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#1 2023-12-01 19:34:27

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

USA Foods

I don't know if this will interest anyone, and it may be nothing new.

However, there has been much talk (in certain circles) about the foods that USA residents eat.

It's a fact that many USA residents are overweight.
_________________________________________

My wife works in a certain field; in which, she often has the opportunity to visit other countries. When she does visit other countries, she will usually bring home "food samples" from those countries. I'm always amazed at how much better, "cleaner", and healthier those foods taste.

I look at the ingredients, and the comparison between the USA's foods and their foods is incomparable. Their foods are always much healthier.

Now, my moniker (forum name) is there for a reason...The Amnesiac Philosopher

I'm quite forgetful, and I often don't remember things that I say or do.

However, after discovering this "food discrepancy", my family has changed our eating habits. As such, I seem to be doing better. Coincidence? I don't know.

Am I a "Conspiracy Theorist"? I may be after this. tongue

All that I know is that I seem to be doing better after changing my diet.

I'm not trying to start any arguments, but I would truly be interested to know what other's thoughts may be on this in order to get a more grounded view.

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#2 2023-12-01 20:47:55

JWM-Kit
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Registered: 2020-06-29
Posts: 111  
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Re: USA Foods

While I agree it's a problem the truth is it still comes back to individual choices. Just because you live in the US doesn't mean your diet has to consist of Oreos, and pizza rolls. Quality food is available in the fresh produce section. You can also find quality meat, but you have to skim through the junk.  Not to mention that you always have the option of growing your own fruits and veggies, and It's not like the many US Gun owners can't hunt for fresh meat.  In fact many do.  Many people even go as far as raising their own beef (and milk), chicken (and eggs), etc. Remember the US is huge which means lots of land.

I believe the main concern of the US food market is the fake health food.  Every thing in the US is package to promote itself as being healthy.  Just use some common sense..  For example candy that says "Fat Free".  Yeah, it's fat free, but it's loaded with sugar. Or Fatty food's claiming to be sugar or carb free.  Yeah, but it's loaded with fat.

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#3 2023-12-01 20:52:34

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
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Re: USA Foods

You are right on target.  Between the "Green Revolution" and additives/preservatives and genetic engineering etc. almost nothing on grocery shelves is "real food" anymore. US doesn't want it's people to be healthy. They want to make sure the MIC (Medical Industrial Complex) thrives! Western medicine is a 'war' not healing. But that is another subject . . .

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#4 2023-12-01 21:29:13

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

Well, I've never been a "junk food" eater.

However, I have been a consumer of "over-the-counter" goods. These items left me feeling hungry later (I won't go into that right now...too much to cover in this discourse...

It seems almost as if the USA's FDA wants to push products upon its citizens that pillage, plunder, and proliferate us to become obese.

Why?

Even the "Lay's Potato Chips" are healthier in other countries, and they taste better. Even their "junk-food" is better. yikes

Geesh...

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#5 2023-12-02 01:52:00

steve_v
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Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods

Profit, that's why.

Processed foods that are quickly digested leave you hungry again soon after = more profitable.
Sugar (or corn syrup) is incredibly cheap, and makes everything more palatable = more profitable.
Homogenous ingredients that are low in fibre (goto 1) are easier to process, and keep and freeze better = more profitable.

In general, if cheaper ingredients can be substituted and palatability recovered by adding sugar, fat, or flavourings... That's exactly what will be done.
I've worked around enough food production to see this in action, and it's usually a "slippery slope" process - one little recipe change, manger gets his bonus for cutting costs, repeat until your product is corn syrup and lard, with artificial flavour and colour.

There are no incentives to make "over-the-counter" goods better for you, only cheaper, tastier, and more addictive.
The "health food" market isn't much better, and has it's own brand of deceptive profiteering - usually leveraging public ignorance to inflate prices for things nobody actually needs.
Either way, outside of old-school "farmers market" type independents, honest food always looses to profitable food.

Regulators are primarily concerned with safety, and none of this bullshit will make anyone sick... at least in the short term.
The long-term impact nobody wants to tackle, because it's difficult and time-consuming to prove (and food megacorps will just buy some counter "studies" or tie things up with lawyers and lobbying anyway), and it boils down to a collective-good vs. corporate-profit fight, which nobody wants to start.

Welcome to capitalconsumerism, the shining land where everyone (scientists and regulators included) has their price, and we allow corporations to become more powerful than governments. roll

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher wrote:

Am I a "Conspiracy Theorist"?

Only when you take garden-variety (pun not intended tongue) stupidity and greed and dress it up as some super-secret plot to take over the world.
The problems with the worlds food supply are old, pervasive, and readily apparent to anyone with a brain...
Also nowhere more obvious than in the USA, and other "Americanised" western countries where large food corporations have taken root.
That's not a conspiracy, it's just an observation.

JWM-Kit wrote:

While I agree it's a problem the truth is it still comes back to individual choices. Just because you live in the US doesn't mean your diet has to consist of Oreos, and pizza rolls. Quality food is available in the fresh produce section. You can also find quality meat, but you have to skim through the junk.

Indeed. The problem is that you're essentially fighting a psychology war with corporations far better resourced than you are, and for many, that's a fight they're not going to win.
How can we expect people to make good choices when that's made artificially difficult (yes, fresh produce is at the back for a reason, etc.) at every turn, and they are constantly bombarded with advertising telling them to do the opposite?

Last edited by steve_v (2023-12-02 02:05:12)


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#6 2023-12-02 02:15:13

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

Well spoken.

We have been purchasing as many "organic" items as we can; however, how can we actually know those items are organic?

Just because the packaging says so?

From what I understand (and I may be wrong), a producer can put "Organic" on their product whether it is or not. I don't really know if that's true.

@JWM Kit...a great number of USAians live in apartment complexes, and they have no land to "grow their own". I grew up on several acres of land. We always had a huge garden...I hated it back then as a kid...but what I wouldn't give to be able to have the land to raise my own beef, lamb, chickens, and vegetables now.

Sorry PETA...

tongue

Many Americans (USA) can't afford to buy "organic", so they're left with buying things like Ramen Noodles and such.

The FDA wins...

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#7 2023-12-02 02:32:59

zapper
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Registered: 2017-05-29
Posts: 820  

Re: USA Foods

They really need to do two things, make deceptive tactics from mega corporations/corporations illegal and rock the boat so much that those entities can't poison the world with their evil ideals. I have said many times, what I think this throwaway culture, this don't give a crap ideology unless it hurts our bottom line stuff, so I don't think I need to tell you what I think this leads to.

Golinux might have a fit with me if I do.

This being said, I choose organic as much as I can, unless its seafood and then I try to get wild. Not that I don't like venison. wink

Wild meat is usually best, as long as it is inspected properly. smile


Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Feelings are not facts
If you wish to be humbled, try to exalt yourself long term  If you wish to be exalted, try to humble yourself long term
Favourite operating systems: Hyperbola Devuan OpenBSD
Peace Be With us All!

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#8 2023-12-02 02:46:54

alexkemp
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Registered: 2018-05-14
Posts: 282  

Re: USA Foods

Interesting USA-predominant history lesson:

As industrialisation got it's feet under the human table, the ability to extract "roughage" from wheat & other foods lead to an easy labour-free separation of the different parts of the kernel. That started during the Industrial Revolution, became dominant from the end of the 18th Century through to the 1920s/30s & lead to the dominance of white bread amongst many other foods. This fact plays a huge part in America's weight crisis, bad health & all the rest of it.

A Kernel of Wheat

3 parts make up a kernel of wheat:

  1. Endosperm
    That is the floury middle of each kernel, and the principal part (83%) of the kernel & the source of white flour. It was the industrial ability to reliably remove the other two parts of the kernel from the Endosperm - which other bits could then be sold as animal feed - that lead to the dominance of white flour.

  2. Bran
    This is the woody part of the kernel which also results in whole-grain flour being much darker. It is about 14.5% of the whole kernel. Our bodies find this part much harder to digest, and that actually leads to a healthier gut (white bread is digested far too quickly).

  3. Germ
    This is the bit that is supposed to grow a new plant. It is only about 2.5% of the kernel weight, but contains a lot of fat.

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#9 2023-12-02 03:00:24

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
Member
Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

We have "self-contained farmers" where I live. As such, we can buy beef, chicken, eggs, etc...

However, it would cost almost twice as much as buying it from the already inflated grocery store's prices in today's economy.

I don't mean to be a sad-sack, but good grief...it's gotten to the point for most people here in the USA...would you rather eat a hot dog every day, or eat real food twice a week.

I think USAians are starting to actually, finally, really, and truly get a slight understanding of what the people in malnourished countries have dealt with for years. Oh...we may bewail not being able to have a pizza for now, but just wait until we will be begging to have a bowl of rice.

...enjoy those Ramen Noodles while you can folks. tongue

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#10 2023-12-02 03:52:12

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 3,109  

Re: USA Foods

@The-Amnesiac-Philosopher . . . Regarding organic standards . . .

Back in the late 90s before there were organic "standards" in the US, I spoke at a USDA hearing gathering comments from the public on what the standards should be. There were the "Big 3" that we wanted prohibited: Genetic engineering, sewage sludge and #3 escapes me at the moment - probably synthetic chemicals. We were successful but they've been chipping away at it ever since.

I also attended several of their earliest conventions that were held locally some years later so I got to know the players really well. There was a hearing at one of those events where various producers were lobbying for this or that chemical or additive or process to be approved as "organic". It was horrifying. IIRC, it was Jim Riddle in charge back then and he requested that I speak because I was the only consumer voice in the audience! I gave 'em hell!! The fact that Organic Standards are under  the the "USDA Agricultural Marketing Service" about says it all but it's what we've got. Here are some links:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic

https://www.ams.usda.gov › services › organic-certification › organic-basics

https://www.saynotogmos.org/regulatory. … _timetable

I eat 99% organic, buy very few items from the grocery section and prepare all my meals from scratch. It works for me

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#11 2023-12-02 04:09:43

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 3,109  

Re: USA Foods

@alexkemp . . .

Interesting USA-predominant history lesson . . .

To expand on that idea here are some excerpts from the 1975 best-selling classic, SUGAR BLUES by William Dufty, which details the genesis of the FDA.  Below are a few excerpts from the relevant chapter - Codes of Honesty:

-------------------------------------------------------------

The Pure Food and Drug Laws are frequently regarded as landmarks in the history of social legislation. Certainly, government can have no higher aim than to attempt to protect the health of the people. Perhaps biological decline was well along when it became necessary to pass laws to prevent people, out of excessive devotion to moneymaking, from poisoning one another.

"When people lost sight of the way to live," wrote Lao Tsu. "came codes of love and honesty."

--------------------------   cut   --------------------------

The campaign for passage of the Pure Food and Drug Laws had been conducted out in the open. Its undoing was accomplished in the dark. Food processors and rectified whiskey makers formed a united front to sabotage Wiley and his bureau. Representatives of the food business camped on the doorsteps of legislators, cabinet officers, and the president of the United States, complaining that sacred capital was being confiscated, praying, begging, and blackmailing for relief from the policies of Wiley and his bureau.

--------------------------   cut   --------------------------

Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle had helped turn the tide in favor of the Pure Food and Drug Laws. After he left government, Dr. Wlley wrote a book telling the whole sordid story of how those laws had been scuttled from within government. He knew where the bodies were buried, and he resolved to tell it all and let the American people get riled up once again. However, he was no politician. Again he underestimated the forces arrayed against him. Wiley, undertaking to finance his book, turned his precious manuscript over to a printer. That manuscript mysteriously 'disappeared" and has never been found to this day. Just how these things are done is rarely uncovered.

Shattered but unbroken, Dr. Wiley valiantly returned to work, rewriting his book from scratch. This chore occupied him totally for ten years. He tried to update matters, but by 1929 many of his shocking revelations were already old hat. Some of the villains were dead. Most of the politicians had passed on or at least out of power. Still, his volume The "History of a Crime Against the Food Law" was a primer on government corruption, quite unlike anything that had ever been written before. This time, he tried to protect himself. He took no chances on the manuscript getting lost again. Every facet of its production and printing was personally supervised by Wiley. When distribution began in 1929, it looked like a best seller. Books disappeared rapidly from bookstore shelves. Yet no letters were received from readers, no congratulations, no kudos, and virtually no reviews. The books kept on disappearing, yet copies could not be found anywhere.

In desperation, Dr. Wiley put the few remaining books in libraries around the country - they disappeared from libraries as quickly as they had vanished from the stores. Try your neighborhood library today and see if you can find a copy. It should surprise no one today that these things can happen, when the advertising budget for one food conglomerate is larger than the entire annual budget of the government agency charged with policing the industry.

--------------------------   cut   --------------------------

The Bureau of Chemistry was finally legally dismantled. In its place, the Food and Drug and Insecticide Administration, precursor of the Food and Drug Administration was established. The Poison Squad, that group of healthy young men on whom Dr. Wiley had tested proposed new food additives before allowing the foods to be turned loose on the public at large, was ultimately replaced by the FDA's GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) list - a list of food colorings, additives, and adulterants. Manufacturers and food processors were given carte blanche to use practically anything in its products until evidence turned up that it might be injurious to the public health. The whole intent of the Pure Food and Drug Laws had been turned on its head.

The Poison Squad was enlarged to include everybody in the country. Today, the GRAS list has become so lengthy that the average American ingests five pounds of chemical additives every year, together with approximately another fifty pounds of hidden sugar.

--------------------------   cut   --------------------------

Some years ago, PBS did a documentary on Wiley titled "The Poison Squad" which was really quite good with lots of archival footage.

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#12 2023-12-02 04:52:25

steve_v
Member
Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher wrote:

We have been purchasing as many "organic" items as we can; however, how can we actually know those items are organic?

You can't. Like most product labelling standards, the requirements for putting "organic" on packaging are far too lax to put much trust in.

We saw it with "Fat free".
We saw it with "No added sugar".
We're seeing it all over again, ten times worse, with the plethora of "environmentally friendly" / "low emissions" etc. etc. greenwashing.
It's all lies, it's always been lies, the only real questions are "how big a lie can we get away with" and "will increased sales cover any potential fines". roll

There are of course ways around this, but I'm intentionally avoiding mention of alternatives that are largely unavailable to many people.
Not everyone has the option to grow their own, buy at a local market / farm gate or speciality organic store, or even know where their food comes from beyond what's on the label.
For many the options are even worse, as they simply can't afford to be choosy. The default option should of course be "reasonably safe and healthy", but often it's closer to "what's cheap today, I just need to eat".

That all said, IMO "organic" isn't really the whole answer anyway, at least not when it comes to feeding billions (doubly so with the looming impacts of  climate change). What we need is responsible food production (and marketing / labelling).
Mechanised farming, synthetic fertilisers, and even pesticides, antibiotics and genetic engineering have massively increased our ability to produce high quality food, but as with anything there is plenty of room for abuse - especially in an environment where producers are constantly pressured on price (often with no recourse, as so much purchasing-power is concentrated in a few large corporations) and regulatory bodies are effectively toothless.

On genetic engineering in particular, we've been doing that (the slow way) for thousands of years. We now have faster and more powerful tools, so we need correspondingly faster and more powerful research and regulation.
If that means "stop doing [x] until we have more data", so be it, but knee-jerk blanket GM == bad is a short-sighted and regressive approach.

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher wrote:

The FDA wins...

The FDA is supposed to be on your side in this, but is horribly ineffective due to conflicts-of-interest, political and economic pushback, a lack of meaningful enforcement options, and chronic over-reliance on a "safe until proven otherwise" attitude and manufacturer-provided safety studies.
If the FDA (and other regulatory bodies) had the power and will to block new products until independent research is completed and actually crack down on corporate misbehaviour (as opposed to slap-on-the-wrist fines), we wouldn't be in this situation to begin with.

golinux wrote:

SUGAR BLUES by William Dufty

That is a pretty interesting read, and I dare say the burying of inconvenient truths and defanging of regulation it details parallels organisations beyond the FDA as well. Corporate interests vs. public good is a war as old as civilisation.
Applying "innocent until proven guilty" to chemical engineering, the health of the population, and the behaviour of organisations that will do literally anything they can get away with to turn a profit is... Not particularly bright, but that's where we're at.

Last edited by steve_v (2023-12-02 05:23:59)


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#13 2023-12-02 05:28:11

golinux
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Re: USA Foods

steve_v wrote:

If that means "stop doing [x] until we have more data" . . .

There have been NO long-term multi-generational studies of the consequences of consuming genetically altered foods and never will be. So no data to analyze. The populace is the open lab . . .

Some of the articles archived at https://www.saynotogmos.org/scientists_speak.html are from the most respected scientists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and they wrote quite eloquently why it was a bad idea . . ..

There was one near disaster - https://www.saynotogmos.org/klebsiella.html - that was narrowly avoided at the 11th hour. Would have been a blockbuster movie!

All the history of that transition is on that site which is why I still keep it available even though I stopped updating it over a decade ago.

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#14 2023-12-02 07:01:37

steve_v
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Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods

I don't entirely disagree with you, I just extend "Say no to GMO" with "until rigorous testing and effective regulation is in place".
Any new technology has pitfalls and dangers, and biology and ecology are particularly problematic due to the complexity of the interactions involved. That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it, just that it needs to be done slowly and carefully. In light of the track record concerning corporations funding their own "safety" studies, IMO that means considerable expansion of the FDA, or formation of a new agency entirely.

IOW, I'm not against GM in principle, rather reckless application of technology in general. If done properly, GM could be a game changer for a great many fields... If not, it's a disaster just waiting for a place to happen.

Much the same could be said for the current AI craze, or any number of other technologies. As ever, the fundamental problem is rampant under-regulated commercialisation of technologies that should still be confined to the lab.

Last edited by steve_v (2023-12-02 07:19:31)


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#15 2023-12-02 07:23:22

golinux
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Re: USA Foods

Well said, steve_v. It is the reckless human factor in your equation that has been, is and always will be  the problem . . .

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#16 2023-12-02 10:33:42

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

It's a bit incredulous that things like this are actually happening.

Greed and money-mongering at the expense(s) of the populace...

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#17 2023-12-02 11:01:19

steve_v
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Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods

Sounds like a pretty comfy rock you have there tongue


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#18 2023-12-02 12:42:08

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

steve_v wrote:

Sounds like a pretty comfy rock you have there tongue

tongue

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#19 2023-12-02 15:22:50

The-Amnesiac-Philosopher
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Registered: 2023-08-24
Posts: 237  

Re: USA Foods

Thank you for the links golinux! smile

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#20 2023-12-02 23:05:05

zapper
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Registered: 2017-05-29
Posts: 820  

Re: USA Foods

Corporations, Corporations, Corporations!

The enemy never seems to change much. I would love some of these clowns to face justice on the same level of all their victims combined.

Let them choke on the crap they have been throwing at the world. Force them to have to enhale all the greenhouse gases, the crappy food and being surveiled so much that no one leaves them alone.  Same with the politicans. 

If they don't face this hell now, they will regret it later. This world's hell is just a taste of what they deserve.

For their sakes, they would be better served facing the flames of their evil now.

I say this for all the rich assholes who make money at the expense of the world using the cheapest most short term moneymakers possible.

Especially when long term moneymakers are likely to exist too.

Its just a greed cycle tho.

They want to feel good about themselves by hoarding money. Just to feed their damn egos...

Aye... madness.


Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Feelings are not facts
If you wish to be humbled, try to exalt yourself long term  If you wish to be exalted, try to humble yourself long term
Favourite operating systems: Hyperbola Devuan OpenBSD
Peace Be With us All!

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#21 2023-12-03 01:41:53

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
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Re: USA Foods

@zapper . . . if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. What have you actually DONE lately to turn the tide besides ranting at forces beyond your control?

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#22 2023-12-03 01:57:41

steve_v
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Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#23 2023-12-03 02:15:00

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 3,109  

Re: USA Foods

Oh, my broken eardrums! 5 sec was enough . . .

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#24 2023-12-03 02:27:24

steve_v
Member
Registered: 2018-01-11
Posts: 325  

Re: USA Foods

Well it is Motörhead, I mean that's kinda the point. big_smile


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times is Official GNOME Policy.

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#25 2023-12-03 03:19:22

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 3,109  

Re: USA Foods

That was a painful initiation  to the genre . . .

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