labor costing

didim-dol replied to your photoset “I was at our local bakery recently and came across a loaf of bread…”

okay, but to be fair, a local bakery is not the same as a large corporation? It’s not like that local bakery is making bank and laughing as they charge $6 for a loaf of bread….

Unfortunately what qualifies for me and a lot of other people as a “local” bakery is usually a chain or some form of franchise.  

You could argue it’s the cost of labor required to make it, but most bakeries, even locally owned ones, now use machines to mix their breads, and trust me, those machines pay for themselves within the first 1-5 years, even for a small local bakery. I worked long enough for one to know.

And they are still charging way too much for a loaf of what they have the gall to market as a “peasant” bread which once you have the ingredients—which they do in bulk and at serious discount—costs literal pennies to make if not less. I remember once working out that it cost something like $0.25  per loaf, when I worked in what was then an independent artisanal bakery. And some of those breads were being sold at $8 a pop because we’d slapped words like “home made” and “anti-oxidant whole grain” onto what was essentially a mix of strong white flour, yeast and salt and water rolled in oat flour.  So yes, they are.

If you would go out of your way to argue how easy it is for capital to automate away jobs when labor costs become too high, then you should probably know that you’re giving all kinds of credibility to those of us who advocate fully-automated luxury communism. I mean, think about it: you’re arguing that so much of human labor ISN’T NECESSARY because said jobs can be done by machines, and yet you STILL want the bulk of humanity to pointlessly scrape by laboring for the capitalist class, receiving meager wages to buy the shit they helped generate in the first place. The above billboard is a THREAT. Let’s not mince words – that billboard is bourgeois propaganda designed to turn the working class against each other and against the broader goals of resource democratization. “If you fight for a basic livable wage, just know that you’re easily replaceable, peon!”

This is what leftists mean when they say that capitalism is an economic system filled to the brim with tensions and contradictions; it’s also what they mean when they say that capitalism inevitably produces its own gravediggers. Automation is one of those gravediggers, and it’s a major one at that. As more and more jobs become automated in the coming decades, the working class will face widespread dispossession, ramping up revolutionary class consciousness in the process. At that point, capitalism will either focus on generating more superfluous jobs for people to work or set about instituting a universal basic income – regardless, the point is to keep enough scraps flowing downward so that people don’t call for a broader system change. In this way, capitalism’s ruling class can maintain control over the wealth-producing means of production and imperialist capital accumulation can continue unrestrained.

For these reasons, “more jobs” and universal basic incomes are not enough. We need to democratize the broader social infrastructure and eliminate the profit system. If you recognize how possible it is to automate away human labor, then you should defenestrate yourself out of the Overton Window and use some political imagination – cut out the unnecessary jobs, automate all the labor you can, produce for human need rather than elite profit, and you end up with drastically reduced working hours and bountiful leisure time. This is the essence of fully-automated luxury communism – the natural conclusion of the conditions that capitalism set in motion.

Be wary of automation in the present climate, but always trace it back to the class struggle. Robots taking our jobs SHOULD be cause for celebration; why should we treat these potential liberators as harbingers of dispossession? Technological advancements are pushing us exponentially towards a de facto post-scarcity world, where everyone’s needs can be comfortably met alongside their desires for community and leisure and entertainment, and yet we’re held back by Empire’s insistence on keeping the means of production hoarded under the command of a superfluous ruling class. As long as we are divided into capitalists and workers, humanity will never know full liberation.

3

If you’re defending Bill and Hillary Clinton’s use of legalized prison slavery—using people they called superpredators, who needed to be brought to heel—if you’re trying to defend that today, I suggest watching and re-watching Ava DuVernay’s documentary, 13th.

Saying “It’s just tradition” makes you sound like you’re defending slavery or the confederate flag. And if your argument is that prison labor “keeps costs down” and saves money, well it still sounds like you’re defending Civil War era slavery. And it doesn’t sound like you’re a progressive.

And if you try to excuse it’s relevance it by trying to shove it into the “distant” past, it was in the 1990s not the 1890s. So it’s still relevant.

It was and is still wrong.

There’s no defending this.

