Wednesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    For those interested in China and France, I came across this lengthy and detailed paper from 2001 summarizing France’s relations with Taiwan from 1954 to 2000.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    [China-France discussion alert]
    The reason I was diving into the France-Taiwan relationship was trying to parse how we got from 2004’s position that China is justified in a military takeover of Taiwan if the island seeks formal recognition of its sovereignty, to today’s news that France is sending a minister to Taiwan as part of a high level EU delegation and is publicly supportive of a strong Taiwan.

    Nothing I’ve found so far has changed my opinion that, despite wanting to be seen as a world leader, France has no real long term strategy but rather a series tactics in pursuit of short term goals, usually economic ones. Sophisticated Asian countries must surely see that France’s policy today means nothing about their policy ten years from now.

  3. sam says:
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Yesterday we had discussions around who what R would challenge Maggie Hassen in NH, here are a couple of names out of the running.

    Former U.S. senators Kelly Ayotte, who was unseated by Hassan in 2016, and Scott Brown, who made an unsuccessful bid against Shaheen in 2014, had been considered top contenders for Hassan’s seat should Sununu decide not to run. But both appear to have other plans.

    The Associated Press reported in a tweet that Ayotte said she was focusing on her family, not another run for office. WMUR reported that Brown will focus on the 1st Congressional District candidacy of his wife, Gail Huff Brown. The only declared U.S. Senate candidate on the Republican side is Don Bolduc, a former Army general who hoped to challenge Shaheen last year but lost in the primary. But even without Sununu in the race, Republicans still see it as a seat to turn, Scala said.

    Source

  5. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It almost sounds like R’s know something we don’t, and privately think it will be a hard seat to flip.

    (Let’s recall that in 2014 Scott Brown’s Senate bid in that state was one of the few competitive races that didn’t go the R’s way. That might tell us something both about Brown’s hesitance to run again and other R’s reluctance about this race.)

  6. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Damned if it’s not obvious: Benito the Cheeto.

    See, this way he gets to be Senate Majority Leader once the GTP takes over Congress in 2022. He can then press to also be named Speaker of the House. Then he can pass a law* declaring himself president, thus reversing the greatest free election, I mean greatestest electoral crime in the history of CRIME!!!1!!

    Of course, he wouldn’t resign his posts in the House or Senate, because only he can do those jobs. And when Breyer retires or dies, he can nominate himself as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Roberts who?).

    That’s the dream of the GQP, isn’t it? To finally preserve the separation of powers by placing them all in the care of one man.

    *Killing the legislative filibuster, I mean, the 60 votes, once and for all. No need for a minority veto when the minority becomes the permanent majority.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    Maggie only won by ~2000 votes in 2016 and currently her approval is around 33%, but most of that can be attributed to the Dem follies in congress. But she is definitely vulnerable and having Sununu and Ayotte off the table, is a huge break for Dems.

    Like all the R retirements in the senate, the reluctance of Sununu, Ayotte and Brown, really comes down to not wanting to be members of the do nothing caucus and potentially a FG toady or the toady to one of his facsimiles.

    2
  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Yes, he could very well be successful in a coup if given another chance.

    1
  9. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Different governments.
    Chirac was intent on pursuing a “multipolar world” strategy and French/EU economic partnership with Beijing.
    Macron’s views are rather different.
    Just as Biden’s views and policies are not those of Trump, or even Bush.
    As was the UK, at the time TBF; and UK was still pursuing the China strategy under Cameron in 2015:
    Chancellor Osborne predicted a “golden decade” for UK/China relations, encouraging Chinese investment in British nuclear power and Huawei as key to UK 5G plans, and UK investment, financing and technology transfer in China.
    UK signed up to Beijing’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

    Did not go as far as Chirac re. Taiwan, though; but arguably were deeper connected in terms of economics and finance. (Also, London has become a central nexus in the offshoring of wealth by Chinese party/business elites.)

    Point is, both UK and France have changed minds and policies re. China.

