Ripping up the Iran deal… And why Trump can’t answer the very simple question, “How does this make us safer?”

About a week and a half ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, where he stood in front of an enormous “Iran lied” graphic, and talked of the country’s covert nuclear arms program. What wasn’t clear to everyone watching, however, was that none of the “evidence” that he was sharing was new. In fact, despite the promise of bombshells, there was not one shred of new evidence to show that Iran had violated the terms of the international deal – or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – that they’d entered into nearly three years ago. This, however, didn’t stop right wing media outlets from sharing Netanyahu’s evidence of past nuclear weapons research, and passing it off as new. Even the White House put out a statement saying that Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program,” which they were forced to correct after-the-fact. But the wheels, by that point, were already in motion. Donald Trump had already made up his mind to invalidate the JCPOA agreement.

In an another era, the administration would have lied to us, and told us there was new evidence of uranium enrichment. The Trump team, however, has apparently figured out that, in their post truth world, it’s no longer necessary. All they need to do now is show a few old photos while using heightened language about “nuclear blackmail.”

We no longer require facts, even fake ones.

Today, Donald Trump, in spite of the fact that Iran, according to every international inspector and expert who studies such things, has kept their word, and ceased their covert weapons program, essentially ripped up the 2015 deal, saying “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.” When asked by a reporter at the White House, how voiding this multi-national agreement makes us us any safer, the President just stared forward blankly.

I could see how, if Trump and his team felt as though they might be able to strike a better deal, it could make sense to threaten rescinding the existing one, but what happened today makes absolutely no sense at all, on any level. Iran, by all accounts, has been honoring the deal, and Trump’s team didn’t even attempt to rectify the issues they claimed to have had with the existing arrangement. Trump had claimed in the past, for instance, that he didn’t like the fact that the deal was set to expire after 10 years, but it doesn’t look as though he even attempted to extend it. He just pulled out with no plan as to how to move forward, leaving the whole world significantly less stable.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, I think, put it best. “Today, Donald Trump simultaneously lied about the Iranian nuclear deal, undermined global confidence in US commitments, alienated our closest allies, strengthened Iranian hawks, and gave North Korea more reason to keep its nukes,” he said. “This madness is a danger to our national security.”

And “madness” is exactly the right word. With one flick of his pen, and a number of lies, Trump undid a half-decade of painstaking “sanctions diplomacy,” during which time the United States, working with Russia, China, Japan and India, through the exertion of economic pressure, got Iran to the table, where a peaceful path forward was negotiated over a course of two years. And now it appears to all be falling apart because Donald Trump, likely motivated by his desire to undo every one of Obama’s achievements, decided to kill it. And the ramifications in this instance could be enormous. As CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour said today, this move of Trump’s is “possibly the greatest deliberate act of self-harm and self-sabotage in geo-strategic politics in the modern era.”

And for what?

Even if the international community is able to dissuade Iran from restarting their nuclear weapons program, and we avoid war, our position in the world has been greatly diminished. As former Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this evening, if nothing else, this move of Trump’s has “(opened) up an opportunity by both China and Russia to play a role now in the region that is super-sized.” And we’re already seeing this reflected in the comments of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who noted today that Russia and China are now the world’s only two superpowers. [“Iran will be conferring with the world’s two super powers, Russia and China,” Rouhani said in response to Trump’s un-signing ceremony.]

And just think of what this does to our standing in the Muslim world… As the conservative website Axios reported today, “57% of Arab youth surveyed this year see the U.S. as an enemy, and 35% consider the U.S. an ally. That’s almost a complete reversal of the numbers from 2016.” And that’s before Trump decided to break our promise to Iran and reinstate sanctions.

But Trump got to keep another ridiculous campaign promise, and I’m sure members of his base, who’ve been convinced by Fox News that everything Obama did was bad for America, will eat it up. They’re no doubt online right now, thumping their chests and tweeting in all-caps about how “we’re not going to be pushed around anymore.” The truth, however, is that Trump has no idea how to get us a better deal. And we’re all going to suffer as a result of this.

The truth is, Trump probably doesn’t know what was in the Iran deal he just tore up. And he probably hasn’t thought about the kind of signal this sends to the North Koreans, who now know that, no matter what they sign, there’s a chance that we could change our minds and walk away. But the important thing is that this kept us from talking about Michael Cohen taking vast sums of money from Putin-aligned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, the rumor that Trump paid a Playboy playmate to have an abortion, AT&T paying bribes in order to gain access to the Trump administration, and the new evidence of money laundering within the Trump Organization. And I think that’s al that matters to Trump. At this point in the game, it’s just about surviving the day.

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  1. Sad
    Posted May 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Big oil! Watch gas go up. Hello inflation.

    Oh my.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Pres. Obama: “I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake. Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East.”

  3. Sad
    Posted May 8, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad Obama spoke up.

    I miss him.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Full Obama statement (this kind of critical comment on the actions of the sitting president is VERY unusual):
    “There are few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons, or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. That’s why the United States negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the first place.

    The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America’s interest – it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish – its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes – with Iran – the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.

    That is why today’s announcement is so misguided. Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated. In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.

    Debates in our country should be informed by facts, especially debates that have proven to be divisive. So it’s important to review several facts about the JCPOA.

    First, the JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government. After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

    Second, the JCPOA has worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. For decades, Iran had steadily advanced its nuclear program, approaching the point where they could rapidly produce enough fissile material to build a bomb. The JCPOA put a lid on that breakout capacity. Since the JCPOA was implemented, Iran has destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium; removed two-thirds of its centrifuges (over 13,000) and placed them under international monitoring; and eliminated 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium – the raw materials necessary for a bomb. So by any measure, the JCPOA has imposed strict limitations on Iran’s nuclear program and achieved real results.

    Third, the JCPOA does not rely on trust – it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.

    Fourth, Iran is complying with the JCPOA. That was not simply the view of my Administration. The United States intelligence community has continued to find that Iran is meeting its responsibilities under the deal, and has reported as much to Congress. So have our closest allies, and the international agency responsible for verifying Iranian compliance – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Fifth, the JCPOA does not expire. The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent. Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today.

    Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all of our problems with Iran. We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors. But that’s precisely why it was so important that we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Every aspect of Iranian behavior that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. Our ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior – and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies – is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.

    Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake. Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East. We all know the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. It could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security; and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region. If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it.

    In a dangerous world, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure our country. We have been safer in the years since we achieved the JCPOA, thanks in part to the work of our diplomats, many members of Congress, and our allies. Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe.”

  5. wobblie
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Never forget that Obama let the war criminals go-with his “looking forward” agenda. If folks are not held accountable for the lies and crimes that have caused 17 years of war, why does anyone think they won’t be repeated? How many Democrats will vote to make the torturer CIA Director? I suspect at least as many who voted for Pompeo–a war monger who had been telegraphing his support for pulling out of the Iran deal since he was director of the CIA.

    Also just as an aside. It was Democrat Jimmy Carter who established the “right” of the President to unilaterally revoke treaties.

    Unless people demand better of their politicians we will continue to get “bad or maybe less bad political decisions”.

  6. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is actually not a treaty, but rather an agreement. Treaties require Senate approval.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The German ambassador is getting in on the action.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Now the link!

  9. John Dingell
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    To be clear, Trump isn’t “withdrawing” from the Iran deal. He’s violating it. America made a promise to our greatest allies and this clown is now breaking it for no good reason. A dangerous precedent set.

  10. Meta
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The U.S. is not going to come out of this looking good. Iran will renegotiate with our allies, and we’ll look like fools, just like we did on the Paris Accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. He’s making us irrelevant and hated.

    Washington Post: “Iran to negotiate with Europeans, Russia and China about remaining in nuclear deal”

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his government remains committed to a nuclear deal with world powers, despite the U.S. decision to withdraw, but is also ready to resume uranium enrichment should the accord no longer offer benefits.

