April, 2019

Apr 19

WaPo Columnist’s Skepticism about Organics etc is…Suspect

My letter to Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel

Dear Ms Haspel.
I enjoyed your piece [https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-uncured-bacon-illusion-its-actually-cured-and-its-not-better-for-you/2019/04/19/0c89630c-608c-11e9-9ff2-abc984dc9eec_story.html?utm_term=.8833762c310e] on nitrites in hot dogs et al (I’ve et em all); you’re a good, entertaining writer and you approach your subjects intelligently—yes, there’s a ‘but’. Looking at your articles I see a general theme of “go with the point of view of big agriculture, the meat industry” and so forth; be skeptical of alternatives. You seem consistently to be touting the industry line…in a smart, indirect way.

I’m not saying you’re a shill for industry. But perhaps I’m scarred by some disturbing experiences with people who were being paid to spread disinformation online about (for just one example) Round-up and other glyphosates; about industrial pollutants; about the supposed safety of pesticides. One guy said he was with a “science journal” that looked at these issues. His journal turned out to be an online publication paid for by the oil companies—and this isn’t some paranoid interpretation of facts, it has come out and it’s well known. See this article for the general pattern: https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/07/14/fake-grassroots-campaigns-astroturf-deserve-uprooting …It emerged that the people I encountered would go on social media, take screen shots of their defenses of industry, and then they’d bill the industry for this viral spinning. This kind of thing is widespread. “Astroturfing” takes many forms.

I am not an “everything touted as natural is good” person. I do agree that celery derived nitrites are probably no better than the other sort. I think supplements need to be regulated much more than they are, and there is a lot of the sheer bogus to be found in the rather greedy natural products industry. I’m not anti-GMO either. But I do think there are lots of reasons—which you don’t mention—to be skeptical about big meat’s food additives, and about pesticide use. Regarding pesticides, you don’t mention the toll they’ve taken on farm workers, or the damage they do to soils (and associated beneficial organisms), to bees and bats and birds and the damage they’re doing as they accumulate in soils, groundwater, creeks and people.

It seems to me that you do something the shills do—you cherrypick studies and, as a rough pattern, you appear to have a kind of agenda evidenced by your interpretation of those studies. That’s what concerns me. It seems unlikely that so intelligent a person at so reputable a publication (I have a subscription to WaPo) could be actually employed by these industries. But you do have a slant that seems to ignore a great deal of evidence, at times. Why is that?

John Shirley

Apr 19


You know, people who, for example, think they can affect the greater world *at a distance*, without in-person kinetic interaction; who think they can affect objective reality with some Deepak Chopraish visualization alone, or through ritual magic, or simply through prayer, are like people who might try to leap into a certain very powerful white-water river to show they can swim directly upstream…those people are going to get swept helplessly downstream and right over Niagara Falls. They’re done for.

Probability itself, as it plays out in the universe, is like that intensely coursing river. It may be technically true that it’s all just soft, pliant drops of water, but added together in the context of gravitation and mass, it’s an inexorable, unstoppable flood.

Another dimensional level, or rather inclusivity, is the way to work with the math of probability to our benefit: the way of consciousness. The more consciousness we have, developed through work with attention and presence, the more we can respond intelligently to the dance of probability, and be in right relation to the playing out of universal laws; to be in coordination with the interaction of probability and chaos. Through expanding consciousness we learn a dance that puts us in relative harmony with the torrent of probability. Lao Tzu comes to mind.

Apr 19

IF Biden gets the nomination I’ll vote for him, but he just lost my enthusiasm…

Let’s get this clear. Biden is not Harvey Weinstein. Biden, unlike Weinstein, is not masturbating into potted plants. He’s not engaging in serial sexual harassment, major casting couch pressure, or, allegedly, rape, like Weinstein. Biden seems to have a grandfather complex and all young women are his granddaughters. But sometimes, you get to a certain age, you might mix up some unconscious sexual impulses with grandfatherly fondness, even if you’re not actually touching naughty parts. And that’s what he seems to have done.

I was sorta kinda okay with him clasping a lady’s shoulders and kissing the top of her head “in encouragement” though she thought it a bit weird. I thought, grandfatherly stuff. But now there’re many accounts of him touching his forehead to a girl’s, clasping her hands, and saying, “You’re a pretty, pretty girl.” This is at least close to sexual harassment. I don’t think it’s in his mind in any conscious way, to hit on anyone, or to consider sex an aspect of the contact at all. But it has that ‘bubbling from the unconscious’ feel about it. And he’s feeling her hands and forehead, speaking of feeling, as he does this “harmless” thing. It’s a “back off Uncle Joe” if you’re doing it at a wedding or something. But the guy is poised to run for President. He’s too old, in several ways, clearly. And too insensitive to women’s feelings; and unclear about the extent of their personal space.

Joe, don’t run for President. There’s too much of this. By this–check out this picture, and the lady’s expression–and consider that she’s a sexual abuse survivor: