Friday, August 30, 2019

Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter 6

The Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter is published weekly by Priscilla King, c/o Boxholders, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. It’s available free, in plain text as an e-mail or attachment. Printed or audiocassette versions are available for the cost of production. (Audiofiles are free to anyone who can convince me that s/he is blind and can’t read a document aloud using widely available software.) Reprinting, recirculating, and sharing this information at the reader’s own expense is encouraged, provided that all sources of material are credited.


Vegan meat analogs are nothing new. George Washington Carver and Jethro Kloss worked on some of the earliest ways to mix grain and legume proteins into a “nutritionally complete” vegan protein loaf. In the early twentieth century, researchers from Loma Linda University, at Loma Linda Foods, and the Kettering College of Medical Arts, at Worthington Foods, marketed some commercially successful, highly palatable, wheat-soy versions of “Numete,” “Protose,” “Proteena,” “Veja-Links,” “Bolo-No,” “Wham,” “Skallops,” “Big Franks,” “Little Links,” “Chicketts,” “Turketts,” and others. In the 1980s Morningstar Farms (a division of Worthington) brought out Breakfast Links, Breakfast Patties, Grillers, and Scramblers, followed by other “Textured Vegetable Protein” products that sold well enough to be stocked by big-chain supermarkets.

Since most of these products were wheat-based, most contained monosodium glutamate, and some also contained milk or egg, they were unacceptable to many vegans. Specialty “veggie burgers” became quite a fad at the turn of the century. Grandma Bonnie’s Allergy-Ease Veggie Burgers were made of rice, beans, potatoes, squash, sometimes tomatoes, herbs, and salt for a nutritious, low-fat, hypoallergenic vegetable protein patty. Boca Burgers contained a little more salt and fat but were also totally gluten-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic. Other “veggie burgers” that contained either wheat or soy were also marketed. While none of these products tasted much like the ground and grilled beef patties known as hamburgers, they were intended to be equally fast and tidy to prepare.

Now, a company calling itself Impossible Foods proudly presents the Impossible Burger, a bioengineered soy product that they claim has been made so “meaty” it even “bleeds juices” onto the grill. They’ve even invested enough in this thing to get national fast food chains to offer the Impossible Burger; other Veggie Burgers have been available only in locally owned restaurants. Their promotional drivel even presumes to call the Impossible Burger “clean food.”

We really need a federal law about this. If “organic” food might be allowed to contain 1 discernible part per billion of any chemical “pesticide residue,” which had better be borax, tobacco, or chrysanthemum, then “clean” food should have to be proved to contain ZERO “pesticide residue.” One part per billion of glyphosate in something advertised as “clean food” should be grounds for a million-dollar lawsuit.

And no point for guessing: the Impossible Burger started with “Roundup-Ready” soybeans, so it oozes glyphosate.

Don’t eat it. Don’t touch it. Don’t use utensils that could have touched it. The Impossible Burger is not only not “clean food”; it’s poison.


Basically, if you want to eat truly “clean” food in any part of North America, you need to have (or be very, very nice to someone who has) a genuinely organic, “pesticide”-free farm. In the supermarkets? Deep-sea fish, eggs, chicken, and turkey are likely, but not guaranteed, to be fit to eat. Beef and milk are likely to contain glyphosate. In the produce department, garlic and onions typically need less “protection” than other food and are likely, but not guaranteed, to contain very little glyphosate. Grains, beans, seeds, greens, and fruit are likely, though not guaranteed, to contain enough glyphosate to cause people who show celiac or pseudo-celiac reactions to gush blood.

While a lot of people are going to say “Well, I have to eat something; if it kills me it kills me,” those of us who can get clean plant food—even if it’s unconventional plants like dandelions—can potentially help other people survive by just saying no to all commercial produce that’s not certified “3-G-Free.” Supermarkets typically make it easy to ignore the fruit and vegetables sections. Do that. Here I stand to testify that many of us will feel better if we eat raw wild vegetables picked out of our never-sprayed gardens rather than glyphosate-tainted lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, apples and carrots. And the farmers need to know that spraying poison on food is just not an option they can use to increase yields, ever any more; that sprayed veg are going to lie somewhere and rot while people risk short-term nutrient deficiencies to eat clean, glyphosate-free diets.


And in the older, no doubt...Robert Kennedy traces the links between exposure to glyphosate, which is known to cause colorectal tissue damage in a minority of all living creatures studied, and colorectal cancer. Yes, the more times you tear strips off any part of the body, the better chance cancer has to grow in the damaged area.


Monsanto/Bayer want to keep us in the box of thinking that the alternative to one “herbicide” spray is another “herbicide” spray. They’ve been warning for a long time that if we get glyphosate banned, farmers will “have to” use dicamba (the active ingredient in “Spectracide”), “which is even worse.”

“Worse” may vary—if your body forms bleeding ulcers every time it’s exposed to glyphosate, as mine does, you don’t think the nose and throat irritation dicamba causes to everybody, impartially, is worse. You think “What fun to be suffering only as much as the people who sprayed the poison are suffering,” and actually you suffer less, coughing for a few hours, than you would from the bleeding ulcers. However, all spray-on poisons harm other living things, including other humans, typically without their knowledge or consent. All spraying of poison on plants or soil should be recognized by our legal system as a violent crime.

In my neighborhood some people tried switching from “Roundup” to “Spectracide.” The whole neighborhood coughed, sneezed, and rasped alike. The people who were less aware of their reactions to glyphosate, who almost want to believe that dizziness and fainting and vomiting are normal parts of the aging process rather than that they need to move their lazy bones to weed their gardens, rushed back to “Roundup.” Here’s a study that may show why the resulting reactions, this summer, have been even worse...Why I didn’t just see blood in the toilet bowl as usual, but saw nothing but blood in the toilet bowl for nine days, after eating one little can of spinach (which used to be something I ate while recovering from celiac reactions. Why John Doe didn’t just feel queasy after drinking one little V8, but had to bolt out and lean over the porch railing. Mixing these two poisons apparently aggravates the effects of both.