    The key European player, that has not moved much, publicly, as yet (as far as I am aware) is Germany
    A “subtle shift” is about it, so far.

    1
  10. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I don’t disagree with any of that, but I think there’s more that’s going on. I think the GOP tend to view the state kind of like the way we view North Carolina–a state that seems very competitive on the surface, but which they repeatedly come up short, and that gets to be frustrating and demoralizing. And unlike NC for Dems, NH doesn’t really offer much to the GOP in the way of a broader strategy for making inroads in the region. It’s got very few electoral votes, and the GOP isn’t on the brink of breaking into anywhere else in New England except perhaps for quirky Maine. That doesn’t mean they can’t win this seat, but I think there’s a reluctance to get too attached to challenging it, especially if they have other, clearer paths to a Senate majority, as they absolutely do.

  11. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A chance, and if he puts someone in charge of the coup who 1) knows what they’re doing and 2) will expend more than the minimal effort required (or thought to be required).

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    Given how hard nat’l R’s lobbied Sununu, it is difficult to see that they aren’t invested in that seat. I expect that they’ll ratchet up the pressure on Ayotte as well.

    Despite Dems winning the federal elections in 2020 comfortably, they were massacred at the state level, losing both houses of the legislature and the executive council. That Sununu would be reelected was a foregone conclusion. So NH R’s view the Senate seats and the Dist 1 congressional seat as real possibles and after reapportionment, Dist 1 will be an R lock.

    NH is deep purple and Hassan isn’t out of the woods yet. Until we know who the R candidate is, you need to view NH’s senate race as a toss-up. If a trumpian loon grabs the nomination, then it will swing to leans Dem, but we won’t know till after the primaries.

    2
  13. JohnSF says:

    Addition to my comments yesterday re the Belarus Polish border: just a couple of hours ago saw some jaw dropping video (forgot to bookmark, again).
    Uniformed Belarussian security forces, masked, clubbing migrants to drive them back to the frontier barriers when they were unable to cross and turned back.

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Is it true that the Luckashenko folks actually appear to have flown these folks in from Syria so that they could produce this drama?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Paul Krugman
    @paulkrugman

    A nice graphic of something I’ve been saying

    Invictus
    @TBPInvictus
    · Nov 5
    Here’s 10 years of the relationship between our consumption of goods and our consumption of services. It explains a lot about why we’re experiencing bottlenecks and disruptions. We were simply not prepared for the massive uptick in goods consumption.

    If a picture is worth a thousand words. some graphs are worth a million.

    1
  16. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:
    @JohnSF:

    I’m not up to speed on China, but Xi has cranked up repression as he has taken more power (recall he’s president for life now, or whatever his title is). Not that long ago, the “one country two systems” policy was in effect regarding Hong Kong (and maybe Macau? Not up to speed).

    There was talk that Taiwan could informally rejoin China under a similar scheme. This was not very serious, but it looked like the start of a long-term trend that could turn serious. that perhaps 20-30 years down the line, it might not even make much of a difference.

    This all changed over the past five years.

  17. JohnSF says:

    @JohnMcC:
    Appear to have been multiple flight operators.
    Belarus own airline Belavia mainly on Belarus-Turkey routes, various dodgy charter operations, Turkish airlines, Iraqi Airways
    More than 50 Flights a Week from Baghdad, Istanbul, Dubai and Damascus

    I’d say, without doubt, this is being deliberately and systematically organised by Belarus, and with, at the very least, the connivance of Russia. More likely it’s actually the Russians own plan, and their money funding the operation. Aircraft charters don’t come cheap.
    (Though they probably expect to make a lot of it back by gouging the migrants)

  18. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Yes, think back to the pre-Xi period when everyone, certainly including much of the US administrations, was hoping China would gradually liberalise and “mellow”.
    Not necessarily western democracy, but a economy focused “party aristocracy”, perhaps a bit similar to pre-democratic 19th century Europe, and willing to accommodate to the “global ruleset”, treat its neighbours as equals, maintain the “one country, two systems” policy in Hong Kong, and leave Taiwan as a long term project.

