Zero-Sum America: An Empire Headed Toward Collapse

Donald Trump Launches Operation Midterms Diversion

The New Yorker – Our Columnists

Donald Trump Launches Operation Midterms Diversion

By early afternoon on Tuesday, Donald Trump’s latest piece of political chicanery, Operation Midterms Diversion, could be considered a partial success. After a week in which the media narrative was focused on pipe bombs, an alleged bomber who just happened to be an ardent supporter of Trump, and a racist massacre in a Pittsburgh synagogue, two of the three cable news channels—Fox and MSNBC—had reverted to subjects more to Trump’s liking: immigration, the southern border, and the allotment of U.S. citizenship.

CNN, to its credit, was resisting the President’s effort to dictate the news agenda and stayed focused on Pittsburgh, where the funerals of some of the victims of Saturday’s dreadful mass shooting were taking place, as the city was bracing for a visit from the President and his wife, Melania. The home pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post were both leading with the Pittsburgh story, too. But they were also featuring prominently Trump’s pledge, in an interview with the news site Axios, to abolish the right to U.S. citizenship for children born in the United States to parents who aren’t citizens.

It was no accident at all that this announcement was made just a week before the midterm elections. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for eighty-five years with all of those benefits,” Trump told reporters from Axios. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

The first part of this statement was a Trump truth—that is, a blatant falsehood. Many other countries, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, have birthright-citizenship laws. The second half of Trump’s quote was merely a restatement of something he said to Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly in August, 2015, shortly after he launched his Presidential campaign, when he invoked the derogatory term “anchor babies” and added, “Our country is going to hell.”

The supposed news in the Axios story was that Trump also declared his intention to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship, an option that most legal experts regard as a nonstarter because it would almost certainly violate the 14th Amendment, which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Even Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, poured cold water on Trump’s idea of issuing an executive order. “You obviously cannot do that,” he told a Kentucky radio station. “I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think, in this case, the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.” The floating of an executive order was a blatant election stunt on Trump’s part, the second in twenty-four hours. On Monday, he announced he was sending more than five thousand active-duty troops to the southernmost reaches of Arizona and California, supposedly to protect the border with Mexico from a so-called “invasion” by Central American migrants. “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” Trump wrote in a Monday morning tweet heralding the troop movements.

Of course, there is no invasion, or even a threat of invasion. Despite an uptick in the last few months, the number of illegal border-crossings is only about a quarter of what it was back in 2000. (That’s largely because the number of Mexican migrants has fallen sharply in the past decade.) And the caravan of migrants and would-be refugees that formed in Honduras and recently traversed into southern Mexico is still a long way away: about a thousand miles from the U.S. border.

If and when the caravan gets that far, there is every reason to believe that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection—a civilian agency with sixty thousand employees and almost a century of experience—will be able to deal with the challenge of intercepting and processing its members. As Gil Kerlikowske, who served as its commissioner from 2014 to 2017, noted in an interview with the Washington Post, “These are things that C.B.P. can actually handle quite well on their own.” Even if the C.B.P. were to get stretched, the Administration could send in some additional National Guard units to provide backup, as has happened several times before. There is seemingly no need for active-duty troops; indeed there are big questions about what the fifty-two hundred of them will be doing once they arrive at the border to take part in what is officially called Operation Faithful Patriot.

The Posse Comitatus Act, which was passed in 1878, places strict limits on using the armed services as part of civilian law enforcement. In a briefing on Monday, Air Force General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, said his troops would abide by the Posse Comitatus Act and concentrate on support duties, such as hardening border posts and transporting C.P.B. agents. But National Guard units could just as easily carry out these tasks. Nearly “all of the kinds of troops sought for Faithful Patriot exist in the Guard,” the Post’s Dan Lamothe and Nick Miroff noted on Monday.

Of course, the truth is that the launching of a full-scale military operation had nothing to do with the requirements on the border and everything to do with the fact that the midterms are just seven days away. Desperate to shift the attention away from outbreaks of violence by right-wing extremists, and his own role in inciting such attacks, Trump doubled down on the 2016 playbook he had been holding handy all along: demonizing immigrants and inciting racial fears among his white supporters.

From the perspective of Trump and his like-minded Republican allies, the formation of the latest caravan from Honduras was a godsend. Last week, Trump suggested there were “Middle Easterners” among the migrants. On Monday, he claimed, “Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan.” It barely needs saying that there is no evidence to support either of these assertions.