Step 1: Insist that prisoners be used as a source of slave labor, because it costs a lot of tax money to imprison them.

Step 2: Ignore the fact that if we repealed laws against victimless actions, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.

Step 3: Ignore the fact that if we rehabilitated criminals to make them less likely to reoffend instead of turning them into life-long criminals, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.

remedialaction  asked:

"If McDonalds can't afford to pay what I say they should be paying, they're a failure because reasons. Somehow increasing labor costs won't also lead to price increases because I expect the companies to just eat the cost cus I've never heard of profit margins."

You know McDonald’s pays their employees in Australia $15 an hour, yeah?


Also, without changing the salary of the executives or bonuses to CEOs or anything else,  If the minimum wage were increased to $15 an hour, prices at fast food restaurants would rise by an estimated 4.3 percent, according to a new study. That would mean a McDonald’s Big Mac, which currently goes for $3.99, would cost about 17 cents more, or $4.16.

2

thinking up the scientists in the solarpunk land 

I think that the main inhabitants of this place would be toads and these chameleon people (that Im calling the gecks for now bc Im terrible with names). a lotta people come and go (including a lotta bird folks and goomba scientists) but toads and gecks make up the main workforce. 

Im naming these two Doctor Geck and Professor Toaddie per nintendo’s naming tradition. Doctor Geck is one of those brash but devoted man of science, while Prof Toaddie is very adamant about her independence from authority. theyve been friends for a long time. they even got kidnapped together. almost escaped together too. long story

oh, man, i saw this post, which has reminded me of A Story, which i will now share with you.

so: i used to work at a restaurant that did this. it was a hole in the wall ~italian~ place run by an absolute disaster of a man. he was called john, and john was, amongst other things, bad at planning and also a cheapskate.

and see, perhaps you’ve heard “cheapskate” and you’re thinking “responsible business owner who would like to not incur more costs than he has to”, but no, friends. the thing that i mean is “so cheap that he refused to pay the cooks to be there for a whole shift, because we could do fine without them.”

to reiterate: this was a restaurant, and he felt that cooks were an unreasonable expense.

“but misha!” you might say, “how on earth can a restaurant function without anyone working the fucking kitchen?”

and that, friends, is where the giant buckets of pasta come in.

john would pay his cooks to come in for a couple hours before the restaurant opened, and they’d do all the cooking them. trays of meatballs and chicken breasts, huge tubs of sauce, stockpots full of the day’s soup, and, yes, giant tubs of cooked pasta, separated by shape.

when the cooks left for the day, they’d leave a giant pot of boiling water on the stove and a hot flattop next to that. there was also a line of four microwaves under one of the counters. and there were servers. (like me!)

so people would come in and be seated, and we’d go out and take their order. then we’d go back to the kitchen and chuck a couple of store-bought rolls into the oven to create the illusion that they were ~house baked~. while the rolls heated, we’d get their salad. the salad which was accomplished by grabbing a fistful of greens out of the greens tub and tossing it on a plate, then topping it with the appropriate cheeses and other misc veg. (there was literally a tub of misc veg for the house salads–shreds of carrot and uneven half-moons of radish, plus whatever other veg john had ordered and needed to use up. wooly, watery tomato wedges lived in the next tub over.)

next up was assembling their supper. this was the 90s, so you could still get away with serving every single thing on your menu as part of a giant bowl of pasta. the whole menu was designed around this. chicken parm was spaghetti, red sauce, grilled chicken, and mozzarella cheese. pasta carbonara was spaghetti, gloppy alfredo sauce, and some pre-cooked bacon that you threw onto the flattop for a minute or two. chicken piccata was spaghetti, grilled chicken, lemon-garlic butter sauce, capers, and parmesan. you might be noticing a pattern. sometimes it was shrimp instead of chicken, or pork, but the rest of it was always the same.

so you get back to the kitchen, and you’d haul out the giant tub of the pasta they’d chosen, and drop a serving into the boiling water for about thirty seconds or so, just long enough to heat it. while it heated, we’d microwave their sauce, and, if needed, either microwave their protein or toss it onto the flattop for a minute. scrape it all into one of those weird bowl-plates that restaurants love, and tada, you’ve just cut your boss’s labor costs in half.

ok, but remember how i said that john was bad at planning? john was *bad at planning*, friends. he hired cooking staff, but as far as he was concerned, he was the chef, and the overseer of all kitchen functions. including how much of a thing to cook, and when to cook it. given that he was a cheap bastard, maybe you’re thinking that this is a hilarious story about the time that the pasta buckets ran empty, which would be a reasonable, if incorrect, thing to think.

john, you see, was very convinced that the restaurant was going to be A Success. (spoiler alert: it was not.) according to john, any day now, things were just gonna TAKE OFF. and so he had people cooking as if every night was going to be the night that things picked up.

this was a small restaurant, ok? maybe twenty tables, and i never saw more than half of them full. i don’t think that i ever worked with more than one other server, and often i’d be working by myself, even during the dinner “rush” when we might have as many as five or six tables full at a time.

but tonight! tonight was gonna be the night it all changed. every tonight. and so every day, the cooks would boil pound upon pound of dry pasta, and every day they’d oil the pasta and pack it into tubs, and every day they’d put the tubs in the cooler under the counter so we could assemble the meals that evening. five or six of those big plastic tubs, all of them at least half full of different types of pasta, tucked away under the counter. but, you know, whatever; that’s what passed for an italian restaurant in small town america circa the mid 90s.

and so we continued, the cooks boiling pasta before open and the servers awkwardly assembling meals in the kitchen and john glaring at us all from his office. until that day, that fateful day, when we rant out of misc veg for house salads, and john told me to go into the cooler and get more.

i’d never been in the cooler before. i walked in and looked around for the veg bucket, and then did a double take. there in the cooler, stacked along the wall, was tub upon tub of pasta. i don’t mean the standard five or six that lived under the counter, i mean like fifty or sixty, just piled atop each other, like a wall built out of lego, only the lego in this scenario were clear plastic tubs, each of them at least half full of what i can only assume was finely aged, lightly oiled pasta. fucking dozens of them.

i walked out of the cooler. i couldn’t find the vegetables, i said, and then ignored john while he cussed me out before going to get the tub himself. i couldn’t stop thinking about the wall of pasta.

after my shift, i walked two miles home in the dark, still thinking about the wall of pasta. thinking things like, what the fuck. why. WHY.

i didn’t go back to work after that. i didn’t call or anything, i just didn’t go. why the fuck would anyone need that much pasta? john called my house after i missed the shift and told me i was fired, which seemed, honestly, like an ok outcome.

the restaurant closed a month or two later. john declared bankruptcy, and the contents of the restaurant were sold off to pay his debts.

i wonder how much they got for the pasta wall.

So I am no longer in charge of Slime, which if you’re not familiar with that story I would get yourself a snack and give it a read because…. it’s long. It’s a long, long saga of slime. Instead, they’re having me do the Saturday morning kids classes. Or rather, they’re continuing to have me do the morning classes because… why train someone else to work with unattended small children when we’ve already broken this one’s spirit? 

And if you were internetting at the same time I was last night, you were probably aware that my girlfriend and I were making friendship bracelets. Which is very cute, but the reason we were doing that was because today I was supposed to teach little kids how to make them. I’d never made one successfully before and the directions were super unhelpful, so she was showing me how. (Well… it’s still pretty stompin’ cute in the context). 

So what I learned last night was that they really are a labor of love because if you tried to sell them at the fair cost of labor, no one would buy it at that price and you really gotta like that person to put in all that work and then give it away for free. 

“Oh, how shall I, a mere child, show the bonds of our unending friendship? I shall develop early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome as a symbol of our platonic love!”

This is a childhood experience that I never had. Ostensibly because I was the crafty person in the school and I had all of two (2) friends and … eh. Eh. It was the 90′s and my homework already resembled a mountain, so… eh. 

Anyhowdy. 

The bracelet that I was supposed to make was a chevron, but it looks more like argyle. Which is a look I dig but I’m mentally preparing dialogue for when someone is upset it doesn’t look like it should.  

There is no way in the squishiest layers of Hell that a four-year old is going to figure out how to make this. I’m 30 and I’m screwing up, so I figure I’ll have a couple of simpler options.  Basically, I would have them braid their colors together and put beads on it. Seems simple, right?

… ha… haha… oh. 

I’m sure that my plan would have potentially worked if there were different circumstances, but here we are… 

I had… no students. 

Until… 

11:45, fifteen minutes before I was meant to close up. And then I had two. Then five. Then seven, nine, ten. As soon as I gave kids instructions to pick out their colors, more would come in. So half the room was bored and waiting for me to start and the other half was spending a lot of time trying to decide which color pink they want. One of them has her arm in a cast. Something wasn’t thought through. 

It is 11:55 when I finally get started. 

“Measure the length from your wrist to your elbow, and then double it.” 

Three adults failed this part. 

“Fold it in half and tie a knot at the top.”

One kid failed this part. 

“Do y’all know how to braid?” A mix of nods and shakes. “Okay, if you know how to braid, go ahead and braid your colors together.”

Three adults failed this part. I had to teach one kid how to braid because his mom refused to show him and eventually just took over herself. None of the parents were willing to help their kids learn, because they insisted that they already knew but clearly did not. I had to teach some of the adults. 

About halfway through this, a kid says “when are we going to make the slime?”

“Slime isn’t until one-o-clock.”

“We thought this was the slime thing.”

How do you get halfway through a friendship braid tutorial and realize that it isn’t slime? Did you think we were going to put it in the slime? Did you think that we were going to dip it in borax and it was going to suddenly be slime somehow? Did you miss the part in the beginning when I said ‘are you here to make friendship bracelets?’ Because I said that to literally everyone that came in through the doors. 

“Okay, now you’re going to put your beads on.” This part they knew how to do. “And when you’re done, you’re going to put a bead over one end and tie a knot around it, then do the same on the other side.”

All of the adults failed this part. 

Around this time, three girls abandoned the craft for their mom to finish in favor of watching whatever mindless children’s entertainment was being played in the baby carriage belonging to a completely different family. So they’ve just left the whole thing to their mother, who is frantically trying to finish because these kids have already learned the age-old art of ‘make someone else do it.’ 

We’re down to seven people and one of the youngest says ‘face painting.’

“The ad said that there’d be face painting.”

“Face painting?”

“FACE PAINTING YAY!”

Suddenly they all want their faces painted. It is 12:25, the class ended 25 minutes ago, I’m supposed to clock out in five minutes, and seven kids are now under the impression that we’re doing face painting. 

“Face painting isn’t until next week. Next week.”

And now… tears. 

The one that brought it up knocked over a bucket of perler beads. The mom is now screaming at her, everyone is upset and I am now ten minutes late to clock out. Some of them are still asking about slime, so now they’re alternating between slime and face painting and the truth is that they want both, but I’m giving them neither and oh man… toddlers are not a pleasant sight when you tell them that they don’t have any choice in the matter. 

They finally figure that the best thing to do is leave, no one is happy, and I’m pretty sure the little one is grounded. 

All of this- all of this

All of this could have been avoided if you’d shown up fifteen minutes later, but sure- Zerg rushing the teacher seems like a way better plan, doesn’t it?

As I am cleaning up the string mess, a line is forming at the door.

“Is this the slime thing?”

“It hasn’t started yet.”

“I’ll wait.” Haha. I’ve played this game. You’ll wait, but you’ll complain to my manager that we made you wait for the event to open before letting you in. 

I finish cleaning up, I get out the door, and the same woman jumps to get into the classroom.

“It doesn’t start until one, ma’am.”

“It said noon!”

“One to three. The event is one til three.”

I know that the color ‘puce’ is hotly contested in terms of it’s actual definition, but her face turned the puciest color I have ever seen. Her son is tugging impatiently at her pant leg. She tells her tiny human that he has to wait longer. 

Haha, don’t care. I’m out, kiddos!

This post is brought to you by Children’s Tears. 

Date a girl who keeps trying to deconstruct the “secretly sinister, saccharine socialist utopia” depicted in Paw Patrol. It’s just a kids show, you tell her. She wonders why, if there’s no money, how they get people to work. She tells you that the Mayor is grossly incompetent and likely just a figurehead. She explains in great detail that all the townsfolk must have implants to make them crave labor at no cost. She hypothesizes that the same advanced technology behind the implants also brings their post-scarcity world, and assumes the main cast are all genetically enhanced “super dogs,” but that the utopia is on the brink of economic collapse considering one windmill breaking can take out the entire town’s power. Date a girl who will likely go mad if she has to watch one more episode on her babysitting job.

youtube

The Republican Tax Sham

Watch your wallets. Republicans are pushing a new corporate tax plan that will end up costing most of you a bundle. Here’s what you should know about the so-called “border adjustment tax." 

The U.S. imports about $2.7 trillion worth of goods a year. Many imports are cheap because labor costs are much lower in places like Southeast Asia.

Our current tax code taxes corporations on their profits. So, for example, when Wal-Mart buys t-shirts from Vietnam for $10 and sells them for $13, Wal-Mart is only taxed on that $3 of profit.

But under the new Republican tax plan, Wal-Mart would be taxed on the full price of imported items, so in this case the full $13 sale price of that t-shirt. As a result of this tax, Wall Street analysts expect retail prices in the U.S. to rise as much as 15 percent.

The plan would also cut taxes on companies that export from the United States. This is intended to encourage companies to locate production here in the United States. 

But it wouldn’t reverse the tide of automation that’s rapidly eliminating jobs even  from American factories.

The worst thing about it the plan is it’s a hidden upward redistribution.  

Its burden will fall mainly on the poor and middle class because they already spend almost all of their incomes, so they’ll feel the greatest pain from higher retail prices.

The benefits will go to companies that export and their shareholders, who will benefit from the tax cuts in the form of higher profits – and higher share prices.  Shareholders, who are mostly upper-income people, don’t need this windfall.

Republicans claim that the U.S. dollar would rise in response to higher taxes on imports, effectively wiping out the tax burden. But as a practical matter, no one knows if this will happen.

Bottom line: The tax plan is dressed up as a way to make America more competitive. But underneath it’s just a typical Republican plan that redistributes from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy.

2

Honeybees are in trouble. Here’s how you can help

The die-off of America’s honeybee colonies, which are disappearing in droves because of parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition and disease, leave beekeepers scrambling to salvage the vital insects.

The task of solving the honeybee problem, experts say, isn’t isolated to beekeepers. A few changes to home patios and gardens can lend honeybees a much-needed assist.

Last year, a third of the nation’s honeybee colonies died, which is low considering the bigger decreases of the last decade. This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer bees. Beekeepers can salvage a dead colony, but it comes with labor and production costs.

(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

9

The “BED” Economy of Breath of the Wild.

So far, each region has offered a “unique bed experience” meant to serve as an added perk to enhance Link’s abilities in some way. More stamina, more hearts, more whatever. 

Now, this two-tiered pricing system is already problematic because it feeds in to the ‘attainable luxury’ market that drives people to spend more on something they likely cannot afford, but do so to reach some level of social standing deemed ‘acceptable’ by those in power or by their peers who are also striving. In addition, it immediately stratifies society, creating class differences and pushing elitism as an ideal. 

It shows an ugly side of the world of BotW, one driven by highly competitive tourism industries that favor the ultra-rich, and an economy that ensures that the rich continue to get richer. Two words. Late Capitalism.   

Before getting back to the bed situation, let’s look at an example of how the Zelda economy is one entrenched in late capitalism. I bust my butt searching the world for gems as a freelancer, because this is a sharing economy after all, using my own labor power to procure diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. I have no job security, everything I do is at my own risk. Despite the lack of work safety, as luck would have it, I find a diamond! Hallelujah! I take it to the gem dealer and he offers me 500 rupees for it. Seems like a good deal, except that he immediately turns around and tries to sell me the same diamond for 2000 rupees. A 400% markup on an item that was not given any additional labor input to enhance its use value. This is so absurd, yet it provides an example of how this world is out of balance and will only lead to greater inequality. The labor of the working classes is exploited so the rich can continue to profit by selling us the fruits of our own labor for an exorbitant price. Maybe this is the evil Calamity Ganon has unleashed upon the land, unfettered capitalism.

OK, so back to the bed situation…  Every region offers a luxury option to its customers. Some involve massages (Goron) or spa treatments (Gerudo) which make sense in that they are added labor, and as such cost more, though to reiterate, these services are being added to appeal to an upper-class clientele or for those who wish to be. The perk of feeling more refreshed, having more energy, whatever is irrelevant. It is a service that people don’t need, but it is being advertised to them in such a way that it becomes desirable.  The strangest luxury sleeping option of them all though is without doubt the Rito Village Inn, which offers a Rito-feather bed. In order to stay competitive and meet the demands of customers in this late capital nightmare, the Rito are using their own bodies to offer a perk to tourists. Stripping feathers off of their bodies to provide customers with a good night’s sleep. I feel like PETA would have something to say about this…

It’s interesting that Cecili the Innkeeper says that if I don’t have the best sleep of my life, she will eat her own tailfeathers.  Yet, in this statement, the true nature of late capitalism is laid bare… The Ouroboros of late capitalism has wound itself around and is now literally eating it’s own tail to satiate itself. She says she “will eat her own tailfeathers, GUARANTEED” but the reality is, she has already done so, and she will only continue to do so to serve the customer and the market. Soon, it will be an arms race between the different bedding options in Hyrule, where all of the regions will be sacrificing themselves for the sake of the customer, to the detriment of their own well-being. The Rito are just the first to do so. Which is why I’ve dubbed this phase of the Hyrule economy the “BED” economy:

Functioning as both an acronym -the Bird-people Exploitation-Driven economy- and more obviously, using the word ‘bed’ as it was in the offered sleeping experiences I found my first hints that something was amiss in Hyrule’s economy.

Soon the effects of the BED economy will spread, until it reaches an untenable tipping point, where either the system collapses (revolution. adopting a new financial system), or society collapses (wealth disparity reaches catastrophic levels leading to rich and poor completely separated). I wonder how this will play out here…

As a final aside, I find it interesting that the Koroks are the only ones who do not even deal with the concept of money for their lodging. They recognize that as “the Great Mr. Hero” I am putting forth my labor for the betterment of society and as such, the little Korok who runs the inn made a bed for me (and others) as a trade for the somewhat intangibility of the product of my labor efforts. Soo… C’mon rest of Hyrule. Get on board with these socialist Koroks. They are definitely the most left-wing outfit in Hyrule.      

Some questions socialists who see UBI as a necessary step towards socialism need to answer in my opinion:

1) How will UBI be treated differently from welfare? Politicians will want to cut costs and limit accessibility just like they already do with our current system. There’s no incentive for them to change.

2) How will UBI not lead to a fall in wages? It’s an ideal excuse for the ruling class to say people shouldn’t be getting paid much when they get UBI. Even worse than the ‘no one deserves a living wage for flipping a burger’ bullshit now. That’s one reason a lot of libertarians support it. Capitalists are always going to minimize the cost of labor and maximize profits.

3) What are your thoughts on support of UBI from Silicon Valley?

I’ve written a couple of times before about why the notion that prisons are principally or even significantly about the exploitation of slave labor is harmful, but i want to reiterate a few points, hopefully with a bit more clarity.

The point of criticizing popular “left” narratives about prisons and slave labor is not to claim that the use of prisoners as slave labor for corporations doesn’t happen—it does—but to point out that the amount of outcry about prison labor relative to the numerous other issues that prisoners face is not at all proportional to the actual scale of the phenomenon.

The trouble is that by and large, the only time the large majority of leftists in the u.$. ever talk about prisoners is when the issue can be framed in stereotypical terms of labor and strikes. For example, there is in fact widespread resistance that happens every single year in u.$. prisons on the anniversary of the Attica uprising. But the only time i have ever seen this get significant play in leftist circles outside of prisons is when the September 9 resistance took the form of a labor strike. Then afterwards there’s total silence about prisoners again.

I saw an article being shared around a while ago about how much money the 10,000 or so prison laborers in California cost businesses by going on strike. This is all fine, but the problem is that there are around 130,000 prisoners in California, and no one ever gives a flying fuck about the 90+% of prisoners in California who don’t do any labor for corporations. The use of prison labor in Califronia also seems to be well above average. Nationally less than one half of one percent of prisoners are involved in labor for private firms.

It’s not that people should never talk about prison labor, but prison labor is the only thing most leftists talk about and when leftists try to make the issue with prisons primarily about labor, they have to ignore literally over 99% of the prison population, not to mention all of the other issues that those prisoners who do happen to perform labor for business also face.

Additionally, just like calling for an end to private prisons, calling for the abolition of slave labor in prisons is a demand that the State could easily grant without changing hardly anything about the realities actually faced by the overwhelming majority of prisoners. It would be one thing if leftists pushing for an end to private prisons and prison labor would go on to also tackle other issues like “tough on crime” laws, institutionalized sexual violence in prisons, widespread censorship of reading materials in prisons, or any number of other issues. But evidence suggests that they would not, considering that the only thing leftists talk about is prison labor and they are completely silent on everything else.

Making prisons about slave labor is a way that leftists on the outside can feign that they care about prisoners without actually ever addressing the real function that prisons have in the social control of internally colonized populations, and the corollary function of solidifying the Amerikkkan labor aristocracy, making sure the “good” jobs are still largely monopolized by Amerikans, depleting oppressed nations of their most significant resource (i.e. labor-power) so that it’s harder to challenge Amerikan dominance, and so on. Amerikan leftists are complicit in this process and refusing to investigate and draw attention to it extends that complicity.

Foodie Friday: Vanilla Dutch Babies

Servings: About 8

Ingredients:
-3 tbsp butter
-3 eggs
-¾ cup all-purpose flour
-¾ cup warm milk
-1 tbsp sugar
-2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
-pinch salt
-pinch fresh ground nutmeg
-pinch cinnamon
-confectioners’ sugar for dusting
-toppings

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit)

2. Put butter in a large ovenproof, non-stick saute pan and place in the oven.

3. Meanwhile, combine the eggs and milk until the mixture is light yellow and no longer stringy, then gradually whisk in the flour, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt until you have a smooth batter.

4. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. The butter should be completely melted. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the pan completely (in the picture above, you can see that my pancake has a slight tear on the right side… this would have been prevented had I ensured that the pan was completely coated), then pour the remaining butter into the batter and whisk to blend. Pour the batter into the hot pan and return the pan to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffed in the center and golden brown along the edges, 20-25 minutes.

5. Using a spatula, remove the entire Dutch baby from the pan and place on a cooling rack for a few minutes (this will allow the pancake to cool while still allowing steam to escape, preventing sogginess).

6. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and add toppings (fresh fruit, preserves, honey, syrup, whipped cream… the possibilities are endless) and slice into wedges to serve!

Magical Ingredient!

From ice cream to cookies to chocolate and scented candles, it’s difficult to imagine life without the presence of vanilla. It is without a doubt, everywhere in our lives, and it has become one of those ingredients that we sort of take for granted. But it may be surprising to note that at one point, vanilla was so difficult and expensive to obtain that the primary flavorings of choice in the western world were nutmeg and rose water.

Vanilla extract (when pure) is the flavoring pulled from the vanilla bean, a fruit of the orchid of the same name, which is native to Central and South America. One of the ingredients introduced as a result of the Columbian Exchange, it was greatly popular with the wealthy and nobility, though virtually inaccessible to those of lower station due to the difficulty in cultivating it outside of the Americas. This problem would be solved in the mid-19th century when it was discovered that the plant could be hand-pollinated in the absence of the symbiotic bee species of the native plant.

Today, vanilla is still cultivated by hand and is the second most expensive spice on the market (saffron being the most expensive) due to the intense labor and import costs (the majority of today’s vanilla being cultivated in Madagascar).

The uses of vanilla even after being introduced to Europe by Hernan Cortez were not limited to cuisine. The oils of the pods could be used as an aphrodisiac, dabbed behind the ear to encourage attracting a lover.

