The Weekly Watch

Happiness and Health as the Empire Collapses

I'm caught in a revolving door...seeing the completion of the corporate coup in almost every aspect of our lives. Although I rattle the bars, we are captured in a capitalist cage of corruption. Nowhere is it more obvious than our health care system...more concerned with profit than health or care. Last week we focused on the need for individuals and communities to act on their own to create meaningful lives. This week lets look at how we can manage our own health and health care (of course we'll look at news for the week as well). This essay was inspired in part by Bernie's “Medicare for All” bill, but was also heavily influenced by OPOL's essay (hat tip) on diet from earlier this summer.
https://caucus99percent.com/content/revolutionize-your-life-radical-self...

Coup complete.jpg

Food for Thought

We tell people to take personal responsibility to control their weight and diet. Yet, the culture constantly presents images of fast food, ads for processed foods, and encourages poor diets. Additionally, many neighborhoods are fresh food deserts. The most powerful way to improve our health is to reject the corporate food machine. I like growing some of our food, but you can always buy good produce from local producers if gardening isn't your thing. Buy when the harvest season is in full tilt for the lowest prices. Then freeze, dry, and can the excess for later in the year. Health is (in part) the roll of our genetic dice, but lifestyle (especially diet) is critical as well.

Healthy individuals and a healthy democracy are inextricable connected. Ending corporate constitutional rights is the ultimate cure to our critically ill health care system and democracy. Here are three ways corporations control health care and block single-payer.
https://movetoamend.org/3-ways-corporations-have-captured-health-care%E2...

But they forgot the way in which corporations most influence our health...through our diet. Food is the number one cause of poor health in America. Poor diet is not just about individual choice, but about the systems that make eating poorly the default for most Americans.
https://theconversation.com/want-to-fix-americas-health-care-first-focus...

Fats and simple sugars can act on the brain in the same way as nicotine and heroin.
http://banzhaf.net/docs/newsci.html

We are addicted to fast processed foods that are killing us. We live in toxic food environment, a nutritional wasteland. School lunchrooms and vending machines overflow with junk food and “sports drinks.” Most of us don’t even know what we’re eating. Fifty percent of meals are eaten outside the home, and most home-cooked meals are simply microwavable industrial food.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/food-addiction-could-it-e_b_...

Obesity is a primary cause of illness in the US.
https://stateofobesity.org/healthcare-costs-obesity/
And is related to class as well https://stateofobesity.org/socioeconomics-obesity/

So what do we do? I learned about Dr. Fung from OPOL's essay I sited earlier. Fasting is a terrific tool for health and weight control that is rarely mentioned. Maybe because it is free?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7oLbFPo6jY (38 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETJ2YYOdBNE (1.2 hrs – full interview)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIuj-oMN-Fk (36 min explaining fats, sugars, and insulin's role)

Happiness vs. Pleasure...serotonin vs dopamine. Corporations have used the pleasure centers to addict people to sugars and fast food. UCSF endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig explores how the food industry has contributed to a culture of addiction, depression and chronic disease.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkUtrL6B18 (32 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH3Ndztq7YM (58 min interview with Mercola)

Here's one more discussion of carbs, insulin, and different types of fats. The discussion contains a fair amount of biochem but most people can follow the gist of the conversation. Dr. Ben Bikman shares data about the synergism between the ketogenic diet and brown adipose tissue activation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPL2RYilUms (55 min)

Michael Polland suggest principles of healthy eating
https://www.verywell.com/the-michael-pollan-diet-principles-for-healthy-... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c31cAdYUvT8 (40 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7z6-xnqazk (56 min)
and you can eat well on a low budget https://www.verywell.com/budget-low-carb-eating-2242083

Growing (at least some of) your own food is a path to both health and happiness. Here's an urban homesteading success story. I posted this a few months back but its worth seeing again. (15 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9xYPkSjpco

So my friends, please eat well. Diet is our most effective tool for health (and happiness).

health care map.jpg

The U.S. stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care. The countries in green all have universal health care.

