Farmers, Merchants or Manufacturers

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.– Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1776, (pg. 473)

By pursuing his own interest [the merchant] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.

My wife, Shelby Ann Brown and I, discovered, by forsaking our lives as Inhabitants of the Town, to become farmers, goat farmers, but farmers none the less, and live lives, like those of the Country, that everything Adam Smith said about agriculture in his seminal work the “Wealth of Nations,” was just as applicable in 1998 and 2008 as it was in 1776.

As Oogwei said to Shifu, in Kung Fu Panda, “There are no accidents, only reasons,” and God, my higher power and most assuredly Shelby, hadn’t dragged us to the most eastern tip of the Texas Panhandle in the summer of ’98, for no good reason.

Follett, Texas, the home of Shelby’s ancestors, was at the crossroads of history, in the American West. The Spanish conquistador Coronado, in 1500 came north from Mexico, through New Mexico and West Texas, then hung a right at the Canadian River. Two hundred fifty miles later, after enduring 27 mph average daily wind velocities, ambushes by the Native American crowd and not spotting a single solitary bush or tree along the way, Coronado threw up his gauntlet, and declared the Texas-Oklahoma “High Plains” to be the “inland desert of the Americas.” He then turned his expedition around and marched back the same 1,500-mile way he had come.

After the Civil War, Colonel George Custer came to Follett and lost his scalp while trying to massacre those pesky Native Americans, the pioneer cowboy-farmers solved the problem themselves by setting the prairie grass on fire, starving the buffalo and forcing the Native Americans to follow their food chain farther west.

The pioneers then established their own food distribution system by retracing Coronado’s steps with huge cattle drives, from south Texas north to Abilene and Dodge City. The prairie grass had scratched the belly of Coronado’s horse, but after a few trips, the cowboys over grazed the prairie to the nub. The citizens of Dodge were forced to layoff, both Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, who later moved on to Tucson to make the original, “OK Corral.”

Shelby’s mom, dad, aunts and uncles had long ago abandoned the place, haunted by childhood memories, of being at ground zero, for the 1937 ‘Dust Bowl.’ Therefore, in the summer of ’98, Shelby and I pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was circumstantial evidence, with Christian radio, heard on all FM/AM frequencies, as well as in the grocery store, that not everybody’s higher power had left town.

Our game plan was to raise Black Boer Goat breeding stock and sell the goats for an average price of $500 apiece. This contrasted with the market price of $60 for an ordinary meat goat. The theory was, selling each of the two kids, from 120 adult nanny goats, would get us a $10,000 monthly income and achieve our goal of replacing our former urban professional salaries.

“The inhabitants of the town draw from the country the rude produce which constitutes both the materials of their work and the fund of their subsistence: and they pay for this rude produce by sending back to the country a certain portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use.”

After two years, we former inhabitants of the town had received less than a $1,000 portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use,” from the sale of our rude produce, Black Boer Goat breeding stock. I therefore dusted off Ted Levitt, the Father of Marketing’s Market Myopia axiom, “know what business you are in,” showed it to Shelby and she moved the goats and us back to Houston. Coronado’s past life regression chant of, “I told you so,” was audibly visible in the extended side mirrors of our, dually-diesel, F-350, crew-cab, truck.

Shelby went back to work to support the 15-acre homestead in Follett, 650 miles from our new 18-acre, farm-to-market, location, 50 miles southwest of Houston. I laid around the ratty old trailer-house all day, reading Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and rethinking just how farmers were supposed to make money in the food business.

Goat Farming 101: Urban Income, Rural Lifestyle

Adopting the philosophy – “if you want to learn something, teach it,” – I taught Goat Farming 101: Urban Income, Rural Lifestyle, six times a year for six years, averaging 25 farmer ‘wannabes’ each session. BUT! It wasn’t until the sixth year, May 2006 to be exact, that I could stand in front of the class and honestly say, that yes; it is possible to have a rural lifestyle and earn an urban income of $10,000/month, from only fifty goats on five acres. AND! It took two years in Follett, plus six more years in Houston, Shelby’s $300,000 net worth, another $100,000 on MasterCard to figure out how those of the Country could make money selling rude produce to the inhabitants of the Town.

Architects are trained to use the iterative process (a fancy way to say, try and try again) for problem-solving, and once again I took Shelby’s money, to this time, buy 44 Nubian billy goats, for ‘Eid,’ the Moslem holiday, where traditional ‘Allah fearing’ families sacrifice a lamb or goat. This time was supposed to be different and it was, this time Shelby bought dinner for the entire Palestinian community of Houston. BUT, the silver-lining behind this iteration of “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country,was the discovery that Mrs. Kettler, the owner of those Nubian bad boys, had been selling raw goat’s milk to David Keresh’s Branch Davidians, in Waco as well as the citizens of Dallas, a two-hour drive away, for $7 a gallon.

The apple had fallen from the tree, the way for those of the Country to make a six-figure income was to sell their rude produce to the Inhabitants of the town for at least $12 a gallon. Shelby liked that idea and went all the way to Tennessee to bring back four pregnant Saanen nannies, built a $30,000 dairy, TB tested our 100 ruminants to comply with every Texas Department of Health regulation to obtain the Grade ‘A’ raw dairy license, that Mrs.Kettler and others sold their raw milk without. No sooner than we were up and running, we noticed that the Houstonians were not coming to the farm for milk more than three times, at most. Why? Too far. Mother Necessity made us take our rude produce to the farmers’ markets in Houston and thus, we became farmers, manufacturers and merchants. The parking lot of 2100 Richmond Avenue became our friend because we could sell everything we had to sell in two hours, while educating the public on why they had to pay ten times as much money for our rude produce as the store-bought milk.

You can raise six lambs, six goats or one cow; on one acreofgood pasture land. You can raise the lambs, the goats, the cow plus 100 chickens on an organically composted acre using multi-species and rotational intensive grazing techniques. That four-legged Nubian maiden can produce 2,000 pounds of milk in a years’ worth of ruminating around that little old acreof a pasture. At an average per pound price of say $2.50 a pound, the farmer if he sells direct to the consumer, gets to take $5,000/yr back home, to his wife and kids.

Now, I know what you are saying, “tegory, that can’t be true, you are just making that, up.” I know it is difficult, and if I threw in the additional 2,000lbs. of sheep’s milk Greek feta, another 2,100 lbs. of cow’s milk at $1.19/lb and 100 chickens at $4/lb, the total $15,700 per acre, per year, would be just too big a number, for you to swallow, but it’s true.

When I showed my proposal to Prof. Jefferson Wang’s Zhengzhou University MBA class they were more than somewhat skeptical that any Chinese mother would pay a jin more than 2.5RMB (35 cents) for a liter of milk and there wasn’t a snowballs chance in Hainan they were going to pay anywhere near my suggested price of 40RMB ($5.85) per liter. I told them that there wasn’t a snowballs chance, even in Detroit, that Americans were going to pay $30,000 for a fully loaded, Buick sedan (the most popular car in China).

How do you get the Chinese mother to pay 40 RMB/liter for milk, when she currently would not give you a ‘jin’ more than 2.5 RMB/liter? Easy, repair the link between the dairy and the single child mother. An internet billionaire (Netease) is raising 10,000 hogs on webcam because China consumes 55% of the world’s pork but they don’t trust the local supplier. The mother will buy the milk from New Zealand for her baby and drink made in China for herself.

The Chinese mother will pay, once she sees the quality in what she is buying. 2009 was also the year that China passed up Japan as the world buying leader in the luxury goods market. I experienced the buying power of the Chinese when I offered to buy lunch at the best restaurant in Gong Yi, a small city west of Zhengzhou. I changed my tune when the taxi driver told us that the BEST restaurant in this small burgh would cost 5,000 RMB. I asked my friend, now who would pay $750 for lunch in Beijing or Shanghai, let alone Gong Yi. “Rich Chinese don’t care about money,” was his reply. We don’t need to sell all the mothers in China on the health benefits of raw goat’s milk, only the well educated 1%. The mother of a newborn, in Houston, who raided our refrigerator at 3am couldn’t afford to buy a $75 lunch, let alone a $750 one, but she left a $10 bill in the fridge door, for a half gallon of milk for her baby.

Exactly as Adam Smith said in 1776, “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society Is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country,and by visiting eight markets a week, holding cheese-making and goat farming classes, that included farm visits, were we able to restore the customer relationship between the farmer and his community.”  America’s agricultural system is a complete failure, fiscally and morally bankrupt. Farming no longer provides revenue and wealth creation for the individual farmer, and he is forced to turn to crime, industrialized agriculture, which depletes soil quality and ends up being complicit in poisoning the nation’s food supply.