Last week, a New York Times report from Huixtla, Mexico, characterized the caravan as being made up of people of all ages who “seemed driven by a kind of blind faith, born of desperation, that this is their best chance to escape the poverty, violence and hardship they knew at home and to build better lives.” In the city of Mapastepec, my colleague Jonathan Blitzer, interviewed a thirty-year-old man, Daniel Jimenez, who said he didn’t even know if he’d make it as far as the U.S. border, or stay somewhere in Mexico and look for work, but he had felt he simply had to leave Honduras, because “you just can’t live there anymore.”

Trump doesn’t give a fig about the accuracy of his claims, of course. He wants to increase Republican voter turnout next week. He has a low opinion of the party’s voters. And he thinks the best way to get them to the polls is to raise the specter of white America being swamped by non-white immigrants. So, with the support of Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham, and many other Republicans, he’s going at it—pledging to send in the army, rewrite the Constitution, and who knows what else in the days ahead. As he said, there are some “very bad people.” But they aren’t in the caravan.

The very rich benefit more when American’s don’t vote!

NowThis Politics shared a post.
October 29, 2018

As a member of the 1%, Dennis Mehiel knows best that the wealthy only benefit more when Americans don’t vote (via NowThis Election)

Dennis Mehiel Says the 1% Benefit More When Americans Don't Vote

As a member of the 1%, Dennis Mehiel knows best that the wealthy only benefit more when Americans don't vote. His org Show Up 2018 is encouraging first time voters to show up on November 6th to make a change.

Posted by NowThis Election on Friday, October 26, 2018

We Cannot Recycle And Beach Clean Our Way Out Of A Plastics Crisis


Dame Ellen MacArthur, HuffPost        October 29, 2018

The Ruling Minority Will Stop at Nothing to Stay in Control

The Ruling Minority Will Stop at Nothing to Stay in Control

By Rebecca Traister        October 29, 2018

No time for self-care. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Diagnosing the mood of the citizenry is a notoriously dicey proposition, as is making electoral predictions based on it. Even trusting empirical research, the polls, has been shown to be a fool’s errand. I’ve now been on the road for close to a month promoting my book, traveling from D.C. to Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon. I’ve talked to self-selected crowds of hundreds of mostly (but not all) progressive women, many (but not all) white. And for every person who tells me that my book — about the transformational power of American women’s political anger — has come out at the “perfect” (i.e., the absolute fucking worst) time, when fury over Brett Kavanaugh has gripped the nation, I’ve encountered another who’s made me doubt its very premise. “How can I feel driven again?” I’m asked. “How can I get my friends back out on the sidewalks when they feel like winning isn’t possible, when they’ve decided they might as well pack it in?”

Women, as well as men, tell me they’ve turned off the news, taken a break from protest or campaigning to refocus on their families or themselves; they feel anxious, suddenly aware of the possibility that the blue wave of Democrats may not materialize, that the efforts to stave it off via gerrymandering and voter suppression and the gush of Koch money into tough races may win out. In other words, Kavanaugh’s ascendance hasn’t jolted these people to redouble their efforts to topple Republicans at the polls in November. Rather, it’s left them deeply demoralized, drained of hope and energy at perhaps the most crucial moment of all.

In some regards, these bracing realizations are overdue. Yes, Democrats might well lose the midterms. But that this is sinking in only now, as an aftereffect of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, is the devil’s timing — if, that is, the ultimate impact is to paralyze Democrats. That’s the purpose of the Republicans’ victory lap, of course. By cheerily casting protesters as a mob that incited a backlash in popular opinion (a backlash only debatably borne out by polling), they’re hoping that the loosely aligned left resistance eats its own tail in response. This summer, some Democrats worried that if Kavanaugh’s confirmation were blocked, the party’s voters would be placated and stay home in November while the right would rev up into a frothing electoral force. But somehow, the right’s win has been successfully framed by the president and Republicans as something that needs to be avenged.