And yet the United States spends the most per capita on health care across all countries, lacks universal health coverage, and lags behind other high-income countries for life expectancy and many other health outcome measures.
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1710486

So the fight is on as Bernie introduces his medicare for all bill
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/obamacare-over-single-payer-medicare...
He has the support of 24 grassroots organizations with a combined membership base of tens of millions of people https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-gras...

Interesting conversation with Dean Baker and Saikat Chakrabarti about Bernie's bill
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19985:Single-Payer-Healthcare-Takes-a-Bi... (text and video)

What the Vermont senator’s bill has going for it is simple: It’s the right thing to do.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/bernie-sanders-medicare-plan-right-thing/

It may be that it is the right thing to do, but TPTB say it just can't work.
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/15/well-that-settles-it-insurance-and-d...
But they're worried. The chief executive of Allergan, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, is concerned that Americans will become fed up and embrace the single-payer health care plan. (We can hope so)
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/pharma-ceo-worries-americans-will-sa...

T-rump is bound and determined to destroy Obamacare. He's going to make sure your premiums rise. http://www.alternet.org/economy/trumps-refusal-pay-obamacare-subsidies-w...

corporation are not people.jpg

Battle of the oligarchs -
Backing primary challengers to Republican senators, Bannon is pitting his patron, Robert Mercer, against the Koch brothers.
http://prospect.org/article/bannons-oligarch-cage-match-worries-gop

Surprise surprise ...T-rump's tax plan screws the poor and helps the wealthy.
http://prospect.org/article/paying-trump-tax-cuts-would-devastate-poor

Economic adviser, Gary Cohn, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been quietly courting as many as 20 Wall Street-friendly Blue Dog Democrats in the House, who may still believe that the benefits of deregulation and tax cuts will trickle down to the middle and working classes.
http://prospect.org/article/will-centrist-dems-give-trump-his-tax-cuts

Speaking of oligarchs, the world's richest company continues its quest for World Domination with the iPhone X
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/apple-continues-quest-world-domination...

It isn't spy vs. spy...it's spy vs. us.

Snowden released a new batch of data that has been published on the intercept. Here's an overview.
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/sloppy-u-s-spies-misused-covert-netw...

Snowden talks about the Equifax leaks and Shaun King discusses racism and his NFL boycott in this weeks intercepted podcast. (60 min)
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/intercepted-podcast-the-super-bowl-o...

Perhaps our biggest spies are corporations like Facebook. They admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company.
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/11/make-mark-zuckerberg-testify/

Are sonic weapon attacks next? Hearing loss and the speech problems have occurred for at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/14/mystery-of-sonic-weapon-at...

Looking at 9/11...will the Saudis go to trial? The New York Post reported evidence alleging the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., funded a "dry run" of 9/11 two years before the attacks.
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/13/will_the_9_11_case_finally

corproate schools.jpg

Schools

The oligarchs have been exposed and fined (for a change). The Office of Campaign and Political Finance exposed Families for Excellent Schools as a dark money front designed to hide millions in contributions from plutocrats. The case may reverberate across the nation.
http://news.wgbh.org/2017/09/12/goodbye-darkness-my-old-friend-425k-pro-...

In contrast to DeVos’s promotion of private and charter schools, “Over 70 percent of parents said they would prefer a good quality neighborhood public school for their children over the ability to have more choice of what schools they can send their children to.”
http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/betsy-devoss-back-to-school-messa...
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2017/09/parents_prefer_good_n...

Increasing charter school choices to a community does not occur without a significant fiscal impact.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/study-highlights-long-term-costs-...

What??? They needed a study to find teachers are paid less than other professionals. Duh!
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2017/09/us_ranks_l...