It’s no longer news: Bayer’s persuaded the judicial system to stage the next big Roundup cancer trial in Monsanto’s old home town, St. Louis, Missouri, where they hope juries will think of Bayer as a big part of the local economy rather than a foreign corporation that, if it cares whether Americans live or die, probably prefers Americans dead. We have about another month to show the “Show Me State” that we actually want Bayer to be kept alive, and profitable—under new management that will steer Bayer back to forms of “weed control” that are ethically acceptable, such as building hand-held and highway- and railroad-adapted devices that spray steam on target plants. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Status Update: Pause to Catch Breath

So I've been sick. Very sick, though not in a great deal of pain. Inside parts of the body take a beating from any celiac reaction. Prolonged celiac reactions can cause them to stop functioning, temporarily, which is what was going on last week, or permanently for a few days before death. Celiacs never know which bad time will be their last one so these things are always good for a certain amount of drama. Will we be back to business as usual next week, or will we be dead? Until a person is most definitely going to be dead, the symptoms never give much of a clue. I was feeling just a bit sluggish and grumpy, and knowing that I was feeling sluggish and grumpy because I might start feeling extremely sick for a day or so and then die. It's an interesting experience. I only wish certain world leaders of business and government could share it. Does anyone else out there enjoy the mental image of Donald Trump doing Twitter in the bathroom, tweeting "I wonder if I'm ever actually going to sit on the toilet and use it again"? That's sadistic enough for this web site, so let's move on.

My insides were able to repair themselves and resume functioning--this time--though they're not quite back to normal yet.

The damage was done by spinach. Vegetables are the staff of life, when they're not full of glyphosate. I saw things online about how the natural phytochemicals in vegetables may help the body recover from glyphosate poisoning. Grandma Bonnie Peters affirmed that she was sticking to her beloved vegetables, and she was still walking about. I was sticking to my resolution to eat only plants that grew on my own property, and some of those were tainted by glyphosate vapor drift too. I was tainted by glyphosate vapor drift whether I ate anything or not. And then I was walking down the road, and I came to a whole sack of canned vegetables that had been dumped out along with a card notifying the dumpers when they could get another load of food from the local food bank. As this web site observed a few years ago, rural communities are lavishly supplied with fresh vegetables in August. People whose neighbors are likely to leave sacks of fresh new potatoes on their steps at night don't even want to bother carrying in canned potatoes. So I left the cans of potatoes where they were, but I took home a can of spinach--a name brand I used to like--and ate it. I like spinach. And did that can of spinach ever "bite back." In fifty years of celiac life I've never been so sick before.

Lesson learned: We need to be vigilant about the fact that what we've always thought of as healthier eating has flipflopped, in the last few years, into being dangerous eating. This summer I've talked to someone who had no reason to distort the facts, who said that when his children worried about his not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and brought him some tempting juicy apples, he ate two apples and was "sick as a dog." I've watched someone drink a nice healthy V8 and have to run out and get rid of it within minutes. And one little can of spinach has all but literally tied me in knots for most of this month. Do not eat fruit or vegetables you did not personally raise in a place separated by at least a half-mile of trees from poison-sprayed areas, such as public roads, Gentle Readers.

Anyway I kept working, on the principle that if you are going to die next week you might as well get as much as possible done this week. This is a useful thought for celiacs because most of us are going to survive a few life-threatening crises, and it pays to keep working through them. I wrote most of a book for one e-friend, and proofread the manuscript of another one for another e-friend, and agreed to write a nice review of a book by a friend of an e-friend whose judgment I trusted...

Ulp. I don't trust that e-friend's judgment so much any more.

It is a superbly well written book. It took me right into the consciousness of a character who, at the time when I was born, would have been certified insane. During the years when I was growing up, part of the definition of a Real Liberal was someone who defended the right of characters like this one, who aren't violent and can usually do some sort of job, to live as normally as they choose to live and not be certified insane. And it left me feeling that, in fact, the character is insane.

I think a free society should have room for books--not necessarily in public libraries where children might find them--that fully express the consciousness of people who are definitely different from most of us, or from anyone we'd want to know. I think the danger in a book like The Turner Diaries, which also expresses that kind of viewpoint, is that such books can confuse or frighten the very young, not that they'll "convert" any normal mind to thinking the way characters like Turner think. I think it's good for educated adults to read things that help us understand the way these people think. Who knows whether, if German libraries had stocked copies of The Turner Diaries, the German people would have recognized that putting Adolf Hitler in charge of anything more momentous than the perspective on one of his paintings was a Very Bad Idea, and how much good a Very Bad Novel might thus have accomplished, or how much good a different but also Very Bad Novel might accomplish today.

[For those who don't remember: The Turner Diaries is the one with the neo-Nazi narrator who writes, among other things, about going for a Sunday afternoon walk in the park with friends, meeting a neighbor family, and opening fire: "I got one of them, my pal got two, my girlfriend got the mother and baby, but the old grandfather ran away." The world needs to know that that kind of consciousness exists, but yurgh.]

I just feel very, very squirmy from the cognitive dissonance...of recognizing...that people like the friend's friend exist, and have a right to write about the way they think...but for most purposes they probably really are what I'd have to call insane.

It reminds me of the experience of reading The Turner Diaries, or of reading Surfacing, only in a different way from either of those.

Surfacing ticked me off, on the first reading, because as the nameless narrator's guilt reaction builds up to its explosion point she starts babbling about "Americans" as the embodiment of all that is evil in the beautiful Laurentian forests. Theoretically this particular hang-up was chosen, like the character's temporary anorexia in The Edible Woman, as an obvious index of the character's loss of contact with reality, because nobody really hated the United States all that much. (Prozac Dementia has since added a whole new dimension to hate in both the United States and Canada; Surfacing was first published in 1972.) Reading in 1992, I could very easily imagine people (like Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, back then) hating the United States all that much; I was not amused.

