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On July 12, 2022, I posted about the plight of Dutch farmers, especially those who raise cattle.

Farmers in the Netherlands had been openly protesting for some time over the very real possibility that their government wanted to give up their land voluntarily so that it could be repurposed outside of farming. The EU says that there is a nitrogen problem which farming exacerbates.

I followed up with another post on the subject on August 29. Dutch farmers were still protesting, in vain.

Innovative farming methods

Throughout the past few centuries, the Dutch have shown themselves to be geniuses when it comes to trade and to farming.

Not everything they did a few hundred years ago was perfect in that respect, but, more recently, they have established themselves as the kings of cultivation in innovative ways.

On July 29, 2022, Jesse Rentoul wrote about their new innovations for the DutchReview: ‘Farming for the future: why the Netherlands is the second largest food exporter in the world’.

Emphases mine below.

For a small country, the Netherlands punches far above its weight:

In 2021, Germany was the largest international consumer of Dutch bio-products (€26.3 billion), followed by Belgium (€12.1 billion), France (€8.6 billion), and the UK (€8.6 billion). 

Ornamental plants and flowers are the hottest export items for the Netherlands, raking in about €12 billion in 2021. Dairy products, eggs, meat, and vegetables profit over €25 billion combined. 

The Dutch have moved with the times and have been fully engaged in reducing carbon emissions for some time:

Innovation, in general, has always been a key part of Dutch culture and society and has really helped in developing more modernised farming methods in the lowlands. 

The R&D (research and development) expenditure in the Netherlands has more than tripled in the past 30 years, that’s around 2% of the nation’s GDP! So, no wonder the Dutch have a reputation for being innovative and forward-looking … 

Here are our three favourite examples, that also help the agriculture sector become more sustainable.

The University of Wageningen grew their first crop of locally grown Dutch bananas using an alternative soil composite made of coco peat and rock wool. The process makes sure no fungus makes its way into the product through bad soil, and overall creates a more efficient and effective banana growing process. 

Naturally, with a globally increasing demand for meat comes a constant need to feed livestock. Dutch company Nijsen/Granico produce about 90,000 tons of animal feed a year entirely from human food waste and thus creates a far more sustainable meat production circle. 

In 2018 we wrote about Rotterdam’s new “floating farm“. The entire farm will be sustainable, feeding their cows with leftovers from local restaurants, collected by electric-powered trucks from GroenCollect

The remaining feed needed will come from home-grown duckweed — how smart! Even the cow manure is collected and sold, making the floating farm quite sustainable.

It’s no secret that the agriculture sector is one of the most problematic in terms of global emissions and climate change. That’s why the Dutch made an oath that goes a little like this: “producing twice as much food using half as many resources”. 

Since the turn of the century, many farmers have reduced dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90%. Dutch farmers have also almost completely eliminated the use of chemical pesticides in greenhouses. 

The article ends with the current situation with the government opposing the farmers:

… the Dutch government aims to cut its nitrogen emissions in half by 2030, farmers are among those most affected.

The high tensions between the government and the farmers are not making life easier for Dutch consumers, and the most recent clashes have brought increased attention to the impact of Dutch agriculture on the longevity of the planet. 

Nevertheless, the Dutch innovative culture might give the environmentally concerned some peace of mind. After all, the top-five agri-food companies in the world have bases in the Netherlands, so the way to global change is relatively short

Can the Dutch government wait? No, it cannot.

A Dutch lawyer, Eva Vlaardingerbroek, has been making regular appearances on GB News programmes and has also been on Tucker Carlson’s show to talk about the farmers’ plight. At the end of November, the government declared that it would make forcible purchases of 3,000 farms:

On November 28, The Telegraph reported:

The Netherlands is attempting to cut down its nitrogen pollution and will push ahead with compulsory purchases if not enough farms take up the offer voluntarily

Farmers will be offered a deal “well over” the worth of the farm, according to the government plan that is targeting the closure of 2,000 to 3,000 farms or other major polluting businesses.

Earlier leaked versions of the plan put the figure at 120 per cent of the farm’s value but that figure has not yet been confirmed by ministers. 

“There is no better offer coming,” Christianne van der Wal, nitrogen minister, told MPs on Friday. She said compulsory purchases would be made with “pain in the heart”, if necessary. 

The Netherlands needs to reduce its emissions to comply with EU conservation rules and agriculture is responsible for almost half the nitrogen emitted in the proud farming nation

The Dutch environment agency has warned that native species are disappearing faster in the Netherlands than in the rest of Europe and that biodiversity is under threat. 

But the new plan looks set to reignite tensions with farmers over nitrogen reduction

Dutch farmers have staged mass protests, burnt hay bales, dumped manure on highways and picketed ministers’ houses over the last three years

In 2019 a ruling by the Dutch Council of State meant every new activity that emits nitrogen, including farming and building, needs a permit.

That has prevented the expansion of dairy, pig and poultry farms, which are major sources of nitrogen from ammonia in manure mixed with urine. This can be harmful for nature when it washes into rivers and the sea. 

Last month, an army of thousands of tractors took to the roads in protest and caused the worst rush hour in Dutch history with 700 miles of jams at its peak. 

Farmers fear that the plan to slash emissions by 2030 will cost them their livelihoods, oppose any compulsory purchases and argue farming is unfairly targeted while other sectors such as aviation are not

Incredibly, at a time when more migrants are flowing into Europe from other continents, the Netherlands plan to use to reclaimed land for housing. How will millions more people eat?

The voluntary buyout scheme was “the only way to finally create opportunities for the construction of homes, the construction of new infrastructure and for projects to make the Netherlands more sustainable in the shortest possible time,” said Ingrid Thijssen, chairman of VNO-NCW, an employers’ federation in the Netherlands. 

Interestingly, similar plans implemented over the past 25 years have failed:

Last month, the Netherlands Assessment Agency said other buyout schemes over the last 25 years had failed to substantially cut the number of cattle

Maoism redux

Alexandra Marshall, the editor of the Australian online edition of The Spectator, notes that the Dutch plan has a Maoist whiff about it:

The Dutch Minister for Nitrogen, Christianne van der Wal, announced that 3,000 farms will be forced to sell their properties to the government for immediate closure after ‘voluntary’ measures failed.

Christianne van der Wal, who incidentally is a member of the Freedom and Democracy party, does not understand that if a person is offered two choices that both end with the government snatching their farm – there’s nothing ‘voluntary’ about the outcome.

Chairman Mao did a similar thing in China during his ‘Great Leap Forward’ and it ended with citizens eating their children. His regime forced collectivised farming across China, promising that it was ‘fairer’ and more ‘community-minded’ than all that self-interested private agriculture.

Learning nothing from the deaths of 45 million Chinese, the Dutch Minister for Nitrogen moved closer to the limelight and allure of giddy, climate-worshipping reporters

This is the villainous conclusion to the Dutch Net Zero scandal that forms part of an approaching global food shortage manufactured entirely by the United Nations and its unsustainable ‘sustainability goals’. Other victims include Net Zero poster child Sri Lanka which collapsed earlier this year and was all-but erased from the Climate Cult hive mind

The Dutch people are living through a nightmare pseudo ‘nitrogen futures trading scheme’ where farms are killed to allow the government to build ‘900,000 desperately needed homes with wind farms’ without exceeding EU-mandated nitrogen emissions.

Who is going to feed all these people?

That’s a problem for tomorrow. As for closing farms to improve ‘biodiversity’ – how’s that biodiversity look in the middle of the 900,000 new homes? Or is that mostly concrete and steel…? Imagine being a farmer, dragged from green fields and told that the grey, lifeless city is the climate virtuoso

This is not the first time that socialism, in one form or another, has been described as a disease that attacks weak minds – and our civilisation has certainly grown physically and intellectually lazy after generations of easy-living.

Can anyone say ‘fascism’? It is the combination of government and corporate power acting in unison against a nation’s citizens:

Eco-fascism with a state religion.

A generation lacking morality and told to feel guilty about everything – including the colour of their skin – has found salvation in Climate Puritanism … They want to pass through the needle of social media approval and enter the Utopia of #ClimateJustice where everything is free.

They fail to realise that Climate Change is a death cult, ruled by demons and attended by corruption – of the Earth, of our wallets, and of our civilisation’s future. After all, what ideology could be more evil than a one that denies the basic human rights of the individual and seeks power through ruin?

According to Tombstone, written by Yang Jisheng, Mao’s Great Leap Forward proved that economically irrational policies are deadly. That a system of absolute power micromanaging agriculture, immune to criticism, and ignorant of its practical failings has the potential to inflict the worst suffering imaginable on society – even in nations blessed by natural resources.

‘The insanity and ruthlessness of the Great Leap Forward and the Great Cultural Revolution were the result of that degeneration and the great “achievement” of the totalitarian system. The regime considered no cost or coercion too great in making the realisation of Communist ideals the supreme goal of the entire populace. The peasants bore the chief burden of realising these ideals: they shouldered the cost of industrialisation, of collectivisation, of subsidising the cities, and of the extravagant habits of officials at every level.’

Protest crackdown

Eva Vlaardingerbroek told Breitbart that these planned compulsory purchases are ‘the Great Reset in full force’, hellbent on controlling people by controlling their food supply:

Eva said the same thing on Megyn Kelly’s podcast:

The elites will be just fine, while ordinary people starve, deprived of the nutrition they need:

The Dutch farmers staged another protest on December 1. Police and riot squads quickly stopped it:

This, apparently, is what Prime Minister Mark Rutte calls ‘liberal democracy’.

I do despair and will be keeping the Dutch farmers in my prayers. May Providence prevail.

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Following on from my news items of November 21, I have more, this time on Thanksgiving, crossword puzzles, technology and health.

Thanksgiving everywhere!

It is hard to disagree with Jordan Cracknell, the American wife of Olympic rower James Cracknell.

On November 22, 2022, she wrote an article for Metro: ‘Thanksgiving is a holiday that all Brits need in their lives’.

I couldn’t agree more, and I wouldn’t restrict it to the UK, either.