Privatizing schools would be very profitable. Private prisons certainly are. JPMorgan Chase’s investments in private prisons certainly make economic sense: the private prison industry is worth about $5 billion, and the election of Donald Trump has caused the profits of the sector to balloon further. http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-jp-morgan-chase-cashing-private-prisons

climate change isn't real.jpg

Climate

Cartoon of Pruitt working the climate cash cow (1 min)
https://www.truthdig.com/cartoons/climate-science-cash-cow-video/

It is past time for an honest conversation (video or text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/11/elizabeth_kolbert_an_honest_conve...

For there is a storm of silence in the media about the climate chaos (video or text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/12/a_storm_of_silence_study_finds

350.org leads campaign to put pressure on ABC, NBC, and other outlets to discuss climate change in hurricane coverage https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/13/climatesilence-corporate-me...

We focus on our storms, but Asia has been hit worse. South Asia, has about 40 percent of the world’s poorest people. And actually, most of those poor people live in flood-affected areas.
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/15/south_asia_1_300_dead_40 (video and text)
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/15/climate-catastrophe-were-a...

We don't even focus on our own territories. They are supposed to generate profit for us...not be an expense! A look at the US virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (video and text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/15/the_forgotten_americans_why_did_us
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/12/austerity_divestment_irma_juan_go...

climate hoax.jpg

Corporations are in conflict over climate chaos. Sadly the Koch's are winning.
http://www.alternet.org/environment/these-corporations-have-biggest-infl...

A documentary special reveals how climate change science has been under systematic attack; the multi-million dollar campaign allowed a climate change denier to be elected president (32 min or text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&I...
2 min trailer http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19993:Quick-Hit-Video%3A-Trump%2C-The-Ko...

Chris Hedges explains the damage suffered by Houston, Tampa and Miami is not an anomaly. It is the beginning of the end. (hat tip mimi)
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-great-flood/

Learning from Harvey by Joseph E. Stiglitz
http://billmoyers.com/story/learning-from-harvey/

T-rump is once again exploiting the storm's extensive damage to demand tax cuts for the nation's corporations and wealthiest individuals.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/13/pushing-tax-cuts-wealthy-am...

corporations speak.jpg

Creating election fraud

When Trump claimed that millions ‘voted illegally’ in 2016, it laid the groundwork for a voter commission that looks set to restrict rights to minorities
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/14/how-trumps-most-to...

Background Checks for Voting?: Inside the Trump Election Commission's Contentious Second Meeting
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/13/background_checks_for_voting_insi... (video and text)

The GOP Is Plowing Ahead with an Audacious Effort to Hijack the Vote and Rig Elections
http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/republican-efforts-hijack-voting-and-...

stop the corporate coup.jpg

The Democraps

Gleen Greenwald's take on the $hill and her book tour/interviews.
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/the-clinton-book-tour-is-largely-ign...

Thomas Franks continued his interviews with Paul Jay. Here's two parts from this week and a link to them all. Both video and text
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19977:Clinton-Democrats-Hate-the-Left---...
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19990:From-Ronald-Reagan-to-Bernie-Sande...
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&I...

The Awan trial continues to get interesting.
http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/07/dws-next-early-prosecutor-moves-sugges...
https://orwellianchronicle.net/2017/09/10/drain-the-swamp-imran-awan-tri...

Looking for something good to read? Try the forbidden bookshelf.

America does not ban books... there are other means deployed to vaporize them. The purpose of Forbidden Bookshelf is to bring such disappeared books back to life
https://steemit.com/history/@lighteye/forbidden-bookshelf-is-soft-censor...
Here's the site to download these interesting forbidden books
https://openroadmedia.com/the-forbidden-bookshelf
Abby Martin interviews the director of the project - NYU media studies professor, Mark Crispin Miller. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0czUr2imGY (10 min)

The village has lost its voice...well its printed voice. Chris Hedges is joined by former writers for The Village Voice, Tom Robbins and Michael Musto. The New York City alternative weekly newspaper announced recently it is ending its free print edition.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9VrZf4lin0 (27 min)

How about a movie?
“Mother!” is not a movie I was psychologically engaged with, but one I felt compelled to parse. I enjoyed thinking about it more than watching it...so reads the review
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/love-hate-mother-will-2017s-talked-film/

corporate fascism.jpg

Our Conflicts around the World

When two children throw tantrums and hurl insults it is difficult to make peace. My eighth grade students behaved better.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/un-calls-emergency-session-latest-nort...