After giving myself a year or two or three, I found myself accepting that the character in Surfacing becomes hysterical about "Americans" (by which she means greedheads) and flees into the woods in a crazy fantasy of becoming a pure-souled Canadian bear, or whatever, because she's racked by guilt about having let herself be bullied into "choosing" abortion. All of us American literary critics accept that, in print. Funnily enough, in real life I've never talked to a U.S. literary critic who was really comfortable with Surfacing. We'll grant that, Canada being part of the American continents too, the character's temporary phobia of "Americans" is an acceptable way of fictionalizing what might in real life have been a phobia of men or germs or food or who knows what; that the rest of her mental breakdown narrative is credible enough to convince us that Atwood observed a real woman having a real mental breakdown; that her spiral into real temporary insanity is something that might be caused by guilt about having "chosen" abortion...Ouch. We want to believe that people who might consider "choosing" abortion are sane enough to be respectfully left alone with their horrible "choice." We don't like the ramifications of a beautifully written novel convincing us that "choosing" abortion might be either a symptom or a cause of what may be nonviolent, or temporary, but is certainly insanity while it lasts.

So this friend of a friend has written another brilliantly horrible, horribly brilliant novel, and now I've promised to think of a tactful, tasteful way of introducing it to American book lovers...and that task leaves me feeling wan and inclined to wail, "But I've been sick." Cognitive dissonance bites.

Can I procrastinate a little more with a quick phenology note? So far this week I've seen a beautiful red-tailed hawk, the usual butterflies (Tiger Swallowtails, Red-Spotted Purples, Wood Nymphs), a relatively small (only five inches, not six) Carolina Mantis, the usual flowers (Queen of the Meadow, dayflowers, Ladies' Bedstraw (the perfumy kind), myrtle, chicory, jewelweed), one of the usual caterpillars (Anisota senatoria, the Orange-Striped Oakworm, in its next to last skin where the stripes are mostly yellow) for late August--and one unusual thing: a small but ripe pawpaw fruit. Those usually start forming on the trees in late August but don't ripen and fall before mid-September.

And peaches, of course...I have a little feral peach tree, an unplanned descendant of some less hardy Elberta peach trees that snowstorms broke down long ago.  It survived last winter's Big Snow; without even being braced back into position, it grew back to a reasonably upright angle. It is bearing like mad. Its fruits are about half the size of the ones sold in supermarkets, at best, and tend to fall off while green, but this year it has an excuse for dropping so many underripe peaches. It can hardly hold its branches off the ground under the weight of the bigger, riper ones. Most years having a peach tree in Virginia is pure self-indulgence: the flowers are pretty in spring, and some people like the look of the trees, but if you want to pick a bushel of peaches you have to drive further south. I have heard that it's either one year out of ten, or one out of twelve, when a peach tree is worth propping up after it collapses under snow. Either way, this is the year.

Human behavior does and doesn't qualify as phenology...Tuesday morning, a little before 3 a.m., I woke up sneezing. "Drat and blast, they must've sprayed glyphosate on the railroad again." Then the situation got worse--I smelled smoke. I got up and checked that it wasn't coming from any electrical wires inside the house before I found the source of the smoke. It was that college kid from down the road. Likely the kid woke up sneezing or feeling sick too, and sneaked out to be sick privately without disturbing his parents. Well, the kid's wandering up and down the private road is no problem, and even his dog is all right as long as the dog stays with the kid, but I hate the smell of marijuana.

And then, for once, the local weather did the most convenient thing it could have done in this situation. It poured rain. The kid got a nice cold shower as he hurried home, and the poison along the railroad soaked in, leaving lots of browned-out privately owned gardens near the railroad but nice clean air to breathe, and I continued to recover from the last bout with poisonous vapors rather than getting worse.

Yesterday I heard some good news: a busload of tourists had asked the travel agency, particularly, to stop at the cafe in Gate City. Our fame is spreading. "They'll probably want to talk to you, or some of them will," someone idly speculated. It was not as if that was part of the tour. It was not as if any visitors who wanted to talk to me, in particular, wouldn't have been able to e-mail or tweet about it.

"Hmm. How big is this bus?" If it had been the size of the last tour bus I saw--ten or twelve people--I would have wanted to come in and watch the tourists' reactions to my picturesque little town.

"Thirty-five or forty people."

The cafe seats thirty-six. The table where I like to plug in the laptop will seat two people, but the laptop takes up more than half of the table.

"I think I'll come in late," I said, "so all the tourists can sit down and sip their coffee."

So I did. I didn't see any tourists when I strolled in, about 11 a.m. I did see a beautiful reduction in the stack of souvenir T-shirts, though, and I hope the tourists are enjoying their new shirts and other souvenirs.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter 5: We're Winning Whether I Am or Not

The Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter is published weekly by Priscilla King, c/o Boxholders, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. It’s available free, in plain text as an e-mail or attachment. Printed or audiocassette versions are available for the cost of production. (Audiofiles are free to anyone who can convince me that s/he is blind and can’t read a document aloud using widely available software.) Reprinting, recirculating, and sharing this information at the reader’s own expense is encouraged, provided that all sources of material are credited.


For about six months, Glyphosate Awareness did not need its own separate searchable web site. People could just scroll down the hashtag page on Twitter. However, (1) by now enough content has been posted to the hashtag that many devices can’t scroll back that far; and (2) we need a newsletter because we can’t depend on Twitter. Some Tweeps have indicated that you’re writing books or compiling databases. That will be most useful; I’m sure I’d prefer that someone else built the official web site, as much as some of you would. This is not about money or “glory.” We need one big searchable site for all things glyphosate-related. It should be objective, not identified with any individual or organization, since most of us have our own opinions about other things that are separate from Glyphosate Awareness. Some of you have probably done more work than I have with this topic. You’re certainly welcome to add what I’ve assembled, so far, to what you have—but why should each of us invent a separate wheel?


Because I’ve been sick all week since last Friday’s roadside poisoning. All I’ve eaten since Sunday has been greens and peaches, and even that didn’t help because, of course, the vapors that caused me to wake up sneezing settled on the greens and peaches too! Celiacs are tough, because we have to be, to survive at all; we keep working through sickness until our shredded intestines finally burst. It’s said to be a very yucky way to die, though a quick one.


The national governments of Brazil, Canada, and the United States continue to condone poisoning their citizens and a large part of the world’s food supply.

Bayer’s current site for testing glyphosate and “Roundup-Ready” GMO crops is in Puerto Rico, where locals report the array of symptoms contact with glyphosate is known to cause. In the Obama Administration they used the Philippines.

Trump personally encourages the government of Colombia to do this too.

It’s easy to blame and hate Trump personally for this. Too easy. We need to bear in mind that glyphosate got out of hand in the United States during the Obama Administration—it’s not a Republican-versus-Democrat issue. Corporations routinely “give” money to all promising candidates in order to claim that the winner is in their debt. None of the multitude of D presidential hopefuls, for instance, has a serious plan for banning glyphosate.

However, Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives reports a plan to ban all use of glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, and paraquat (how many U.S. Tweeps remember paraquat?) in Thailand within a year.

And Kenya’s Tea Development Agency warns farmers not to use glyphosate, although it’s sold to them legally under the brand name “Glycel”:


On Twitter, Glyphosate Awareness spotted a tweet from Europe saying “Yes, buy glyphosate and your house will never burn down.” This was apparently an ill-considered joke about someone who set fire to a house while trying to control weeds naturally by burning them. However, we are informed that when individuals who have large homogeneous Twitter followings have posted anti-glyphosate tweets, they’ve received death threats. We should probably regard those who express pro-glyphosate opinions as potentially violent; spraying poison is inherently a violent act, and those who do it probably are willing to do worse things.


Whether it’s inquiring minds who want to know, or Bayer goons buying up copies to make this book unavailable, Carey Gillam’s book Whitewash has sold out on Amazon. It’s due for a second printing already!


Well...when I was in a feminist activist group, along with our primary activity of raising money for a rape crisis center, we all used to carry around stickers to slap onto ads, magazines, etc., warning people “This offends women.” One thing we might consider is slapping stickers onto store shelves, doors, etc., warning people that glyphosate/Roundup causes tissue damage that most definitely promotes the growth of cancer. Those stickers could include clips from that document in EPA’s glyphosate archive, with the photos of emergency patients.

More usefully, we could print less disturbing messages on postcards and mass-mail them, especially to St. Louis. We could have pretty pictures, if only free stock pictures of flowers, butterflies, children and animals, on one side and a message like “People are becoming less tolerant of the use of glyphosate, which can harm or kill butterflies (puppies, children, songbirds, honeybees, etc.). Don’t buy or use Roundup or other ‘herbicides’,” on the other side. Or a list of Bayer brands sold in the area on one side and  “You’re invited to join the Bayer Boycott” on the other side. Here’s that list again, in case anyone wants to print it.


When a right-wingnut commits a homicide-suicide in Texas and a left-wingnut commits one in Ohio on the same weekend, the common issue is not “gun violence as a partisan political issue,” the way some very tacky Democrats want to suggest. The common issue is “homicide-suicide as a reaction to any of a specific group of stimulant drugs”—which is what the commercial media don’t want us to think about, since some of those drugs happen to be very profitable as legal “prescription medication.”

Gun bans don’t save lives; they cost lives. However, gun shops thrive on political debates about gun bans. Republicans agree to reopen the long-dead debate, even threaten to cave on bans on specific models, because doing that pleases some of their supporting business owners. If I were still being sponsored by an active firearms dealer I might get into this issue, but frankly, Scarlett, you’re in a lot more danger from glyphosate than you’ve ever been from guns. And if you seriously want fewer guns made and sold, try reacting to the gun ban debate with “Snore.”


We need boots on the ground in St. Louis between now and October 10, says Carey Gillam:


I personally feel overwhelmed. Some of you may, too. I personally wonder whether Glyphosate Awareness is going to be my last battle; all I can say is that, if it is, I’d rather go out fighting the poison that may be killing me than just sitting there and taking it like a good little rape victim. Some of you may feel that way, or you may feel too sick or too tired or too brainfogged, already. But the facts are out, and the facts are going to win, whether or not any of us is around to see that happen.

Carry it on.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

What's Statesploitation?

Quick summary: a new word for any scheme where a few people who are highly motivated by financial gain exploit the state for money at the expense of the majority.

Because I happened to find Jim Babka's e-mail fairly high in the morning pile, and because I'm a word-nerd who's interested in observing which neologisms (newly invented words) catch on and which don't, here's JB's explanation of statesploitation, with links to his web site:


In that message, I promised to introduce a "FAR OUT" new strategy. Today, I deliver. But it requires the context of a quick story...

Several years back, libertarian heroes Carla Howell and Michael Cloud placed initiatives on the ballot. Twice, they sought to eliminate the state income tax in "Taxachusetts." In between, they gave the voters a chance to cut the state sales tax in half.

All three initiatives lost. And the reason it happened is why I'm writing to you today.

Every libertarian recognizes that State programs are a raw deal. Some of them are cancerously bad. And none of them can match the potency and social peace offered by voluntary solutions.

Yet the programs ALWAYS grow!

And they grow faster when they fail!

Why? That's an incredibly important question. I'm glad you asked.

The answer lies in the CAP [Collective Action Problem]...

     Concentrated benefits defeats dispersed costs.

It's a question of motivation. The people who receive taxpayer largess are better organized and funded than the taxpayer's themselves. In Carla and Michael's story, it was the Teacher's Union. The union spent millions to defeat these ballot initiatives.

The unions represented the concentrated benefits side, so they expended tremendous effort to protect their state scheme.

I choose to focus on Michael and Carla's End the Income Tax proposal because in most cases, the cost and likelihood of success are so low that "rational apathy" sets in. Why bother? But in this case…

Would the taxpayers have saved enough to make it worth it to them to invest in the fight?

Libertarians scream, YES!!!

And therein lies a key difference…

Despite the huge payoff of no income tax bill, the people of Taxachusetts lacked the vision to see what libertarians already understand.

Obviously, Carla and Michael marshaled several impressive arguments to make their case. Yet their case failed to resonate. Why?

Consider a farmer with fantastic seeds. If he has bad soil, his harvest will fail. In this metaphor, impressive arguments are seeds. But the readiness of the public to appreciate these arguments is lacking. The seeds land in infertile soil.

We must enrich and prepare the soil. The public mind must be enriched to comprehend what you and I already grasp.

Downsize DC's radical new strategy will apply a lesson from price theory. Typically, the cost of an item is key to a buying decision. But many taxpayers don't seem to know (or care) about the price when there's a political program is involved. Worse, they fear that their neighbors or the poor will be adversely affected…

It's up to us. We will show everyone why they're getting a raw deal from the politicians.

But unlike the clinical analysis of our movement's think-tank past, we'll connect with them emotionally. Let's return to Carla and Michael's ballot initiatives to show how we'll do it...

Remember, the teachers union spent millions to defeat them. Why is this detail important?

They were the Concentrated Benefit side of the equation. So what? Is there some significance to that?

The public schools are, first and foremost, a jobs program. Schools not only employ teachers and janitors. They also employ an army of bureaucrats, a union apparatus, and a ton of vendors. There's a great deal of money at stake.

It's notable that the teachers union is the entity which so visibly put up the fight. Have you ever seen their contracts?

Earlier this decade, a school teacher told me about a union meeting at an inner-city school district. The union polled its members to rank the ten issues that were most important to the teachers in their upcoming contract negotiations.

Schools are for kids, right? But not one single issue involving educational improvements was included on the list. Instead, all the items were about various employee benefits.

Isn't it amazing that the children's needs didn't even crack the top 10?

Listen, I'm not picking on teachers! I firmly believe that good teachers will ALWAYS have opportunities, even if we completely ended the district, public school model. The kids aren't gonna disappear! They'll still need to be educated. And this isn't about teachers...

The teacher union story isn't unique. Every State program is a concentrated benefit - a job and/or contracts scheme.


Statesploitation - A scheme where the few benefit at the expense of the many

     ...usually with inferior results to voluntary alternatives.

So let's return to Taxachusetts one final time with a theory on why the teachers union defeated Carla and Michael's end the state income tax ballot initiative, because...

There's something really significant I want to be sure you don't miss about this case.

The benefit was so seemingly self-evident, so concrete. Everyone was going to save thousands of dollars per year. It was so clearly in the best interest of the taxpayers (the dispersed) who vastly outnumbered the union members (the concentrated).

Why did the taxpayers act against their own interests?

They still thought *the price MIGHT BE too high*. In other words..
They thought the loss (of schools) was going to exceed their benefit (money in their pockets).

This is true every time we have this concentrated benefits vs dispersed cost battle.

We libertarians require a strategy that exposes the... 
  1. The true high cost of statist schemes
  2. The economical alternative of voluntary action
Downsize DC's new Statesploitation initiative will address the high cost of state schemes. (We have a plan for the second item too.)

Statesploitation is an unusual word. I made it up! Words are funny. Here's another really strange word: Lasagna. It's not pronounced as it's spelled, and it tells you nothing about what it is. It's only obvious because you're familiar with it. No marketing "expert" would've invented it.

Still, chances are, your mouth just watered.

Statesploitation has the word "exploitation" at its root, and that's on purpose. Others have riffed terms like sexsploitation and blaxsploitation (Google 'em if you don't know what they are). The point is, we want everyone in America to learn this word because, once they do, it'll induce an emotional response...

     Someone is taking advantage of us and we can do better!

You or I can blather on all day about how much a given program costs. And if you've done that more than once, you know it doesn't move people. Their eyes glaze as we describe baseline budgeting and the effects a program has on the National Debt. I've never seen this approach change a mind.

But being exploited by a political machine? We're betting that'll irritate people and reframe the debate on a number of issues.

We will want your help to get everyone in America to learn and even love the word statesploitation. It will take time and effort.

We'll measure to see how frequently this term is being used.

That's our plan. We're not quite ready to start. As I told you in the last message, we have...
  • a new website
  • new "email Congress" software
  • other things to put in place
also told you, those steps are paid for!

What is not covered is the outreach we'll need to do in order to be successful. And we need your help to build up that fund.

Thank you for your support,

Jim Babka
Founder & President, Inc.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Morgan Griffith on Medicare For All

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Monday, August 12, 2019 –                                
Socialized Medicine: Not What the Doctor Ordered
A proposed socialized medicine program run by the Federal Government, which Democrats call Medicare for All, is enjoying time in the spotlight, partly due to its strong support among Democrat presidential candidates and the new majority in the House of Representatives. The House’s bill for socialized medicine enjoys 117 cosponsors as I write this column, over a quarter of the entire House.
If this legislation were ever signed into law, devastating consequences would ensue for health care.
First of all, it does not even pretend to make the same promise President Obama made about Obamacare, that “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” This socialized medicine plan would not let you keep your insurance. That would include the employer-sponsored insurance over 158 million Americans currently have. It would also rule out the private insurance many seniors have through Medicare Advantage.
Instead, everyone would be forced onto government plans with limited options, putting the government now squarely in the middle of the relationship between patient and doctor.
Patients would certainly be made worse off by this intrusion.
So would doctors. Medicare currently pays them rates that are lower than in the private market. A study by the Mercatus Center, affiliated with George Mason University in Virginia, found that Medicare for All would reduce reimbursements for doctors by 40% compared to what they earn from reimbursements by private insurers. Such a severe cut would deter talented people from entering or remaining in the medical profession.
Hospitals would also lose revenue if all their services are reimbursed at Medicare’s current rates, which could make a difference in how many services they offer or even if they are able to remain open at all.
In April, the New York Times ran a story on the harsh fate awaiting many hospitals under Medicare for All:
Some hospitals, especially struggling rural centers, would close virtually overnight, according to policy experts. Others, they say, would try to offset the steep cuts by laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and abandoning lower-paying services like mental health.*
Lee County and Patrick County currently lack hospitals. It is true that they closed without socialized medicine becoming a reality, but if it did, those hospitals would have a more difficult time reopening and the ability of hospitals in some of our other jurisdictions to stay open could be threatened as well.
The universal coverage promised by socialized medicine’s proponents is meaningless if patients have nowhere to go for treatment.
These problems are not hypotheticals. My mother, who is 89 years old, needed ten months to find a primary care doctor who will accept Medicare. Her new doctor made an exception to take her, as he was already treating someone in the family. But when she called earlier in the year, his office had said no to taking new Medicare patients.
Already, some physicians have left the medical field due in part to low Medicare reimbursement rates. They could not sustain their practices at those rates. Medicare for All can’t be a serious solution when Medicare in its present form doesn’t serve all whom it should.
Britain’s National Health Service is often held up by socialized medicine advocates as a model, but one need not look far to find its dire flaws.
When I was studying at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh on a stipend, I stayed in the city’s Tollcross section, a less well-off neighborhood. My apartment was across the hall from an older couple named Finch. Mr. Finch at the time was waiting on heart surgery for a condition diagnosed in February or March, yet the surgery wasn’t going to happen until the following October.
After I returned home, I learned that he had the surgery but died within two years. His family was convinced the long delay between diagnosis and surgery weakened him; they believed he would have survived if he had been treated when diagnosed. In the United States, the same surgery would have happened within a week.
Constituents inform me frequently about their problems with the present health care system, and I recognize that serious reforms are needed. I have worked on them throughout my time in the House of Representatives, and I will not give up my efforts. But we must be wary of the “cure” socialized medicine offers.
I am committed to real health care reform that promotes affordability, access, and choice without diminishing our freedom to make decisions or forcing us to send more of our hard-earned money to Washington.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at