The problem is turkey, which the British associate with Christmas dinner. The other problem is the lack of sausage links — chipolatas — which the British associate with turkey and are absent from Thanksgiving dinner.

Not surprisingly, when Mrs Cracknell took her husband to his first Thanksgiving dinner in 2019 at a friend’s house:

he grumbled about ‘the bastardisation of British dishes’

Oh, yes. My far better half thought similarly three decades ago.

Now things are different, in both our households. James Cracknell’s reaction sums up that of those Britons who taste Thanksgiving dinners and become converts:

By the time we’d eaten, he was in awe of the ‘un-Britishly moist and juicy’ turkey.

Indeed. Americans can definitely roast turkey to perfection.

His wife writes:

Now, I am firmly of the belief that this American holiday needs to become a British fixture. 

Of course, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving in honour of our earliest settlers who learned from the Native Americans to cultivate the land and local livestock. That partnership and its bounty was the focus of the feast. The settlers gave thanks to God for that first harvest.

Admittedly, in Florida, initially settled by the Spanish, the menu might not include turkey. However, most Americans follow the New England menu celebrated in Massachusetts in the 1620s: turkey and corn being mainstays.

Jordan Cracknell explains what Americans give thanks for today. Her second paragraph below explains why I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas (emphases mine):

Sometimes it can just be having gratitude for being able to see relatives, who might have travelled thousands of miles across the US. Other times we give thanks for our health.

It is as simple and lovely as that, and unlike Christmas there’s no exchange of presents. A positive and non-materialistic holiday, where all the family get together, is something that seems to be missing from the British annual calendar … 

I’m one of around 166,000 Americans living in the UK, and in my experience, other US expats would also be hard-pressed to give up the holiday …

Since being here, I have managed to convince a handful of UK friends to mark the day by inviting them to dinner. Going in with an open mind, they too have enjoyed it.

Thanksgiving is now James’ favourite US holiday, and not just because of the food. ‘It just makes sense to have two major holidays back-to-back to spend with family,’ he says. ‘Why try and fit it all in over Christmas where inevitably someone gets disappointed?’

I agree – and there are also a lot of benefits to having a holiday where the focus is merely on giving thanks and spending time with your family.

She is the descendant of one of those first settlers in Massachusetts who arrived on the Mayflower and learned from the Wampanoags (pron. ‘Wom-pa-nogs’) how to cultivate the land. As she says:

My ancestors would have starved to death without the help of the Wampanoag people.

True!

There are two other advantages to Thanksgiving, for me, anyway. First, turkey is out of the way for another year, enabling us to eat goose at Christmas. Secondly, it is the start of the holiday season, so we start decorating the house for Christmas in the days that follow.

The Telegraph‘s new Cross Atlantic crossword

Speaking of things American, The Telegraph is introducing a new crossword puzzle called Cross Atlantic.

The article says that The Telegraph was the first British paper to feature crosswords, an American creation. That was around 100 years ago:

It is that rare treat: a new puzzle, to be published every weekend and daily online, in our own Telegraph, a newspaper that knows a thing or two about the genre, having delivered its first crossword to readers almost a century ago, years before Fleet Street rivals cottoned on. The name of the new game gives a hint of its origins: American crosswords whose clues engagingly blend wordplay, odd definitions, colloquialisms, general knowledge and current affairs, stretching and testing the brain without the forbidding challenge that the cryptic grid presents to the uninitiated (and which, in the 1940s, prompted Bletchley Park to use the Telegraph crossword as a test to recruit new code-breakers).

The article shows the first Telegraph crossword, which is splendidly symmetrical and a joy to behold, unlike the new Cross Atlantic, which looks ugly by comparison. I can do the original puzzle, which has quick rather than the cryptic clues that are so characteristic of British newspaper crosswords.

My British readers will be interested to know that the geeky comedian Dave Gorman already sets the paper’s cryptic crosswords and offers this advice to neophytes like me:

The formulations are unavoidable. The most frequent are hints that an anagram may be involved – using words like ‘unsettled’ that indicate other parts of the clue are anagrams of the answer. Then there are substitutes for letters. For example, ‘sailor’ often indicates the use of ‘AB’ for Able Bodied. Most solutions blend several such elements in directing the reader to a single answer.

I am lost already. I would not connect the word ‘sailor’ with the terms ‘AB’ or ‘Able Bodied’.

Anyway:

To the inexperienced, says Gorman, all this can seem impossibly complicated, not to say convoluted – an off-putting ritual only for those initiated into its dark arts.

But there is a shortcut, he says, a way that smug solvers rarely mention. This is the fact that each clue contains a simple, straightforward pointer to the whole answer. What surrounds it are small elements of the whole. But if you can find that critical definition, usually at the beginning or end of the clue, you can leap straight to guessing at the answer. Then, says Gorman, ‘you can work backwards’, to confirm your guess using the other elements of the clue.

Take a poser of which Dave is extremely proud. The elements are as follows: sea eagles are known as ernes. ‘Min’ is an abbreviation of minimum, or smallest. Golf, as military folk know, is the letter ‘G’ in the Nato alphabet. And a way, or path, is also a course.

Again, that would not even enter my head.

Continuing on:

Armed with all that, try deciphering the clue: Eagles on the smallest golf course.

Did you get it?

No, I did not.

Here’s the solution:

ERNES+THE+MIN+G+WAY. Which may still look baffling. But that’s before you add the clue to the whole answer and the number of letters:

Writer eagles on the smallest golf course (6,9) = Ernest Hemingway.

Gorman says that ‘it’s far from being the best clue I’ve written but the discovery of it – the idea that a real person’s name can also quite sensibly be rendered as a meaningful sentence – is somewhat delightful. There’s no wrestling it into submission, adding an initial of something here or the last letter of something there. So it feels like it’s been hiding in plain sight for ever. It’s like discovering a fossil on a Dorset beach – the setter doesn’t invent a clue, they find it.’

I’ll leave cryptic crosswords there. Life is too short.

Old technology fans

On Wednesday, November 23, The Guardian had a fascinating article about fans of old technology, from 100-year-old typewriters to Atari. A number of the people interviewed would have been too young to experience the initial rush when these items first appeared.

The comments were equally fascinating. I read them all. It’s amazing what people still enjoy and why.

Definitely an article to enjoy on Black Friday, while the rest of the family is out Christmas shopping.

The ‘big night out’ returns

Thankfully, after two years of pandemic fears, the big night out has returned.

This is the complete opposite to staying in with old tech.

On Saturday, November 19, The Times reported that disco-style skating rinks are this year’s hot venue for Christmas parties:

This month has seen the arrival of Flipper’s, a vast rink in a disused power station in west London, large enough to house 1,800 guests. Whatever you do, though, don’t call it a roller disco — it is a roller “boogie palace”, insists the venue, which has become one of the hottest places to host a Christmas party this year

And it is not the only new skate venue to open in recent months. Two new rinks have opened in Manchester, including Paradise Skate World, which has seen Christmas bookings flood in. It’s billed as an intergalactic experience, with tunnels you whizz through on the dancefloor and the option to hire “space visors”.

“The obvious route was to go down the retro 1980s style, but we didn’t want to regurgitate old ideas,” says Chris Legh, the co-founder, who was also behind Junkyard Golf Club, another so-called “competitive socialising” format. This is the term used to describe a phenomenon of the past decade which has transformed the nightlife of many towns. Instead of going out drinking with your friends, you take part in some low-level sporting competition: ping-pong, crazy golf, cricket nets or axe-throwing …

Flipper’s is co-owned by Liberty Ross, the model and daughter of Ian “Flipper” Ross, who founded the original rollerskating nightclub in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. It was swifty dubbed “Studio 54 on wheels” because it attracted Prince, Robin Williams, Elton John, Nile Rodgers, Cher and other hard-partying celebrities. It lasted until 1981 before it shut down

At Flipper’s it costs £22.50 for a two-hour session for an adult, including the hire of skates in a funky electric-blue suede.

Legh has another theory as to why rollerskating has become the new party craze: “If you are in charge of your Christmas party and you only have a £30-a-head budget, do you really want to spend £20 of it throwing drinks down your throat? Because so many young people don’t drink now, there is still quite a bit of discretionary spending, and skating feels active and wholesome.

“For a couple of hours, it is escapism from the digital world,” he adds. “Sure, people will take photos and post them on Instagram, but you can’t be on WhatsApp while you’re skating.”

Partying deplored in 1922

Every generation thinks it is the first to decry partying.

To the finger-waggers, any and every party is bad, especially where seemingly endless alcohol and — gasp! — cigarettes are involved.

On November 23, The Times dug out an article on the topic from its 1922 archive: ‘What cocktails, cigarettes and unhealthy meals meant for “society girls”‘.

In reality, most socialites, then and now, get parties out of their system early on and settle down with a husband and a family.

But there’s always someone, then and now, who wants to make them out to be physical and psychological wrecks.

Such was the case with Dr Agnes Savill, who delivered a lecture on partying socialites a century ago:

Dr Agnes Savill delivered a lecture on “The Dangers of Society to Health” at the Institute of Hygiene last evening. She said that the development of communities was found in the earliest stages of human society, and this gathering together of families to share a common life had many advantages, provided the individuals concerned were of a high grade and had a sound organization.

… the girl who could command her parents’ wealth left school for a life of continual excitement which resulted in mental and physical deterioration

“I have seen some of these girls after a few years of society life aged by ten years and, before the age of twenty, as worn out and nerve-tired as if they were forty.

The hectic life of continual excitement, the absence of all repose, all time for meditation, the perpetual change, the cigarette smoking, irregular and unhealthy meals — no wonder these girls become the prey of disease. And though the physical consequences are disastrous, even of greater importance is the evil effect of this life upon the character.

“Society life is responsible for deficient sleep and consequent deterioration of the nervous system. It encourages the pernicious habit of the too-frequent cigarette. It encourages the girls to take cocktails and whiskies-and-sodas, which ruin their digestion, impair their livers, and upset the nervous system, and it encourages them to take rich foods, which upset the rhythm of the body.

“The ill-health of modern society girls is in a measure the fault of their parents, who have it in their hands to postpone the downfall of our modern civilization.”

My diagnosis of Dr Savill? She was deeply envious, as are all killjoys — then and now — who wish to restrain us, young and old, from having a bit of fun.

Most socialites have taken great care of themselves throughout their lives. Very few deteriorate. They cannot. They are in the public eye all the time.

Online gambling ‘addiction’ damaging young adults

Unlike cocktails, ciggies and rich food, there is a serious phenomenon affecting some twenty-somethings, especially young men on low incomes: the lure of online gambling.

I first read about this phenomenon in a French newsweekly earlier this year. Young lads place bets on sporting events, most often football fixtures, often prompted by frequent texts from gambling firms. Enough young men are going into debt and are sometimes driven to suicide because of it to be a worry.

In fact, the French government is currently running an advert about the lure of online gambling, showing some of the texts those who bet often receive. I’ve seen them on M6. If they were in English, they’d be something along the lines of:

Hi there, haven’t heard from you in a while. Fancy a flutter?

The more the recipient ignores the messages, the more frequent they become, driven by algorithms.

The Times has a good article from November 22 on what is happening in the UK, especially in England. It says that victims also come from the middle classes. Furthermore, young women are also affected:

Health bosses urged betting firms to “think hard about the human cost behind their profits” after a 42 per cent annual rise in demand for NHS gambling clinics was revealed.

Doctors said more patients were attending A&E after losing all their money in online betting sprees. NHS gambling clinics are full of “young men in football shirts” who have fallen foul of “predatory tactics” by betting firms, including a boom in addictive “in-play” sports betting.

The health service will announce tomorrow that it has opened clinics in Southampton and Stoke, adding to a national network of five commissioned in 2019. Figures seen by The Times show that 599 patients have been referred to the service in the past six months, a 42 per cent increase on the same period last year and up 65 per cent from 2020-21.

The clinics offer addiction therapy, including medication usually given to opioid users to reduce cravings. Patients can be sent by GPs or hospitals or self-refer and usually spend several months in treatment. One in three have attempted suicide; 57 per cent report thinking they would be better off dead. There are more than 400 gambling-related suicides a year in England.

Matthew Gaskell, a consultant psychologist and clinical lead at NHS Northern Gambling Service, said that almost all the patients it saw were hooked on online gambling, including in-play betting, which allows fans to bet on every aspect of a live game. He said: “People start gambling as soon as they wake up in the morning; they’re gambling in the shower, gambling while they’re driving to work. The NHS is picking up the tab.

“There has been an increase in people turning up at A&E in crisis, in a state of suicide. People are completely desperate, begging for help and seeing suicide as a genuine escape.” The service opened in 2019 and has clinics in Leeds, Manchester and Sunderland.

With football’s World Cup going on as I write, one can only imagine the damage.

The article profiles a 34-year-old woman who developed an online slot machine addiction at the age of 24:

Jennifer, a young mother, spent weeks in hospital and lost custody of her children after her gambling addiction triggered a mental breakdown.

Jennifer — a pseudonym because she did not want to reveal her real name — began gambling a decade ago aged 24, and became addicted to online slot machines, feeling trapped “in a never-ending spiral with no escape”.

By 2019 Jennifer had £40,000 of debt and was declared bankrupt. Her mental health collapsed and she was admitted to hospital, with social services taking control of her children

She has not placed a bet for two years. She said: “The group therapy made me realise there’s gambling addicts from all walks of life. By giving me the tools to manage gambling addiction, I’ve had the platform to rebuild my life financially and it means the world to me to be with my kids again as a happy family.”

The article briefly mentioned two young men who took their lives, one of whom was an English teacher:

Jack Ritchie, 24, an English teacher, killed himself in 2017 after six years of battling his addiction to gambling.

Joshua Jones, 23, a talented jazz musician, leapt to his death from a ninth-floor balcony in 2015 after an addiction that culminated in him gambling all his money away and even selling his prized trombone.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of betting shops, but at least, I would imagine, they have some human control. Men who frequent betting shops often have a group of mates they meet up with there. They might tell their friend that he’s been betting too much too often. The staff behind the counter are also likely to have a kind word with someone they see a bit too frequently.

Feet rule knees and hips

On November 19, The Times had an instructive article on the importance of our feet and how they affect other parts of our body.

While this is intended mostly for women, sedentary men would do well to pay attention, too:

According to Dalton Wong, the founder of Twenty-Two Training and who has worked with a host of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Olivia Colman, stretching and strengthening the lower limbs can prevent pain in the feet and postural problems elsewhere in the body. Yet most of us neglect to focus on strengthening the 29 muscles of the foot and ankle.

“I am seeing an increasing number of clients coming in with hip, lower-back and knee issues that can be traced back to weakness and instability of their foot and ankle,” Wong says. “What so many don’t realise is that if you are not working your foot muscles enough, then it is reflected further up the body as ankle, knee and hip joints don’t work well.” Anatomically, these interconnecting body parts, joints and muscles that work together to perform particular movements are referred to as the kinetic chain. “Our toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, hips, pelvis and spine are all part of the body’s lower kinetic chain,” Wong says. “If one part is weak or out of kilter it has the potential to affect the rest of the chain.”

A strong, healthy foot has a moderately high arch, minimal overpronation — rolling inwards — and some natural spreading of the toes. There are four layers of muscle and soft tissue in the feet that help to lock them into position and keep us upright. A team of Harvard researchers writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine described how the foot has an intertwining central “core” of muscles that work to maintain a naturally raised arch, providing us with the stability needed to hold us in good posture or to support even the most basic movement patterns, such as walking. It follows that misuse of these muscles through, say, lots of sitting or the wearing of ill-fitting shoes can play havoc with foot performance and structure. For starters, too little strength of muscles in the feet can lead to decreased ankle mobility. “If your ankles are stiff and inflexible, you will be less able to transfer weight from foot to foot in a walking or running stride,” says Lucinda Meade, a physiotherapist at Twenty-Two Training.

We should be able to flex our toes easily:

Big toe mobility is particularly important for better balance and gait. “If you can’t bend and flex the big toe, your posture and functional movement will deteriorate,” Meade says. “We should be moving all of our toes, especially our big toes, freely for at least 15 minutes every day.”

Walking around in bare feet is also helpful:

Wong recommends that his clients perform some weekly workouts barefoot. “We spend so little time without shoes that even 20-30 minutes a couple of times a week going barefoot is helpful for strengthening the feet,” he says. Not that you should ditch shoes for workouts overnight. “It takes time to strengthen the muscles in the feet, so build up your barefoot time gradually, starting with 5-10 minutes daily,” Wong says.

Your ability to walk around in bare feet is dictated not just by the feet but by the strength of your glutes in supporting the pelvis and hips, and if these muscles are not strong enough the inside of the foot will collapse if you suddenly go shoeless, Wong says.

At the very least, practise some foot moves for ten minutes each day. “Setting aside some time for your feet will pay huge dividends,” Wong says. “And if your feet are tired or tight, roll them on a cold bottle of water to release the fascia underneath the foot.”

The article has simple foot exercises that anyone can do.

Who knew the role feet played in governing the body? I certainly didn’t.

Egg news latest

And finally, barely a day goes by without a story about Britain’s notional egg shortage. My last news post had an article about egg substitutes.

On Tuesday, November 22, The Telegraph reported that supermarkets will be rationing eggs and that the shortage is expected to last six months.

The second sentence below irritated me:

Both M&S and Morrisons have confirmed its customers are now limited to two boxes each. A spokesperson for Morrisons, which only sells British eggs, said the rationing followed “unprecedented demand” at the end of last week.

The reason for ‘unprecedented demand’ came from the media, blasting news of a ‘shortage’ here, there and everywhere.

At my supermarket, egg prices have remained relatively static for around two years: £1.10 for six, then $1.20 and, only within the past few weeks, £1.40.

Someone’s not getting paid properly — the farmers:

farmers are grappling with double-digit inflation in the price of feed and soaring energy costs to store eggs. The National Farmers’ Union has warned the supply chain issues causing egg shortages on supermarket shelves could last until next summer …

Farmers who are currently making a loss on eggs are not reinvesting in new flocks of hens, leading to a shortage for shoppers.

Robert Gooch, of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association, said the egg shortages would last until “retailers pay a fair price to farmers” …

Ioan Humphreys, a fourth generation farmer in Wales, has 32,000 birds, for which the cost of feed has risen from £250 a tonne last year to £400 today. Meanwhile his electric bill on the farm has more than tripled.

But since December, Mr Humphreys has only received a 5p increase from retailers for each dozen eggs he sells them and is operating at a loss.

He said: “I have got to sell them even if at a loss to get some money in.

“Retailers are blaming bird flu for the shortages, but I haven’t culled one bird from my flock this year. There are shortages on the shelves because farmers are not being paid fairly by supermarkets.”

An M&S spokesperson said the company had provided “additional support, including for animal feed” to help suppliers manage rising costs. Meanwhile Sainsburys said it had increased the amount it paid to its own-brand egg packers, not directly to farmers, by 40pc in the past year.

A spokesman for Asda said the supermarket was “working hard” with its egg suppliers to resolve industry challenges.

Tesco and Ocado did not respond to requests for comment.

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In conclusion, I hope that my American readers had an enjoyable turkey day and that they’ve got plenty left over to enjoy this weekend.

On Thursday, July 28, 2022, LBC’s morning host Nick Ferrari presented a hustings in Leeds for Conservative Party members:

Ferrari interviewed the candidates separately, and each had a chance to deliver a message alone to the audience.

The audience also asked questions.

Liz Truss

This year’s burning question for any politician has been, ‘What is a woman?’ Very few have defined a woman, including Rishi Sunak.