We have not done well in our conflicts...perhaps to make them perpetual? The collapse of the empire is reflected by our military. America’s can-do military, committed to a bewildering array of missions, has increasingly become a can’t-do one. 
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176325/

Looking at 9/11...will the Saudis go to trial? The New York Post reported evidence presented alleging the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., funded a "dry run" of 9/11 two years before the attacks.
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/13/will_the_9_11_case_finally (video and text)

Are sonic weapon health attacks next? Hearing loss and the speech problems have occurred for at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/14/mystery-of-sonic-weapon-at...

Three part interview with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. In recent years, he has become one of the most prominent musicians supporting BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. (3 parts video and text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/14/pink_floyd_founder_roger_waters_bds

A scathing report from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development describes how 50 years of Israeli occupation has prevented economic development in Palestine, and highlights the destructive impact of Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19996:UNCTAD-Report%3A-50-Year-Occupatio...

Russia is conducting war games on their own border....hey that's our job!
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2017/0915/Russian-war-games-in-Be...

Reaching for Peace

An excerpt of Kennedy's 1963 speech about peace. Kennedy not only outlined a plan to curb nuclear arms, but also "laid out a hopeful, yet realistic route for world peace at a time when the U.S. and Soviet Union faced the potential for an escalating nuclear arms race."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZsG4qbw_tY (12.5 min)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_University_speech – about the speech
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkamericanuniversityaddress.html – the entire speech and transcript

The Senate voted Wednesday by nearly two-to-one against an amendment which would have ended the current Authorization for Use of Military Force within six months and forced Congress to vote on authorizing wars beyond that.
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/13/rand-pauls-aumf-amendment-endless-war/
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19997:Senate-Refuses-to-Stop-Endless-War (video and text)

Next weekend is a conference in DC on War and the Environment
http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2017/
Watch the livestream at facebook.com/worldbeyondwar

Will they ever give Palestine a break?
Three part interview with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. In recent years, he has become one of the most prominent musicians supporting BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. (3 parts video and text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/14/pink_floyd_founder_roger_waters_bds

A scathing report from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development describes how 50 years of Israeli occupation has prevented economic development in Palestine, and highlights the destructive impact of Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19996:UNCTAD-Report%3A-50-Year-Occupatio...

When I did a search for peace of mind, I got more than I bargained for. However the most common advice is meditation. Does meditation lead to peace of mind? Some suggest that as a path. Happiness and suffering are states of mind. The real source of happiness is inner peace.
http://www.findpeaceofmind.org/peace-of-mind.htm/
http://getpom.org/
http://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/2015/9-powerful-ways-to-find-peace-o...
https://www.findpeaceofmind.com/about-the-system
I took a transcendental meditation class in my twenties. Though I do not meditate everyday, I often use the technique to relax and get an energy boost. https://www.tm.org/

breathe peace.jpg

I can imagine a world where everyone is happy, healthy, and at peace. Unfortunately reality is far different. From my view we are able to effect change when we focus on our individual (and personal community's) health. I found Professor Lustigs work on pleasure and happiness so interesting – pleasure/addiction driven by dopamine and happiness/contentment by serotonin – and the health consequences of each hormone and how diet influences their production. Fung's work on fasting is really fascinating too. Understanding that carbs (sugars) drive insulin which drives fat deposit. Fat burning happens when sugar is low – so low carb diets are the rage and very effective for weight loss. Fung has cured every case of type two diabetes (hundreds of patients) with a fasting program.