    Even post-Xi, since 2012, a lot still hoped his authoritarian moves were meant to bend the party to his will and enable economic modernisations, and limited administrative reform.
    But since 2015 to 17 it has become increasingly plain Xi is intent on entrenching Party autocracy, and himself as chief autocrat, blocking any pluralism, curbing the business elite, and promoting nationalism with increasingly bellicose overtones.
    And being fixed on a zero-sum view of international relations.

    Pity.
    All the rest of the world can do now is offer engagement within limits, backed by containment options, and wait out “Xi-ism”.

    2
  19. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    The China/Hong Kong/Taiwan situation is… complex.

    Maccau is (for now) still a “separate system” because it’s a playground for the rich and powerful.

    Hong Kong has all but fallen.

    Beijing has always considered Taiwan to be “part of China”, but hasn’t had the balls to go out and take it. That might be changing–and if it does, it’s going to cause some very big issues in global politics.

    2
  20. Mu Yixiao says:

    @JohnSF:

    Yep.

    I started seeing it in small ways the last couple years I was there–things like eradicating the gatherings of food carts in the mornings and evenings as workers went to/from work.

    Then the HK passport stamp became a “crossing sticker”.

    And… it’s just gone down hill from there. Xi is definitely taking things to a hard-line backwards position. It’s sad to see.

    1
  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    Officer dies of COVID while on leave for missing California city’s vaccine deadline

    A California police officer died of COVID-19 while he was on leave for not meeting San Francisco’s Nov. 1 vaccination deadline, according to media outlets.

    San Francisco Police Department Officer Jack Nyce tested positive for the virus on Nov. 2 and died Saturday, Nov. 6, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. His symptoms were so severe on Nov. 6 that he was taken to a hospital in an ambulance and died later that day.

    1
  22. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Herman Cain award.

  23. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @Barry:
    The crackpot websites will have the following explanations for this:
    1. He did get the vaccine, and it killed him.
    2. Something else killed him, and they’re lying about it being Covid.
    3. There’s no such person; it’s a false flag operation intended to intimidate the rest of the SFPD into getting the shots.

  24. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    One can imagine the wingnuts saying the vaccine would not have protected him (not if taken on Nov. 1st, in truth), and that he dies because he didn’t take ivermectin.

    But if the vaccines were wholly ineffective, and ivermectin were 100% effective in “curing” COVID, we’d see tons of stories of vaccinated people dying of COVID and unvaccinated ivermectin addicts not dying.

    The death rate in the US seems to be around 2-3% overall. No doubt it’s bigger in the elderly and those with comorbidities, and lower in younger people. That is an average, but overall the death rate is low, as is the hospitalization rate.

    What this means, is that plenty of covidiots in the ivermectin tribe will get better on their own, ivermectin being a mostly safe drug that won’t affect the course of their chose disease. To them, and those of their ilk who hear about them, this is PROOF!1!!! the antiparasitic medicine is magic and it works.

    Meantime there are very few stories of vaccinated patients dying in droves of COVID.

    2
  25. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: The first time I heard of ivermectin was when it was reported to have been taken by Tennessee radio host Phil Valentine, now dead from Covid. For some reason, the anti-vaxxers never mention that case.

    (Of course, the fact that he took ivermectin and is now dead doesn’t prove that ivermectin is ineffective against Covid. I’m just saying if I did cite this anecdote as proof, it would be no less logical than the arguments of the anti-vaxxers–“I had Covid, I took ivermectin, and now I’m fine; therefore, ivermectin cured me.”)

    1
  26. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I’ve known about ivermectin for pets since the late 1980s, but always thought it was a heartworm preventative (Heartgard, by veterinary prescription only) given to dogs on a monthly basis.

    Ivermectin as an anti-parasitic for human use has been around since the mid-1970s.