Lots of American women, especially white middle-class women, are new to intense progressive engagement; their energies are necessary and may be game changing. But they’re also perhaps most likely to be shocked by the revelation of the limits of their power. Aditi Juneja, the lawyer, activist, and co-creator of the Resistance Manual, told me while I was reporting my book that she’d noticed over her years organizing that white women tended to have “faith that if they voice their opinions to their representatives, that they will be heard, that they will have influence.” To Juneja, this stood in stark contrast to assumptions made by activists of color, who often expressed “no faith that politicians will see that there is any cost to disappointing black and brown people.”

To some extent, the past two years have given newly minted activists reason to feel confident: The pressure applied at town halls and via calls and letters to senators (including to Maine’s Susan Collins) was enough to stave off repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2017. When #MeToo, first initiated by Tarana Burke more than a decade ago to address sexual assault in communities of color, took a new form in 2017, after mostly white women in highly paid industries spoke up for the first time, many of the men they accused wound up suffering heretofore rare consequences such as the loss of jobs and power. A series of teachers’ strikes in 2018 led to higher wages even in states where the striking itself was illegal. There has been an influx of first-time female candidates, many black and Latina; on the Democratic side, those women have emerged victorious in primary after primary. The furor over the Trump administration’s family-separation policy this summer was not enough to reunite the hundreds of children forcibly taken from their parents, some of whom were deported, but the civil disobedience was enough to stop new separations.

Yes, it’s human to respond to a crushing loss by retreating, by taking time to recover before getting back up again. When we think about the left-leaning activism that has bloomed since Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton — the sidewalk-pounding registration efforts, the new candidacies, the organizing and protesting, the building of a progressive infrastructure outside the Democratic Party — we don’t often linger on the two and a half months between Election Day and the Women’s March.

Those were days of fear and grief, not to mention intraparty excoriation. Identity politics, feminism, the apathy of the young, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, everybody and everything were blamed for the cataclysmic result. It wasn’t until the Women’s March — ultimately organized and led by a multiracial coalition that insisted on linking left-progressive principles and causes — became the biggest single-day political demonstration in the country’s history that we began to see an energetic movement taking shape.

We don’t have that kind of time right now. We don’t have months, or weeks, or even another second to spend recuperating. We have eight days.

But it’s hard! Being schooled on your own powerlessness by a minority takes the breath out of you. They have the power. That is the point. If it were so easily won away from them, we wouldn’t be in this political situation, which is not new but stretches back centuries and will extend far beyond the end of our lives. It may be devastating to those who thought they had leverage within the white patriarchy to experience what it’s like for people who’ve never had that illusion, who’ve never believed that speaking up or writing to senators or even voting would improve their lot. But the Kavanaugh steamroll can also be instructive and reorienting.

This is where hope becomes a tactical necessity. And out on the road, I have encountered a few gusts of it. In Boston, one woman in her mid-20s told me that her friends who’d remained politically disengaged finally had been radicalized by Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony; they’d seen the misogyny and Republicans’ willingness to support it and were suddenly — just now, in the fall of 2018 — determined to try to prevent the party’s further rise. In St. Louis, Democratic state representative Stacey Newman told me that when she made a call for 30 people to show up to a phone bank, 165 volunteered.

If past generations, kept from polls and beaten on picket lines, tear-gassed and hanged and enslaved and incarcerated, hadn’t kept imagining that their efforts would one day bear fruit, even if it would be after their deaths, we’d be in more trouble in 2018 than we already are.

There will be time — our lifetimes — to temporarily pull back and recover from bitter defeats; there will be so many more bitter defeats. But any impulse toward flirting with despair must be resisted. The left has a weapon on the table for a little over a week. It is a compromised weapon, rendered duller by the forces it has the potential to challenge. But the desire to give up, if only for a while, will ensure its uselessness. Now is the season for progressives, the newly motivated and the old stalwarts, to get out of their own front doors and start knocking on others, to drive people to polls, to call local campaigns and ask how they can help those who never had the luxury of being able to catch their breath or turn away in the first place.

*This article appears in the October 29, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Is Eating Locally and in Season Really Better for the Environment?

By Independent Media Institute

Eating Locally and in Season: Is It Really Better for the Environment?