*“Hospitals Stand to Lose Billions Under ‘Medicare for All,’” New York Times, April 21, 2019

Belated Tortie Tuesday Post: Charlie and the Hummingbird

I slept badly on Friday night--kept waking up sneezing. This is often an indication of some sort of pesticide vapor drift. I went into town anyway, feeling sluggish and grumpy. A lot of people who usually come to Friday Market didn't, although the weather was that perfect "sunny and 75" (degrees Fahrenheit) their favorite radio station often blares songs about. One claimed to have come to market, then felt too bad to shop and gone back. It was a sluggish and grumpy market; another day when all good cheer seemed to be imported from Tennessee.

Some booksellers have been discussing the question of whether it's possible to sell vintage fiction in hardcover editions that have lost their paper jackets. I had a few to test my theory that it is. A lady picked up a copy of a football player's memoir, They Still Call Me Assassin. "Assassin?" she murmured.

"Do you remember when that guy used to play football?" I murmured. Most people in my home town wouldn't, because "The Assassin," Jack Tatum, retired just about the time my town started picking up TV channels that broadcast NFL games. He reminisced about O.J. Simpson and Larry Csonka, and wisecracked about Jerry Rice.

I happened to have a copy of one of Daphne Du Maurier's other novels, My Cousin Rachel, that had lost its jacket. "This is the novel of suspense I brought this week," I said. This is what the jacket would probably have looked like.

So she took both books and walked away looking pleased. My Cousin Rachel sold well enough that its resale value isn't high, but for anyone who likes clean, romantic novels of suspense it's a bargain. For anyone who wants to resell rare books, Jack Tatum's second memoir was the bargain. It did not sell well in its own time; no use showing a picture of it here because Amazon doesn't even have one. It's become a collector's item.

Well, first I found a fabulous deal on some of the blue yarn I want for the Anti-Bullying Blue Hats display, two extra-large shopping bags full. Then a person who was stuck in per own store was wanting to know whether people were moving in or out of another store, which was on my way. I walked a block up the street, found that they were moving out, and had three more bags full of old books thrust upon me. I also wanted to bring home some provisions for the weekend. This was going to be quite a load to carry. I asked a retired person who likes to get out and drive, when not feeling too ill. "Not driving today," person said. "I think I've got flu. Everybody in the building seems to have it."

I flagged down a younger person who was driving in the right direction, we took advantage of a sale on Route 23, and on the way back I could see what had given me such an unpleasant night and probably given the whole retirement project their "flu." There might actually be some sort of virus making the rounds. I know what you're thinking, since I mentioned someone being sick within minutes after drinking a V-8 in last week's status update, and it is not Norwalk Flu. If that person had had Norwalk Flu I would have smelled its unmistakable odor, person would not have been fit to drive home, and I would have had some symptoms during the last week. But all those older people might have had some sort of "summer cold." Maybe they had a summer cold. Funnily enough patches of vegetation along Route 23 were starting to brown out from glyphosate spraying. What a coincidence.

A body is a system, so tracing causes and effects is not as simple as people want to imagine. Someone shared, after I'd tweeted a bit about exactly how our cats Traveller and Bisquit died, that their symptoms--especially coughing up froth--sounded like algae poisoning. Dogs can show that symptom, and sometimes die, after drinking stagnant water contaminated with some kinds of algae. Cat Sanctuary cats normally drink out of a fast-moving stream that has never contained visible algae. But then somebody else shared that glyphosate can promote the growth of the kind of algae that make water undrinkable...The fact that some of these things are only secondary effects of a glyphosate poisoning episode does not mean that glyphosate didn't cause them.

I'm disgusted by our Environmental Protection Agency's caving on the question of those "glyphosate causes cancer" labels. It is virtually impossible to prove that anything is a sole or even a primary cause of cancer; there's still some debate about X-rays and DDT as well as cigarettes. (For what it's worth, the major carcinogen in cigarettes is not the tobacco but the bleached white paper.) However, glyphosate causes tissue damage on contact. People who breathe the vapors may sneeze or cough blood from the respiratory tract. People who eat or drink contaminated food may form bleeding ulcers, and they can be massive and bleed heavily, all along the digestive tract from the lips down. People who get glyphosate on their skin may get a mild rash or form huge bleeding lesions. Any or all of these things PROMOTE THE GROWTH of cancer, although these and the other glyphosate reactions people are having may be even more likely to cause death before cancer has time to grow.

I don't expect to die from cancer of the colon. If we don't get a serious glyphosate ban, I don't expect to survive long enough for that to happen. I've had celiac sprue for most of this year with only a few days between episodes. Celiacs for whom the sprue reaction becomes chronic usually die when the intestines stop repairing themselves and become "leaky" enough to cause blood poisoning. It's not a pleasant way to go but it is fast; people are usually going about their daily routines up to the last week or so.

I had celiac sprue all weekend. Still have it at the time of writing.