    Rouhani, who had made the deal his signature achievement, spoke following President Trump’s announcement that the United States would reimpose wide-ranging sanctions on Iran. The removal of those sanctions, including on the Iranian oil and banking sectors, had been key to persuading Iran to accept limits on its nuclear program.

    The Iranian leader said he had directed his diplomats to negotiate with the deal’s remaining signatories — including European countries, Russia and China — and that the nuclear agreement could survive without the United States.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he would “spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining JCPOA participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran.” The nuclear deal is also known as the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

    Read more:

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Wobblie is a peacenik who is nonetheless opposed to mediation and compromise and quickly demands punitive retribution on the issues about which he has the greatest concern. It’s fairly obvious he is simply an ideologue who has no idea how peace happens.

    In a Democracy ideologues of any stripe will always be dissatisfied. That’s pretty much the point.

    I don’t know what can be done to reverse Trump’s actions from the Senate but I’d really like to find out.

  12. wobblie
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    IL, I love sophistry. ” A treaty is an official, express written agreement that states use to legally bind themselves. A treaty is the official document which expresses that agreement in words; and it is also the objective outcome of a ceremonial occasion which acknowledges the parties and their defined relationships.” (wikipedia) In addition the “Agreement” required Congressional action in that it modified US law. “The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (H.R. 1191, Pub.L 114–17” was in fact the ratification of the “agreement”/treaty. This bill was passed by the US Congress in May 2015, after the agreement had been reached. It gave Congress the right to review any agreement reached in the P5+1 talks with Iran, and provided a mechanism for its future rejection if the President so desired. Since the Congress had imposed numerous sanctions on Iran and this “agreement” lifted many of those sanctions it required Congressional action.

    The bill passed in the Senate by 98 to 1 (only Tom Cotton voted against), and then passed in the House by a vote of 400 to 25 on May 14.[1] Not a single Democratic Senator voted against giving future Presidents the authority to reject the “agreement”.

  13. Lynne
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    A writer I am fond of has a pretty good take on this and in particular how much this will cost Americans financially.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    You have it wrong on both counts. The Iran deal was a multi-party agreement that Obama was going to implement by executive order without consulting Congress. Congress sought input on it and so passed legislation allowing them to kill the deal (That’s what you cited above). They failed, however, after that legislation passed, to get the sufficient majority to override the agreement. And so the deal went forward and was not struck down by Congress. It was, however, not approved by Congress either. And so, it is not a treaty, by the legal definition.

    I’m curious as to why you accused IL of sophistry, Wobblie. That implies that he had some agenda attached to his point of clarification. I sensed none. What do you imagine his agenda was? That would help us understand yours in feeling a need to make an inaccurate correction.

  15. M
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a headline you might find interesting, Lynne.

    “Boeing Loses $20 Billion in Contracts After President Trump Violates Iran Deal”

    That’s a lot of jobs.

  16. Iron lung
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I was merely offering clarity on the semantics. I offered no opinion at all regarding the content or the politics of the agreement.

  17. wobblie
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    JH, your facts are a bit confused. Obama could not implement the JCPA by executive order because it called for the lifting of various economic sanctions. He may have wanted too, but Congress had imposed those sanctions, and the “The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (H.R. 1191, Pub.L 114–17” is the law of the land–just like a Treaty. It is this act which required Trump to “certify” to Congress that Iran was in compliance and which Trump relies upon for his “non-certification”
    Sophistry, “the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.” Calling the JCPA an “Agreement” rather than a “treaty” is the essence of sophistry. Much like the “Authorization to Use Military Force” is in fact a “Declaration of War”. Hiding reality behind euphemism and synonyms seems to me to fit the definition of sophistry.

    The fact that the JCPA is multi-party is irrelevant. NAFTA is a multi-party agreement. NATO is a multi-party agreement. What “legal definition” are you using? I am using, The U.S. Supreme Court, in Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416, 40 S. Ct. 382, 64 L. Ed. 641 (1920), established that U.S. treaties are superior to state law. Acts of Congress, however, are equivalent to a treaty. Thus, if a treaty and a law of Congress are inconsistent, the one later in time prevails.

  18. Iron lung
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The major argumebt against the agreement by people with a clue, is interesting. Namely that the lifting of sanctions provides iran with a source of cash with which to, for example, support the government of Bashir al Assad, the end result being that having a deal actually encourages war more than not having one.

    Assuming one is interested in such things.

  19. Iron lung
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I believe that the Trump admin is reckless, but I am not informed well enough to have an opinion on the agreement either way.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people think it was not a good deal. I also have no well formed opinion about it, but it’s a problem to keep withdrawing from long fought international agreements or treaties or whatever.

    Wobblie, did you read the link?

  21. Lynne
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    M, yup $20 Billion in lost revenue is a lot of jobs and a pretty big loss to stock holders as well. Which actually is why I am concerned that their stock price didn’t take too much of a hit considering that is around 20% of their annual revenue in a typical year. I know that my thought is that there are enough investors speculating on the possibility of increased war spending that they aren’t pulling their investment. I hope that isn’t the case though. Still Wisdom of the Crowds and all that.

  22. wobblie
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes I read link. National Review is not always correct in its analysis. As far as the “Agreement”, I think Fred Kaplan is a very credible source.

  23. wobblie
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, another slave rebellion began yesterday in Louisiana. Prisoner/slaves throughout the state have gone on strike to protest the inhumane living conditions they are incarcerated in, and to protest the lack of rehabilitative services.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted May 9, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Wobblie. Without you telling us we would not know that mass incarceration was an issue. We certainly would not know that the 13th amendment excludes prisoner’s and their labor. Our minds have been colonized by the lamestream media, the corrupt political parties (drain the swamp!) and capitalism itself; Only you can free us.

  25. Iron lung
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Soon we will all be called racists because we don’t provide the proper response.

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    ‘Re-imposing sanctions on Iran will create the greatest division between Europe and the U.S. since the Iraq War, Mark Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies office in Washington, told me. “Only this time it will be worse, since not a single European state sides with the U.S. on this matter.” Beyond Europe, American credibility worldwide “will go down the tubes,” he said. “Who will ever want to strike a deal with a country that, without cause, pulls out of a deal that everyone else knows has been working well? America will be seen as stupid, arrogant, and bullying. Pity the poor U.S. diplomats who have to explain this illogical decision to their host countries.”

    Trump’s decision even benefits America’s adversaries, including Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. “We’re playing into Putin’s hand,” Michael McFaul, a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, now at Stanford University, said on CNN. “For Putin, it means that the U.S. is on the outside—and Putin is still on the inside. Why are we isolating ourselves when we need other countries to coöperate with on issues like North Korea?”’

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    “Soon we will all be called racists because we don’t provide the proper response.”
    — It’s already happening. What I find most interesting about this phenomenon, is that those who call others bigots expect no defense from those they accuse. Defending oneself against such accusation (which I have absolutely made on occasion) should be expected. As should a strong response. Such accusation should be both warranted and the strat of a much longer and intense discussion. Instead, when one mounts a self-defense, one is accused of causing more hurt. And so calling bigot is simply a means to shut down conversation, when it should be understood as a path towards having the necessary and uncomfortable conversations. You can’t participate in ‘the struggle’ without the expectation of difficult and fraught conversations. Or rather you can, but you will be constantly hurt and very ineffective.

  28. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I was referring to the seemingly out of the blue comment on prisons.

    No doubt, it is a trap in Mr. Wobblie’s mind. If we do not respond to it in the manner he expects, he can assure himself that we are all simply the right wingers he believes us to be and can be satisfied with his important work.