    1
  27. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    We must remember, people love a heartworming story.
    🙂

    8
  28. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Thank you. One picks up a bit of information, it looks & ‘feels’ so obviously correct that I (at least) don’t trust it.

  29. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Oh, God, that was awful.

    4
  30. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:
    @Mu Yixiao:

    We can draw a couple of points from this:

    1) It’s not irrational for a country’s leader to change their country’s posture towards China, when China changes its domestic and foreign policies.

    2) One can also question whether France and other Western countries have only a reactive policy towards China, and how effective such a course of action is.

  31. CSK says:

    Venomous sharks have been found in…the Thames River.

  32. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    Are they sure it wasn’t just a Tory MP having a swim?

    2
  33. wr says:

    @Kathy: “There was talk that Taiwan could informally rejoin China under a similar scheme. This was not very serious, but it looked like the start of a long-term trend that could turn serious.”

    During the last presidential election, a pro-China candidate was leading for a long time in the polls, saying it was possible to live happily in a one-government, two systems government. Then, shortly before voting began, China moved to take over Hong Kong… and the incumbent swept to massive victory.

  34. Stormy Dragon says:

    Judge Schroeder’s phone rings in the middle of the Rittenhouse trial, and it just happens to be the theme song from the Trump rallies when he walks on stage. Go figure. pic.twitter.com/3LE44QwNkB— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 10, 2021

  35. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    😀 I believe so. Apparently the Thames, which–as I’m sure you know–was declared biologically dead in 1957 is now teeming with aquatic life.

  36. Kathy says:

    I’ve often said we’ll be disappointed when we meet aliens, when we find they work jobs, raise families, consume entertainment, etc. just like we do.

    So, I’ve been wondering: how would life differ if we didn’t have to worry about most products and services? If machines took care of all mining, manufacturing, roads, airports, bridges, etc. and provided all services, including medical, surgeries, cleaning, cooking, etc.?

    To be sure, there are stories along these lines. In E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, people are intellectually active but physically idle and seldom even meet in person. Spoiler Alert: they can’t do anything without the machines

    Clarke imagined something similar in The City and The Stars. He describes a popular entertainment, the sagas, which is very much like we imagine VR will be someday (without any gear, it all happens in your mind). He tells us people engage in art and science, and they govern themselves, under machine supervision, but we don’t get much of a sense of what that’s like.

    And that was a very large part of the premise in WALL-E. I assume everyone knows what happens then, though the story requires humans to show initiative when it matters.

    There are more questions, though. What happens with the economy? Do people still own property and money? Do they even need to? Is there a need for government anymore?

  37. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    Yes, seen stories in recent years of salmon being spotted; but apparently still no breeding population.
    Lot of controversy lately over government refusal to impose a duty of zero sewage discharge on the water companies.
    It would be a shame if being out of the EU regulatory system on pollution control led to a reversal in the river cleanups we’ve seen since the 1980s.

  38. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Old communist line: ultimately economics, and all known social modalities, are based on scarcity.
    It’s one reason why old-line marxists were always a bit chary about forecasting what society under “true communism” would be like.
    Post-scarcity economics would be almost as unimaginable to bourgeois/proletarian man as living on land to a fish.

    OTOH: my personal opinion, there may always be some economics re. positional goods.
    Above all, land, for example: not everyone can live in the same place. 🙂
    South California beach-fronts or Manhattan apartments fronting Central Park are inherently limited goods.

    2
  39. JohnSF says:

    2654145″>Kathy:

    …how would life differ if we didn’t have to worry about most products and services? If machines servants took care of all mining, manufacturing, roads, airports, bridges, etc. and provided all services, including medical, surgeries, cleaning, cooking, etc.?

    Welcome to life as an English aristocrat c. 1700-1900.
    Or for that matter a inactive member of the modern plutocracy.

  40. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I’ve read some XIX Century British fiction, The Picture of Dorian Grey comes to mind, so I’m familiar with that.

    But servants aside, there were other working classes, including well-paid people who ran the economy that kept the aristocrats idle. I’m wondering a setting where no one needs to work, or where there simply is no work done by humans that has any economic importance.

  41. Jen says:

    Apropos of nothing, David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post has a podcast and it looked into the Trump online store and apparently there is a $100 candle for sale there.

    I guess we can all find out what the scent of despair is…

    1
  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    A few weeks ago Jen and I mentioned that NH had stupidly rejected $22M in Covid relief funds for
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and predicted it action would be reversed. Well it was today.

    1
  43. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    I appreciate that. 🙂
    Though I’m sometimes uncertain how far some members of the ruling classes of human societies have regarded their subordinated fellow Homo sapiens as fully human.
    So, take an aristocratic leisured society, get rid of its spirititually corrosive dependency on exploitation of fellow human being by substituting machines: boom! communist utopia.

    OTOH, for no work to be required implies AI at near-sentient level, if you regard the mental application of organising such a society as highly demanding work.
    And if you have sentient grade AI, you’re either back to the en-serfment of intelligent beings, or perhaps to the effective rule of such beings.

    Or a combination of the two, maybe: mental mamelukes (the “rulers-who-were-slaves” of the medieval middle east)

  44. JohnSF says:

    All in all, the problem of post scarcity economics is a nice problem to have.

    An interesting question in the economics of the modern left is the dialectic of classical socialist end-state objectives of post-scarcity economics and eco-political concepts of absolute material limits.

  45. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yes, along with a nonbinding statement condemning vaccine mandates…

    Honestly…

  46. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Yes, yes! You, too, can EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF TRUMP!!!!

    And…

    YOU CAN TAKE THE ELEGANCE OF THE TRUMP HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!
    With curated gift sets!

    I’m so excited. All my shopping needs taken care of at one handy website. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, I want more than a $90 Trump Plane ornament for my Christmas tree!

    http://www.trumpstore.com

    2
  47. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Bwa ha hahahahahahahahaha…

    I have several comments I’m holding back on. Seriously, I’ll save the moderators the trouble of blocking them. Snarkometer just pegged at 14…

    1
  48. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    Though I’m sometimes uncertain how far some members of the ruling classes of human societies have regarded their subordinated fellow Homo sapiens as fully human.

    I’m sure there were exceptions, but overall the answer is “no.”

    And if you have sentient grade AI, you’re either back to the en-serfment of intelligent beings, or perhaps to the effective rule of such beings.

    That’s one big gaping hole in science fiction. In the last* Terminator movie, one T-800 model takes up a life once he’s done with his mission, because he had no further instructions. He works his own business, marries a woman, and even has an adoptive child (and owns plenty of guns). But I’m sure this was done more to fill a plot hole (why is the T-800 still around) and for comic effect.

    I half expected the second season of Picard to pick up the matter of the androids in the Federation, though it looks more like we’ll be back to one token android while the Q story plays out (interesting, he’s now the good Q given political developments in real life).

    I suppose The Orville could take the matter up, if Isaac’s people are not just the Klingons du jour for season 3, if that ever gets made.

    The Kylons are portrayed in The Orville do represent the notion that sentient machines will leave organic being behind in every respect, and choose to wipe us all out as a nuisance, or because their organic creators made them as slaves or servants and they don’t trust us at all (and can you really blame them?)

    And now we’ve digressed 🙂

    *I may be overly optimistic and it was the latest movie rather than the last.

  49. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Ah, go on. I’m sure Steven and James won’t mind.

    Seriously…who buys this crap? It’s like all Trump merchandise. The people who think it’s “classy” can’t afford it, and the people who can afford it wouldn’t be caught dead with it.

    1
  50. Mu Yixiao says:

    Dean Stockwell dead at 85

    It is with great sadness that we must report (via Variety) that beloved character actor Dean Stockwell has passed away at age 85. The actor, who had been quietly retired and creating art at his residence in Taos, New Mexico since 2016, died peacefully in his sleep at his home.