Liz played on that theme:

This hustings took place on the same day that it was announced the Tavistock clinic was to close. This next video has an excellent interview with Dr David Bell, a whistleblower who used to work for the clinic:

Liz discussed sexual identity:

A member of the audience expressed her concern that school loos were changed to unisex during the pandemic when students were at home. Liz came out in favour of separate boys and girls facilities:

LBC’s article, which has a video of the hustings in full, says:

The foreign secretary was quizzed about same-sex toilets being introduced in schools during the pandemic while speaking at LBC’s Tory hustings.

When asked about returning to single-sex toilets, Ms Truss said: “I completely agree with you – I have sought to clarify that as women’s minister.

“I’ve been very clear that single-sex spaces should be protected, particularly for young people as well as vulnerable people – vulnerable women in domestic violence shelters, for example – and I can assure you, as Prime Minister, I would direct that to happen.

“It’s a difficult time being a teenager – being a young girl – and you should be able to have the privacy you need in your own loo, so I 100% agree with you and I would make that happen.

In a follow up question from LBC’s Nick Ferrari about pupils who are transitioning, Ms Truss added: “First of all, I do not believe that under-18s should be able to make irreversible decisions about their own bodies that they might come to regret later.

“It’s very important to note that.

“And of course, schools should be sensitive – they can provide additional facilities – but it should not be at the expense of protecting young girls.”

On the subject of schools and the pandemic, Liz said it was a mistake to close schools in early 2021 and allow the pubs to stay open. She would not have closed schools but said that hindsight is a wonderful thing and no one knew at the time what to do. She did give Boris credit for doing ‘his absolute best’:

In response to Peter from Tadcaster, Liz said that she supports fracking but said it must have residents’ consent. She also supports the smaller nuclear plants, ‘like we have in Derbyshire’. She also thinks that we need to continue to use more of our own gas as an immediate response to energy demand:

There was a light hearted moment when Ferrari asked her about her university days. She admitted she was something of ‘a teenage controversialist’. She said she regretted saying that the monarchy should be abolished as soon as she said it years ago. And she has since met the Queen. She also said that she had been a member of the Liberal Democrats but left when she realised ‘the error of their ways’:

A reality show, Love Island, has been this summer’s must-watch for a proportion of the British population. Liz said she could watch only ten minutes with her teenage daughter before she turned off the television. She thinks her daughter went to watch it in another room:

Liz repeated her stance on tax, saying that the rise in National Insurance not only broke the 2019 Party manifesto but is also unnecessary as it limits growth:

Liz, who grew up in Leeds, says that the public transport there is as bad now as it was when she was a girl. She promised to improve the situation. She also pledged to cut red tape for farmers:

Ferrari asked Liz for her opinion of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, as she served in both their Cabinets. She said that she always liked Boris and supported him in the 2016 leadership contest, which Theresa May ultimately won. She gave Boris much credit during his time as Party leader and Prime Minister:

Ferrari asked her whether she would lead us into World War Three, which she dismissed as Russian propaganda and sabre-rattling. She added that the UK should have been better prepared in the past, because we did not do enough for Ukraine over Crimea and the Donbass:

On that topic, Liz said that she would raise defence spending to three per cent of GDP by 2030:

More on that below.

An audience member asked about post-pandemic staff shortages. Liz said she would tighten benefits rules to get the workshy back into paid employment. She also said she would have a training programme so that Britons had the available skillsets that we need:

Contrast her response with Rishi’s below. He wants to bring more foreigners into the country and forget about our own people.

Someone from the Bury Conservative Association asked whether Liz would give Jeremy Hunt a Cabinet position. She replied that she was not thinking about a possible Cabinet at the moment but that she would appoint a broad range of Conservative talent, should she become Prime Minister:

Please, Liz, no Jeremy Hunt. He would deploy all of Beijing’s coronavirus policies and have us masked up and in lockdown in perpetuity. He also said in Parliament that he wanted to make the annual flu jab mandatory. No, no and no!

Rishi Sunak

Last week, Rishi was adamant that tax cuts were ‘immoral’, then he did a U-turn.

He tried to convince everyone that he didn’t do a U-turn on his tax policy. Hmm:

Ferrari then gave the UK’s most recent statistics on our poor economic performance this year, but Rishi reminded him about 2021 figures, which were far higher than any other Western nation. Rishi also said that visas needed to be revisited to make sure we attract the ‘best and brightest’ into Britain. Notice how he has no plans to train young Britons for British jobs. Why am I thinking of his father-in-law’s Infosys? Hmm:

Ferrari brought up the petition to the Conservative Party to put Boris’s name on the members’ ballots. By last Thursday, more than 14,000 people had signed the petition. Rishi said that Boris had lost the confidence of his MPs, 60 of whom resigned from various Government posts. Rishi said that a Prime Minister must have the confidence of his MPs, hence the present leadership contest:

Ferrari told Rishi that he was the first Chancellor since Labour’s Denis Healey to raise corporation tax. Healey did that in 1974.

Rishi gave an incoherent answer. He said that Margaret Thatcher raised taxes in the early part of her premiership which lowered inflation. (Mmm. Actually, Margaret Thatcher got different advisers who told her to lower tax, which brought about growth.) He said that lower corporation tax has not worked over the past decade. So, he would cut tax on business investment instead.

I’ll leave this to the Rishi fans to ponder and tell me why he is correct:

Ferrari said that President Zelenskyy said that he would like for Boris to remain front and centre for Ukraine and not disappear into the background. Rishi said that Boris is ‘very talented’ but that he would not give him a post in his Cabinet, were he to become Prime Minister:

A lady in the audience asked Rishi how he viewed our current asylum system. He said that it needs to be changed, by pulling out of the ECHR and using the international Refugee Convention instead. He said that we reject far fewer asylum claims than other European countries and that needs to be changed:

Another member of the audience asked Rishi how committed he would be to supporting Ukraine. Rishi said that he ‘absolutely’ would be. In elaborating, he said that sanctions towards Russia need to be changed, because, so far, they are having little effect on Putin:

Matthew from West Yorkshire asked Rishi whether he had stabbed Boris Johnson in the back and how the former Chancellor planned to reunite the Party. Rishi said that he had to resign because he and Boris differed too much in the end on economic policy (?!). He pledged to bring the best Conservatives into his Cabinet if elected leader and thinks that would reunite the Party. Watch his leg bob up and down as he answers Ferrari near the end of the video:

Verdict

Afterwards, LBC took calls and interviewed experts about what they thought of the hustings.

LBC’s Ben Kentish asked his fellow presenter Iain Dale, a Conservative, for his views. Dale said that not every topic can be covered in one of these events. Therefore, topics such as child care and the NHS are discussed at other local meetings.

Dale thought that Liz ‘smashed it’. She did not use any notes this time. She gave ‘interesting’ and ‘entertaining’ solo speeches, which surprised him. He said that Rishi did a good job, too, but didn’t quite come up to Liz’s standard that evening. He said that Rishi has a lot of catching up to do and that ‘he’s in a real bind now’.

He concluded that it was a ‘really good evening for Liz Truss’. He gives her a 75 per cent chance of becoming the next Party leader and, by extension, Prime Minister:

Ferrari took more reactions on his Friday morning show:

Body language expert Dr Harry Witchell said that Liz was more relaxed in both her presentation and gestures than she had been previously. Rishi, he said, was much less aggressive, which was an improvement over last week’s performances:

Patrick Hennessy from London Communications Agency said that Liz is likely to have won over the Telegraph‘s readers. the Leeds audience seemed to warm more to Liz than to Rishi. He reminded Ferrari of Matthew from West Yorkshire’s aforementioned question asking Rishi if he’d stabbed Boris Johnson in the back. Indeed:

Former Conservative MP Michael Portillo said that Rishi’s campaign is slipping away. He pointed out that, after the Leeds hustings, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace came out in favour of Liz Truss and, also crucially, Simon Clarke, who worked closely with Rishi, has come out in favour of Liz:

Ferrari then interviewed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who described Liz as ‘feisty’:

Ben Wallace discussed Liz’s varied experience, reminding Ferrari and listeners that she had been Chief Secretary to the Treasury. The person in that post is the one who tells another Secretary of State whether they can increase their budget. Liz later worked in trade and is the current Foreign Secretary. Wallace said that he has been in meetings with her representing Britain around the world, so she has a lot of experience on the world stage:

Wallace told Ferrari that he ‘didn’t have the luxury’ of resigning … unlike some ministers. He meant Rishi, among others. He said that he, like the Home Secretary Priti Patel, needed to stay in place for national security reasons. The Home Secretary, he explains, has warrants to sign. He, as Defence Secretary, has military operations to authorise. He also said that he did not want Boris to stand down as Party leader:

Wallace said that, in 2019, Rishi wanted to give Defence a one-year monetary settlement. Wallace said that Boris overrode that decision and gave the department a multi-year settlement instead, which is what is necessary:

LBC has more on Wallace’s interview here.

All being well, tomorrow’s post will be about Andrew Neil’s grilling of Rishi Sunak last Friday evening on Channel 4.

News events from the past ten days have been strange, indeed.

That they are happening all at the same time shows that truth is stranger than fiction.

This is like something out of a dystopian film.

Neil Oliver’s editorial

On Saturday, July 2, Neil Oliver presented his weekly editorial on GB News:

He said that the supposed new world utopia is not working. He discussed possible Chinese social credit scores coming to the West and the increasing government control over our lives. He talked about racism from progressives towards their perceived ‘wrong kind’ of minorities who believe in conservatism, such as Justice Clarence Thomas on the overturning of Roe v Wade. He showed us the clip of Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau joking about the size of their jets at a time when Western governments are discouraging their citizens from flying — anywhere. He looked at the hypocrisy of the Glastonbury music festival, with environmentalist youths leaving behind them a load of plastic rubbish all over the massive field where it was held. He talked about how people were increasingly unable to put food on the table and asked why this was in the 21st century, a time when we have never been so advanced as a society:

It makes no sense.

He said that the elites want:

the poor to become poorer, the hungry to become hungrier and the cold to become colder.