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Yes, I know. And I was speaking more broadly to the tendency.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Mr Wobblie seems to imagine that we cant be informed or concerned about the issues of greatest concern to him if we don’t share his burn it all down political stance. And so he loves to drop in these alarmist comments and links unrelated to the post.

    If only we could see as he sees….

    I’m dumb and impulsive enough to respond…

  31. Lynne
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if wobblie posted that as some kind of trap to later call those who didnt respond racists or not. Looking the other way when faced with horrible things is a form of racism to be sure. I will wait until he actually goes down that road though.

    I think it is possible to defend oneself against charges of bigotry without causing more hurt. Context matters. Are you punching up or punching down?

    For instance, is it a marginalized person making the accusation to someone with more privilege? If you start arguing with them about it, it will make you look insensitive and kind of an asshole. Why? Because that is punching down. Which doesn’t mean that it would still be impossible to defend oneself while also keeping open an opportunity for more constructive conversation. I think the best approach is to say something like, “I don’t see it” because that is a denial that still acknowledges that it could be true and doesn’t deny the marginalized person’s actual lived experience. It also can be an acknowledgement that marginalized people are in a better position to see their oppression than those who would oppress them and therefore might actually be seeing something that those with privilege are blind to.

    I know when I see people making arguments such as that those black men who got kicked out of Starbucks had no cause to suspect that the manager called the police due to a racist motivation, they appear both foolish and cruel to me. They ARE causing more hurt. If your denial involves gaslighting by not only denying your own bigotry but also denying a marginalized person their lived experience with discrimination, it is a bad response that is very hurtful. Another way a defense of a charge of bigotry can be harmful if it attempts to paint the charge as baseless due to the person’s mental state. It is dismissive. Calling them paranoid for instance. Certainly feminism has been dismissed this way often with the word “hysterical”

    When men call me a misandrist because I advocate for my own reproductive rights, it is so absurd of a charge that I feel no need to even acknowledge it although I do use it as an example of what shitty people some MRA types can be. When white supremacists call me a racist because I am not a white supremacist, ok I get a little snarky and tell them that I can’t possibly be prejudiced against white people because I have a white friend. Those however are examples of people with more or the same privilege as me trying to turn the tables. In comedy, it would be seen as punching down or at best punching laterally

    By contrast, when a marginalized person is being critical of someone with more privilege, eg a black person talking to a white person, a gay person talking to straight person, and yes a fat person talking to a thin person, they are punching up as it were. This is how the exact same statements can be seen differently depending on context.

    So, like with comedy Punching up = ok Punching down = not ok

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Lynne- I denied my own bigotry and the bogotry of my statements; I never denied your own experience of bigotry. I explained that many times. You failed to demonstrate any bigoted statements from me, only the assertion that it felt that way to you.

    Is it ever possible for a marginalized person to be wrong in their interpretation of another person’s beliefs/bias/imtent?

    This is a critical question right now. Much broader than our disagreement. We are at a point in time, where in progressive conversations there can be no dialogue because this ‘punching down’ is asserted whenever a perspective is challenged.

    I, for instance, was told I was punching down when I relayed that several longtime local Balck residents and activists felt that DAY was speaking for and over them and getting all the media attention– all things they considered a function of DAY’s privilege. I was told I was punching down and actually just to ‘shut up’ and why don’t these people speak for themselves. When those same people felt that DAY’s attacks on any who counter them, and relative privilege, coupled with the potential need to partner with them on future local issues, made that unwise.

    So I used my privilege to relay that criticism. I was told that white liberals could not be trusted because of privilege…

    BAck to our conversation, I spoke from a lifetime working in the food industry and you decided that my informed comment was bigotry against a fat person. You felt more than listened. I understand that response and was empathetic to you, but you insisted in denying the facts in your response. You denied any possible expertise I might have from years in the industry or that IL might have as a public health professional. Now it may very well be, and often is, that public health and food industry expert opinions are informed by bias. But no matter how many times we made clear that we were not, you insisted on the name calling and yes, bullying. And you kept coming back to it. As I have. With cause.

    This is an important discussion to have. How can we talk about the growing public health problem of obesity in America and increasingly (as food systems get industrialized and Americanized) abroad without causing offense to those who are victims of this epidemic? I made a point to speak to McDonalds as a corporation with some culpability. You ascribed to me both class and weight bias rather than an informed opinion– right off the bat and you would not let it go. I acknowledge that the shame/bias cycle is a large piece of what can only be called a US imbalance around food and eating. I also see companies like McDonalds as preying to this imbalance in ALL their marketing even what they call healthy options.

    This was a conversation we could not have because you very incorrectly assumed bias on my part and continues to harangue me about it. It’s really too bad. Opportunity lost.

    I’ll repeat my question:
    Is it ever possible for a marginalized person facing significant cultural bias to ever be wrong in their assumptions about the beliefs and thoughts of another person?

  33. Lynne
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Is it ever possible for a marginalized person facing significant cultural bias to ever be wrong in their assumptions about the beliefs and thoughts of another person?

    It is possible of course. Think of that Marley granddaughter AirBnB incident. Those white people who called the police when they saw black strangers leaving their neighbor’s house *could* have called even if those people were white. The only way to know for sure if race was a factor would be to subject them to extensive testing of their biases, both implicit and explosive. However, because of studies such as the Harvard studies on implicit bias, we know that a pretty large majority of white Americans harbor negative implicit biases towards black people AND that few people have an awareness of those biases. so while, if we are making an assessment that the white people called the police due in part to racist bias, we could be wrong but odds are we are not

    We also know objectively that black people regularly face this kind of discrimination and that even if it could be proven that race was not a factor in an individual circumstance, it isnt unreasonable for them to conclude that there was a racial bias based on their past experiences. Usually though there isnt proof. I have seen a lot of white people defending the cop calling white neighbors without any proof of a lack of bias simply because those people think they are without bias but would react the same way. That is a denial of the experience of black people who have this happen to them often

  34. Lynne
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    hahah I dont know what it means that autocorrect changed explicit to explosive but it makes me laugh

  35. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I understand exactly the phenomenon of which you speak. And yet it in no way relates to our interaction which is all public record, taking place only online. So while you can’t necessarily ‘prove’ bias, you could certainly have pointed to a few actual (not interpretive) examples of the statements you felt obviously bigoted. In that case, I might well have conceded that it does indeed sound bigoted or even was… And other could form their own conclusions. As it stands you simply accused repeatedly and refused to listen to anything we had to say. You doubled down on the willful misinterpretation and the accusation. I accused you of nothing but bullying, and only after hours and weeks of this bullshit.

    You are very certain of your position and used an example that demonstrates you aren’t actually interested in thinking critically about your perspective or the larger issue. You did not even address the issue of whether it’s at all possible to talk about the obesity epidemic without fat shaming. And so anytime, anyone actually tries to address the problem, they will be stopped. You will even defend a predatory corporation directly complicit in that epidemic and attack those trying to talk about it as bigoted in order to make sure everyone honors the authority assumed by your marginalization. Good luck with that.

  36. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    There is abundant evidence out there in the world in accounts written by the marginalized in which they acknowledge that sometimes they get it wrong. You cant come up with one, Lynne.

  37. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    ” You will even defend a predatory corporation directly complicit in that epidemic”

    Yes, I have long thought this was strange.

    It seems odd to feel that people who are obese are marginalized (and it is true that extremely obese people are, in fact, marginalized) while defending fast food as a diet of choice, given that companies who produce that cuisine are directly complicit and profit from the obesity epidemic.

    It’s like speaking on behalf of heroin addicts while defending heroin consumption and the local heroin dealer.