We are a nation of fat people ruled by fat cats. The sheeple are addicted to processed foods that are killing them. The 1% are profiting from the frankenfoods they breed, raise, and process for your consumption to the drugs you need for all the diseases which result. Kinda like selling weapons to both sides during a war...oh yeah we do that too.

I hope you all have access to real food. Have a place to take a nice walk. Enjoy the company of a few friends. Our health on all levels changes over time. Change is the nature of the cycle of life. Next week we leave summer to enjoy fall. Wishing you all good health and peace. Be happy.

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Comments

QMS's picture

thanks lookout! you touched on many of the issues which are dear to my heart. wish I had the time to follow the links...

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13 users have voted.

“Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire.”
― Abbie Hoffman

Lookout's picture

@QMS

There are way too many to see or read them all. It takes me a week to view and collect. Pick the links that appeal to you over the next week.

Thanks for dropping by!

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15 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Raggedy Ann's picture

A powerful weekly watch today! I can hardly wait to go back to listen and read. This is just one of the many reasons c99p is my go-to place to get "real" news. It's why I'm happy to support this place every month.

A lovely day with highs in the low to mid-80's. We're headed to the last day of the state fair to go eat a bunch of nasty fair food. Oh well, I'm just happy we gave up meat four years ago. My body and, although I am but one small contributor, my earth thank me. We live in the country, so we don't eat out much, which makes for a much healthier lifestyle.

Hard to believe the equinox is coming up!

Have a beautiful day, everyone! Pleasantry

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12 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

It's been 5,6 pick up sticks all week in my corner of the world. Irma passed us by with 3" of rain and 40 mph gusts. The woods are still in stress from last years drought and the winds brought down most of the dead limbs. So 5,6 pick up sticks. Only had one broken tree top across the road that required sawing.

Living in the boonies does indeed limit eating out. When we lived in the city (30 years ago) it was nice to walk to work. We had several restaurants in walking distance too. It was easy after work to go out. Now a days I can go the the store buy groceries and cook a meal faster than I can get to a good restaurant. I'm healthier as a result.

All the best and glad you like the weekly!

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14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture

As if there isn't enough to read or watch ...here's a few more clips that I forgot to include.

Jimmy Dore is suspicious of the Democrap's support for Bernie's single payer bill. I don't blame him. I am too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmyW7Xa23PQ (9 min)
Jimmy is surprised that Bernie's bill is gaining traction (12 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fv-NBov0SU

Max and Stacy look at the empire's collapse, and then examine Google as a ‘major threat to democracy’ as the tech giant becomes the gatekeeper for acceptable political speech.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH0VEf-ykm4 (26 min)

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14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

Need more stuff to watch ? I just dropped about 2 hours worth of video in Big Al's thread, here.

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Lookout's picture

@Azazello

I do want to catch up on the draft Bernie gathering. As discussed in Al's essay, Bernie ain't goin' 3rd party. I wish he would.

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7 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

@Lookout
and I trust him. If he thinks a progressive takeover of the Democratic party is easier than starting a 3rd party who am I to argue ?

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mhagle's picture

Slow food . . . real food . . . good food. Cooking from scratch. Sigh. Making efforts to go that direction with the garden and all, but it is not part of my family dynamic. My son said, "why do I want to pick food from a tree when I can go to Jack-in-the-Box?" That was about a year ago. Both kids try to stay away from lots of sugar and sodas, etc. and follow self-defined health regimes, but don't get into the gardening thing.

I agree that one of the most powerful things we could do as individuals is to turn our backs on big ag. My opinion is that it will eventually implode. How long can it keep on raping the land? When will disease wipe out the confined herds and flocks? It would be good to starve out big ag first. But hey . . . it is just so easy to go to the store and buy stuff. Or so simple to go through the drive-through.

I am going to keep on trudging through the motions of building a food forest, and hopefully family members will start to catch on.