He concluded:

… here’s the hardest pill to swallow: it’s not supposed to make sense. This is planned, done on purpose. It’s supposed to make us do what we are told. It’s supposed to make us stop asking impertinent questions and just submit to The Man. It’s supposed to divide us, one from another, until everyone feels alone. It’s supposed to make us scared, angry, cold, hungry and sick to death. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has turned into a dystopia, the kind that Neil Oliver spoke of in his editorial.

The Express summarised the situation, caused by a debt crisis (emphases mine):

Unrest has been ongoing for several months over a debt crisis that has crippled the economy.

Reserves have been drained to minimum levels and the country has defaulted on several debts, meaning it is now struggling to secure essential imports like medicines and fuel.

The south Asian nation has been plagued by sky-high inflation, rolling blackouts and mile-long queues to secure essential goods.

Sporadic protests began in late March, but have since galvanised huge support from the wider public.

Last week, after months of shortages of nearly everything in the country, protesters stormed the presidential palace and the prime minister’s residence, both of which are in the capital Colombo:

The homes of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have been occupied by local people furious with their leadership for throwing them into a staggering economic crisis …

They have since occupied the building, making themselves at home by using the pool and kitchen.

Sri Lankan police had attempted to use tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds, but they have remained defiant and are still refusing to leave.

The Express has several pictures of protesters occupying the presidential palace.

Although the president and prime minister have since resigned, protesters remain sceptical:

some are sceptical of the legitimacy of the resignations.

In a late-night announcement on Saturday, President Rajapaksa said he will step down on Wednesday.

But under Sri Lanka’s constitution, his resignation can only formally be accepted when he resigns by letter to the Speaker, which has not happened yet.

Protesters have said they will continue to occupy official buildings until both have officially stepped down.

The country’s political parties have resolved that, once both the president and the prime minister formally step down, the speaker would take the role of acting president before parliament votes for a new president on July 20.

On Monday, July 11, Dan Wootton discussed the situation, saying that much of the unrest had been sparked by green policymaking. The president’s drive to turn Sri Lanka into an organic-only country with no fertiliser has led to widespread food shortages. The pertinent part is in the first minute and a bit of this video:

Dutch farmers

Meanwhile, another chilling news story emerged, this time from the Netherlands, that of farmers protesting against possible confiscation of their land.

This, too, bears out what Neil Oliver discussed on July 2.

The EU has decreed that nitrogen emissions must be cut. They blame farmers.

Dutch farmers have been protesting against their government’s latest policy on nitrogen emission reductions, which, if Prime Minister Mark Rutte gets his way will put many of them out of business.

This was the scene on Friday, July 8:

Below are some of the replies to that tweet:

The Dutch, like most European peoples, are unarmed. The authorities prefer it that way:

Imagine if the government took away the land that you and generations before you had farmed, with either dairy cows or crops. It’s unthinkable, but it is a real threat for these men and women:

In reality, there is no emissions problem in the Netherlands. This is about something else — control:

How interesting that the BBC hasn’t covered it:

On July 7, Tucker Carlson interviewed the Dutch lawyer Eva Vlaardingerbroek, who is also a regular guest on GB News.

The Vigilant Fox has the video of her talking to Tucker as well as a transcript.

She said:

what this is about is the Dutch government stealing our farmers’ land, and they’re doing this under the guise of the made-up nitrogen crisis. And that is basically going to put most of these farmers completely out of business.

And thankfully, the Dutch farmers aren’t having it. So they’re going out in the streets, they’re blocking distribution centers, they’ve blocked the high roads, they are fighting back! And they’re right to do so; this is their life’s work. They’re really at their wit’s end. They’re devastated by what the government is doing, and it’s very clear that the government is not doing this because of a nitrogen crisis, they’re doing this because they want these farmers’ land, and they want it to house new immigrants.

They also want it because the farmers are obviously standing in their way of The Great Reset plans that they have for us. Farmers are hard-working, God-fearing, and especially self-sufficient people that are just standing in the way of their globalist agenda. And it’s driving a lot of these farmers even to something like suicide. So really, there’s only one term that we can use for the things that our government and their Premier Mark Rutte is doing right now, and that is communism.

Scary.

Tucker, like most of us, tried to wrap his head around this:

So messing with the food supply tends to cause food crises and then famines. You’re seeing this in the developing world, thanks to climate activism and the war in Ukraine. Are normal Dutch citizens who aren’t farmers worried about what happens when you shut the farms down?

Eva said that the Dutch public understand what is happening:

Absolutely! They understand it. ‘No farmers, no food,’ and that’s why the farmers have blocked these distribution centers because within a matter of a couple of hours, we saw that the supermarkets were empty, and ordinary citizens understand this.

She says the Dutch government either doesn’t understand the consequences of what is happening or they really do want to destroy farming:

The problem is that the state doesn’t seem to understand this, or it’s what they want. And the police have responded in an incredibly violent way. So as you guys have seen, now, they have even shot at a 16 year-old-boy. These are not things that you should see in free Western countries, especially not targeted towards peaceful protesters, but it’s happening.

She explained the red handkerchief she was wearing and said that similar nefarious events could happen in other Western nations:

Everyone around the world, and especially you in America, should be supporting our Dutch farmers because this could be happening to you. It’s actually the very reason why I’m wearing this handkerchief right now. It’s become the symbol of these farmers’ resistance, and they’re doing it so courageously, and they have the manpower to do it, so they really deserve your full support.

This Dutch farmer agrees with the assessment that the Dutch government wants the land. He says that it is in order to make the whole of the Netherlands one urban sprawl. You could not make this up:

It seems this is a World Economic Forum idea:

Eva gave an interview to Rebel News and confirmed the link with the WEF:

Once farmland is built on, it cannot easily be reclaimed for crops or grazing:

It sounds like fascism — corporations aligning with governments for control over the people:

Unfortunately, the British government — Conservative! — is trying the same thing in England by politely offering to buy farmers’ land. Amazing, at a time when we have so little food security:

On Monday, June 11, Neil Oliver appeared on Dan Wootton’s GB News show to discuss the unrest both the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Oliver said that Sri Lanka has also been affected by green policies which have been responsible for shortages plunging the country into crisis. He surmises that the governments have been told what to do. He doubts whether politicians will listen to the people and referenced Canada’s trucker protests earlier this year as a case in point. Trudeau froze some protesters’ bank accounts in response. Wootton responded by saying that the media were ignoring what has been going on in both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. Oliver said that this will become so big in time that the media can no longer ignore it.

To be fair, the replies to this tweet do indicate that the BBC and Sky News have been covering these stories for the past few days.

Allow me to point out that the World Economic Forum had big plans for Sri Lanka, predicting an economic boom by 2025:

These green policies are hurting people, and it is time they were stopped:

On Monday, June 11, Patrick Christys of GB News spoke to Jeroen Van Maanen of the Dutch Dairy Farmers’ Association. Van Maanen has been on GB News a lot over the past few days. He said that the government has different emissions targets, depending on the region. If this law is not stopped, he, for one, will not be able to continue farming. He also said that the government forbids using technological innovations to reduce emissions. Unbelievable. Like Eva, he stated that this is about the government buying land to house refugees:

Christys then spoke to energy analyst Andy Mayer, who said that misguided green policies are going to become problematic across Europe first, then other Western nations. Mayer said that the EU law on emissions originated in the UN. Like Tucker Carlson, Christys had a hard time wrapping his head around governments that seemingly wanted their farmers to go out of business. Mayer said that political leaders are so obsessed with reaching environmental targets that they are making terrible decisions. He said that the Netherlands exports £100m of farm products per year. Here in the UK we get a lot of produce from the Dutch all year round. Mayer says the grand plan is to have food in the West grown in other countries. Sheer madness, when we can see the result of this right now in Ukraine as Putin has prevented their grain from being harvested:

Returning to the Netherlands, it is heartening to see the farmers protest into the night:

Eva also spoke with Mark Steyn on Monday evening. Well done, GB News, for keeping this story going:

Shinzo Abe assassination

When it wasn’t governments controlling their people, it was a madman settling an imagined score last week.

On Friday, July 8, Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was campaigning for a political candidate in his party and was shot in the city of Nara:

He died soon afterwards:

What happened with security at the event?

Donald Trump’s supporters remember how close he was to Abe:

Boris Johnson also admired Abe:

When Abe’s death was announced, Boris sent a message of condolence in English and Japanese:

Abe had a long relationship with the UK. Here are photos of him with our past three Prime Ministers:

The gunman had served in the Japanese navy.

The Express reported:

A number of makeshift weapons were said to have been discovered at the home of Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who was arrested after the attack.

The navy veteran was thought to have had improvised devices, including the one used in Friday’s killing, by taping steel pipes together.

The gunman held Abe responsible for his (the gunman’s) mother’s bankruptcy. She happened to belong to South Korea’s Unification Church, the Moonies, and gave them a large donation. The gunman believed that Abe had connections to the same group. Apparently, he thought that Abe somehow influenced his mother to give her large donation.

Hmm. There is no information about security at the event, only about it being heightened in the days that followed, culminating on July 10:

The assassination has shaken Japan – a country where political violence is rare and gun ownership tightly controlled.

Mr Abe was speaking during an event for his former party, the Liberal Democrats, ahead of upper house elections.

Security was heightened as voters went to the polls yesterday and party leaders avoided mingling with crowds during their final hours of campaigning.

Abe’s traditional funeral ceremony, the tsuya, was held on Monday, July 11. It was a small gathering, led by his tearful widow Akie, 60, and attended by former prime ministers and American officials.

Boris Johnson’s ousting

Finally, at the beginning of last week, Boris Johnson was abruptly and unexpectedly ousted as leader of the Conservative Party, although he remains Prime Minister for now.

On Saturday, July 10, Neil Oliver had a pertinent editorial on Boris, saying that our MPs do not care about us, we the people. We are in their way. We count for nothing in their eyes. He was appalled by the party atmosphere surrounding Boris’s resignation and took exception with former Prime Minister John Major’s suggestion that Boris should be removed immediately from No. 10. He also criticised another former Conservative MP, Michael Heseltine, for saying that, with Boris’s departure, Brexit is now over. (Brexit was the largest plebiscite in British history.) He then went on to rightly criticise MPs for the damage done to British society with lockdown and Net Zero policies. They are now our masters, no longer our servants:

I will have more on what allegedly happened to Boris and profiles of Conservative MPs who are campaigning to succeed him as leader.