  38. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The implication is that only classism and fat bias would cause anyone from objecting to McDonald’s on any grounds. The extrapolation is that in exercising my personal choice not to eat there, and in stating why, I am somehow judging others choices and blaming them for them. And while that may often be the case, it’s not so for me. I have thought this through and know my own mind. Lynne does not. She however, from my first comment against McDonald’s felt free to accuse me of operating from judgment and bias, not information and concern. And just kept running with it no matter what approach I took in response. And coming back for more. I gave up caring about her feelings and sensitivity about 20 ‘bigots’ ago. Whatever.

  39. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, I like McDs, but there is no question that the fast food, corn and soft drink industries (like the tobacco industry) are 100% complicit and profit from the obesity epidemic and have lobbied the government heavily to avoid curbs (like ending subsidies on corn) on their business model.

  40. stupid hick
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    JH: “predatory corporation directly complicit in that epidemic”

    Is McDonald’s unique? Let’s see a list of Jean Henry approved restaurant chains, so everyone can see what a non predatory, obesity epidemic fighting menu looks like.

    IL: “It’s like speaking on behalf of heroin addicts while defending heroin consumption and the local heroin dealer.”

    I’m assuming this is meant as hyperbole, but it’s a terrible analogy. Burgers are nothing like heroin, and the dynamic of the relationship between customer and supplier is not at all similar.

  41. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    “I’m assuming this is meant as hyperbole, but it’s a terrible analogy. Burgers are nothing like heroin, and the dynamic of the relationship between customer and supplier is not at all similar.”

    Well, I disagree there. Not everyone who does heroin ends up and addict, and not everyone who eats a burger will become obese, but people who do lots heroin regularly have a high chance of becoming and addict and people who eat fast food regularly have a high likliehood of becoming obese.

    Though obesity and opiate addiction are pathologically different, both the heroin dealer and the fast food industry profit in the end.

    But yes, you are correct, they are not the same, but for the purposes of argument, I feel it is a reasonable comparison.

    My feeling is that, regardless of whether one likes McDs, fast food and all of its associated industries are to be criticized for creating a public health crisis (through handy government subsidies), and I have yet to see that here.

  42. Sad
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Maybe when you all are done beating this horse you could eat it.

    It’s probably not that bad for you.

    Sorry Lynne.

  43. Lynne
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Sad, I have heard that horsemeat has lots of iron and is otherwise similar to beef so it probably isnt that bad for you.

    IL, I will just note that all heroin addicts got that way by engaging in the behavior of using heroin but there are plenty of fat people who get that way without regularly eating fast food. The whole obese person = addict is a bit insulting although I admit I feel that way because I still see addiction as having stigma (I am working on that) Regardless, to me the state of being (obesity) is not the same as behavior. One does not obese. This is why it bugged me when people were calling a tax on pop a tax on obesity. It isnt. It is a tax on an unhealthy drink, not on people. Unfortunately when public health initiatives are framed as fighting obesity, thin people who are affected by them often get nasty towards fat people and then blame them for it eg, “why do I have to pay extra tax on pop, I am not fat”

    Jean, whatever. I have learned things about you here that have led me to conclude that you are not a person whose opinion I value. I have no interest in convincing you that you are a bigot. I do hope others can see where I am coming from because I think it is important to treat marginalized people of all kinds better in our culture. You certainly are proving a good example of what NOT to do.

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    That’s a resolution I can accept.
    Still nothing offered to validate your assertions. I do believe that marginalized people need to be treated better in our culture and I think that I live that daily. If you knew me you might know that. But it’s not reasonable to call someone a bigot and neither back that up nor expect retort. The idea that the only people who should experience discomfort in the March towards social justice are the privileged is not consistent with what I have seen in any effective movement for change. The internal dialogue within any group pushing for equity is always quite lively. The internal conversation within intersectional feminism has certainly pushed many feminists towards a new concept of the movement and themselves.
    It’s absurd to demand total belief and no questioning of perspective or approach because one is part of any marginalized group. It’s equally absurd to think that an actual personal attack, even in response to a perceived one, will not be met with strong self-defense and a matched tone. There’s nothing about that that perpetuates bias. In discourse, we are all equals.

    At any rate, re respect, the feeling is mutual.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Stupid Hick— I’m no fan of fast food or any kind of mass produced restaurant food though I understand its appeal. There’s lots of unhealthy food at every price point. I can’t think of a true fast food chain with really healthy or tasty options. In terms of their scale of health and economic influence fast food chains are big and ugly. I like diners quite a lot. I worked in them for years. I probably eat at diners more than any other kind of joint. I also like street food. When I was working in the Central Valley of California in the big ag sector, running tomatoes to a canning factory to make ketchup and tomato paste etc for the big and ugly chains, I ate solely from taco trucks by the fields and a a Basque diner in Los Banos. I worked all night and swam in A reservoir every day. I’ve never been healthier. I spent less than $8 on Food a day. But that was a long time ago. Tuna fish from a can is delicious with a bit of Bay seasoning. I once ate a pile of figs picked right off the tree from the truck cab. That was great fast food and it was free.

  46. Iron lung
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    To me, the most salient issue of fast food and soft drinks and processes food in general is that it is kept artificially cheap through government subsidies on corn.

    Until we end those subsidies, people will continue to eat like shit and continue to become ill. Note that we also subsidize health care to pay for the results of cheap food.

    But that wont happen because the farm lobby is extremely powerful and does not care.

  47. wobblie
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Il you are absolutely right about corn. I used to drink Bourbon because my daddy taught me to support Illinois farmers (my family is rooted in southern Illinois) and Kentucky bourbon manufactures used lots of Illinois corn. It is totally a misnomer though to talk of a “farm” lobby anymore. Farmers have little or no say any more. It is the Agri-business lobby controlled primarily by the corn syrup manufactures such as Con-Agra, and ADM. Except in a few rural states, Farmers no longer have any political influence.

    By the way it goes without saying that racism is rampant in our culture–but I don’t believe I have ever called anyone a racist on this site.

  48. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Oh yes. We subsidize corn and then wonder why HFCS is so ubiquitous. I certainly agree that ending corn subsidies would be better than keeping them and then taxing corn syrup when it is in pop. But Iowa has their primaries first! Still it is too bad we don’t subsidize cucumbers, broccoli, or green beans.

    JH. I feel that I adequately made my case.

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    While my personal Central Valley big ag experience was mostly positive, conditions for the factory and farm laborers were horrendous. I watched them be sprayed with pesticides, over and over again. I listened to the actual bigotry and abuse leveled at them by their all White managers. I once tasted one of those sauce tomatoes. No flavor, zero. It was bizarre. I don’t know how you can pick a warm, ripe, field grown tomato off the vine and have it be tasteless, but it was. Commodity crops are designed to maximize profits– ie produce a large, stable yield. Flavor (sugar) can be added later, Oh and I’m not even going to get into the water practices. I will say that the central valley was once a vast wetland. I have pictures of my grandfather hunting elk there before the aqueduct system was put in place.
    I also grew up on a dairy farm. The Mennonite farmer who leased the farm from my parents died last week. He was our neighbor. He had 6 kids and 28 grandchildren. He grew corn on our land and his to feed the cattle through the Winter, but was part of no farm lobby. The milk goes to the local co-op. And many many farmers like him still are working and still produce most of the food that makes it to the grocery store. Just not what makes it to the fast-food chain or into processed foods. Still, the only reason he grew corn feed was due to government subsidy. Cattle aren’t meant to eat corn. It’s as bad for them as it is for us to consume in vast quantities. All those GHG calculations related to beef consumption? –From growing corn and obscene levels of methane released, because we feed it to them. Grazing cattle is a net positive for GHG emissions, FYI. The whole system is messed up. And, yes, the government is probably most to blame. But big ag started with the intention to feed the world. To end hunger. It didn’t work. Watch your good intentions, I guess.

    But I don’t eat at McDonald’s because I hate fat people and poor people.