  51. Stormy Dragon says:

    Apparently Letitia Wright (who plays Shuri in the MCU movies) was injured on the set of Black Panther 2 and went home to the UK to recover, but she’s an anti-vaxxer and because of the new travel guidelines, may not be allowed back into the US to film the rest of the movie.

  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Two thoughts:

    First:
    While I can’t speak to the “machines do everything” angle, the notion of a post-scarcity world is the foundation of Star Trek. At its start, there was no “economy”–people did what they did because they wanted to, not because they needed money. Everything you want comes out of the replicator (okay, those didn’t appear until TNG, but the premise was there).

    By the time we got to DS9, we had gambling and currency (gold-pressed latinum) and more ideas of ownership.

    Second:
    The Stainless Steel Rat

    While it’s not about a post-scarcity society, it delves deeply (and funly) into the notion of how humans react to “perfect” societies. There will always be criminals, outcasts, radicals, etc. Humans are not built to exist in “perfect” societies.

    We currently live in a world that was unthinkable just 200 years ago. And yet people scream about how horrible the world is.

    The US throws away enough food to feed entire countries.

    In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.

    And we’re still paying farmers to not produce. If it was simply a matter of how much food we can produce, we could solve world hunger next harvest season. Why don’t we?

    Power, politics, racism, nationalism, pride, greed, corruption, hatred, and a thousand other reasons that have zero to do with the practicalities of feeding people. Exactly zero of those will disappear if all labor is done by machines.

  53. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    The Kylons are portrayed in The Orville do represent the notion that sentient machines will leave organic being behind in every respect, and choose to wipe us all out as a nuisance, or because their organic creators made them as slaves or servants and they don’t trust us at all (and can you really blame them?)

    Most of the sentient or near-sentient animals on our planet don’t seem to be trying to deliberately wipe out all the other animals on the planet, so it’s not clear why a sentient AI would deliberately want to do this either. Now I could see them perhaps accidentally wiping us out due to carelessness, but the assumption they’d necessarily be genocidal seems without empirical basis.

  54. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    A tangential note on food waste.

    A few years ago, Whole Foods got a lot of shit for selling peeled oranges in a plastic container. Everyone was outraged that WF would use plastic when oranges have a natural peel!

    I can guarantee you that the oranges in the containers were ones that had “slightly blemished” peels–which the shoppers at Whole Foods wouldn’t buy because they weren’t “perfect”. WF chose to remove the peel and sell them in containers. The other option is to throw them away.

    Could they have worked out agreements with local food pantries to send the “good but unsellable” produce to them? Possibly. But laws and ordinances in many jurisdictions make it difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible to do this. There are even laws that prevent giving culled produce to a farmer to feed to his livestock (pigs will eat anything).

    Produce has a cull rate of about 30%-50%. Not because the produce is rotten, because people won’t buy “ugly” food. And a majority of that blame falls on the shoulders of those on the well-to-do progressive-blue end of the spectrum. When you’re counting pennies at the grocery store, you don’t quibble about a blemish on an apple or an orange rind that’s a bit stiff.

    When I was working at the local grocery store, I worked to reduce the waste.

    * “Ugly” oranges were sliced and wrapped on trays. They were often paired with slices of ripe kiwi. These sold very well because people saw it as a convenience–they could eat the fruit without having to peel it. They would have been thrown out otherwise.

    * “Ugly” onions and peppers were sliced up into “Fajita kits”. They were placed in the meat case next to the fajita meat (random bits left over after steaks and roasts were cut out of primals). They sold great.

    * Culled tomatoes, peppers, and onions were combined with a few other ingredients to make salsa. With the exception of the cilantro (sometimes), lime juice, and cumin, everything in the salsa would have otherwise been thrown into the trash.

    Progressives (and liberals) love to trash rural people. But… you want to know how to reduce food waste? Talk to the mother of a farm family.

    3
  55. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Most of the sentient or near-sentient animals on our planet don’t seem to be trying to deliberately wipe out all the other animals on the planet,

    Well, not all of them. We still need some of them. But we’ve wiped some out deliberately.