Dystopian events

That so many strange events could happen at the same time strikes me as dystopian.

I’ve never experienced a news cycle like last week’s.

Let us hope this is not a regular occurrence.

January is a time for many people to cut back on an excess of Christmas food and drink.

In the UK, a popular way to attempt this for one month is through a vegan diet, hence Veganuary.

This year, despite the economic vagaries of coronavirus, meat consumption actually rose:

On March 4, 2021, FarmingUK reported that January sales of red meat and dairy was up compared with the same month last year. In fact, meat sales have risen throughout the pandemic (emphases mine below):

Latest Kantar data shows overall volume sales of red meat were up 15 percent and almost 12 percent for dairy, compared with January 2020.

Red meat and dairy retail sales have seen solid growth since Covid-19 restrictions began last March, with shoppers buying more through retail than pre-Covid.

Over the last quarter, growth across all red meat and dairy has been stronger than overall grocery growth at 10 percent.

Primary red meat volume has seen an 18% increase, with mince driving much of the growth within beef, along with burgers and steaks, but shoppers have also brought traditional roasting joints back to the table.

The seasonal lockdown has also led to more shoppers buying primary red meat, with increased household penetration at 83 percent, Kantar figures show …

Rebecca Miah, AHDB’s Strategy Director for beef and lamb, said the red meat and dairy sectors had an excellent start to the New Year.

“[They] reflect how highly valued red meat and dairy are to consumers,” she explained.

“While alternatives show growth from a small base, these are mostly complimentary additional purchases driven by interest and variety, rather than a move away from real meat and dairy consumption.”

That’s great news for our farmers.

Christophe Pelletier, a Canadian who studies food trends, says that increased meat and dairy consumption has also been observed in other countries:

Pelletier retweeted this thread about a University of Kansas study showing that Americans preferred beef to veggie burgers:

On March 3, the university posted an article on the subject, ‘Study: consumers favor ground beef over plant-based alternatives’.

An excerpt follows:

Ground beef – offered with 10%, 20% and 30% fat — was strongly preferred for taste and flavor over plant-based alternatives, and less than one-third of the respondents said they would buy the plant-based alternatives in the store or retail settings, according to K-State meat scientist Travis O’Quinn.

“The results are pretty stark,” O’Quinn said. “Our three ground beef products were highly desired by consumers. We didn’t witness many differences among the three fat levels we offered, but when we compared those to the ground beef alternatives, every one of the alternatives had a tendency to fall out (of favorability with consumers).”

Consumers rated the plant-based alternatives as “extremely dry,” according to O’Quinn, and rated those products “very low” for flavor. In one test, only 18% of the consumers said they would be willing to buy the plant-based ground beef alternative.

O’Quinn said the researchers tested ground beef alternatives designed for retail and food service use, and another consisting of a traditional soy protein base.

It’s great to read that consumers are voting with their pocketbooks in favour of meat.

For too long now, we have been bombarded with anti-meat propaganda such as this:

The truth is that many people’s health has improved because they eat meat:

Perhaps that is why we are being ‘nudged’ away from it: less money for Big Pharma’s coffers.

Instead, we are told that meat harms our health and is responsible for pandemics:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) that meets at Davos every year insists we switch to a plant-based diet. One wonders if the bigwigs at the WEF have a plant-based diet?

The WEF works closely with the UN on food issues.

Smaller farmers are pushed out of the picture in favour of multinationals:

Yet, production of fruit and vegetables is not always kind to the environment. What about avocado production that is harming wildlife in Africa? The tweet about growing avocados is tongue-in-cheek but the effect on elephants and other native species is real:

What about this plastic monstrosity for fruit and veg in Spain? Immigrants from North Africa make up the bulk of the workers:

The Netherlands can do the same more sustainably:

There are better ways of growing crops and rearing meat. They are being implemented right now.

Here is an integrated farm of wheat and cattle. The cattle fertilise the wheat naturally. Some of the grain harvest is for them. The rest is used for consumer foods:

Smaller growers in the US and in France have been adopting this method, too.

I have seen two documentaries over the past couple of years on farming that uses an ecosystem.

One was with an American cheese maker who grows his own crops to feed the cows but also has other farm animals to keep the soil in balance.

Last week, I saw another, featuring a Frenchman who grows vegetables. He, too, has a variety of farm animals, including cows, which achieve the same objective.

And, yes, there are perfectly natural ways to reduce methane from cattle — grass grazing or a seaweed supplement:

Conclusion: the future of agriculture is hardly as bleak as we are told. Farmers are thinking out of the box — and very successfully.

The future of meat is positive — and is here to stay.

Despite coronavirus, videoconferences have been ongoing with the EU with regard to a new trade agreement.

We are at an impasse at the moment, although talks will resume during the first week in June.

Meanwhile, the UK is preparing to negotiate a trade deal with Japan:

On May 19, the Department for International Trade announced a new UK Global Tariff:

The pound rose on the announcement. Trade Secretary Liz Truss, negotiating our post-Brexit trade deals, is pictured:

On May 20, the House of Commons debated the Trade Bill:

She also discussed support for small businesses in this context:

Speaking of small businesses, this man is grateful for emergency government help during the coronavirus crisis from Chancellor for the Exchequer Rishi Sunak:

Other small business owners have reported similar success:

Returning to Brexit, on Monday, May 18, MPs passed the new Immigration Bill.

This short video provides information on the bill, which means that the UK will have the ability to accept immigrants from all over the world:

While the Immigration Bill is good news, the illegal migration across the Channel from France is something that the Home Office must tackle now:

I am not sure why such migrants are not returned to France straightaway. They are entering illegally:

It looks as if the French are aiding and abetting this migration, now done in full daylight. It used to be a night-time operation:

Nigel Farage went out on a fishing boat to film it. He says that the UK coast guard warned everyone on the fishing boat that their vessel would be impounded if they filmed the UK rescuing the dinghy, full of illegals:

You couldn’t make it up.

How can this be happening? Why?

One of the migrants even flips off Farage and the fishermen.

More below. Pett Level is in East Sussex. Dover is in Kent:

Of the YouTube video, Guido Fawkes says (highlights in the original):

This shocking video reveals that the illegal migration trade, which is a multi-million €uro criminal enterprise, is being facilitated by the French Navy. Nigel Farage yesterday videoed evidence of a dangerously over-burdened dinghy being escorted by a French Naval vessel across the English channel until it was out of French waters, where in British waters it was met by what he reports to be a UK border force vessel. This is not a “search and rescue mission”, this is a handover aiding an abetting criminal in the commission of a crime.

What is going on? …

Nigel Farage tells Guido there will be more dynamite footage. The good weather means this is peak time for illegal cross channel migration. Surely an MP should be granted an urgent question to the Home Secretary today?

Except, Parliament was already in Whitsun recess.

Nevertheless, the Home Secretary has urgent questions to answer:

Farage is not the only one to track this migration.

The BBC have done so:

So has investigative reporter Michael Crick, who has shocking figures about the numbers of illegals reaching the Kent coastline. Watch (subtitled):

On Thursday, May 21, Guido Fawkes reported that Home Secretary Priti Patel was talking with 30 Conservative MPs about it:

Guido says that the video conference was polite. Matt Vickers MP (Conservative, Stockton South) can concur. Priti Patel says that she is working with the French, 1,100 illegals have been turned back and that she will legislate against such crossings (third video below):

Guido also contacted the Home Office independently and received the following replies. It appears that this pertains, in some extent, to Brexit. Even so, under the Dublin Regulation, refugees must apply for asylum in the first safe country of arrival (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Is the Home Secretary Priti Patel aware of what the border force is doing?

    • The French boat was not escorting the migrant boat. International maritime law prevents border force intervening with boats unless they are expressly invited to. The boats were shadowing the migrant vessel in case it sank and the people needed rescuing. The first duty French and British vessels is to save life at sea. Upon arrival those aboard the boats have to be processed through the asylum system before the Government is legally able to return them.

Has this collaboration been given Ministerial approval?

    • Collaboration is wide of the mark. Priti raises the issue of channel crossings with the French interior minister every time she sees him. Both are committed to stopping it, but have to work within the framework of international law, meaning the work to stop crossings can largely only be done on land not at sea. More will be able to done to deal with boats once they have landed on British shores when the Brexit transition period ends. The Government is keen to reassess the EU’s Dublin convention on asylum application.

Is the French Navy not in breach of EU directives and/or law?

    • The French Navy is following international law. It would be illegal to intervene with the boat. Instead, the navy is committed by law to save lives at sea, and consequently shadows boats that are at risk.

Is this the official or unofficial policy of the French government?

    • The French Government has been working well with the British to stop illegal channel crossings. They do not want to allow crossings as this creates a strong pull factor for more migrants to come across continental Europe to northern France in the hope of crossing too. It is a big domestic political problem for them, and they have been largely successful in clearing migrant camps and patrolling beaches. 100 people were stopped over the weekend. Boats do however slip through the net.

Guido asked why it was the case that the Australians were able to turn back boats uninvited. They do it by breaking international law. It upsets the UN and embroils the Australian Government in a lot of legal trouble with powerful interest groups; it works though…

Also on May 21, Breitbart reported that the Fourmentin, named after a notorious 18th century French pirate who terrorised the English (!), has form in illegal migration: ‘Transponder Data Proves Farage Right on French Handover of Illegals’, having made similar trips of this nature. The Aramis, a former French naval vessel which is now a police vessel, has, too. Good grief.

There must be shady money in these operations. You or I could not take a dinghy out to sea, but these people get a military escort. One law for us and another law for people who aren’t even citizens of France or the UK. We know nothing about them (e.g. criminal records in their home countries) other than that they are male and able bodied. The mind boggles.

Several days ago, a Conservative MP said that over 600,000 immigrants arrived in the UK in 2019. I wonder if the likes of these were included in the count.

Conservative Woman posted an article by John Smith, ‘Farage migrant video shames so-called journalists’. It says, in part (emphases mine):

This is a scandal of epic proportions. More than 1,000 immigrants are known to have arrived in Britain since lockdown began on March 23. Others will have slipped through the net. This is despite Migration Watch’s constant alerts. 

Farage has been chipping away at this issue for weeks. The video is the culmination of a long investigation by him. He has undertaken this work because he believes it badly needs to be exposed for a host of reasons. Not only are these men (he says they are mainly men) probably not refugees (they are economic migrants fleeing the safety of France), but they are breaking the law. We know nothing about them, meaning there is a security risk to our citizens. There is also a public health risk because they may have Covid-19 … 

Farage has done a public service in reporting on this scandal. It’s only May. Think how many more illegal immigrants will try to cross between now and October. Once, newspapers such as the Sunday Times or Daily Mail grasped that their readers cared about this kind of story. Now, they mock those like Farage who do their reporters’ work for them.

This is Farage’s full video, posted on May 21. It includes an interview that LBC (radio) did with Priti Patel:

Just as bad is the £2.9 billion deal the UK government struck with two companies, Serco and Mears, in January 2019 (when Theresa May was PM) to provide housing and support for asylum seekers. Good grief. Why does that cost so much?

Ending on coronavirus, it is a relief that the government now has sufficient testing capacity to extend it to the general population. This is particularly important with the proposed return to school in June for certain pupils:

Looking ahead, once things stabilise after the coronavirus outbreak, hard decisions will need to be taken about aspects of national health care. We are still waiting — ten years on — for the Conservatives’ promised ‘bonfire of the quangos’:

When the military have to sort out logistics for the health system, we have a problem:

Harvesting crops is also an issue. I hope that British farms will recruit British workers wherever possible:

However, this could well be dead in the water:

The article, from May 20, is behind a paywall, but the comments are accessible. They corroborate the article’s author saying that young Britons have applied for these jobs and have been turned down — or not replied to at all. Some farms have turned down those who can work locally and live at home, rather in a six-person mobile home accommodation on the premises.

Excerpts from the article follow:

The narrative goes something like this –

Farmers: “We need workers or the crops will rot”

Her Majesty’s Government: “Then employ British workers”

Farmers: “We tried, you tried, but they just aren’t up to it, the food is going to rot”

HMG: “Oh no, we cannot allow that to happen, open the doors and ship them in” …

The author, Gawain Towler, is suspicious of DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

Some questions recently asked of Defra push towards the idea that the ministry has now decided to side with the farmers and against the views of the majority of the population. They were asked whether the Government had put any system to evaluate the success of the campaign to employ UK workers on the farms, after all there has been a great propaganda push, so surely this will have had an evaluation attached to it.

The answer was that they couldn’t say, because it was commercially sensitive. Nobody had asked about individual farms, but the broad picture – simply how many have been employed. No answer, no system in place to check.

The ministry was also asked about the series of what looks on the surface to be discriminatory measures to discourage British workers. The refusal to allow people to have transport. The demands that they live on site, rather than travel into work, in dormitories for which the workers’ pay. The demand in some cases for an up to three-week training period, to pick fruit

Why does it take three weeks to learn how to pick fruit?

The author concludes:

If the Government is refusing to address these very real concerns, and they are, if they refuse to even have any system in place to discover the efficacy of their schemes, then what are we supposed to think? I, who am still looking for work in the sector, and many thousands like me who have also failed to find work through the system must surely be justified in thinking that they are not serious. Worse still, it looks like the system is deliberately designed to fail.

Yes, it certainly does, even though it would be nice to be proven wrong.

As one can see, there is still much work to be done in Parliament this year, dominated by Brexit and coronavirus.

The head of the US Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is the man making school lunches great again.

He is also making farming great again. For too long, American farmers have been looked down upon. That’s all changing. Perdue — not related to the chicken processing Perdues — worked on his family’s farm, has a Ph.D in veterinary science, owns three small agriculture-related businesses and was the governor of the state of Georgia.

His Twitter feed — @SecretarySonny — is not only educational but will brighten the darkest of days.

This is one of my favourites:

He enjoys touring USDA facilities around the country just to pop in for a chat:

He recently went to see the flood damage in Arkansas. The USDA will do what it can to help:

He enjoys visiting farms:

He’s visited grain barges:

He’s delighted that China is once again importing US beef, for the first time since the Bush II administration:

And here he is with his lovely wife Mary:

How many people know what’s going on in the USDA? Follow Sonny Perdue and find out what Big Media aren’t reporting.

Because I’m a foodie, school lunch has been a personal topic of interest over the past five years. See my past posts on the subject:

The US government’s emaciation of America’s schoolchildren (October 2012)

Young Americans hope Trump will make school lunch great again (January 2017)

I now have cause for rejoicing.

Sonny Perdue, President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture, has only been in the job since April 25, 2017, and, already, he’s making school lunch great again!

On Friday, April 28, the Daily Mail reported:

Sonny Perdue is set to introduce new standards that will give schools more flexibility in relation to the National School Lunch Program.

On May 1, The Guardian reported that new guidelines will pertain to sodium levels, milkfat and grain content (emphases mine below):

Perdue said the program was not effective because kids would not eat the healthier food.

“If kids aren’t eating the food and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition, thus undermining the intent of the program,” Perdue said at a school in Leesburg, Virginia.

Perdue made his announcement at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia to mark School Nutrition Employee Week. The USDA website has more, including this:

Schools have been facing increasing fiscal burdens as they attempt to adhere to existing, stringent nutrition requirements.  According to USDA figures, school food requirements cost school districts and states an additional $1.22 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.  At the same time costs are going up, most states are reporting that they’ve seen a decrease in student participation in school lunches, as nation-wide about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day.  This impacts schools in two ways: The decline in school lunch participation means reduced revenue to schools while they simultaneously are encountering increased costs.

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Of course, bureaucrats in Washington, DC, say Michelle Obama’s school lunch programme, initiated in 2012, is working because schools are complying with it!

“I was talking to some folks in Washington about this, and they said that the current program is working.  ‘How do you know?’ I asked.  They said it’s because 99 percent of schools are at least partially compliant.  Well, only in Washington can that be considered proof that the system is working as it was intended,” Perdue said. 

Too right!

Perdue, who is from the state of Georgia, gave a regional example:

“A perfect example is in the south, where the schools want to serve gritsBut the whole grain variety has little black flakes in it, and the kids won’t eat it.  The school is compliant with the whole grain requirements, but no one is eating the grits.  That doesn’t make any sense.”

Thank you!

Also:

“I’ve got 14 grandchildren, and there is no way that I would propose something if I didn’t think it was good, healthful, and the right thing to do,” Perdue said.  “And here’s the thing about local control: it means that this new flexibility will give schools and states the option of doing what we’re laying out here today.  These are not mandates on schools.

Brilliant!

The USDA announcement has details on the new, flexible programme and a PDF of Perdue’s proclamation.

This photo has a good comparison of school lunches:

It looks as if the USA example is the best case scenario there, because this is what American schoolchildren are normally eating:

 

You can see more awful school lunch pictures at Oola, a foodie site.

Perdue had a standard student lunch when he made his announcement at the Leesburg, Virginia school, one which he paid for (see $20 in his hand):

Here is what the students ate:

This is my favourite tweet from the day:

The Big Buddy bit is true:

Sonny Perdue was sworn in on April 25:

In his opening address to the USDA, he said he was a farmer first:

He rolled up his sleeves and got to work on Day 1:

Since then, he has been on the road visiting USDA employees elsewhere in the United States:

Look at the queue:

Passing on his father’s words to them, he said:

If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.

Perdue paid a visit to American Royal in Kansas City. American Royal is a non-profit organisation that stages events throughout the year to help farmers and future farmers.

Perdue has a PhD in veterinary science and worked on his family’s farm before starting his own three small agribusinesses.

He must have been delighted to meet these youngsters:

He also met with members of the FFA (Future Farmers of America):

Here he is putting his veterinary experience to use:

He also visited a pork processing plant:

With Sonny Perdue, the future looks much brighter for American agriculture.

It should be noted that Sonny Perdue is not related to the Perdue chicken family.

Follow him @SecretarySonny on Twitter.

Yesterday’s post began a series on potassium deficiency.

You may wish to read it before continuing with today’s entry which contrasts the experience of a South American tribe with agribusiness and medicine.

This series is inspired and based on the late Joe Vialls’s article on potassium deficiency, which affects most of us. Emphases mine below.

The Yanomami tribe in South America

Vialls read about the Yanomami tribe who live along the Orinoco River, which runs through Venezuela and Colombia.

It should be noted that the Wikipedia entry on Yanomaman languages states:

Yanomami is not what the Yanomami call themselves (an autonym), but rather it is a word in their language meaning “man” or “human being”. The American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon adopted this term to use as an exonym to refer to the culture and, by extension, the people.

But, as we have no other term available, we shall refer to them as Yanomami.

Back to Vialls. He rightly noted that by the early 20th century, the blood pressure of Americans was beginning to rise. By contrast, in the latter part of the century, the Yanomami had much lower blood pressure because they were living closer to undisturbed nature and could get all the nutrients they required — especially potassium.

In fact, anyone living close to the land in an ancient way would have access to potassium, unlike those in industrialised cultures (emphases mine):

Learned doctors published papers on the ‘potassium-sodium balance needed by all humans’, when a quick field trip to almost any Indian Reservation would have reversed their absurd findings in seconds. More and more sodium found its way into every kind of food imaginable, and blood pressures started to rise sharply. By the nineteen-forties, relatively new diseases such as arthritis, hypertension and angina started to climb through the roof, to be met with a veritable shock wave of expensive ‘patent medicines’ to help with the new ‘disease’ problems.