Enjoyed your section on meditation. Last March participated in an online course by Adyshanti called "Fierce Love." It was four weekly lectures, three simple exercises, with phone and online Q & A. Simply stated, it guided to you a state of being where you operate from a place of love, rather than fear, and in your intentions wish everyone well. In your heart bless everyone you meet. Sounds dorky, but has really helped me. Even dorkier sounding . . . I made up little "bless you" songs that I sing in my head. Out loud if I am alone. Smile

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8 users have voted.

Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

Lookout's picture

@mhagle

but memories resurface as adults. Think about food choices as a kid vs. adult.

Now I like gardening, but I learned to mulch my garden (I use straw rather than hay.)
https://www.gardensall.com/deep-mulch-gardening/

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9 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

@mhagle
We are past peak oil.
Oil runs our military machine.
Petroleum products grow our big ag crops.
Oil runs our transportation needs.
What happens when we run out?

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dkmich's picture

I could be on my computer 24/7. Not only do you bring the most interesting links, you present them in such an organized and entertaining way. As RA said, c99 is the best place for news.

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13 users have voted.

*donate *follow us on Twitter *like us on Facebook *dump Google

Lookout's picture

@dkmich

and I like the community of contributors. I appreciate all the insights.

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7 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

it's more like a cluster bomb, and nowhere is this more true than in the matter of freedom of expression, including commercial expression.

most americans, other than the puritans of the extreme left and extreme right, would have been somewhat uncomfortable with the restrictions the sandinista government put on the use of sexually exploitative imagery in advertising; yet, it is hard to deny that those restrictions carried a significant social benefit for women and for most men, as well. on the other hand, the same argument can be made for the hijab or the burkha or , closer to home for most of us, school uniforms.

meanwhile, our commercial, entertainment, and political cultures are so deeply immersed in delusion and denial that it is hard to see how we are to make real progress, whether through electoral politics or Big Al's revolutionary agenda. your essay begins with reference to the collapse of the Empire; and indeed, at some point the elites of every empire in history have had to deal with the inevitable collapse. the one thing that distinguishes the American Empire from all that have come before -- exceptionalism, hoo rah! -- is that our Power Elite denies that we have an empire!

What we cannot know is whether or not this denial is sincere, or even whether there is a spectrum of sincerity amongst those who have any real power to execute commercial and diplomatic policy. As usual, the question is ultimately, "Are they simply foolish, or are they manifestly evil?" What, in the end, does Dick Cheney really believe? What are his real values? Has he ever believed that anything he was doing would improve the lives of any but the smallest imaginable fraction of the human race? Or has he always realized that everything he has ever done was going to increase suffering for almost everyone affected by his actions?

So, again, meanwhile: We have an agricultural policy -- you can think of it as the Domestic Deep State -- whose mission is, at the highest level, Good. The most fundamental purpose of the USDA -- the ideology that drives the typical USDA bureaucrat -- is not, contrary to the emotionally compelling analysis, to concentrate control of American agricultural production into the fewest possible hands, to produce the maximal profit for corporations like ADM. Rather, the purpose of the USDA is to ensure that never again will the United States fail to produce enough calories to sustain the life of every single person living within our borders. It's not surprising that this mission is invisible to most people outside of the USDA, because our Power Elite has never openly acknowledged that uncounted numbers of Americans starved during the 1930s, not because of economic displacement and blah blah, but because the American agricultural economy could not respond appropriately to a short-term climatic catastrophe. So: The USDA's core ideology is fundamentally at odds with at least two major strains of denialism running through current American culture.

One of these is immediately obvious: The USDA cannot possibly carry out its mission unless the planners at every level are fully committed to either arresting global climate change, or mitigating its consequences; and they can only be thus committed if they admit that it's happening.

The second, less acute yet perhaps more damaging, strain of denial is the one that exalts markets and condemns planned economies. The American agricultural economy is, by far, the largest planned economy in the history of human activity. By direct and indirect interference in the "natural" operation of the markets, thus applying specific pressure to farmers on all scales across the nation, the USDA exerts control over what is produced and where it is produced. As a political body, we sell ourselves the fanciful lie that government policy is an inferior solution to our social and economic problems, when in fact we are all dependent on our own government to ensure that, whatever other social or economic forces might send American children to bed with empty bellies, the calories to feed them will be available. SNAP is, after all, a USDA program.