By Reynard Loki     October 29, 2018

Robert Mullan / Canopy / Getty Images

Humans have been moving food around the world for thousands of years. Toward the end of the second century BC, merchants traveled along the Silk Road, transporting noodles from Xi’angrapes from Dayuan and nutmeg from the Moluccas Islands to eager buyers along its 4,000-mile network. While it’s possible to trace the evolution of food through that matrix of ancient caravan routes that linked China to the West, it’s hard to measure its environmental impact. It’s likely that, as with any road, wildlife corridors were disrupted. But greenhouse gas emissions were fairly low, consisting of the methane from the belches and farts of the horses, yaks and Bactrian camels, and the fires that humans burned along the way.

Fast-forward to the 20th-century U.S. Modern transportation and the rise of post-World War II suburban life changed the agricultural trade—and the way we ate. A key driver in this post-war food system has been globalization, which Kym Anderson, an economist at the University of Adelaide, argued “has been characterized by a rapid decline in the costs of cross-border trade in farm and other products, driven by declines in the costs of transporting bulky and perishable products long distances, the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution and major reductions in governmental distortions to agricultural trade.”

After the war, planned communities like the Levittowns in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania—built by the real estate development company Levitt & Sons—sprang up across the country, welcoming returning veterans who were eligible for low-interest, government-backed mortgages. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of 40,000 miles of interstate highways to span the nation. Suburban life swelled.According to National Real Estate Investor:

During the 1950’s, land values in the suburbs increased rapidly—in some prime suburban neighborhoods as much as 3,000 percent—while population swelled by 45 percent. Nearly two-thirds of all industrial construction during the 1950’s was taking place outside cities; residential construction in the suburbs accounted for an astonishing 75 percent of total construction.

This new post-war suburban lifestyle was anchored by the supermarket. Stocked regularly by refrigerated trucks rolling into suburban towns, they made one-stop shopping just a short drive away. “After the war, the popularity of refrigerators and automobiles for nearly every household kept feeding the [supermarket] model, so much so that free parking became a necessity at every supermarket,” wrote Ashley Ross in TIME Magazine, adding that the supermarket “was such a marvel that in 1957, during a visit with President Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited a Maryland grocery store for 15 minutes to see what it was all about.”

Between 1948 and 1958, average sales per grocery store more than doubled, even after adjusting for food price inflation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Families moved away from buying locally produced foods and toward processed foods made in centralized plants. During the 1950’s, the marketing charges for processing and shipping farm food products hit a new record every single year. By 1961, the “farm-to-retail price spread”—the difference between the retail price paid by the consumer and the payment to the farmer for equivalent farm products by food marketers and processors—was up 34 percent from 1950. In other words, the market was steadily moving toward processed foods, and away from whole foods.

Today, some urban dwellers don’t even need to drive to go food shopping. If I want fresh strawberries in the middle of winter, I can simply walk down the block to my local grocer and buy some that were grown in California, Florida or Mexico. But if I want one that’s locally grown and in season, I’ll have to wait until June, when farmers at my local green-market start selling berries grown in New York state. Transporting fresh berries across the country or from Mexico is certainly more carbon-intensive than bringing them in from Long Island or upstate. So, I have to ask myself: Do I really need a strawberry in winter?

That’s the kind of question driving the local food movement. While more than half of the fresh fruit and nearly a third of fresh vegetables, wine and sugar purchased in the U.S. is imported from other countries, people are increasingly seeking out food grown near their homes. According to market research firm Statista, 14 percent of Americans consumed locally grown food twice a week in 2013. But just a year later, that number grew to more than 20 percent. The increased demand has mirrored a surge in farmers’ markets, which have grown more than 370 percent in two decades, from 1,755 in 1994 to 8,268 in 2014.

Farmers’ markets are where people go to find food that is locally produced and in season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2014 National Farmers Market Manager Survey, virtually all farmers’ markets (99 percent) sell locally grown fresh fruits or vegetables. And about two-thirds (66 percent) offer USDA-certified organic produce. The agency’s 2006 survey found that seasonal markets “remained the dominant type of farmers market in every part of the country … accounting for 88 percent of all farmers market in operation.”

Between 2008 and 2014, local food sales in the U.S. swelled from $5 billion to $12 billion, according to Packaged Facts, a food industry research firm. They estimate that local foods will outpace the annual total sales of all foods and beverages, reaching almost $20 billion by 2019. Moreover, while “locavore”—one who eats locally produced food—is a relatively recent term (coined in 2005 and named “Word of the Year” by Oxford American Dictionary two years later), there was a time when all food was locally sourced—before Kobe beef from Japan or pineapples from Costa Rica were shipped to hungry eaters across the globe.