Still going about my weekend routine, I went out in the front yard and burned the trash. While the pages of a magazine that was in too bad condition to resell were burning, I heard a peculiar sort of sound. It mght have been a bird or a cat.

"Who said that?" I asked the cats. Samantha and the spring kittens seemed to have nothing to squeak about. "Where's Serena?" I asked the cats. Serena popped up from behind a bush. I watched the flames die and turned to go back indoors.

Serena pointed to a tiny damp kitten squirming about on some pressed-down dayflowers, a little ginger tom with a long tail. It reminded me of a stuffed toy of my childhood. "Is your name Charlie? Charlie Dale Lion?" The kitten's ears weren't open yet. Serena, however, was nonverbally saying, "Yes, you can call him Charlie if you like. Now come and let me show you another thing."

I followed Serena to the porch. She scratched vigorously at a chair. "You're saying the chair is blocking the way to your nest? You want to put Charlie in your nest?" Serena agreed. I moved the chair. Serena scratched at a bag. I moved the bag. Serena chirped appreciatively and disappeared into the nest where she'd reared the spring kittens.

I went back into the yard and kept an eye on Charlie, shooing flies and mosquitoes away from him. Though too young to see or hear, he could smell; he followed traces of his mother's scent on me and thus began following me around about a square foot of crushed dayflowers; we've bonded. Presently I heard a loud buzz. A wasp's or hornet's threat display? No, it was the hummingbird, watching this unusual human and cat behavior in between sips from the jewelweed.

I say "the" hummingbird. For years I only ever saw one. One day last summer I sat out in the driveway in a visitor's car, with a good view of the jewelweed, and saw that "the" hummingbird had a mate and family. I still don't know where the nest is, whether they're rearing babies again this year, or even--thanks to my astigmatism--whether it was Mr. or Mrs. Hummingbird who flew up to look at the kitten and me. I thought how conveniently nature times these things: although the hummingbirds don't eat insects, as the cardinals do, they do pollinate the pretty jewelweed flowers, during the weeks when the cardinals are mostly hiding. The cardinals usually don't let other songbirds hang around the Cat Sanctuary, except when we've had house wrens who were willing to stay closer to the house than the cardinals do.

I saw the Isodontia wasp. I saw the new Chlorion aerarium who's taken the place of last spring's office-mate Jade--Jadeite, of course. I saw Polistes carolina and a lonely little Polistes fuscatus. There weren't very many flies and mosquitoes, although the cardinals and most other songbirds keep a low profile in August. It was another humid but otherwise perfect afternoon.

Sunny and 75
Sunny and 75

Usually the birth of four kittens takes most of a day but, within two hours, Serena came out, still a "big fat cat." She hadn't bulged a great deal before giving birth and didn't look much thinner afterward. Looking damp and triumphant, she let me place Charlie in the nest with his classic calico sister and two black-and-white kittens of undetermined gender. All four have long tails.

Burr was with us all weekend too, a proud and devoted social cat...grandfather? Father? Surely not. Could Burr be the father of four healthy long-tailed kittens? In any case there was no question of his doing them any harm, as there is with some tomcats. Burr's main interest is in Samantha but he is another tomcat, like his great-grand-uncle Mac, who protects kittens.

I wondered whether glyphosate had anything to do with the sudden and rapid birth of these kittens. If so it doesn't seem to have harmed them--yet. They all dried off looking exactly the way newborn kittens are supposed to look: eyes closed, ears curled in, coats fluffy but sparse, every claw sticking out of every little bare paw.

I went online again yesterday and today. Storms roiled around the area. Internet connectivity comes and goes, or comes up showing as "limited." I saw the person who'd complained of "flu" on Friday driving again today. So far, I've not heard of any casualties of this glyphosate poisoning episode. But either the rain's not washed the poison out of the air, or it's washed into the local water supply; I've not noticed any evidence that I'm recovering from it, myself, either.

The kittens, the estivating songbirds, the friendly insects, the hummingbirds, the other animals and human children who were born this summer need your help, Gentle Readers. Spread Glyphosate Awareness everywhere. Spread it especially to St. Louis, Missouri, if you know people there.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter 4: Separate Web Site?

The Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter is published weekly by Priscilla King, c/o Boxholders, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. It’s available free, in plain text as an e-mail or attachment. Printed or audiocassette versions are available for the cost of production. (Audiofiles are free to anyone who can convince me that s/he is blind and can’t read a document aloud using widely available software.) Reprinting, recirculating, and sharing this information at the reader’s own expense is encouraged, provided that all sources of material are credited.


Wouldn’t it be great if people could ask “Which studies mention glyphosate reactions that include vomiting?” or “Which study mentioned ‘diarrhea, nasal discharge, and death’ as the most common glyphosate reactions in rabbits?” and all of us could, at any time, say “That’d be page 3 of Study A and page 157 of Study B...” instead of thinking slowly and grumpily, as even I now do, “Meh, I think that was an older study someone shared in October or was it November?” Computer systems like Microsoft Word, Blogger, Weebly, and arguably even Wordpress could be doing those searches now. My Blogspot does it, in a clunky way—it’s a blog, it pulls up the comments rather than the actual studies. Twitter was doing a fine job of documenting everything we’ve ever shared with the #GlyphosateAwareness hashtag, for the first six months or so...but that’s a lot of tweets, and by now scrolling back through them is likely to crash people’s browsers.

We need one place where people can find links to all the scientific documents we’ve been collecting and sharing over the past year. Ideally people could go to a web site, type in search terms, and pull up the studies that include those terms right away. Just one or two clicks would empower anybody to print out the information most useful to them. At the bottom of the page we could even index song lyrics, video presentations, cartoons, and other fun stuff for those whose computers are set up to process it. Would anyone like to offer their expertise to build such a site?


Brazil’s President Bolsonaro promises greedheads he’ll roll back what restrictions on the use of poison sprays, the destruction of the rain forest, and the encroachment on indigenous people’s territories, Brazil has had so far. Does the world need more tribal homelands turned into produce more alleged food that’s unfit for consumption by humans or even by domestic animals?


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current Undersecretary of Agriculture, Greg Ibach, thinks the words “organically grown” and “genetically modified” can be used to describe the same things. He needs education.


Two scientists in Argentina have e-published a study documenting how exposure to these “pesticides,” separately or together, harmed one species of wild fish. This study is still breaking news; it’s not been printed yet and you may have to pay or subscribe to see the whole document for a few more weeks. The short version is already online at and at .


A disturbing study in California finds that, for families that consciously avoid glyphosate exposure, children’s bodies contained more glyphosate than their parents’, possibly due to exposure to sprayed schoolyards and glyphosate-tainted school food.


Although Bayer’s lawsuit in St. Louis is being delayed, giving us a little more time to spread Glyphosate Awareness there, a deleted tweet suggests we may need more attention to security than I would have thought. Here’s what’s been made “unavailable” at Twitter:

Replying to
Yep, buy some #glyphosate and your house will never burn down.
3:21 AM · Aug 6, 2019

The context of this tweet was a careless effort to burn weeds near a house that caused a fire in Europe, but Bayer certainly has not demonstrated any noticeable sense of ethics in fighting to lower people’s awareness of how harmful Bayer products are.

Please reach out to anyone you know in St. Louis, reminding them that Bayer’s value as an employer will depend on Bayer’s ability to switch to non-poisonous technologies that can replace that foolish old idea of spraying poison on the soil. Safe weed-steaming or weed-boiling technology does not need to be limited to those who can afford robots, although what I’ve been nagging the tech companies about, all this time, is tiny skinny robots that can nip in between closely-packed stalks of wheat and similar-looking “tare” weeds. Gardeners could be using hand-held attachments with heating elements that allow water flowing through the garden hose to be hot enough to wilt a targeted weed. Bayer could be paying scientists to engineer safe, durable versions of this technological development, which was at least marketed as safe for installment in U.S. home water lines in 1983.

Until Bayer shifts its focus to developing safer physical, rather than chemical, ways to control nuisance species, we’ll all need to keep using this link to make sure we’re not buying any of these products: .


Several Ohio scientists have been studying the effects of glyphosate, among other pollutants, on Lake Erie and the Maumee River; they think glyphosate is to blame for “toxic algae bloom” effects.


Three U.S. researchers, including Stephanie Seneff, report on the evidence that supports their hypothesis that glyphosate is causing outbursts of chronic kidney disease among highly exposed populations. I’ve not even printed and read this long impressive-looking study myself, yet. I’m putting it off for the weekend. Glyphosate Awareness can’t afford a cash reward, but we’ll certainly tweet congratulations to anyone who can spot a mistake in this document: .


Glyphosate Awareness has been wary of advertising food products that we’ve found safe to eat. Main reason: as long as brands aren’t held to standards that require all food sold under a brand to be verifiably 3-G-Free, food safety depends on the unreported, untraceable fate of specific individual fruits, nuts, greens and grains. Things labelled “organic” and “gluten-free” can and often do contain enough glyphosate to cause adverse reactions. Often this contamination is the result of drifting vapors, and the farmer who has worked hard to raise a field of peanuts that contain no gluten, glyphosate, or GMO is profoundly discouraged to learn that, because some idiot half a mile away felt a need to poison a daisy, his peanuts are still unfit for human consumption.

Large corporations that trade with several farmers can try to deliver 3-G-Free food. I’d like to call out Lundberg Farms (my mother says “We used to know those Lundbergs”) , and Riviana Foods (the parent corporation of Zatarain’s, Mahatma, Success, and other branded rice products) for really working to keep 3-G-Free rice in American supermarkets. I’d like to commend Ben & Jerry’s, too...but I can’t because, although Ben and Jerry and their pals in Vermont have done what they could, B&J ice cream is in fact poisoned. Ben and Jerry have no way to control this. I’ve been in contact with Planters and M&Ms, the makers of my favorite road foods; they have made a real effort to keep Planters Cocktail Peanuts and M&M chocolate candies 3-G-Free; this summer, they’ve failed. I can’t feel really confident about how long I’ll be able to enjoy Riviana rice either.

However, a Canadian correspondent (who didn’t mention being celiac) wanted to call out the Karma Cooperative in Toronto for at least trying, and, so far as he can tell, succeeding in delivering 3-G-Free beans. Cheers! I like his idea, at least. Let’s continue to commend those who at least try to keep edible foods in the food supply. This will allow those of us who find ourselves in the vicinity of Toronto to look for the Karma Coop, those of us whose supermarkets stock Riviana rice products to try all of those, and so on.

...and let there be more of these links in subsequent Newsletters and on the Glyphosate Awareness page.

Many American farmers are going to have a difficult transition ahead. There’s no use blaming politicians but it has been observed that the current administration has made some policy decisions that aren’t likely to help.The real problem is that the more we poison nuisance species, the more we lose natural predators and breed “super” resistant nuisances, so when a farmer stops spraying poison, the local ecological reaction will be a nightmare. Let’s do what we can to help farmers go through the first nightmare year, sell what few edible crops they can produce, and get back on track for succeeding years, by all means. Though I will maintain that they should’ve paid more attention to my father when he was saying this in 1971.


“Really? That’s news?” Here’s a formal study that quantifies the obvious: When we stop poisoning nuisance species, one of the first things we notice after the plague of nuisance species is the richness of cute little songbirds around us.


Grains and legumes are ripening across North America and Europe, and once again farmers are spraying glyphosate on them as a “desiccant” to force apparent ripening of whole fields at once, allowing maximum yield from only one picking...and, of course, making these foods toxic. Most people should be able to eat oats, peas, beans, and barley. Even celiacs should be able to eat oats, peas, and beans. Well, news flash: This year, once again, we probably won’t be able to eat these things without becoming sick, or sicker, as the case may be. This link documents how a site hypocritically called “Keeping It Clean” instructs farmers to poison canola crops; similar instructions have been circulated for many other crops including all the “dry” ones like grains, nuts, and beans.

There’s no link for this tidbit, warm climates, some of us may still have a chance at growing a few legumes, at least sprouting them, in our own homes, if we can get unpoisoned seeds to work with.