And so, again again, meanwhile: The USDA ensures that bazillions of calories of maize are grown all across the nation, and the best use anyone can think of for those bazillions of calories is to transform them from starch into HFCS, and then send them out in that form to the American population in almost every kind of processed food; and so we get fatter and fatter, and sicker and sicker -- because the USDA has figured out how to ensure we don't starve, but it operates within a political and commercial framework that prevents it from controlling what we actually eat.

Liberty, you know.

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Lookout's picture

@UntimelyRippd

telling small farmers to adapt or die. I did some time as an agricultural research scientist and believe me it is driven by the corporate world. Look at the number of experiments on the effects of various chemical versus research on sustainable agriculture. The chemical companies fund the research. The USDA dances to their tune too. That's one reason I think gardening and homesteading is revolutionary. I will die small (and happy).

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

One of my favorites is this video, which neatly dovetails with the Fiore cartoon you linked to:

http://www.theonion.com/video/climate-change-researcher-describes-challe...

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Lookout's picture

@UntimelyRippd

the idea scientists could pull a scam like the giant corporations?

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mimi's picture

Thank you so much for your work. You can't imagine how much of what the articles talk about, ie the destructive influence of processed food on the health of its consumers, or the destructive influence of corporate power and technologies on the environment and climate change's dangerous outcomes on the natural wild life and landscapes, is represented to me in a slap in your face kind of manner, lately.

I am sitting on an island which is sold to the wealthy CEO and media moguls and celebrities and the desperately poor dreamers as a paradise. Nowhere is it more in your face visible what corporate power (IT, media and food and pharma related power) and military power can do to your own (originally beautiful by nature) backyards. It's a living nightmare. Result in the end is the complete collapse of the mental health (among all the other awful health consequences, like obesity) status of the majority in the population. The empire indeed is collapsing. And human dignity has been so corrupted that what is left is nothing but rotten desperation.

I am not up to explain in detail what I mean, but when I will be, I write about it. I think I will start a private diary.

You do such a good deed and job. Thanks to C99p for keeping us afloat with your rescue "Lookouts".

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"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

earthling1's picture

@mimi
Thanks Lookout for all your effort. The amount of time and energy you spend putting this together every week is appreciated more than you know.

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Lookout's picture

@mimi

My Mom was a kid there when Pearl Harbor was bombed. They hid in a lava tube cave above the harbor and watched. She's been back as an adult a couple of times and is disappointed at the degradation and development. It is an expensive place to live. I've never been...but you never know. I always wanted to visit the Mauna Kea Observatory. http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/mko/

Hope all is well and you are in good health and enjoying the beautiful environment.

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5 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

On the subject of Cuban sound attacks.
The Gardian article failed to mention the LRAD sound cannons used on Water protectors at the DAPL protect site as an offensive weapon.
Some of the same symptoms experienced by the Cuban consulate workers were experienced by the protesters at DAPL.
Clearly, that our government is willing to use this weapon on its own people is proof enough they a capable of using it to mitigate recent improving relations with the Cuban people and its government.
To my knowledge, no other government has this kind of weapon in its arsenal.
That the Cuban authorities would have the need to develop this type of weapon is doubtful.
Only in America, with rising tensions among the populace would this kind of weapon have use.

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Lookout's picture

@earthling1

Just one look at the thugs is enough to convince me.

DAPL cops.jpg

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4 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

started. A couple of years later I was teaching TM.
These days I read Dr Mercola's books and fast twice a week. (It's hard to keep the weight off as I approach my 80's).
Try not to get too depressed about our shitty situation. Chomsky & Hedges both think that enough of the masses will wake up & take to the streets. The MSM is controlled by half a dozen oligarchs which makes it harder. But at the end of the day it is pretty hard to hide reality. If we don't blow ourselves up or completely destroy the environment, I think a new mass movement will gain control if we all give up IdPol and concentrate on what's important.