So why is our system of agriculture, the sole or the principal source of the revenue and wealth of every country,”broken? Why are we the most malnourished developed nation on earth? Why hasn’t the family farmer made any real money since WWI? Why are two-thirds of Americans obese? Why are Romney’s 47% poor in health and wealth? Because 99% of USA farmers      left the country to be merchant-manufacturer inhabitants of the Town. They took the town with them on their way to the big city. 

Adam Smith: the Farmers’ Market Economist

“Agriculture, the Produce of the Land, is the SOLE or the PRINCIPAL Source of the Revenue and Wealth of every Country.”Adam Smith’s 1776 Econ 101 text book, Wealth of Nations

Henry Ford’s Farmall tractor put 100 farmers out-of-business.


“whatever tends in any country to raise the price of manufactured produce, tends too lower that of the rude produce of the land, and thereby to discourage agriculture.” pg. 873, The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith


Teddy Roosevelt bans the sale of raw milk in 1912 with FDA act

Smith’s quotation above explains why the only time the American farmer ever made money, was from the end of the Civil War to just after WWI. When Lincoln freed the slaves, the white plantation owner had to get up out of his rocker, abandon his porch and go to work for a living, which he was not willing to do. The former slaves were then free to get paid for picking cotton and raising the rude produce of the land by themselves. After 1865, the trade balance shifted to the farmer because “The inhabitants of the town…including the former plantation owner, had to pay the market price or grow their own. The town of Kendleton, Texas, was named for the former plantation owner, who sold his land to the newly freed, for 50 cents an acre. The same land that my wife Shelby bought 150 years later for $5,000 an acre.

Pasteurization put an end to local small – less than a dozen cows – dairy farms and the beginning of Fctory Farmer

The good times lasted until the day after WWI ended, and Henry Ford started making tractors instead of tanks, with the unintended consequence of raising the price of manufactured produce, which lowered the price of the rude produce of the land, and thereby discouraged agriculture.”

” Whatever tends in any country…” in post WWI the advent of mechanization increased the cost of doing business, separated the farmer from his customer and steadily lowered the price of his rude $produce and thereby discouraged agriculture. The mothers and housewives, “the inhabitants of the town…lost touch with the individual farmer, started dating the milkman and making sure their butcher’s thumb wasn’t on the scale.

Well, didn’t the farmers who could afford to buy tractors make any money? Nope! Not any real money, they mortgaged their farms to chase after the slim profit margins of commodity row crops. Smith called this “the rent value of the land.” Shelby called it the cost of capital. Our farm, rented for $750/month or $500/acre because it had a nice barn, a tested well, it was fenced and had both road and river frontage. The white farmer/ranchers from surrounding communities rented adjacent undeveloped land for only $14/acre per year. Shelby, the CPA Systems Analyst and creative financial genius, had her work cut out for her to come up with some “rude produce” that was going to pay that kind of rent. Not my problem, I was just the salesman.

The U.S. farmer uses machines, chemicals, and government subsidized mechanized irrigation systems, to grow 200 bushels of corn per acre, which at today’s, also subsidized Ethanol gas prices, works out to be $800/acre (931 RMB/mu) or double the pre-ethanol price. In China and North America, it takes a sixth of an acre or one mu to raise one goat. A Nubian nanny goat can produce 225 gallons of milk in her ten-month cycle. The Lone Star Cheese Company (the food manufacturer), in Conroe, Texas, 50 miles north of Houston was paying $3.40/gal, for grade ‘B’ raw milk, pasteurizing it at their plant, and selling the finished, artificially flavored goat cheese, to Whole Foods for $0.50/ounce. Whole Foods in turn, sold it to their ‘cusinely correct’ customers for $1.00/ounce. Prairie View A & M, gladly supplied half of Lone Star’s needs, because their $million ‘creamery,’ was bought and paid for with federal government grant money, and the students did all the work. Therefore, the future commodity price of goat’s milk, in the Metro Houston area, wasn’t going to change in our favor, anytime soon.

Shelby had to decide whether $3.40/gal, would pay the $9,000 a year rent of the land. If, all fifty girls gave 225 gallons each, we could sell their “rude produce”to Lone Star for $38,000. As our ‘bubba’ neighbors would say, it “penciled-out.”

However, our goal was an urban income, with a rural lifestyle, and $38, 000 fell a little short, of our $10,000/month or $120,000 a year, master plan. After all, as possible former descendents of plantation owners, requiring copious amounts of psychotherapy, we needed to get at least $12/gallon for our “rude produce” to make our emotional ends meet.

Shelby’s idea was to be the manufacturer, the merchant and the farmer. She made Anala Inc. the parent company with the dba (doing business as): Anala Goat Company, as the farmer, Earth Mother Farms, as the food manufacturer and when we set-up our tent, at the farmers’ market, we were Earth Mother Farms, the merchant. We sold the milk at $15/gal, the cheese at $25/gal and the kefir at $40/gal, with a 55-30-15, ratio of milk, cheese and kefir. Since it takes a gallon of milk to make a pound of cheese, our average price for our 55-30-15 mix of rude produce dairy, was $25 a gallon. This equated to $1,300 an acre and gross revenue of $23,000 a month. The good business or added value practice of selling the milk as cheese, was later reinforced when I wanted to buy milk in, Eugene, Oregon, to make kefir. The goat dairy farmers wouldn’t sell me their $12 milk, unless I paid the $25/gal cheese price.

Our customers had to pay our price or do without because they couldn’t buy raw milk, cheese or kefir in the store. Whole Foods, a block away, was getting $1/ounce for goat cheese, made by Lone Star with pasteurized milk, while I was standing in the parking lot, of 2100 Richmond Avenue, enduring Houston’s 98% humidity controlled outdoor environment, selling grade ‘A’ raw goat cheese for $1.50 an ounce. We as Earth Mother Farms, the manufacturer, got to keep Lone Star’s 50 cents, Whole Foods’ 50 cents, as Earth Mother Farms, the merchant, and an additional 50 cents, for the drive in from the country to serve the inhabitants of the town.

The HAU ‘Hamlet for Humanity,’ sheep and goat dairy, could earn 1,500 RMB from the milk production of one goat, on one mu of land or the equivalent of a Chinese farmer’s total annual income, in just 30 days, that’s my kind of “Cultural Revolution.” As Deng Xiaoping allegedly said, “making money is exhilarating.” And all that therapy paid off too, because it was my ‘breath integration’ therapist, who told Shelby, she had to give up her $175,000/yr day job, if she was to realize her dream. When Shelby followed her advice, like Cortez ‘burning his boats It focused our attention on making it work. Maybe if she had quit earlier we would have reached our goal in six years instead of eight. It was scary enough in eight

Since selling the farm in June 2007, coming to Zhengzhou in September 2008 and reading Wealth of Nations once again, I have learned – no let’s say, I have had almost three years to reflect on the macro economics of agriculture, from a farmer’s perspective. On the micro level, there are many, many success stories. My favorite is the guy who grossed $250,000/year by selling organic specialty vegetable and salad makings, grown on a 1/2-acre vacant lot in Berkley. Now, I understand – no, let me say that, I think that I have a much better understanding of what Smith was talking about on page 873, when he wrote, “whatever tends in any country to raise the price of manufactured produce, tends to lower that of the rude produce of the land, and thereby to discourage agriculture.

Henry Ford’s unintended consequence was compounded with more well-intentioned subsidies from the politicians in Washington D.C. The corn farmer in west Kansas could grow 50 bushels of corn per acre on ‘dry land’ but with federal government largess, he could install mechanized, center pivot circle irrigation systems and reap 250 bushels per acre. The unintended harvest of consequences included 1) additional subsidies to keep the market price of corn equal to the farmer’s increased cost of production (second mortgage on the farm to pay for the well, pumps and circle machinery); 2) permanently depleting the depth of the Ogallala Aquifer (the underground water source for the central plains) by two meters a year and 3) exporting (dumping) the excess corn on developing countries in Africa and Asia at a price below their farmer’s cost of production.

I did not escape these same economic principles of “the invisible hand” by trading my career in new home sales for the gypsy life of a traveling ‘cabrito’ huckster on Wyatt Earp Boulevard, in Dodge City, Kansas. 1998, the same year we left Houston for Follett, the Republican controlled U.S. Congress decided it was going to eliminate those evil farm subsidies or bounties, as Adam Smith called them. However, the only subsidy they could agree on was mohair. Since Texas had only two senators and almost all the Angora goats in the country, the constituents of the other 98 senators wouldn’t get hurt, whereas nearly all the ag-states shared in growing, wheat, rice, corn, and cotton. The resulting legislation caused “The invisible hand” to pick up a knife and fork and eat over two million Angora goats in less than three years.