  50. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Actually it DID work to feed the world. Big At has changed farm production quite a lot. More calories are produced per acre than before those practices were developed. Enough that these days if someone is starving it is due to political issues preventing the food from getting to them rather than from an overall lack of food.

    I don’t like making up facts to justify my bigotry.

  51. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Yes, big ag did not feed the world, because it did not solve the issue of political barriers to solving famine. There is some argument that it created more of them. It also created a massive public health crisis in America and, increasingly, elsewhere. That was not intended either. We are certainly more food secure overall in America now as a result. That’s a political win. And yet we still have widespread food insecurity here. And most places experiencing food insecurity also have higher rates of morbid obesity, diabetes, etc. Nice trick, McDonald’s and co.

    Nevertheless, my point was intended to speak to their initial good intentions. It was accurate. As you said yourself, world hunger and food insecurity and public health crisis related to food supply persist, despite the fact that we have more than enough overall food supply.

    Please stop trying to disparage me, Lynne. I’m not going to let accusations of bigotry lie. (Unless you produce a believable one.– not impossible; we all have bias) I’ve made that clear. This is truly tiresome.

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I guess I should make clear since we’re so deep into the farm system that I’m in no way opposed to large-scale farming production. I have issues with how it’s practiced and who benefits and how it’s funded right now, but it’s very necessary. As is a well-developed local farm system wherever possible.

  53. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why you think I am trying to disparage you, Jean. I didn’t say anything about you in my post other than to disagree with a point you made. I was only saying what I do.

  54. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t like making up facts to justify my bigotry.” (that’s like the 28th time you’ve hurled that term.

    Lynne– you simply need to justify your accusation of bigotry with more than broad generalizations about the dynamics between the marginalized and the privileged or stop calling me one, either directly or by implication. This isnt about me. I’m sure I am a bigot at times. This is about my dislike to suppressive tactics and yes, bullying of any kind. I’m sure that seems ironic to you. If so, I suggest you start from the beginning and read through, like actually read through the 5 or so posts where this issue has come up.

  55. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– I’d also like to make clear that I don’t think any of this is funny at all. That you do, that you think you are being clever, is a mark of your own defensiveness and callousness. This is horrible. You know who laughs about this stuff? The bully.

  56. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Ah so you do understand how sometimes if you think you are just talking about yourself, you really ARE expressing judgement. I think you don’t like it that I call you out on your bullshit and hypocrisy. In this case, your statement that you weren’t bullying me about what I eat and were only stating what you do. I admit that my statement ““I don’t like making up facts to justify my bigotry.” which specifically was addressing MY bigotry was to make the point that sometimes even when you are talking about yourself only, the statement can still come off as being judgmental. Much as your statements where you claim you were just sharing your own reasons for not eating at McDonalds come off to me.

    So which is it Jean? Are statements which apply to only the speaker judgmental or not? You don’t get to claim that you were only talking about what you do and thus I am wrong to feel judged because they were statements about you do and then try to claim that a similar statement that only addresses what I do is somehow judgmental. Nice try though.

    I think this is hilarious but that is the defense mechanism I have developed over decades of dealing with other people’s anti-fat prejudice and bigotry.

  57. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Re: “I suggest you start from the beginning and read through, like actually read through the 5 or so posts where this issue has come up.”

    I don’t have time to read through them all but it didn’t take me long to find this which clearly is NOT just you making statements about what you eat but is but one example of you being pretty judgmental about other people’s choices.

    What I have read so far is pretty much how I remember things. I don’t feel I need to read it all again, I deal with enough obesity prejudice on a day to day basis to feel any great need to relive past horrible discussions. If I thought you could be open minded on this subject it might be worth it but you aren’t, so it probably isn’t. Still one example though:

  58. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    “If you have capacity to eat elsewhere, you should. Period. Eating fast food does not make you one of the people. Refusing to eat it does not make one a snob.”

    Maybe it is just me, but I see nothing at all offensive about this statement. I think this is good advice for anyone. If one can eat something besides fast food, one probably should. As Ms.Henry correctly points out, there are equal priced alternatives that are more nutritious than Carls, Jr.

    That isn’t to say that there aren’t foods at McDs, for example, that are not wholly unhealthy.

  59. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    “I disagree that there are healthy food choices at Mc Donald’s. That’s just bullshit. It’s all sugar laden and processed wth minimal nutrient value to caloric intake ratio.”

    This is incorrect. Lynne rightly points out that an egg McMuffin is indistinguishable from the same ingredients purchased at a grocery store and made at home.

    And really, at 228 calories, it is no different than eating, say a bagel with butter, which will clock in at 250 for the bagel alone.

    It is true that the Egg McMuffin has more sodium than a bagel without butter (617 mg vs. 500 mg), it is also the case that, despite appearance, the Egg McMuffin is far more nutritious, given that it has plenty of calcium and protein and B vitamins.

    So, if Lynne buys an Egg McMuffin and 2 oranges on the way to work, she is eating a far more nutritious breakfast than I am, with equal sodium and calories.

  60. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    So I support Lynne in this. She is right that it is a pain in the ass to cook food in the morning and that the McDs Egg McMuffin is cheap and does the job with minimal negative impacts to her health and she can sleep an extra 15 minutes (which is exactly why I buy a bagel and coffee in town rather than cook at home. )

    That being said, I found the comment from Ms. Henry that Ms. Lynne posted to be inoffensive, on its own.

  61. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    IL, In the larger context of the conversation, I took that as being judgmental but mostly put it here because Jean keeps saying that she only was talking about her own choices when obviously not. I generally think that whenever someone starts making statements about what other people should eat or not eat, they are entering into dangerous territory but indeed there is increased sensitivity on my part because so many people judge my food choices and those of other fat people. I am speaking from a context where I have had strangers look at items in my grocery cart and say “do you really think you should be buying that?”

    And yes, many times when I have mentioned McDonald’s to people, they have made similar statements that I should make a different choice and I feel perfectly justified to suggest (as I did in this case) that they make a difference choice about what they choose to say to other people about their food choices. Why? Because in a context of a world where fat people have their food choices scrutinized and judged all of the time, it really is a trigger. Even if the intent was not to fat shame but to shame on some other point. The impact outweighs the intent especially if someone starts to get nasty when told that.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I didnt say anything about what people should or should not eat. Ever.
    I directed my criticisms at the systemic issues and the companies that benefit from them.
    You, Lynne, suggested that
    1)My personal choice to not eat at McDonald’s meant I was a snob and a bigot
    2) your choice to do so was a point of pride.


    We both stated our eating choices. There should be absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  63. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “I am speaking from a context where I have had strangers look at items in my grocery cart and say “do you really think you should be buying that?””

    Well, people who say that to someone they do not know have problems of their own.

    I am not you and can’t speak to your individual sensitivities, but I read the thread and did not take her statements that way, though her unrelenting dismissal of fast food is unwarranted, given the facts.

  64. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    IL, I think one of the issues that is relevant here is one of microaggressions. That statement didn’t seem as bad as it did to you as it did to me and I am pretty sure that is due to my experiencing such microaggressions so often. They build up.

    “I didnt say anything about what people should or should not eat. Ever” -Jean Henry.

    “If you have capacity to eat elsewhere, you should. Period. Eating fast food does not make you one of the people. Refusing to eat it does not make one a snob.” – Jean Henry

  65. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Please no one eat this:

    “1) Burger King: Ultimate Breakfast Platter
    A combination of scrambled eggs, hash browns, a sausage patty, a biscuit, and three pancakes with syrup, this also has the dubious distinction of being the unhealthiest item on the Burger King menu, period.

    Calories: 1,450
    Fat: 84 grams
    Sodium: 2,920 milligrams
    Saturated Fat: 30 grams
    Cholesterol: 505 milligrams”

  66. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    ““If you have capacity to eat elsewhere, you should. Period. Eating fast food does not make you one of the people. Refusing to eat it does not make one a snob.””

    I think that the use of “you” in this statement is not “you” but rather equivalent to “one.”

  67. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I still see nothing wrong with this statement. If one has the capacity to eat something besides Carls, Jr., one should, for a number of reasons.

    It is correct.

  68. Jcp2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    That’s 14-15 miles worth of foot travel. I would consider eating that if I had finished a really long hike or run.

  69. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    “Fast food restaurants are not ok, whether they are McDonalds or TGIF or Chili’s or Red Lobster. Or the school cafeteria. They are killing our citizenry. They are destroying our environment. No one should eat that shit if they can avoid it. The real horror is that that food is peddled to the poor at price points they can afford. **If you care about class issues, then going after fast food is not the solution, but neither is defending it.**”

    I critiqued the fast food industry after you defended it on basis of issues of class concern. I did use the word ‘should’ which I probably should (heh) have avoided. But it was in the context of saying something akin to one shouldn’t smoke cigarettes if one can avoid it, which is a simple fact that in no way means I judge individuals who smoke cigarettes. I have smoked on and off for decades, but I would not spend one second defending the tobacco industry or suggest that others who refuse to smoke or even dislike smoking are inherently snobs, much less bigots against people with lung cancer… (whose lung cancer may or may not be caused by cigarettes)

    An Egg McMuffin may in fact be acceptable as nutrition. And I’ve been clear all along that there are unhealthy options up and down the spectrum of price points in restaurants and other prepared foods. But I dont like giving any money to McDonalds. That’s my choice. It’s just easier, cheaper and faster for me to eat some oatmeal or pack a sandwich and drive on by. I guess that’s just my privilege and snobbery talking though.

  70. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    “That’s 14-15 miles worth of foot travel. I would consider eating that if I had finished a really long hike or run.”

    After a marathon, I could eat about three of those Burger King breakfasts.

  71. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Henry is correct in that fast food should be avoided for a number of health, environmental and economic reasons, but from a public health standpoint, it is hard for me to come down of people who buy Egg McMuffins or anything else, really. People do whatever is easiest for them.

    The real crime is that the prices are kept artificially low through subsidies. The blame goes up to the top. If subsidies were cancelled, fast food would have no choice but to serve smaller portions or go out of business or create a new menu.

    It sucks that we encourage the eating of crap through subsidies, but don’t encourage health eating through subsidies. I think there should be a salad subsidy.

  72. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It amazes me Lynne that you can only read that thread as a personal assault and bigotry. I’m going to pull a Lynne here and try to read hyour mind. Let’s see how that feels– Maybe you don’t want to read the thread, not because my remarks reflect bigotry but because they may not. Maybe you dont want to read your own remarks. Maybe you feel aversion to examining your own apparent assumptions not mine.
    If you read it through, as I have, you might in fact see that you over-reacted and decided to attack me right from the get go as representative of a larger very real cultural bias, One I acknowledged existed but could not assure you enough I was not party to. You started with that judgment right off the bat and have held to it for months now. What’s your investment in that narrative?

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I have never said anything about Lynne’s personal food choices except that they do not make her a working class hero any more than mine do. I have never looked in hers or anyone’s grocery cart and suggested what they should or should not eat. I have never even prevented my kids from making their own food choices including for each brief dalliances with Mc Donalds. It’s not something I do. I don’t care where you eat Lynne.
    I care about issues in the food system and think I should be able to talk about them without being called a bigot.
    I think I should be able to state the personal opinion that fast food sucks and should be avoided generally without being called a bigot. Without someone taking it personally. Crazy I know.

  74. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    IL, I would say that even if the ‘you’ really was meant as ‘one’ it still qualifies as a statement where Jean is talking about what OTHER people should eat or shouldn’t eat and thus is proof that her statement that she hasn’t ever said anything about what people should eat is false.

    Smoking feels different to me both because there is so much more evidence of how it impacts health and also because when I was a smoker, it was so much more socially acceptable that I never was shamed for that behavior nearly as much as I was for eating what people felt were the wrong things. But fwiw, I have noticed in *recent* years some snobbery around smoking directed at others since it is so often seen as a lower class thing. At least in Ann Arbor. FWIW, I would consider someone responding to someone mentioning that they smoke with church-lady like superior statement like “Well! I don’t smoke because it is really unhealthy” to be a way to convey judgment and shaming even while just speaking about one’s owns choices. Context matters.

  75. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I have been rereading that thread and my guess is that you aren’t? Because you are STILL going on that I said somewhere that eating fast food makes one a working class here when what I actually said was

    “I don’t eat there to be one of the people. I eat there because it is convenient and cheap and I think that an english muffin, some cheese, an egg, a piece of ham are pretty much the same regardless of the choice of where to get them. I don’t think you are a snob for refusing to eat fast food. I don’t care what you eat. I think you are a classist snob for being so judgmental about other people’s choices and the huge sense of smug superiority you and other rich white liberals project on this issue. You are not a better person for eating a curry instead of a big mac.”

    I still stand by that statement.

    Also, you were not called a bigot for discussing your personal choices but for shaming people for making choices you don’t agree with and then continuing to do so even after I explained why that kind of microaggression can be harmful to people in my particular marginalized group. You were very dismissive.

  76. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    PS I did tell my kids, when they got McDonald’s why I hate the place. (Not the people who eat there. At least they were clear on that.) I said McDonald’s raises unhappy cows (true). My toddler son replied “Well if the cows are unhappy they wouldn’t call it a happy meal.’ They were able to figure it out eventually.

    I have every right and justification to hate fast food without being called a bigot.
    Anyone else can love it and I will not call them a bigot or any other name.

    It amazes me that I even need to say that.

  77. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “IL, I would say that even if the ‘you’ really was meant as ‘one’ it still qualifies as a statement where Jean is talking about what OTHER people should eat or shouldn’t eat and thus is proof that her statement that she hasn’t ever said anything about what people should eat is false”

    Well, maybe, but stating that people shouldn’t eat fast food, or shouldn’t smoke, or shouldn’t drink or shouldn’t use credit cards or have unprotected sex, or be late to work or whatever is a far cry from making snide comments about what’s in a stranger’s grocery basket.

    Fuck smoking. Smoking is gross. It pollutes the air around me.

  78. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “You are not a better person for eating a curry instead of a big mac.”
    I agree. We agree on so much Lynne.

  79. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    “Fuck smoking. Smoking is gross. It pollutes the air around me.” — Agreed.

  80. Jcp2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    But Hash Bash??!!

  81. Jcp2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    But Hash Bash??!!

  82. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I think weed is far dumber than fast food.

  83. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– the thread to which you linked was not our first discourse about fast food. In that, I can assure you, you positioned your fast food consumption as a point of pride. A lot more than i did with my curry mention (which was in answer to someone else’s point about lack of cheap options) I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, but I need to get back to work. Maybe later.

  84. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– If you want people to be less dismissive of your perspective, maybe don’t attack them right off the bat and continue to do so. I’m ok with expressions of anger, but we all know they don’t lead to greater understanding and compassion. Had you expressed your anger more generally instead of making me the point person for your experience of cultural bias, I might have been more receptive.
    PS I’m almost certain you are now going to accuse me of tone policing, but, again, you started it. I make a point of tone matching. I try not to escalate what has not already been launched.

  85. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Re: “the thread to which you linked was not our first discourse about fast food. In that, I can assure you, you positioned your fast food consumption as a point of pride. “

    Well this is your opportunity to make me eat my hat as it were. Please find where I said that fast food consumption is a point of pride for me. I have a feeling that you will find something where I was talking about how I feel pride about being able to eat what I want including fast food despite the usual judgment from others I experience on a regular basis. I am proud of that. It took a LOT of hard work to get to such a place. That isn’t the same thing as being proud of the food. Also, how many times have you brought that up in the 14 months since I clarified that isn’t what I meant? I don’t think you listen to other people as well as you think you do.

    If you weren’t attacking me about my food choices, I might not have expressed my anger at you specifically. If you had even the smallest amount of sensitivity towards me as a marginalized person after I explained myself and why being critical of food choices is triggering, I might not have called you a bigot. And yes, I fully am aware that I should not have done that. I should have just stuck with the whole “what you are saying seems bigoted to me” method rather than making a statement about your intentions which I cannot know. So I will apologize for that. I don’t know if you are a bigot or not, just that what you say seems prejudiced to me.

    However, I still think that you have demonstrated that you are the kind of person who when faced with a marginalized person who is telling you that something you are saying is triggering and hurtful, you not only feel ok with continuing to engage in the same language but go out of your way to do it. THAT is classic bullying behavior. I regret showing that bit of vulnerability around you. I misjudged you. I thought you were a different sort of person but now I know who you are.

  86. Sad
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Remember when Obama took Skip Wilson and the police out for a beer? Maybe Mark could take Lynne and Jean to McDonalds for a coffee? Just to mend fences and find common ground.

    Why is McDonalds such a hot topic here?

  87. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry if I caused you pain, Lynne. That was not my intent. I’m not sure why people believe they can hurl accusations and then hide behind the shield of vulnerability. If I call someone sexist, I expect heated discourse to follow. I would not in a million years say ‘you are hurting my feelings’ when they replied. I might grow tired and bow out. I would remind you that you were the one to reinstigate this conversation, many times. My feeling is that we are both fucked up enough by our own personal experiences to keep coming back for more. We’re more alike than different I suspect. Most bullies are bullied.

  88. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I accept your apology. Thank you.

    I really only brought this up to point out that you were being hypocritical in judging others for having feelings about if people should buy Shinola products or not. But yes, this time I brought it up first. And fwiw, I regret it.

  89. Jcp2
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink


  90. Jean Henry
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Lynne— there is no indication that Shinola is in any way predatory on its workers or Detroit itself or that its product pose any harm. Shinola’s Great failing is selling expensive things to the wealthy.
    Should shinola become a societal actor with the impact of McDonald’s, I would feel differently.

    Your failure to understand my point from the get go led you to see a parallel where there was in fact and clearly articulated the very critical distinction that you insisted on denying in favor of seeing me as a bigot.

    That’s on you. It was unwarranted and served your preferred narrative in some way to insist on it this hard for for this long.

  91. Iron lung
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    This site only likes money losing businesses that fuck over their employees.

  92. Lynne
    Posted May 12, 2018 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh ok. You only think it is ok to care about other people’s consumer choices if they happen to choose differently than you. Ie. Ok to be critical if you think the company is harmful but not ok for others to do so unless you think the company is harmful. If they do find a company harmful and you don’t then you think it is wrong for them to express disapproval of anyone’s choices. Got it!

  93. Jcp2
    Posted May 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

  94. Jcp2
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

  95. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink


    People approach food with some level of snobbery and defensiveness because noone wants to believe that what they like to eat could be anything but good.

    It’s an emotional response, not a rational one. Though Ms. Henry offers very legitimate criticisms of issues of production and environmrntal impacts, outside of this she appears to believe that simply abstaning from fast food in favor of “home cooked meals” is a “healthy choice.” Somewhat dubious but that’s an emotional response. I doubt any of the heavy foods in the “moosewood cookbook” is any heathier than a big mac in the end but happy dinners including the “enchanted broccoli forest” might trump careful consideration of the fat and calorie counts.

    Similarly Ms. Lynne defends fast food eating by rightly using the egg mcmuffin as an example. While it is true that the egg mcmuffin is equivalent to and possibly more nutritious than other breakfast foods, the truth is that consumers of fast food don’t stop there. The emotional response is possibly leading her to downplay the other things that she might eat there.

    The point is that people are poor judges of their own eating habits.

    People will just eat what they like and come up with ways to justify it because no one wants to believe that something that makes them feel so good might be bad for them.

  96. Sad
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Who would have thought that the Ypsi/Ann Arbor progressive liberal set with be so invested in Trump conspiracy theories and the merits of McDonalds?

  97. Lynne
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    JCP2 I posted that Atlantic article about junk food being the answer on Facebook and was a little taken aback by the response I got. That is when I learned that part of the moralizing about food is not just about the health factors of the food itself but that laziness and a desire for convenience are also seen as a moral failing by many. The whole home cooked meal = healthier is a fallacy that is very very deeply entrenched. It can be but it doesn’t have to be. It was funny because when the discussion turned to the very idea of healthier fast food, a LOT of people got upset at the idea because…well I don’t really know. They weren’t entirely good at articulating their feelings which were new as it is a somewhat new idea. It seemed obvious though that the issue was that they were having some cognitive dissonance with a deeply held belief that processed food = bad in every way including nutritionally. That was a few years ago though. I wonder what the reaction would be today now that those folks have had time to let the concept sit with them for a bit?

    Fast food doesn’t have to necessarily be unhealthy. One of my friends who is always trying to get me to move near told me about this concept. I am looking forward to getting out there to try it (no, I don’t think their burgers and fries are necessarily healthier but they do have some promising salad options).

    IL, oh no. I am quite aware that when I get other things at McDonalds, they are not usually healthy. I don’t very often because I prefer the burgers and fried things at Kluck’s drive in which is very close to my house but I am under no illusions that food is healthy. Because they are a small business, they don’t offer nutritional information but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a nice juicy cheeseburger dripping with fat and fried mushrooms or onion rings does not compromise a healthy meal. And when I cook at home, it isn’t always healthy either fwiw. Depends on my mood.

    I do eat what I would like. I guess the way I justify it is that I tell myself that if I put my energy into socializing, which does take energy for me since I am an introvert, it will have more of a health benefit to me than spending my energy worrying about how healthy my food choices are although I still do spend energy on that too. My personal philosophy about healthy eating is that if I eat healthy 80% of the time and eat whatever I want 20% of the time, I will be mostly ok and not miserable as I would be if I never allowed myself foods that bring me joy but perhaps aren’t the best thing to eat.

  98. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    IL– Home cooked meals are simply within my control. Most people who eat out at any price level or category will eat less healthy food than they do if they make food at home. I cook at home because it’s relaxing for me and, a bit like working on cars or any other learned skill, it saves me money. I dont have the expectation that others will love what I love to do. And I’m really uninterested in adding more domestic labor expectations to women or men, especially those supporting children. As for the food system, I’m particularly critical what we offer kids on children’s menus and in school lunches. These are high-profit margin/low labor skill, mostly fried foods without vegetables. And they are on every kids menu from McDonalds to Zingerman’s Roadhouse. It sets Americans up on a path to accepting a lack of diversity of foods in their diet which is both culturally limiting and unhealthy. Many people of every class level from other places find most American fast food unappealing. Why do you think they feel aversion to it? Is it class snobbery or anti-fat bias?
    This conversation is so longwinded that I’m sure I have espoused many opinions, but I think originally I suggested that eating out at low cost independent ‘ethnic’ (aka not American) food restaurants was the better option on all counts for those who can afford either the time or money to do so. All that said, I really don’t have any judgment about what anyone eats individually. I find individual food stories that arise from some cultural context interesting. But that’s mostly about the cultural information it provides.
    I actually feel worse that Lynne felt a need to weave out her food habits and choices on their nutritional basis rather than that she felt I was being bigoted towards her. I guess I’m warped.

  99. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    “I will be mostly ok and not miserable as I would be if I never allowed myself foods that bring me joy but perhaps aren’t the best thing to eat.”

    One must certainly maintain a balance. Too much of the popular advice on nutrition out there is focused on spartan ideals rather than what is realistically possible.

  100. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    “Many people of every class level from other places find most American fast food unappealing. Why do you think they feel aversion to it? Is it class snobbery or anti-fat bias?”

    I don’t like it because it is a mostly repulsive cuisine.

    However, much of the world loves the American fast food cuisine, unfortunately.

  101. Lynne
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    The American diet is one that has been tailored mostly to people’s tastes because it can be. It is a product of our affluence. And in other parts of the world, as people become more affluent they start eating a diet that is more similar to an American diet. The reason is that it tastes good to *most* people. The combination of fat, sugar, salt is irresistible to most people. But yes, there are variances in individual tastes. In the USA we are so prosperous and have such an abundance of food that we have the luxury of always having food available which tastes good to us. The rest of the world is catching up and that is a good thing. I think we can at least agree that even though obesity has its problems, they are not nearly as bad or as damaging to individuals or society than a lack of food.

    There are always individual preferences but in general the more fat, sugar, and salt are in foods, the more people like them. With American fast food cuisine, there is an additional aspect of the USA being one of the most culturally influential nations in the world. People around the world have reasons other than taste to our food, our clothes, our entertainment etc. I actually think we should exploit this as part of our national defense strategy. We would be safer if instead of building so many bombs, we were building more McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts, etc in foreign lands.

  102. Lynne
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I actually feel worse that Lynne felt a need to weave out her food habits and choices on their nutritional basis rather than that she felt I was being bigoted towards her. I guess I’m warped.

    I believe I was responding to a statement that someone made that there were no healthy choices at McDonald’s and I was pointing out that there are. I know lots of people who hit up the drive through at McDonald’s for reasonably healthy meals. FWIW what I have to face often as a fat person when I talk about my own choices are people telling me that I am lying, that I may not be aware of how healthy/unhealthy my choices are, or that I may be downplaying what I eat there. A lot of people refuse to believe that a fat person could possibly be eating a diet that most would consider healthy. That is where the bias and prejudice come in.

  103. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Lynne— on another thread that went this direction, I posted a link to a BBC doc about a study of people who ‘can’t gain weight’ and an attempt to fatten them up by feeding them a extraordinarily high calorie diet. Barely worked for most and they all lost the weight almost immediately afterwards. (There was other info in there about genetic predisposition to obesity etc) It tends to shut up those kinds of prescriptive conversations. At least when they happen on line.

    I believe eating should be pleasurable. I think Shane and it’s other side righteousness distort our ability to experience pleasure from eating. It’s no coincidence I believe that the foods Americans have learned to view as pleasurable are the highest profit margin foods in the business. Many are also unhealthy. At least in the portion sizes served in the US.
    We are out of balance in our relationship with Food in the US across the board. Orthorexy and other food disorders are as dangerous if not more than obesity. Two sides of the same coin in my view.

    I go after fast food businesses because they make the highest profit margins off the worst food and their very existence allows others to do the same. They control the market. And it’s reasonable to ask them to be much better citizens in exchange for our patronage.

  104. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    IL — much of the world has been persuaded to like American fast food. It is scientifically designed to appeal to some very base pleasure receptors at the lowest possible cost. I do personally believe that sugar is likely addictive though I know this has not been scientifically established yet. I don’t however believe sugar in reasonable levels is a problem. It’s kind of amazing in terms of its properties in preparing foods of all kinds. But we don’t use it reasonably in the US.

    The impact of the rise in popularity abroad of US style industrial fast food has been a precipitous rise in the rates of obesity.

    This is not to say that every obese person is fat due to overeating or that any obese person is solely responsible for their own condition. But fast food industry does have some responsibility. As do the Farm subsidies for corn and sugar which are heavily lobbied for by the fast food industry and its supply chain.

    Calling each other names lets the real culprit off the hook.

  105. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    People dont need to be persuaded to like fried foods.

  106. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    True enough.
    Or sugar.
    Or garlic and onion.
    Or fat, except dairy which is trickier.

  107. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Tell me how is it we convinced so much of the world to like American Cheese?
    And American mayo in vast quantities?
    And sugar on French fries and pretty much everything— on onions, and pizza dough?
    What about bread that is fluffy and soft and weighs 1/4 of the weight of any other loaf of bread, uses 1/4 of the ingredients, has the same number of calories and at a cost of 1/2 of the other loaves is considered a bargain. American processed food is whipped up from fewer ingredients with more calories. It’s sinply made as cheaply as possible to seem as big and filling as possible. Nutritional value is secondary. It’s cynical Food. At best. But yes it does appeal. It’s the porn of food, goes straight to the pleasure centers. Which is fine and serviceable but not as good as the real deal.

  108. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    The blame for mayonnaise should be assigned to the British.

    Cheese of any kind is unpopular in non-dairy countries and american cheese not well liked in Europe (outtside the UK).

    Sugar on fried starch is a French thing.

    Fluffy bread also a British export. See “chip butty”

  109. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    The Brits and the French did far more to alter world diets than the Americans.

  110. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    In my personal opinion.
    Not telling anyone what to eat:-)

  111. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    They did in the last century. But in this one?we’ll see.

  112. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    IL — fast food is not just fatty food.

  113. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I have been a lot of places in the world.

    People everywhere like fried foods.

    When people have money and ag practices become efficient (dropping prices) they eat more meat.

    Most humans dont like cheese.

    Mayonnaise is ubiquitous.

  114. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    You are the only person I have ever met who argued against the impact of the US Food and ag system on eating habits abroad, IL.
    I’ll take it under advisement.
    Ps I never said fried foods were a US invention. They are called French fried after all. There is however a means of production and distribution that is very different, more efficient (Good) but also less healthy and more destructive (bad)

  115. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Increasing agricultural efficiency is not a bad thing. Worlwide humanity has benefitted greatly from increased access to affordable nutritious food. Chidren die less and people live longer and heathier.

    Outside of South Africa and the former white colonies I have not seen American fast food become anything more than an occassional pleasure. On a day to day basis, people in most places eat some updated version of what they always have.

  116. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I remember the stupid globalization arguments back in the 90s, which assumed that the rest of the world was full of stupid children who would fall prey to evil American companies at every turn.

    The basis to those arguments, that nonwhite people are stupid, was horribly racist at its core.

  117. Iron lung
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Such a dumb time, academics worried about Japanese McDs and encouraging dictatorship as a way forward for the world

  118. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I would like to be clear that I think people abroad are no dumber or smarter than Americans and so equally susceptible to marketing ploys by predatory companies. I’m not anti-globalist in any way but that doesn’t mean I think no corporate actors abroad and domestically are predatory. Global markets are the area targeted for expansion as us market interest among the Young trail off. And following the expansion into global markets, which is now larger for most companies than domestic presence, there have in fact been notable health impacts, especially in Asia. In spite of British and European presence and influence there, it’s onky recevtky that they have developed obesity issues. That could be a function of growing affluence on not.

    I’m sure that most people abroad still eat what they are growing up… for now.
    That doesn’t mean fast food global expansion is without impact.

  119. Jean Henry
    Posted May 14, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Lesson drawn from my time on this thread: if argument A sounds in any way similar to bigoted argument b, you will be cornered by accusations of bigotry into discussing argument b more than argument a. Argument a in fact is likely to become quite lost in the passion surrounding argument b which was in fact never argued.

    No wonder this shit goes on and on.

  120. NYT Breaking News
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    President Trump has canceled the June 12 summit meeting with Kim Jong-un. He cited “tremendous anger” from the North Korean side.

  121. CNN's Jim Sciutto
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    South Korea appears to have been blind-sided: “We are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it” says presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

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