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chuck utzman

You can blame me. I did not vote for Her Heinous.

@chuckutzman
whether i eat sparingly or eat nothing, fasting became a no-brainer for weight control.

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Lookout's picture

@chuckutzman

Try not to get too depressed about our shitty situation.

I find immersion in nature to be curative for me. It takes me out of a focus on people and puts it on the larger patterns of life and nature.

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5 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lenzabi's picture

For food aspect, if you are poor , I mean less than 20k yrly, food is something you barely afford after rent/utilities/transportation/etc are paid off. That means for the poor, food is what they can get for what they can barely afford. Because they can see healthy veggies rot before they remember to eat them, long shelf life foods. I.E. Boxed and or canned, loaded with preservatives, and salts, sugars, and what have you. Throw in the lack of nutritional education, and how a tired working poor person is not looking forwards to chopping and cooking their food from raw ingredients, and the corporations win. They open a box, or can or sometimes both, and eat the cheap unhealthy loaded foods they could get at .50cents a box, or whatever sale they got it as cheap as possible.Low cost at time they got it, but high cost down the road due to health damage eating that crap, while working long hours.

It gets worse if you make like me less than 18k a yr when I worked.

Now toss in Fast Food ads, and how many fast food places there are with low cost menus for the poor to buy out for lunch and or dinner.

Most poor are in apartments that do NOT allow you to garden, but you may have some potted plants, but the yields for the fresh veggies vary, and that is if the poor person can keep the plants alive.

If, as I suspect many are here making over 30k or better a year this option to eat healthier grows based on your income. I would have loved to afford fresh veggies and meats all the time, now my teeth are nearly gone, and my health such that Humana(attached to my Medicare due to age) logs me as physically older than my calendar age. If I live long enough, I may get 100% Medicare, but yes, I worked, got shitty pay, paid my bills, and rent and bought what I could afford thinking it was the smart thing, until I went downhill health wise. The convenient foods, the cheaper foods, the workable foods that the poor like me go for, well they are more expensive in the long term due to the damage to our health, damage to the heart, the kidneys, the liver, etc.

As for the rest, well, the Oligarchs pay money at 400 organizations/Institutes/Think tanks to twist our heads around to supporting their parasite lives, and aspire to be parasites like them as well. We really ought to end the worship of those who have an unhealthy obsession with acquisition of more than they can possibly ever hope to use, although they do not desire to spend as much as hoard that wealth. Our Society is not just physically ill, but mentally ill when you think about it.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish

Lookout's picture

@Lenzabi

buying dried rice and beans, cabbage, eggs, a can or two of sardines, corn meal and similar items. I suspect your comment about education is key. I remember a few years back a woman in front of me at the grocery used food stamps to buy canned iced tea, packaged biscuits, and other processed foods. Tea bags, flour, and raw ingredients would have been about 1/10th the cost and twice as healthy.

https://www.verywell.com/budget-low-carb-eating-2242083

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lenzabi's picture

@Lookout
I have gone the route of dried beans, having to soak them in water three times to soften them, and make them edible for cooking. Rice canned fish and meats to add, or frozen veggies and ramen and hot dogs to add in, still looking at some things, the sodium and other things in the canned foods not healthy. Diabetic? Rice presents issues, brown rice less so, but many prefer white rice. Cabbage must be used fairly quick to avoid the rotting in the fridge I mentioned. Eggs will last and sardines are simple enough.

But again, work for hours for the low paycheck, and you are tired, so convenient foods are what many will grab as it is easier to pop it in a microwave that came with the apartment, or toss in the oven, etc. food in minutes and then sit, eat, watch a show oir three and sleep to go back out and work once more. Much of the life styles of the poor and working poor is repetition+Boredom and not much of a actual life.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish