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Fast food vs reality

Recently, Joe had a few comments about KFC - "Microwaved chicken, dipped in secret recipe and deep fried, tastes like sawdust, when you remove the coating".

The first question that comes to mind is microwaved and deep-fried? Secondly, I am under no illusions as to the conditions of the chicken. It says a lot that the chicken nuggets I get from time to time in the supermarket come from Thailand. I do not know the ethics of KFC (not yet looked for blurb to read), I do know McDonald's (at least in France) tries to source their products within Europe if not within France. I believe the pork used comes from France, the beef when I have noticed the signs is France/Germany/Holland. Indeed, McDonald's likes to stay on top of the entire food chain getting involved in all stages (right down to the projects for producters of the equitable tea they use). Perhaps this is why I haven't heard of McDo in France owning up to having horsemeat in their products - they actually know where the meat came from...
One thing that is nice to know is that KFC states very clearly:

KFC notice
For those who don't read French - this is saying it is real pieces of chicken, not processed reshaped pieces or "mechanically separated" meat.

Joe continues - "full of hormones and antibiotics".
I've seen what my pig-farmer neighbour does. I've seen the size of cow udders before milking. Don't fool yourself into believing anything isn't stuffed with medicines and chemicals. Perhaps if you buy organic you'll get a better quality product. Perhaps. I have yet to see a fast food joint offering an organic range. Somehow I think "fast food" and "organic" are mutually incompatible.

Yet more - "I know that Ronald destroyed the rainforest and created pastures for their cows in South America".
I cannot comment on where American meat is sourced, and yes - I am aware that for a while McDonald's had a hack'n'slash approach to the rainforest, though public outcry has reduced if not stopped that.
But has it done any good?
Rainforest is still being torn down on that side of the planet for crops for biofuel, while rainforest is being torn down on the opposite side of the planet for sugar cane. Brazil's new found fortune is the little weapon of mass protein, the venerable soy bean, but at what cost the environment? While the economy is flushing itself down the toilet, more and more perfectly decent arable land is being set aside for biofuel to make fuel such as the SP95-E10 (unleaded, 95 octane, 10% bioethanol) which, frankly, makes a small car such as the Citroen C1 (tiny 3 cylinder engine) run like shit. I wouldn't fancy a larger vehicle on that rubbish.

This, of course, isn't even venturing into the realm of genetically-modified crops. There is, as yet, no solid evidence to say that GMO is good or harmful (and, note well, lack of evidence of harmful does not necessarily imply unharmful - look at Thalidomide if you need an example of why). However it is being pushed harder and harder for commercial concerns make their money on it, and if the lobby groups got their way we the consumer wouldn't even have a choice.

Oh, and non-organic gelatine probably says on the label something like "pork gelatine". You so do not want to know where that comes from.

Really. The best bet is to eat the stuff you like and not ask too many questions. As the secondary fall-out from the horsemeat scandal is demonstrating well, the rancid practices that go on in the food industry are enough to make a person feel that walking outside and gnawing on the ground would be safer than ingesting many of the items on the supermarket shelves. Though this is partly our own fault - we want more and more, better and better, yet we want to pay pocket change for it. Quality and cheap are not synonymous terms.

By the way, why is it a surprise that the homeless were white? Homeless people come from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures. Some never did anything useful with their lives beyond petty theft, others held boring middle-management type positions and lost their jobs meaning they could no longer afford the mortgage and bills meaning... Black, White, Arab, Asian, the gamut in between - some people are useless slackers, some people try and fail, others try and succeed.

 

Which leads nicely on to...

 

Hey! Hey! Austerity! HELL NO!

It's what I've said on my blog, here, a few times in recent years. As the "disastrous" (scare quotes) recent vote in Italy has shown, people just plain don't want rampant austerity. Through all the efforts around to try to sort out the issues, Germany has resisted as hard as it can, only relenting slightly when there seems no viable alternatives. On the face of it, you can understand Germany's concern - as one of the few countries to do well from the Euro project, they don't want to write blank cheques for their European partners who can't manage their finances and are living well beyond their means.

This would be understandable.

If it wasn't bollocks.

Greece is, has, and probably will be a problem. Greece needs to get its act together. Greece could have been handled by Europe.
Spain and Ireland both were not in the dire straits they find themselves in now. Both countries had a low debt to GDP ratio and were in fiscal surplus. That means they had money to spare. Neither country needed to tear itself apart. Both countries are now haemorrhaging talented young people in a toxic combination that may take decades to put right. If all your brains pack up and move overseas, what's left?

You know, it isn't because Europeans are few up with misery, austerity, and being bossed around by unelected officials. It is much simpler than that. We can see that the policies in place are simply not working. If anything, they are making the problem worse. Is Germany going to be willing to write cheques for Ireland and Spain now that the Euro project has broken them?

What is necessary is one of two choices. The first, the populist approach - jack in the Euro. The simplest way to regain control of your destiny is to kick the single currency and sort out your own mess by yourself. I emphasise the by yourself.
Alternatively, we need proper top-down management of the situation. Frankly the average citizen sees their jobs and wellbeing on the line while the banks, the fiscal unions, the governments, not a lot changes for them. We don't want this. We, the people, are being expected to deal with the horrendous mismanagement of the banks, and the equally despicable mismangement of the Euro project is also supposed to be our problem. Reap what you sow, and so on.

No.

Just, plain, NO.

Here's how it works. Financial and political unity. Not Germany whinging. They can either get on board or sod off back to the Deutchmark. The same goes for everybody else. In it for the long run, or bugger off. No half measures. No endless procrastination.
I still believe there is strength in union, I still believe there is a way for Europe to become more closely integrated and become a power to reckon with, to revive itself from the sewer it has unwittingly fallen into. This, however, needs changes. Big changes. Not with us, but at the top. If things do not change at the top, no amount of change at the bottom will have any effect. We, the citizens and voters, can see this. It's about time you, the people in power, pulled your heads out of your collective asses and realised it too.

 

By the way - about austerity. It makes sense in a business that if cutbacks are to be made, to reduce the size of the workforce and make fewer people do more work in a more efficient manner.
Such an approach is ludicrous when it comes to countries. Why? Simple. When an employer lays off an employee, that person is no longer a concern for the company. They may have rights to a certain amount of benefits for a specific duration, but essentially they are no longer waged, they no longer exist.
The same cannot be said for a country. If you fire a thousand public service employees, you don't have a thousand less people. They, citizens of the country, still exist, only now they are doing exactly nothing and in the current situation may be lucky to find alternative work, instead needing to depend upon the state, and if the state help ceases or runs out, that can create a very dangerous combination of hopelessness and anger. These people do not cease to exist, so trying to save money by making them jobless seems to me to be extremely retarded thinking. Would it not be better to try to take surplus employees and move them to do alternative work?

What we especially do not need is a Euro devaluation. Again, this would help balance out Germany's rising wages and export prices. As a side effect, it would screw up much of the rest of Europe. Plain rampant austerity without growth is never, ever, going to work. A five year old girl could figure that out, why can't Europe's leaders? It is extremely important to encourage growth, otherwise fewer workers and more unemployment will only lead to spiralling debt and a devaluation will basically kick that in the face, repeatedly. Europe is, already, becoming fragmented and disbalanced, and the tentative efforts to maximise one country are destroying others. This has to cease, and this has to cease soon.

Without solid, viable, cohesive leadership and a much deeper integration between the countries and a more active role to be played by the ECB, pretty soon voters in Europe will turn their backs on Europe entirely. If you think giving up some sovereignty for integration is a disaster, I can promise you, you will not like the alternatives.

And the biggest tragedy of it all is that Europe and the Euro is not a failure. It is the leadership that is composed of endless fail. The leadership, I should point out, that may well still be in power after the crunch point.

We, the people of Europe, have a vote and a say, and a voice. It's about time we start to use these instruments as those in power in Europe are obviously deaf, blind, and very very stupid. I've had it with their bad decisions. Haven't you?

 

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joe, 15th March 2013, 12:59
Imagine, how much are banks losing, on dayly basis, because there is no currency exchange in Euro Zone. 
Imagine this, Tony Blair, elected by 27 members of EU Council, to become First President of European Union, then coming EU taxes, EU Riot Police, EU Army, read EU Devence Force, which can be deployed to any part of the world, Tony would convince anyone about WMD and antrax, 
we give more money to your country but you must vote yes, what about EU Secret Service, EU Patriot Act, what about EU Resefve Bank, Water, Gas, Electicity. 
How far to Oewel's predictions, one year EU is at war with Asian Union and with American Union, the next. 
EU Tea, EU Coffee, EU News Corporation, with TV, Radio and NewsPapers, it would be the Ministry of the Truth, they also will take care of internet censorship. Don't forget Big Brother Tony and big screen TV.
Rick, 15th March 2013, 13:30
I would be impressed if I could believe the EU were coherent enough and organised enough to be capable of something of that magnitude...
joe, 16th March 2013, 05:13
I've forgotten to mention that my 6-cylinder, 4-litre ford runs like shit also, on this SP95-E10 fuel, the best is premium 98, SP98 in France, very clean, doesn't clog injectors, like the regular 91 fuel does.

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