The unintended consequence of slaughtering 9/10ths of the Angora goat, mohair producing, population became my problem after I convinced Shelby to buy 88 goats from Floyd Thompson, in Higgins, for 80 cents a pound that I sold one by one and in batches from Dodge to Goldthwaite for 70 cents a pound. When I put the costs of transportation, meals and a minimum wage salary for time spent, into my little old EMBA case-study calculator, Shelby had paid for the single biggest ‘cabrito’ BBQ in panhandle history.

Is it any wonder why the Chinese refer to us as “foreign devils?” Or why Africa, the developing and third world nations look at Uncle Sam and say, “Aren’t you being a little two faced, as the most industrialized country, to dump government subsidized grain exports on the non-industrialized, agrarian only societies, of the world, for the sole purpose of propping-up your rural welfare program, for 3 million, over sixty-five, white heavy equipment operators? We don’t eat, soybeans, corn, rice or cotton, but like Madoff we must keep the cash flowing even though U.S. agriculture is not a legitimate economic enterprise.

The debate on the elimination of agricultural subsidies has gone on since Adam Smith first warned of such foolishness, but now the ‘soil geeks’ have linked them to climate change. The American farmer left the farm in the ‘50’s, the American manufacturer left town in the NAFTA ‘90’s. The G-20 met in Pittsburgh and found only a few Amish, “always was, and always will be organic,” farmers and zippo, nada manufacturers. The bulk of CO2 emissions, for the event, came from those ‘too big to fail’ gems from Detroit. No rural community in America has escaped abandonment. Eugene, Oregon, the home to third generation hippies’ whose ancestors migrated up from Berkley, used to source 95% of its food from farmers in the surrounding Willamette Valley but today only 5%. What changed? The price the farmers received for their rude produce”dropped below their cost to produce it. Thefew farmers, that remained, turned to industrialized grass seed farming because the inhabitants of towns, as far away as, NYC, were willing to pay the farmer a living wage for his rude produce.

Grass seed, like hay, alfalfa and marijuana is a cash crop, no subsidies, and subject to the law of supply and demand. But the unintended consequence is, the cuisinely correct citizens of Eugene don’t eat grass seed and are forced to import 95% of their food from outside the Willamette Valley. In addition to abandoning their backyard gold mine, much of the inhabitants have discovered their intolerance to grass seed pollen.

The U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on these stupid, “whatever tends in any country,” consequences. China’s farmers have all gone to the cities to earn $200/month, rather than stay down on the farm and work like dogs for $200 a year. China’s 950 million, registered peasant-farmer, population after 30 years of ‘opening up’ has sent the youthful third of their number to the coastal mainland cities, leaving only the elderly, infirm and children behind. Why? For the same reason, we left or sold the farm – there was no money in farming. On 3/4ths of an acre, that is technically owned by the government, without machinery and a negligible subsidy, the Chinese farmer grows soybeans that he must sell for 20 cents a pound in the China market, against the heavily subsidized imported US GM soybeans selling for 11 cents a pound. Monsanto the merchant raised the price to manufacture soybeans, thereby lowering the price of the rude produce of the land. The tragically, China has followed this tail chasing strategy by advocating GM rice production.

Genetically Modified Wheat is a Threat to the Economy

  • GM wheat is a mortal threat to the U.S. wheat market. It is estimated that the loss of markets for GM corn, soy and canola has reached over 300 million dollars per year because the European Union will not purchase GM crops. The U.S. is the world’s leading wheat exporter. Many foreign companies have stated that they will not purchase GM wheat or any wheat if GM wheat is grown in the region. Korea is the fifth largest purchaser of U.S. wheat exports. The Korean Flour Mills Industrial Association has stated that they want GM-free certification of any hard-red spring wheat they purchase. The price of spring wheat could drop by one-third if a GM variety is introduced commercially into Montana or North Dakota, per agricultural economist Dr. Robert Wisner of Iowa State University. This will spell doom for North American wheat growers even if they decide to not plant GM wheat themselves.
  • GM crops are not required to go through any type of independent safety peer review to determine if they are safe for either human consumption or the environment.

