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Health Care & Environment

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Containing the Meat Spill

SPEAKING OUT:

Containing the Meat Spill

by Firmin DeBrabander
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com yesterday, 28 May 2010
All the fast food chains are bucking inflation, driving down the price of meat—beef, no less, a former delicacy—to never-before-seen lows.

Navigating a mind-numbing office park near the interstate the other day, I was stalled at a traffic light, and a curious billboard caught my attention: “Prime rib dinner potato and salad for under $10 call 410-252-xxxx." The billboard stood on the concrete island in the middle of the road, seemingly unaffiliated with any surrounding businesses. Finally, I surmised that it belonged to the shiny Holiday Inn hunkered several hundred yards away, amidst a sea of pavement.

What an odd sign, I thought. Why did they include the phone number? Who would call?

Then I wondered, what’s the news here? Is $10 for prime rib so remarkable? For whom? Why? When? Or rather, since when? Clearly, the Holiday Inn hoped to attract customers to this unlikely locale for Friday night out, and cheap prime rib was its gambit.

But why? Aren’t we meated out yet? I’m meated out every night by 11:30- even if I’ve gone vegan for the day. I’m talking about the late-night ads: Checkers, Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonalds. I know what these companies are up to. They’re taking advantage of the late-night munchies in cruel fashion. But these ads display an impressive battle royale between the fast food chains—a battle to the bottom, a battle to the cheapest meat on earth.

I believe McDonalds won the latest round—this week, at least. In recent ads, McDonalds announced that it was practically giving away triple cheeseburgers: two for $3. Wow. That’s a lot of meat, cheap. Six beef patties for $3. Fifty cents a patty. Three hundred calories per dollar.

McDonalds touts this deal proudly—daringly, even. But their pride is mystifying, if not misplaced, if you think about it for only a minute. How can they sell triple cheesburgers for a buck fifty? It almost reminds me of prices I’ve seen on quaint menus from decades past—and that’s precisely the point. All the fast food chains are bucking inflation, driving down the price of meat—beef, no less, a former delicacy—to never-before-seen lows.

Why is their meat so cheap? Are they serving beef of shockingly low quality? Surely, McDonalds would never risk undoing itself with an E. Coli scare. Alternately, are we facing a ‘meat glut’ like the corn and soybean glut that the journalist Michael Pollan has highlighted of late?

The surplus of soy and corn, thanks to our farm subsidies, has made junk food so cheap that highly processed Doritos are cheaper per calorie than broccoli.

A meat glut is nothing to take lightly. Pollan has bemoaned the health crisis spawned by excess soy and corn, the building blocks of our processed foods. Their excess, thanks to farm subsidies, has made soy and corn so cheap, and in turn, the junk food they comprise. That’s how we arrived at this peculiar state where highly processed Doritos are cheaper per calorie than broccoli. And that’s how we arrived at our current health crisis, where rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease skyrocket, especially among the poor.

What happens when you throw $10 prime rib and triple cheesburgers into the mix? This can’t be good. In a way, this trend is surprising because I thought we were as a nation in the midst of an organic, locavore, health food revolution. Farmers markets are popping up everywhere (even in the parking lot of my local mall); people talk obsessively about fiber in their diets, and antioxidants, free radicals and fatty acids—little of which comes from triple cheeseburgers. Obviously, I’ve been trapped in my locavore bubble, because carnivorism still reigns. We’re being stuffed with ever-cheaper meat, and our public health crisis risks exploding.

Nothing announces this countertrend—or our astounding, stubborn ignorance—more than the much ballyhooed ‘Double Down’ sandwich at KFC: a ‘sandwich’ of bacon and melted cheese, held together not by bread, but two pieces of fried chicken. KFC advertises this monstrosity with great enthusiasm. The company is effectively thumbing its nose at all public health indicators—and common sense, and sensible taste—but we go along with it, happily ‘doubling down’ our chances of early morbidity.

We could not have cheap meat without cheap oil. So: why the deflation in meat, but not in oil?

American carnivorism involves one very important, worrisome ingredient: oil. Cheap oil supports the fertilizer in the corn and soy that becomes animal feed; it’s in the tractors and transport to market. We could not have cheap meat without cheap oil. So: why the deflation in meat, but not in oil?

In this recession, oil singlehandedly drives inflation; the price of gas alone rises while everything falls or stagnates, waiting patiently for the American consumer to return. With talk of drilling moratoria, continued imports from dangerous places, and impending peak oil, it’s surprising that oil apparently continues to be showered on our meat production, which could be run for much cheaper—indeed, for free, if you consider that cows’ native diet consists of grass. Free grass.

What’s going on? We fret about our national energy independence and sustainability, but the fast food joints are practically falling over themselves to give away their oil-drenched meat. Clearly, oil is not such a precious commodity after all—or we are engaged in some stunning wastefulness. The latter option is more compelling, especially in light of our plodding, nonchalant response to the oil spill in the Gulf, which recently caused the closure of 48,000 square miles to fishing. Forty eight thousand square miles of oil, and we hardly blink—it’s business as usual.

I realize that an economist might say that McDonalds and its competitors are simply engaged in a price war—that’s how they can offer triple cheeseburgers for a buck fifty. And yet, I would counter, this is a mighty long price war; I’ve observed this steady decline in the price of meat for years. It was about five years ago that I was shocked by a Popeye’s billboard hawking fried chicken for 39 cents apiece. I have yet to see that beat, but fear the day is surely coming...

Meat was a delicacy to our parents and grandparents. Just ask them. My mother tells of her whole family (in Irish Catholic quarters, that would be eight people, give or take) sharing a roast chicken for Sunday dinner. Nowadays, that’s dinner for two. On a Wednesday. With beef for breakfast, lunch—and late-night snack. Meat is fast becoming just another throw-away product. In light of our national health and energy crises, this should be very alarming.


Firmin DeBrabander is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore.



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This story was published on May 28, 2010.

 

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