPUTS.

There are two different situations:

1) Self-sufficiency- all is dealt with and consumed on-site (other than a hunter-gatherer I've not seen how this can work long-term, though am always open for new info);

2) Grow-to-export- what it raised/grown on-farm leaves the farm.

For #1 there's a reasonable shot but all has to be managed to the n-th degree. One's own bodily wastes need to be reclaimed and used: in China that was (maybe still is in some places?) "night soils" (human waste strewn out over fields; stri-fry evolved to combat pathogen issues from such waste). One has to also think about all the required "energy," in which case it starts to become very difficult to be truly self-sustaining. NOTE: I'm talking long-term (more than a couple of generations; anything can be successful given a short enough time frame).

For #2 you're moving stored nutrients off-farm. Soil depletion. Where are the replacement nutrients coming from? As c1ue noted, going to have to drink a lot of coffee etc.. (oh! you'd also have to be growing your own coffee!)

Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and mechanized farming is going to get squeezed per entropy (nature dictates). We were always going to hit a peak and I think that we're pretty much there. The Green Revolution was one of the biggest disasters ever, as it got a lot of humans addicted to short-term food products, products that would, again -entropy-, eventually fail to maintain scale.

I've produced "organic" products. It was a LOT more expensive. I had customers that could support that cost, but when those customers dried up I had to switch back from organic feeds. The reality is is that only the wealthier can afford the more expensive stuff. Some things may be "working" (have the appearance of working) now, but push out the time frame and push up scale and it is clear that things look/feel a lot more dicey.

The Green Revolution was to meet our growth demands, provide for scaling up. Oil once bubbled to the surface of the ground. Human hubris had us believing that infinite growth was possible. We failed (and continue to address) the question of how big do we need to go (what's the limit?).

We most certainly WILL apply more "recycling" functions (vis a vis organic farming), but scaling can only happen by scaling up something else: reminds me of the "we'll run our vehicles off of french-fry oil!" folks- after a while restaurants and fast food places started locking up their "waste" oil. (I was going to get a centrifugal extractor for reclaiming waste motor oil for use in my diesel engines, but ended up not doing so for various reasons, one of which is that I'd likely require waste oil from outside my personal domain).

Posted by: Seer | May 16 2022 15:52 utc | 92

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 14:41 utc | 76

Thanks for that and your previous post at 61. I totally agree! We need a civilian conservation corp as Roosevelt had, only for the soils in the US -- a new return to the land operation resembling what happened when settlers first came to it. The knowledge is still here - there are farmers doing this all over the country in different conditions. They are the elders we need to resource. And those are the practices we need to vote for!

And we need NEVER to send what falls from our plants, our trees, to the dump! Chop it up and compost it or leave it lying around for the mushrooms and other fungi. Burn some, and the ashes can be composted also. It's not trash; don't throw it away.

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 16:05 utc | 93

@ c1ue and seer... what are you two doing to improve matters on the planet? no one is saying change is going to happen over night, but i think the idea is that we need to move in a direction away from our world being run by corporations who are only interested in the bottom line - profit, to a world where we are custodians and are mindful of how our actions are either making a better world, or killing the world... - this isn't an either or proposition... big changes come from little changes... that is what i am advocating for... if the banking system could enslave us all, it would.. is that the world you want? it looks like it, because it sounds like you both don't understand the reason why people do the things they do.... if i played music because i wanted to make a lot of money, i wouldn't be playing music! but that is not why i play music... and that is not why people make choices they feel are in the best interest of the planet either! it seems like you two don't get it and will happily provide lots of stupid strawman arguments to keep on knocking them down too! lol.. continue... change happens slowly, but it won't happen if people refuse to consider alternatives.

Posted by: james | May 16 2022 16:05 utc | 94

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 15:48 utc | 90

You're wrapped up in TINA when it's getting pretty obvious that there sure as hell needs to be an alternative. You're in thrall to psychohistorian's God of Mammon to an extent that it's hard to imagine another way of doing things and looking at things.

Time to dream dreams and have visions of a New World because this one is on its last legs.

Those who survive will look back and be amazed at how tightly enclosed they were inside this capitalist box.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 16:09 utc | 95

I think people also have a very poor or distorted understanding of just how much wealth/surplus is needed for modern living.

Let's take semiconductors - an area I am intimately familiar with.

Did you know that there are less than 1200 semiconductor manufacturing plants in the entire world operating right now? And that this represents manufactories that have been built since the 1950s?

Italy, Russia, Germany, Japan and even Australia have working semiconductor fabs that were first operational in the 1950s or 1960s.

60+ years of world GDP production and we have under 1200 fabs - which make anything from TVs to LED lights to chips for internet routers, PCs, IoT devices, cars, refrigerators, manufacturing machinery, tractors, jets, missiles, satellites, etc etc.

Or put another way: 7.5 billion people, 1200 fabs = 6.25 million people per fab for 60 years, or 40 years since the bulk of them were put into operation after the late 1980s.

Now consider everything we use: the refined metals. The fossil fuels. The solar panels/wind turbines. The nuclear power plants. The clothing we wear. The kitchen appliances: refrigerators, ovens, microwave, exhaust hood, the pipes bringing water in and waste out, etc etc.

All of this arose from industrial society - and there is some minimum surplus production required in order to develop, and a lot more surplus production required to build it. Consider the time, materials, money and human effort that has gone into building the roads, the dams, the power plants, the waste water treatment, the office buildings, the residences, etc etc.

China has averaged consuming over 37000 tons of steel every year from 1990 to 2022 - the bulk of that is building their infrastructure.

To put this in perspective: the US averaged a bit over 7,800 tons of steel per year from 1969 to 2022.

So while few of us have ever seen a steel making plant, or steel product manufacturing facility, or even directly worked with large steel objects - we benefit from them.

The difference between living in 1860 vs. today is precisely because of these things.

This focus on "unsustainable farming" is all well and good, but is frankly myopic and poorly grounded in understanding just how modern society works.

Posted by: c1ue | May 16 2022 16:11 utc | 96

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 15:47 utc | 89

Thanks for keeping going, Henry! And San Marzanos are great -- I have a huge plant I kept overwinter in my sunroom in a tub, already producing now that I've hauled it out to my alley in front. The fun is to try different varieties, see what works in your area. Each season there'll be one to do better than others, depending on weather conditions. And tomatoes are easy to collect seed from if they are the heirloom ones, will germinate true to parent.

Hah! I just looked out and a thrasher has chased off a ground squirrel from canary leavings I put on the wall - way to go, thrasher!!

I started my tiny garden with fruit trees -- very poor soil, and I needed shade. So now my tomatoes do best in containers on the concrete alley path out front. You do with what you have. And it's just me doing. Bravo to you!!

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 16:18 utc | 97

@ c1ue | May 16 2022 16:11 utc | 95 - i think psychohistorian and many of us here understand exactly how the god of mammon works... that is unsustainable.... you might not be looking for alternatives, but others are...

Posted by: james | May 16 2022 16:18 utc | 98

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2022 16:18 utc | 96

I have such trouble with spider mites if I try to keep tomatoes indoors. Do you have a trick?

Re: soils..

We have a problem here in the city with vacant lots, especially after the '08 crash and all the foreclosures followed by abandonment. People could grow food in the lots, but we have a big problem with lead and other contaminants. I've been trying to get some local community gardeners together with some of the soil scientists working for local universities and the arboretum so they can develop ways to use plants and fungi to clean these soils cheaply. It makes no sense to strip all the topsoil off them and replace it because the lots are small and scattered. We need a cheap, natural way to do it, and plants like comfrey can cleanse it to the point of safety.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 16 2022 16:39 utc | 99

From the Ukraine thread was a discussion that I was trying to develop regarding the global economic war and China's part in it (as its siding with Russia it's certain that they're coordinating actions). Unfortunately it kept getting hammered into a "you don't understand China and its interest in its people" "debate." Sigh... Anyway, I wanted to address one poster and didn't feel like that could be made to tie into the Ukraine thread (started to clog it up; my apologies as, again, I think there IS a connection to the Russian/Ukraine situation). So...

Posted by: Chinese American | May 16 2022 2:36 utc | 400

Posted by: lulu | May 15 2022 16:47 utc | 379

Thanks for the attempts at explanation, but as you can see from the responses here, I'm afraid that many people in the West simply cannot wrap their minds around it. The fact that Chinese people want to have a dynamic zero Covid policy, and are capable of making it work is contrary to everything they've been taught to believe as "objective laws of nature" by their experiences of society in their own countries. You might as well be explaining to them why and how China could make the sun rise in the west, as far as their worldviews are concerned.

This is a huge cultural and societal difference between China and possibly everywhere else (certainly all of the "West") which I think runs even deeper than the CPC. (Think about how our ancient myths had the Great Yu fighting the flood, whereas pretty much everyone else had something similar to Noah's Ark...)

Posted by: Chinese American | May 16 2022 2:36 utc | 400

Completely void of facts. Full of hubris and a sense of superiority.

Anyway, China is facing an economic war (these always proceed military wars, which sometimes can be avoided). The Shanghai lockdown essentially achieves the effect of that which US dockworkers employ: "work slowdown." The above person (and their raft of cohorts coming to the "defense" of China's COVID policies) FAILS to understand that ANY situation can contain multiple political aims. They continue to say how China's COVID policies are working, that they're great, and, well, OK, fine (though so far when compared to global responses such "success" doesn't look as grand as these folks claim [w/o facts]). Question to these people: you win against COVID and then lose the economic war? Oh, no, wait, the Chinese govt is infinitely capable (which is why they have lockdowns happening some 2 years after the start of the pandemic), it has actions it's taking vis a vis the global economic war. And those actions ARE?

Maybe it's ME that thinks the Chinese govt is smarter than it is, that I figure leveraging COVID (while administering whatever care is deemed sufficient to those affected/locked-down) in the global economic war would be a SMART thing. (another component was to apply more control over a less disciplined population in Shanghai <- that's what poster "lulu" noted/claimed [and I can see and appreciate this dynamic as affecting the proper administration of COVID policies]). Ah, but what do I know as I'm a non-resident/non-national!

Geopolitics is about buying time as you assert your will. Nations' populations often disrupt planners' time frames, which is why higher-level stuff tends to be kept hidden for as long as possible: note that I'm not advocating anything here, just stating realities. If China were openly stating that it was leveraging the lockdown as part of the global economic war its citizens would be a bit upset (and those in Shanghai, from what the China posters are saying, aren't all that in-lockstep with Beijing). So, China can continue to apply its COVID policies, which are to take care of its people as diligently as it can, AND to assert pushback [China asserting its will] against US aggression [do so via economic means, which is the first phase of the war].

I don't care whether someone lives in China or sees me, a non-national, as being unfit to comment on China's affairs. If you don't have actual facts then you have no greater position in argument than I do (who also has no access to such high-level discussion and facts). Again, I have stated that I am conjecturing. And as far as COVID goes, the book is still open and unless people also measure the lives lost due to COVID policies (suicides and drugs) then you're playing with an incomplete deck, not sincere.

Oh, enjoy your superior day!

Posted by: Seer | May 16 2022 16:42 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.