Today, advancements in technology and infrastructure have helped make exporting and importing foods and fresh produce big business. Improved roads and storage technologies have made shipping perishables easier, while international trade agreements have reduced tariffs on imports. In addition, low wages, lowered production costs due to increased scale of production and the monopoly of agribusiness has created cheap labor markets across the food system. Furthermore, in the U.S., many staple foods simply can’t be domestically produced on a scale to satisfy the standard American diet. According to the USDA, more than 95 percent of coffee, cocoa, spices, fish and shellfish products that Americans consume is imported. The growth of personal wealth has also played a key role in the growing demand. “As high US incomes drive consumption,” the agency notes, “the volume of US agricultural imports has increased by 4 percent annually, on average, since 2000.”

But how damaging to the environment is this modern convenience? All those trucks, trains, ships and planes are emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while logging thousands of “food miles”—the distance a food product travels from the farmer or producer to the supermarket and finally, to your dinner table. Wouldn’t it be more eco-friendly to only buy food that is seasonal and locally grown?

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), it might not make such a huge difference, particularly for certain foods. According the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, “Differences in agricultural production and the realities of transportation impacts may favor sourcing from other regions from an environmental impact perspective.” The agency wrote:

In general, the contribution of food transportation relative to the total greenhouse gas emissions of a given food product represents a small percentage of the carbon footprint for many foods. Fresh foods transported by air freight can have significant distribution-related carbon impacts, but on average, distribution of finished foods (from farm or factory to retail stores) contributes less than 4 percent, on average, of the greenhouse gas emissions of foods consumed in the US.

Even if you wanted to reduce your food miles, it’s difficult to know which kind of imported food is less GHG-intensive, since different transport options emit different levels of emissions and different foods travel different distances. “Shipping comes out with the lowest emissions, trains second, followed by road transport, and finally with fossil-fuel guzzling air freight having about 100 times the emissions per [metric ton kilometer] than shipping,” reported The Ecotarian, which notes that the “global warming potential” of each mode of transport can be calculated in kilograms of CO2 per metric ton of food, per kilometer.

But they also point out that ships usually travel longer distances than trucks, causing more emissions. Globally, more than 50 percent of freight shipped by air uses the bellies of passenger planes, a tactic that doesn’t put more planes in the sky (though it burns more fuel). Since, as the researchers point out, “it’s almost impossible to know which produce is shipped and which is flown,” they advise consumers that “buying local and seasonal is still the safest option.”

It’s important to note that for many people living in developing countries, buying locally and in season simply isn’t a realistic option. In fact, the dependence on staple agricultural imports like wheat, rice and corn could—if export bans were enacted by major producing regions—create a food crisis that, according to a 2016 study, “would put up to 200 million people below the poverty line at risk.” The study’s lead author, Christopher Bren d’Amour, cited one example: “If Thailand, the biggest exporter of rice worldwide, were to halt its exports, 136 million people from Mauritania to Nigeria would be affected.”

While the transportation of food does contribute to emissions, the production of that food is much more environmentally damaging and GHG-intensive. In their new book, Eat for the Planet: Saving the World One Bite at a Time, Nil Zacharias and Gene Stone point out that the majority of Earth’s arable land is now dedicated to livestock and their feed. “Currently, 260 million acres (and counting) of US forests have been clear-cut to create land used to produce livestock feed, and 80 percent of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is attributed to beef production,” they wrote. According to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, “Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80 percent of current deforestation rates.”

In Indonesia, the production of palm oil—the most widely consumed vegetable oil, found in everything from breads, chips, cookies, ice cream, chocolate, instant noodles, margarine and pizza dough (and numerous common non-edibles like soap, shampoo, detergent and lipstick)—is “directly linked to deforestation, responsible for the deaths of endangered orangutans and the displacement of communities,” said Kaytee Riek, campaigns director at the nonprofit advocacy group SumOfUs. In 2007, scientists from Wetlands International found that the draining and burning of peatland (a sponge-like type of wetland that stores massive amounts of carbon dioxide) to make room for palm oil plantations in Indonesia accounts for 8 percent of all worldwide annual emissions from burning fossil fuels.