On the Yanomami:

Despite the Yanomami’s overall levels of sodium being incredibly low, researchers who examined more than 10,000 of these cheerful people found that there was a direct correlation between marginally increased sodium intake and increased blood pressure. “… a highly significant statistical relationship was observed between sodium excretion and systolic blood pressure for the 10,079 participants. The higher the urinary sodium excretion [and, therefore, the sodium intake], the higher the blood pressure.”

The reader should remember that for the Yanomami Indians, normal blood pressure averages out at 95/60 and does not increase with age. Try comparing this with the AMA western ‘normal’ blood pressure of 120/80, which then goes up in incremental steps as you ingest more sodium and lose more potassium while getting older. Of course, the medical apologists will claim this is because we are more civilized, have evolved, and are thus ‘different’, but rest assured this is pathetic rubbish.

The only significant difference between the Yanomami and Americans or Australians, is that the Yanomami are stuffed full of healthy potassium, while we are stuffed full of toxic sodium.

There is also a link between potassium intake and weight:

The researchers also noted that another benefit for the Yanomami related to their lack of obesity. “Adults of industrialized populations have an increase in weight with age. The Yanomami Indians did not increase their weight with age.” Short, but to the point. Somebody remind me to add “obesity” to my shopping list of potassium deficiency-related ailments.

Potassium deficiency has been linked to water retention and weight gain.

Vialls’s graphic tells us the rest we need to know about the Yanomami:

Note that the caption mentions ‘slash and burn’ farming with the resulting ash adding potassium to the soil and water.

Agribusiness

Today, burning fields is becoming outmoded in parts of the West. Africa’s Farm Radio has a transcript of an interview which presents both sides. Interestingly, it ends with an agricultural researcher who condemns this practice, making her argument the more powerful:

I feel that today, this practice of burning crop residues and grass should not be encouraged. The nutrients that are released after burning are usually washed away or leached by rain, or eroded by wind. Soil declines in productivity after burning because its nutrients are depleted. Because of this, the ancient farmers who practiced slash and burn had to leave the land for five to 25, even up to 40 years before they could farm the land again. This is impossible today because of population growth, which leaves no time for land to lay idle to regain fertility.

Also:

Spreading residues in the field stops weeds by a combination of shading and smothering. The residues also stop the sun from drying out the ground. This keeps water in the soil so it’s available for crops. Farmers can make holes in the residue layer and plant their crops. Or they can simply spread organic mulch by hand around plants after they emerge. The crops get nutrients from the decaying leaves. The trees’ roots absorb the excess nutrients which are returned to the ground when the trees are pruned.

And, of course:

burning residues and grass releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.

That leads to the host’s conclusion:

Though ash is a natural product that contributes positively, we should be cautious when using it. This is just like snake poison. Snake poison is natural, but can we use it to kill bugs on our farm? …

I urge you to follow the advice we have heard from the researcher if we want to experience great results as farmers.

I’m somewhat suspicious of that line of reasoning. Everyone used to burn their fields. The Yanomami still do.

If anyone reading this has farming experience and can shed light on the subject, please feel free to comment.

The medical establishment and potassium supplements

Vialls’s article states that in the 20th century, the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies realised that heart patients were potassium deficient.

However, what could have been resolved simply and cheaply turned into big business:

In fact these treatments were entirely successful, but the use of a basic mineral that could not be patented by the pharmaceutical companies was frowned on, and medical research grants in this field mysteriously started to dry up. By the late sixties such research has been suppressed, as you can see from the [limited] general references provided at the bottom of this page.

Big Pharma increasingly became a benefactor of medical schools, which has also had a profound and lasting effect on what doctors learn and the way they think:

The pharmaceutical multinationals were by now exerting increasing pressure on the medical fraternity, providing all kinds of ‘assistance’ during their university training, with copious quantities of fancy-sounding scholarships and research grants. Both were vital in helping to get medical doctors to “see things the right way”, meaning of course that profitable drugs were the answer to all ills. As more doctors peddled more drugs to their patients, pharmaceutical corporate profits rose sharply, allowing perks for the doctors to be extended to include ‘training seminars’ at luxury hotels and golf complexes, along with other varied forms of discreet bribery.

By the seventies, all meaningful references to serious mineral deficiencies had been removed from the curriculum, with medical students taught that patients could obtain all the minerals they needed from a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, although their university tutors knew this was a complete lie. Deficiencies manifesting as cramps, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, angina and strokes etc, became ‘diseases’ that could be treated by a truly dazzling array of brightly colored and highly profitable pharmaceutical drugs.

It was all a terrible illusion of course, but the show had to go on. As toxic sodium increasingly overwhelmed healthy potassium, the resulting potassium deficiency caused hardening of the cardio vascular system, and ‘essential hypertension’ [high blood pressure of ‘unknown’ origin] became the order of the day. Incidences of angina, stroke and heart attack increased dramatically, as did stress, with the latter feeding on the former. Because of a lack of space, this report will only cover the effects of potassium deficiency on the cardio-vascular system. Other directly related horrors such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes etc. will have to wait for another day.

Tomorrow: Joe Vialls’s experience — don’t try this at home

Many Westerners suffer from potassium deficiency.

Much of this is caused by the poor mineral quality of our soil which leads to fewer nutrients in fruit, vegetables and meat that we consume.

Potassium deficiency can manifest itself in a number of ways: high blood pressure, heart palpitations, muscle aches and even mental issues such as irritability and depression. People with medical conditions should consult a doctor before embarking on any dramatic supplement programme.

That said, relatively healthy Americans can sprinkle No Salt on their food. Britons will find the same potassium-rich product under the name Lo Salt.

Last week, I wrote about the late Joe Vialls, who lived in Perth, Australia, and was passionate about a number of socio-political topics, including health issues.

His article on potassium deficiency has the 1936 US Senate addendum on soil quality about which I wrote this week which concluded here in part 2.

This post looks at how we came to be potassium deficient.

Baron Justus von Liebig — father of fertiliser

Before Vialls related the story of how he managed to cure his own angina without medical assistance, he discussed soil quality from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

File:Liebig Company Trading Card Ad 01.12.006 front.tifBaron Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) was a famous German chemist whose legacy lives on in fertilisers, nutritional principles and food. The Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company created Oxo bouillon and Marmite, both of which were modelled on the baron’s meat extracts designed for poor people who could not afford the real thing. The company expanded around the world, including South America. Cattle breeding greatly expanded there for tinned meat production under the company’s label Fray Bentos. It is said that Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company brought the industrial revolution to the continent.

Liebig had conducted a number of experiments and tests on soil quality which led to the development of crop fertiliser. Some of his theories turned out to be right and others wrong. However, he tried to help humanity rather than hinder it.

Vialls took a somewhat different view to mine. He wrote (emphases mine):

The beginning of the end for obtaining essential minerals from fruit and vegetables happened in the middle of the 19th Century, when German chemist Baron Justus Von Liebig analyzed human and plant ash, and determined that nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium [NPK] were all the minerals plants needed. He claimed that if fed synthetically to plants, farmers could force plants to grow and support healthy humans. Thus Von Liebig became the father of synthetic manure, which in turn spawned superphosphate, the mother of all deceptive fertilizers. Though NPK and superphosphate are able to create a synthetic soil environment sufficient to stimulate plant growth, the resulting fruits and vegetables are always seriously deficient in trace minerals, with some containing none at all. Baron Von Liebig watched the deficiencies his invention caused with horror, and recanted before he died, but it was all too late. By then, the big investors had moved in for a quick kill.

Vialls’s article states that, even by the end of the 19th century, food grown with the new fertilisers had less potassium in it than before — regardless of the fact that Liebig deemed it essential.

From potassium to sodium

Running concurrently with that was the development of cheap table salt easily transported by rail. Up until then, salt was very expensive. We know this from all manner of ancient sources, including the Bible. When we say someone is worth his salt, we are referring to the payment of salaries in salt. ‘Salt of the earth’ refers to someone whose goodness and sincerity are priceless.

The article tells us that until the late 19th century, what most people — and animals — consumed in place of salt was sylvite, which is potassium chloride:

Great chunks of sylvite were dotted along the trading routes for the beasts of burden to lick at, thereby restoring their electrolytes lost through sweating and other exertion. But when the railroads opened up America from east to west, they started carrying vast quantities of cheap salt produced in giant pans on the two coasts. Unfortunately for Americans this was sea salt, comprised of 98.8% sodium chloride, the favorite of fishes but a deadly enemy of man. And so it was that in less than seventy years, western man had his healthy potassium replaced almost entirely by unhealthy sodium.

Vialls was exaggerating the perils of sea salt, but the point here is that the early processing of cheap table salt extracted too many of salt’s natural qualities. Food Renegade explains (emphases in the original):

Factory-made salt can’t and doesn’t team iodine with the other nutrients it’s found paired with in nature — nutrients that help it to assimilate properly.

Iodized salt did help solve the goiter epidemic of the 20’s but there was a tragic increase in a thyroid autoimmune condition, thyroiditis.  Why add iodine to a highly refined product, one that usually contains aluminum (to prevent caking) instead of consuming salt in its original form?

We can trust foods found in nature.  When we alter foods, we have a Frankenstein situation with unpredictable, often disease-causing effects.

In its original form salt contains not only trace amounts of iodine, but other minerals that are valuable in their own right and that in conjunction with one another help us to assimilate nutrients on a cellular level, co-factors.

sea salt, or naturally occurring salt found in caves, rivers and lakes, is a mineral-rich health food.  It does not lead to heart disease or cause other health risks.

Just the opposite.

WHAT TRACE MINERALS ARE FOUND IN SEA SALT?

Salt is comprised of sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl).  Sodium is used by the body, in part, to digest carbohydrates.  Chloride, among its other purposes, is used by the body to break down proteins, and also has anti-pathogen properties.

Iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and zinc comprise a complex and subtle total of over 80 trace minerals, ones that regulate our hydration, digestion, and immune system as well as being required for proper thyroid and adrenal function.

I don’t personally believe that nutrition is found in nature on accident.  It is there to bless us and the animals that consume it.

Vialls would certainly have agreed with that conclusion.

Tomorrow: A South American tribe contrasted with agribusiness and medicine

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