    Now I could see them perhaps accidentally wiping us out due to carelessness, but the assumption they’d necessarily be genocidal seems without empirical basis.

    I agree. Though carelessness in this context makes me think of the robot planet Capek 9 in Futurama, and maybe a human hunt just got our of hand, eh?

    Seriously, with no working sentient AI as yet, everything we think about them is pure speculation. If they turn out to be like us, you know, made in our image and all that, we’d have ample reason to fear them.

    In one of his books, I forget which, Yuval Noah Harari posits an AI destroying all humanity so it can perform its task of endlessly calculating Pi without interference or distraction. Recently I posed the idea of an AI, named Demeter, charged with helping solve the climate and environmental issues, who wipes us out because she decides we’re the problem.

    Asimov dealt with the fear of robots extensively in his robot stories and novels. He famously came up with the Three Laws of Robotics to keep robots from harming human beings. In later stories, though, he does a 180 of sorts and shows some flaws in these laws. I’d tell more, but that’s a couple of massive spoilers.

    You may want to look up a novella called “..That Thou art Mindful of Him,” and the last Foundation novel, “Foundation and Earth.”

    I’ll indulge a minor spoiler and quote from the last robot novel, “Robots and Empire,” in which we find robots that can hurt humans because “A human being is what it’s defined to be,” to the robotic mind.

  56. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    because people won’t buy “ugly” food.

    Present.

    At work, they organize produce in the warehouses by how it looks (really). The best looking is sent to food distribution, the rest to food preparation (our personnel prepares the food).

    My local supermarket sells fruit and vegetable juice, which I’m sure is made with the unsellable stuff. Also sliced oranges, jicama, carrots, etc.

  57. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    Seriously, with no working sentient AI as yet, everything we think about them is pure speculation.

    Yes, but Ocam’s razor would suggest that, absent a counter example, AI sentience is more likely to be like biological sentience than like a fictional sentience that’s never actually been encountered outside the imagination

  58. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yes, but Ocam’s razor would suggest that, absent a counter example, AI sentience is more likely to be like biological sentience than like a fictional sentience that’s never actually been encountered outside the imagination

    But, that’s not really how Occam’s razor works though.

    And we have seen some very different biological intelligences and even sentience as different creatures organize themselves — although the jury is out on sapience.

    Octopuses branched off from us before any significant intelligence had arisen, and so their intelligence evolved basically independently of ours (and their neurons are far more scattered throughout their body) limbs.

    We are learning more and more about crows.

    Arthropods (especially bees, ants, etc) have relatively simple individuals that work together in complex manners. Totally unlike our intelligence, to the point where it is hard to say if the colony is intelligent, although you can see problem solving at that level.

    Among sapiens, we have clear evidence for people who think in words, and people who think in images, which is two very different organizing principles for intelligence. Add in autistic and other neurodivergent folks and it’s hard to tell what a homo sapien intelligence is like, and we don’t have a lot of information about the other human species.

    Honestly, it’s far more likely that we will simulate some aspects of our intelligence in machines than to get all of it.

  59. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Progressives (and liberals) love to trash rural people. But… you want to know how to reduce food waste? Talk to the mother of a farm family.

    I don’t know why you insist on drawing this dichotomy. I can only think that maybe it’s a product of the liberals that you personally know that is driving this, because it’s annoying AF to have these generalizations drawn. It’s about as pure a form of anecdotal fallacy as they come, because I see the exact opposite–my liberal friends are the ones who recognize the issues with food waste, and my conservative friends are the ones who gripe about grocery stores selling “damaged” food. My ex-SIL–a staunch Trump supporter–would throw everything out of her fridge at the end of the week without even looking at it to see if it was okay or not.

    I grew up abroad, living in several developing countries. I saw children who were malnourished and starving. Food waste is about as close to sin as this agnostic can get. I have an established process–produce that is past its prime gets turned into a frittata or soup or thrown into a freezer bag for use in stock at some point in the future…and on and on.