So, while eating locally and in season would help reduce your food miles (and thereby your carbon footprint), the more effective dietary change is to reduce the consumption of foods that require the devastation of carbon-storing forests and wetlands—meat and products containing palm oil being two of the biggest culprits. A 2008 study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that by buying food locally, the average American could only reduce their greenhouse gas emissions a maximum of 4-5 percent. The researchers concluded that reducing your red meat intake “can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than ‘buying local.'”

Still, there are other reasons to eat locally besides reducing your carbon footprint and saving endangered orangutans. As the Ecotarian researchers noted:

Eating locally has many more benefits than just the reduction in emissions, however. It’s really rewarding to get to know local growers and producers, to learn more about the process that brings produce to your table, and elevates eating to an altogether more wholesome experience. It supports small-scale farmers, who often use more diversified and sustainable farming practices. It keeps money in the local economy rather than dissipating it out into the pockets of, ahem, tax-dodging/exploitative multinationals.

In addition, produce that’s in season and locally grown usually means that the health benefits of those fruits and vegetables are still high, as they haven’t had time to lose their nutritional punch by sitting for days in refrigerated trucks or shipping containers traveling long distances. By contrast, foods that you buy out of season are usually picked before they have reached full flavor and optimum nutritional value, so that they can survive those long-distance trips. Plus, eating in season can help save you money, as you’ll be buying produce that’s at its peak supply, meaning that it’s less costly for producers and distributors, who can then pass along the savings to you.

But the health benefits of fresh, seasonal produce are accessible only to those who can access and afford them, which is not always the case. One issue is the lack of healthy food options in “food deserts” across the country, most of them in poor neighborhoods, where the only options are unhealthy, processed foods and industrial farm produce coated in pesticides. And produce sold at farmers’ markets can often be more expensive than the pesticide-covered fruits and vegetables that are shipped in from Mexico and Costa Rica, where farming operations can lower their prices simply because of their massive scale.

Low-income Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can use their monthly benefits to purchase food in farmers’ markets in all 50 states. In 2017, program participants spent more than $22.4 million at farmers’ markets. But this crucial benefit is at risk on two fronts. First, a dispute over a government technology contract may prevent SNAP participants from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy food at farmers’ markets. Second, the Trump administration has made a rule change that would deny green cards to immigrants who use food stamps, forcing families to choose between food and family.

Another, less pressing issue, impacts the middle class and wealthy: the danger of too many options. In a 2014 lecture at Bowdoin College, Matt Booker, an associate professor of history at North Carolina State University, asked the question, “Why did Americans stop eating locally?” Part of the problem, he said, is one of abundance, at least for those who can afford it: There’s simply “too much food, too much of a ‘muchness’ in our food supply.”

He said that big agriculture has imposed on Americans “a kind of hopelessness, an inevitability to the ecological collapse we associate with so many food systems and the economic power of these massive forces.” One way to undo that feeling of hopelessness is to simply stop buying foods produced by industrial farms and start supporting local, small-scale growers and family farms. In addition to supporting local economies and cultivating relationships with farmers who are growing food sustainably, those who are able to make a choice about where their food comes from can reduce their personal environmental footprints.

Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to afford a Mexican avocado (that may have ties to organized crime) whenever you crave avocado toast, or a burger made from beef produced on land that used to be Amazon rainforest, or chocolate containing palm oil from Indonesian plantations that were once the homes of orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos. But you have to ask yourself: Are these foods really worth it?

Food author Michael Pollan neatly summed up all he’d learned about food and health in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Adding “local” and “in season” to that prescription wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Reynard Loki is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He previously served as the environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet and as a reporter for Justmeans/3BL Media covering sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He was named one of FilterBuy’s “Top 50 Health & Environmental Journalists to Follow” in 2016. His work has been published by Truthout, Salon,, EcoWatch and Truthdig, among others.

This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute, and originally published by Truthout.

At a small US factory, Trump’s trade war forces hard changes

Associated Press

At a small US factory, Trump’s trade war forces hard changes

Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer      October 29, 2018 

Warriors coach Steve Kerr on state of America: ‘We’re broken right now’

Yahoo Sports

Warriors coach Steve Kerr on state of America: ‘We’re broken right now’

Vincent Goodwill, Yahoo Sports             October 29, 2018 

There have been 47,220 gun incidents in the U.S. in 2018


There have been 47,220 gun incidents in the U.S. in 2018 — and here they all are on one map

In 2018 alone, guns killed 11,984 people

By Sue Chang, Market’s Reporter         October 28, 2018

Getty Images. A police rapid-response team responded to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The shooter surrendered to authorities and was taken into custody.