As a magical ingredient, we’d have to look at the Totonac legend regarding its creation. According to the legend, the Princess Xanat was prevented by her father from marrying a mortal man. But love ultimately won out and she fled into the forests with her lover. Both she and her lover were then hunted and beheaded, and where their blood mingled on the ground, the first vanilla orchid sprouted. Though rather depressing in its beauty, it gives natural vanilla an interesting place in magical use.

In general, vanilla (from here on out, I’ll simply be saying “vanilla” as opposed to “natural vanilla” because it’s clearly what I’m focused on… I’ll get to talking about artificial vanilla in a bit) is considered to be an excellent ingredient for love, lust, healing, and luck spells. The scent helps to calm the senses and open one up to romantic suggestion, while also serving to heighten libido both in men and women. In healing, the scent and flavor tends to promote calm and relaxation (there’s a reason why it’s the main flavor of many comfort foods), and on top of that, the oils were once believed to help treat stomach ailments.

Because the vanilla pods were used in tributes to the Aztecs after the Totonacs were invaded, the spice has come to also be associated with luck and money, and is often uses in sachets and food spells that encourage both in one’s life.

But say we take it a little bit further. Keep in mind that at this point, I’m focusing on some of the ways I use it in my practice, as vanilla is easily unique from witch to witch in its usefulness. In addition to love and healing, I also associate vanilla with cleansing and beauty. The calming properties of vanilla are excellent in helping to reach the state of mind needed to help dispel negativity, and the plant itself is rather beautiful (though I may be biased due to my love of orchids). Vanilla cosmetics therefore are excellent for glamour spells!

The majority of products today that are labelled as “vanilla” are artificially flavored, using a chemical called vanillin, and at this point, the witchy community is often a bit divided. Many, including authors such as Scott Cunningham, consider the artificial extract to be magically inert and encouraged acquiring natural extract and pods. On my end, however, I see it as a more or less decent substitute for the frugal, thrifty, or budget-oriented witch. This is because of the flavor and scent associations. They help trigger the memories, emotions, and mental states that we associate with vanilla, and therefore serve much the same purpose as the natural thing. So if you’re reading this article thinking “how the hell am I supposed to afford that,” know that you’re not required to buy natural vanilla.

That said, those who have access to the natural thing have much more versatility in how it can be used. Place the seeds or the pods in sachets, jars, bottles, and bags; use vanilla oils and extract for offerings, consecrations, candle dressing, or as an aphrodisiac; bake or cook to your heart’s content, taking advantage of the flavor, properties, and even vanilla’s ability to enhance and lift other flavors!

So when looking at that vanilla Dutch baby during breakfast, consider how amazing vanilla truly is before taking that first bite!

May all your meals be blessed!
Blessed Be! )O(

Sleeping Fires

The missing scene between Helion and Lucien. (contains spoilers for ACOWAR)
Rating: T
Words: 5k+

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I’ve honestly been a little confused by the disinformation campaigns coming out of Puerto Rico, but then, suddenly, in a moment of clarity, I realized:

If things were really going well in Puerto Rico, Fox News would be all over it.

Yes, it’s Puerto Rico, and Fox doesn’t care, but if they had the chance to stab their liberal opponents in the back and prove that things were going well and the libs were making things up? If they could go out there and show that the President is right, and that labor unions are costing people lives, and that a mayor who criticizes President Trump is actually just using this for political gain among the liberals? They would be there.

But they’re not.

They’re ignoring this and focusing on the NFL and North Korea and on right-wing pundits on the mainland criticizing the mayor, instead of getting their cameras to ground zero and focusing on the great achievements that are taking place and the obstructionist behavior of a few dissident politicians. 

Oh, and if you need proof?

Screenshots taken at 1:45 on Sunday, October 1st.

But look: there should be a “Puerto Rico recovers” section. There should be something, anything documenting boots on the ground and giving positive numbers. If Anderson Cooper could make it to Puerto Rico with a delivery of SOS apparel for the mayor, someone from the most-watched news network on television should be able to hit the ground.

But they’re not.

So remember: an absence of information can be the most crucial information to gather.