    Maybe we can stop with the attempts to label everything as a red issue or blue issue and just agree that Americans waste a f&ck-ton of food, and it’s horrible behavior.

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  60. Thomm says:

    @Mu Yixiao: how about a low income single mother in a city center? Or is it only rural folk that are special like that?

    2
  61. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Thomm:

    Is that single mom in the city center giving the bread crusts to the chickens so she can get eggs for breakfast? Then putting the shells and coffee grounds–along with carrot greens, celery leaves, potato peels, apple cores and other “waste” into the compost to put on the garden where she’ll grow veggies that will be canned for use through out the year? Is she serving beef tongue and heart for dinner? Making liver dumplings and ox-tail soup–because you can get those parts for free when you slaughter a cow?

    It’s not just about “stretching a dollar”–it’s about taking the stuff that others throw out and using it to make more food.

  62. Jen says:

    @Thomm: So, there you have it Thomm–the answer is yes, rural poor are just better. 😐

    @Mu Yixiao: Of course, you know full well that a low income mother in a city center usually doesn’t have access to a garden, or a cow to slaughter. She probably doesn’t even access to a decent grocery store, because food deserts are a thing.

    PS–bread crusts, carrot greens, celery leaves and potato peels are all edible–those shouldn’t even be waste.

    The rural poor are no more virtuous than urban poor, and there is no red/blue divide in who is more attuned to food waste.

  63. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    The rural poor are no more virtuous than urban poor

    Never said they were. You’re bringing in some abstract BS to cover the fact that you just don’t like rural people. You think they’re lower than you.

    Is it really so difficult for you to to admit that rural people just might have skills and knowledge that are valuable? That they just might–in those areas–be more skilled and knowledgeable than urban folk?

    I suggested that rural farm families have a history and culture of using what others would consider to be “waste”. That’s knowledge that could be shared with inner-city people to help them. Roof-top gardens, window gardens, guerrilla gardens–all of these could benefit from learning from what farmers have been doing for centuries.

    Gods forbid that the “party of inclusion” debase themselves to learn anything from “those ignorant hicks”.

    Are there some serious social issues with right-leaning rural America? Absolutely. But those are problems with issues and attitudes. But you have it in your head that “those people” are beneath you.

    You are saying I’m less worthy because I live in farm country and speak out for those of us that live here–regardless of my politics (which, coincidentally, probably align with yours most of the time).

    And this is one big reason why Democrats can’t gain a foothold in rural states–even though they promote policies that many rural voters support.

  64. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    . You’re bringing in some abstract BS to cover the fact that you just don’t like rural people. You think they’re lower than you.

    WTAF are you talking about? I *LIVE* in a rural area. I worked in (Republican) politics in the rural Midwest and still have friends who live there ON FARMS. My mom grew up poor on a farm in upstate New York.

    Don’t push that “you just don’t like rural people” nonsense on me. You are the one making ridiculously broad generalizations about who is more appropriately thrifty when it comes to food waste. It’s a silly, unsubstantiated generalization.

    Gods forbid that the “party of inclusion” debase themselves to learn anything from “those ignorant hicks”.

    You know, I should just stop right now with that comment. I have never, ever made any kind of generalization that comes close to that. Step down off your high horse, and get over yourself. If you think I am making anything close to that as an argument, you haven’t been paying attention. At all.

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  65. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You’re bringing in some abstract BS to cover the fact that you just don’t like rural people. You think they’re lower than you.

    This honestly is so far off the mark I am struggling to wrap my head around it.

    Has it yet occurred to you the sheer arrogance of what you are suggesting? That urban poor would need instruction on thrift? Nope. You’re too caught up in the narrative that you’ve created.

    Could the rural poor learn something from the urban poor, and vice-versa? Yes, I’m sure they each could. Would our nation benefit from rural-urban/urban-rural externships? Yep, I bet they could. I’ve advocated that for years. But that’s not what you are suggesting, is it?