While while intentioned and needed, and largely accurate, I think authour is making the common culture war mistake of equating "vegan" with "hippies who buy $10 asparagus water at Whole Foods" - mistaking an ethical principle for the common depiction of those with the media access to advocate for it and those to whom it is marketed as a luxury - rather than what the term actually means.

Regular vegan food can be whatever the heck else one would be eating with a few substitutions or subtractions. By substitutions, I'm not talking about making everything out of emulsified whatever mixed with tapioca starch and moonlight - I mean, for example, beans for beef: healthier, more ethical, cheaper and, since the beans are just fine canned or dried, less prone to spoilage even without refrigeration (and also not buoyed up by inequitable meat subsidies) Likewise: baking with applesauce (tinned or blendered out of second-rate apples) instead of eggs; veg oil and table salt instead of butter; lentil soup for chicken noodle; nutritional yeast for KD cheese powder. Fresh (organic? local?) produce is nice, but it's not the same thing as vegan, just like organic alligator liver isn't the same thing as "omnivorous." And instead of starches - well those were already vegan in the first place. Sure have to add some B12 now and then, but that's still much cheaper than eggs, cheese, milk or fish.

This is noting new. In many (most? all?) agrarian cultures, for a long time, eating meat has been a sign of wealth - this is a natural extension of entropy: it simply takes more nutrients, labour and energy to farm a calorie of animal than of plant. Since entropy is still a thing, this hasn't changed.

I can think of four exceptions to this: (1) because of restrictions on time, health, housing or ability, you are living on fast food, where for some bullshit reason (likely tied into marketing ideas from the first paragraph) a veggie burger costs thrice what a basic burger, or (2) you are not exchanging money for food, instead living from shelters, donations, prisons, barracks, dumpsters or food banks that don't have don't know or don't care about veg nutrition, or (3) your grocery supply is extremely limited and unreliable, or (4) you live somewhere where at times it's easier to hunt or fish than grow things. In these cases, vegan food is impractical and, one could argue, has less of an ethical imperative behind it. Otherwise however, even with ethical considerations aside, it's cheaper, easier, and less likely to give you food poisoning. It's viable, and it's a shame that we don't push it harder as a tool in the fight against food scarcity.


Aug. 11th, 2015 06:57 pm
To [Commentor on a friend's feed regarding their disappointment the letter from the Vancouver Queer Film Festival on the subject of BDS, where this commentor was claiming that BDS was anti-Semitic and unethical]

I do not agree with your analysis. Here is my take on it.

Historically, embargoes, sanctions and boycotts have been not been effective at reversing abusive policies, but of stopping bad policies from getting worse thru explicit governmental acts. Hence the attempt to choke Russian international business - it wasn't to get Russia out of Crimea - that was a lost cause. The sanctions were to make sure that Russia didn't invade more turf. So far it's worked. By contrast the US boycott of Cuba to get them to... totally capitulate or whatever just made the economy worse (although how much is the USA and how much is the failure of Castro's policies is up for debate).

It's also easier to put a boycott or sanctions on someone who doesn't make all your stuff. This is part of why the South Africa boycott stuck and was ultimately effective.

Given this, the BDS is sound political strategy insofar as:
- The Israeli government is actively making Palestinians' lives worse by destroying buildings and constructing the means to separate the very infrastructure according to citizenship-class. If this merely holds in place in stasis, Palestinians will still be in a better position than if the current downward spiral continues
- Looking around my house, to participate in BDS, the range of products I would need to boycott include Sodastream, some baked goods, and the VQFF

A very solid middle ground is to only boycott goods and services that are made in in the areas that have recently been occupied. How one tells which is which, I don't know - barring voluntary labelling of products from places that aren't in the present or recent process of occupation. This was something I was behind myself until I saw the Israeli government try to get Canada to ban people from advocating even that, and then trying to classify the United Church of Canada as a hate group. This tells me (1) the Israeli government is willing to wrap itself in the flag (and more importantly and by extension to equivocate their policy with a marginalized religious/cultural/racial group, te tmost common symbol of whom they have chosen to use as the main design element on that that flag) to advance political argumetns that don't hold up without a fallacious emotional appeal and (2) that the boycott is working.

So with that, I'm now all for a comprehensive boycott - unless the product or service in question *somehow* distances itself from governmental policy. I'm not aware of any such product or service but if an Israeli film just had the line "This whole occupation is a fucked up situation, eh? Hope you watch anyways." in the credits, I'd pay money to go see it.