As rich, advanced and accomplished as the country might be, the U.S. has somehow not been up to the task of coping with the plague of gun violence.

But as the nation comes to grips with yet another mass murder carried out by an angry man with a deadly weapon, it is perhaps time to review how often Americans turn to guns to express discontent, hate and prejudice against their compatriots.

In 2018 alone, including the most recent carnage at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, there have been 47,220 gun-related incidents resulting in 11,984 deaths in the United States, according to data compiled by Gun Violence Archive, an independent data-collection and research group.

That breaks down to 157 incidents and 40 deaths a day and does not include 22,000 suicides. Of the total fatalities, 548 were children, while 2,321 were teenagers.

There are, of course, arguments from staunch gun-rights supporters that an armed citizenry is a safer citizenry. Nothing stops a bad guy with a gun like a good guy with a gun, is a popular National Rifle Association talking point. And President Trump pondered aloud on Saturday whether guns inside the synagogue might have led to a less tragic outcome.

But among the 2018 shooting incidents, only 1,478 cases, or 3.1% of the total, involved the defensive use of weapons.

In Pittsburgh, at least 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue by a suspect shouting, “All Jews must die,” according to KDKA.

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Trump Is Upset That Bombing Attempts Are Distracting From His Propaganda Campaign


The President Is Upset That Bombing Attempts Are Distracting From His Propaganda Campaign

Trump suggests the bombs sent to Democrats and CNN were a false flag.

By Jack Holmes      October 26, 2018

President Trump Commemorates 35th Anniversary Of Beirut Barracks AttacksGetty Images Chip Somodevilla

The rolling assassination attempts against prominent critics of President Trump, as well as much of the senior leadership of the Democratic Party, continued on Friday. Authorities in New York and Florida found two additional pipe bombs, bringing the total to 12. Surely it won’t be long until we can safely characterize this as a campaign of domestic terrorism. And of course, we’re about to jump into another news cycle where, inevitably, the president refuses to accept any responsibility for how his increasingly violent and apocalyptic rhetoric has contributed to the current atmosphere of a nation on the brink.

Check that: he now appears to be suggesting the rolling assassination attempts against his political opponents are a false-flag election stunt by…someone.

trump: Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!

This is obviously some sick, Alex Jones-style evidence-free conspiracy-mongering. The President of the United States is suggesting…what? That the bombs aren’t real? That the Democrats bombed themselves? But there’s also something else truly sinister in the background here. When the president says “news not talking politics,” he’s very likely lamenting that Fox News and CNN are no longer giving the wall-to-wall treatment to his number one propaganda piece for this election cycle: The Caravan.

The president and his allies have worked very hard to turn a group of people marching 1,000 miles away, many of whom will not make it to the U.S.-Mexico border and even fewer of whom will gain entrance to the United States, into a faceless horde of brown people dead-set on invading this country. Never mind that they intend to present themselves to immigration authorities legally when they arrive, hoping to get a hearing for their asylum claims—as is their right under international law. Trump has signaled an intent to bar their claims, possibly in violation of international law, and got his supposedly Adult-in-the-Room Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, to send 800 federal troops to the border.

Migrant Caravan Crosses Into Mexico

For a while, it wasn’t just Fox ginning up the hysteria, which was very much intended to demonize Democrats—whom Trump cast as wanting to throw open the borders and allow the hordes in—and get The Base of scared old white people out to vote. CNN and The New York Times also bit on this sequel to The Ebola Panic (2014) and The Email Protocol (2016). But Republicans’ best-laid plans have been disrupted by the very inconvenient development that someone is trying to murder their colleagues across the aisle. Trump’s response has been to say the quiet parts out loud: These Bombs Are Crowding Out My Propaganda! You’d think the “very unfortunate” part would be the attempted murder.

This is truly sick stuff, and it follows a 3 a.m. Tweet Machine attack on CNN—which was targeted with a pipe bomb two days ago—and a complaint that he’s not getting enough retweets. It would be fun to joke that this is Presidential! if the risk weren’t growing by the day that someone is going to get killed in this country.