This said, if someone wanted to boycott (P.R.) Chinese goods to stop the range of human rights abuses, or boycott American (on top of the existing boycott on Indiana - speaking of the counter-intuitive but effective tactic of singling out one offender among many) to stop mass incarceration and global imperialism, or if someone refused to buy Canadian to get our government to put a stop to fouling the land and water of Indigenous people, I'd say "more power to them." However, for people living in Vancouver trying to stick to these boycotts would prove impractical.

Moreover, as an entrepreneur, if I was to repeatedly do something grossly morally wrong and refuse to stop, and then were people to choose to boycott my business, I hope I would have the decency not to claim that by singling me out (over say, Monsanto or Chick-fil-a, Shell or whatever) they were somehow enabling whatever form of sometimes-lethal discrimination my demographic cohort has disproportionately experienced. Those people are being smart in taking on someone small enough to feel the sting, and for me to equate that with historical injustice would be disingenuous.

Further, I'm not sure what the mutual desire for neighbourly peace between Israelis and Palestians has to do with downplaying BDS. Some of those people might be very much in favour of international support for their beliefs, even if it hurts.

Regarding the Vatican, I think I'm already *most* of the way to boycotting them, insofar as I will never give money to (non-radical) Roman Catholic churches, charities or non-profits. But I'd be interested in taking it further and should really go look up which companies funnel money into screwing with reproductive autonomy, marginalizing indiginous religion, and only hiring men for top leadership positions. While I don't know how effective this would be, but I don't think it would be anti-catholic. 
Denman Island chocolate bars are awesome, and I want to buy them in the future, but I had some questions. So I emailed them.

I really enjoy this application of the Internet. I think I might even like it more than Desktop Tower Defense. It takes less time, and is more satisfying.

Dear Denman Island Chocolates,

I enjoy your chocolate bars but am reluctant to buy them over Camino and other brands because while your product's chocolate content is organic (which is great), I'm not sure what labour practices it is made under. The bars say "product of Canada," but I assume that the cocoa is grown elsewhere. I couldn't find your company green-lighted here, and this site only looks for slavery in chocolate manufacture, not overall economic fairness. So I thought I should email you.

Can you tell me what labour (or community economic development) standards are in place in the sourcing of your raw materials? Have you made any plans to use fair-trade certified chocolate?



Jun. 18th, 2006 10:34 am
Hey, don't forget Commerical Drive today: noon 'til six.

In other news, Gay Pride is coming up again. Anyone want to have a banner thingy?

Option A - Korean Movie Monday

    We're no longer in touch with traditional North American social norms, so fuck who you please, just don't recreate the river scene from Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and we'll be happy. Or if you do, film it.

Option B - Rhinoceros Party
    The only party with not only supports gay rights, but backs this "Homosexual Agenda" that the relicons are harping on about. That's right, we want more queer people, and we'll convert your children to do it. We'll do anything it takes, we'll even introduce them American football and Xena.
    It's a matter of statistics and probability. Think about it.
    If you're gay, you'd like there to be more gays right? That way you'd have more options and might not have wound up with that bloody head case from Moncton who had not so much issues as the complete series backdated to June of 1953... but I digress. If you're a lesbian, you'd like there to be more lesbians, ne? That way, the line outside The Mix would have more people with whom you could hook up, and less "Area Couple Looking for Hot Woman Willing to Experiment." If you're bi, you'd like there to be more bisexuals or homosexuals of your own sex, and you'd like the bicurious people to be a little less curious and a little more bi. (These statements are uncontestable fact. If you disagree, you are wrong.)
    Transsexuals gunning for The Swap, wouldn't you rather live in a society that encouraged you to sort out that you'd like to be the other sex while you were younger and the new hormones would do more and the old ones less?
    What if you're heterosexual? Wouldn't you rather that questioning people got their orientation sorted out sooner rather than later? I mean, do you want to be in a relationship that ends with "I love you honey, but you're the wrong sex for me?" No. (Again, your opinion on this topic must agree with me or you're wrong, wrong, wrong - see above for proof).
    Besides, there tend to be more gays than lesbians, so if there's more of this 'queerness' floating around, the ratio of women who are interested in men to men who are intereted in women will tend towards more of the former and less of the latter. That's right guys: less competition; more single chicks. "Okay Graham," you say, "that's good for straight and bi men, but what about heterosexual women?" I'm glad you asked that question, allow me to illuminate.

Option C - Take to the spirit of many entrants, like the real-estate agent whose float consists of... a car with her name on it.

    I suggest we carry a banner that reads, "Amalgamated Sweatshops and Landmines Inc. wishes to express its heartfelt support for your local event and/or cause. See our web catalogue for more!"

I think I'm leaning towards B, but there's no reason these couldn't be combined.



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