Economically independent – GM seeds are the latest example of raising the price of manufactured produce making the poor farmer shell out more money that he doesn’t have for machinery, chemicals, fertilizers and now even the seeds. Organic or eco-farming eliminates, the chemicals, purchased fertilizers, patented one time use only seeds and nearly all the machinery and the petrol to power it. The organic farmer works for himself, free from costly manufactured inputs.

Professor Jiang estimates, “that since the late ‘70’s the income disparity between China’s urban wage earners and farmers has increased 44-fold.” In another words the unintended “whatever tends in any country consequence of Deng Xiaoping letting the cat out of the bag was the merchants and manufacturers made money while the farmers were left with a bag, no cats, and no money, to buy any. Why? Because the price of manufactured produce,went from a $30 bicycle to a $30,000 Bee-eh-KEH, while China’s rude producegrain, onlyquintupled in price

History didn’t leave a record of organic soil management, success stories. Name a civilization that left the soil in better condition, than when they found it. The Romans turned North Africa into the Sahara Desert, because they used slaves to do the plowing, until there was nothing left to plow. On the positive side of the farm ledger, FDR, the Bryan College-Station and Stillwater Aggies did plant trees and introduced terraced farming along contour lines. This was after the top ten inches of Oklahoma-Texas Panhandle blew halfway to NYC at 27mph in 1937. The ‘bestest’ thing they did for the soil, was pay farmers $40 an acre to plant prairie grass. When my in-laws moved to the Monterey Peninsula, they had 400 acres in $40 CRP (prairie grass) and 350 acres in $7/acre rent of the land to their cowman neighbor. They could have sold it all, for $200 an acre or stayed on the farm and joined the old geezers at the Quick Stop and bitch that the only way a farmer-rancher could afford the ‘rent of the land,’ was if his father owned the bank.

Well let’s see. How about Eisenhower’s Interstate highway system?

No, that put all those 18 wheelers on the road so the rude produce” of organic ‘arugula’ from Chile, sold at Wal-Mart in Chickasaw, OK for less than the local farm family could grow in their side yard. Cheap arugula didn’t hurt the farmer but Tyson, Perdue, Murphy, Pilgrim and Iowa Beef Packers and their manufactured pigs, chickens, and cows did him in. Before I-40 when Todd and Buzz were Vetting down U.S. 66, twelve million farmers each took 200 pigs to market in their pickups. Now, Wal-Mart semis haul 240 million pigs past Ike’s house on I-70 from four major, ‘bred, fed, & bled chop-shops’ in Western Kansas and the Texas-Oklahoma Panhandle.

Maybe Adam Smith should have said, whatever tempts man to manufacture food, genetically modify seeds and in any way, subsidize the rude produce of the land discourages agriculture. When the carbon content in Illinois gets down to less than 1%. When the price of 100% grass-fed beef, makes the farmer–manufacturer- merchant rich. When the Surgeon General declares cheap food hazardous to your health and three-thirds of Americans are overweight and unable to find healthcare at any price, then Congress will pass a trillion-dollar stimulus package to encourage the inhabitants of the town to turn to eco-farming because they can make money. The returning old Yuppie geezers, will gather at the Quick Stop and brag about sending their sons and daughters to UC Davis, Kansas State, even Texas A & M for their PhD in Microbiology.

That stimulus package, even the awareness of the near and present danger, needs some grass roots, bottom up help. Not everyone has $400,000 and a burning desire to succeed in organic farming. How can we green shoots save the world, when we do not have Bill and Melinda Gates money to spend?

Marx Was Right

A college undergrad at Liyang’s Crazy English said he was studying marketing. What he really said was Mǎ Kè Sī 马克思 Marxism. At the time my Chinglish vocabulary was limited to Mai Dang Lao (McDonald’s) and Xin Be Ke (Starbucks). Being a recovering Yankee trying to find expat gold in China, I dropped the Q&A right there, not because Communism was a taboo subject but I didn’t really know anything other than the usual refrain Commie-Pinko-Bastard.

I started my seventh year in China with bi-monthly sojourns to South Korea where I proceed directly to the Itaewon bookstore for three weekly issues of the Economist. The store lacks the ambitious selection of Page One in Hong Kong but it did have four choices for Marx. I came away with The Communist Manifesto and The Essential Marx edited by Leon Trotsky and two hours later I was in complete agreement on Marx’s theory of Capitalism.

C – M – C  

M – C – M1

M1 = M + ∆M = surplus value

The disagreement with Marx comes about with his Communist philosophy but his 150 year old Econ 101 course is equally valid today.

“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine tenths of the population.” Karl Marx

New York Times on July 22, 2014, the “richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent”

Like Marx, Thomas Piketty, the economic North Star of a new generation, has proscribed an international wealth tax of 80% to do away with private property.

Marx’s C – M – C equation from the dairy goat farmer’s perspective:

(C) Stands for a COMMODITY in our case a gallon of goat milk.

(M) Means MONEY, $15 at the farmers’ market.

(C) The new COMMODITY, whatever the buyer turns it into; most people drink it but others make kefir, cheese or soap.

M – C – M1

(M)  MONEY is needed to produce the (COMMODITY) in our example it costs us $5 to produce one gallon which begat $15 of new (M1) MONEY. Marx calls this transaction exchange value.” The next step in the process is defined as “surplus value” where:

M1 = M + ∆M = $10 of “surplus value”

Bill Gates, the bourgeoisiest guy on the planet, thinks philanthropy is the answer but he wants to give it away, his way. In 1998, Gates’ net worth was valued at $50 billion. By October 2014, that number had increased nearly 60 percent to $79.3 billion, despite his having given away tens of billions of dollars.

Adam Smith’s 1776 Econ 101 text book, Wealth of Nations declares that “Agriculture, the Produce of the Land, is the SOLE or the PRINCIPAL Source of the Revenue and Wealth of every Country.”

In the 500 years of American farming, the individual farmer only made M1 MONEY from 1865 when Lincoln freed the slaves, ending subsidized agriculture to the end of WWI when Henry Ford’s ‘Farmall’ tractor forced the self-sustaining bourgeoisie agrarian entrepreneur off the land and into the cities to become a labor-power slave proletarian.

Marx was right, Piketty proved that Marx was right but Gates put his (M1) MONEY where it was needed SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP in the support of agriculture in Africa and India. I observed the Agricultural Cooperative Development International’s ‘Small Farmer Production Project’ in Egypt in 1985, I know a millennia ago, but it was a USAID sponsored form of Social Entrepreneurship. Last year in Ethiopia, while Jane Marie climbed a mountain to view the falls of Bahir Dar, I interrogated a USAID dairy coop farmer and the collection station boss. The farmer got a buck a gallon which is similar to the $1.10 the US proletarian farmer, only a buck in Ethiopia makes the farmer a member of the “bourgeois” class.

Marx Was Right

A college undergrad at Liyang’s Crazy English said he was studying marketing. What he really said was Mǎ Kè Sī 马克思 Marxism. At the time my Chinglish vocabulary was limited to Mai Dang Lao (McDonald’s) and Xin Be Ke (Starbucks). Being a recovering Yankee trying to find expat gold in China, I dropped the Q&A right there, not because Communism was a taboo subject but I didn’t really know anything other than the usual refrain Commie-Pinko-Bastard.

I have started my seventh year in China with bi-monthly sojourns to South Korea where I proceed directly to the Itaewon bookstore for three weekly issues of the Economist. The store lacks the ambitious selection of Page One in Hong Kong but it did have four choices for Marx. I came away with The Communist Manifesto and The Essential Marx edited by Leon Trotsky and two hours later I was in complete agreement on Marx’s theory of Capitalism.

C – M – C  

M – C – M1

M1 = M + ∆M = surplus value

The disagreement with Marx comes about with his Communist philosophy but his 150 year old Econ 101 course is equally valid today.

“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine tenths of the population.” Karl Marx

New York Times on July 22, 2014, the “richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent”

Like Marx, Thomas Piketty, the economic North Star of a new generation, has proscribed an international wealth tax of 80% to do away with private property.

Marx’s C – M – C equation from the dairy goat farmer’s perspective:

(C) Stands for a COMMODITY in our case a gallon of goat milk.

(M) Means MONEY, $15 at the farmers’ market.

(C) The new COMMODITY, whatever the buyer turns it into; most people drink it but others make kefir, cheese or soap.

M – C – M1

(M)  MONEY is needed to produce the (COMMODITY) in our example it costs us $5 to produce one gallon which begat $15 of new (M1) MONEY. Marx calls this transaction exchange value.” The next step in the process is defined as “surplus value” where:

M1 = M + ∆M = $10 of “surplus value”

Bill Gates, the bourgeoisiest guy on the planet, thinks philanthropy is the answer but he wants to give it away, his way. In 1998, Gates’ net worth was valued at $50 billion. By October 2014, that number had increased nearly 60 percent to $79.3 billion, despite his having given away tens of billions of dollars.

Marx Comes to the High Plains


Then the Great Depression transformed what was an extremely hard life into an impossible one. With prices for crops, in real terms, falling below what they’d been in colonial times, financial disaster began to overwhelm rural America. By the end of 1931, 20,000 farms a month were being foreclosed, with even greater numbers on the horizon. Farmers’ pleas for relief – among them, a moratorium on foreclosures – were rejected by President Hoover, who in effect told America to quit whining and go chew on its moral fiber. Hoover seemed ignorant of a basic fact of human nature: people tend not to be models of obedience when they’re starving to death. “They had put their faith in government,” as one contemporary reporter said of the farmers, “and government had failed … they reached a point where they could stand the strain no longer and moved toward open rebellion.”

No one under the age of ninety has any first hand knowledge of the Great Depression. However, my mother-in-law, now 93, pictured here with Ken Burns, was at ground zero for the Dust Bowl in 1937.

You are not likely to find this episode of American history in the schoolbooks. In Iowa, the Farmers’ Holiday Association organized a strike in which farmers refused to bring food to market for 30 days. The strike soon spread to the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and beyond. Roads were picketed, then blockaded to enforce the strike. Telephone operators coordinated with striking farmers to warn them when soldiers or lawmen were headed their way. When 60 strikers were arrested in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a thousand farmers marched on the jail and forced their release. Four thousand men occupied the Lincoln, Nebraska, statehouse, and another 7,000 marched on the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio with the intention of establishing a “workers’ and farmers’ republic”. Across the Midwest, farmers began to band together in armed groups to stop foreclosures; lawyers and judges were threatened with hanging, stripped and beaten, and in at least one case, murdered. “Rebellion in the Corn belt: American Farmers Beat Their Ploughshares into Swords” was the title of a December 1932 article in Harper’s that described the farmers’ increasing desperation and militancy.

Jan, Bob, Dugie and Trixie January 15th  BIRTHDAYS: Martin Luther King Jr. 1929, Aristotle Onassis 1906, Joan of ArcGamal Abdul Nasser 1918, Moliere, Edward Teller 1908,  Drew Brees 1979, Lloyd Bridges 1913, Trixie Brown 1927, Charo, Ben Shapiro 1984, Gene Krupa 1909. 

Roosevelt gave it a name, the New Deal, and it transformed American life so thoroughly that it’s become invisible to us, as taken for granted as the air we breathe and the ground beneath our feet. Or as, for instance: electricity. As Caro shows in The Path to Power, 30 million farmers and their families lived in the preindustrial dark not because of technological obstacles – many lived within sight of power lines – or prohibitive cost to the utility company – plenty of farmers offered to pay the expense of running a line out to their homes – or that utility companies couldn’t make a profit on rural lines – studies in Minnesota and Alabama showed that rural lines were profitable – but because rural electric service wouldn’t be as profitable for utility companies as the urban market. The companies based their decision, as companies do, on capital risk and rate of return. Considerations of fairness, fellow feeling, or the greater social good simply didn’t factor into the corporate calculus.

This is known among economists as “market failure”. Sam Rayburn, the Texas congressman who led the legislative fight to bring electricity to rural America, stated it plainly during debate on the House floor: “When free enterprise had the opportunity to electrify farm homes – after 50 years, they had electrified 3%.” The Public Utilities Act of 1935 and the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 – crucial New Deal legislation – “brought the lights” to rural America over the strenuous opposition of the utility lobby, which put out fake “spontaneous” mass mailings to members of Congress (one of the first instances of astroturfing in American politics) and pushed a whisper campaign alleging that President Roosevelt was insane. John Carpenter, president of Texas Power & Light – there’s a freeway named after him in Dallas – so loathed Sam Rayburn that he offered to spend any amount of money to defeat him in the next election. Rayburn won. The lights went on.

Another example: banks. When Roosevelt took office, the banking industry was in freefall, a “market failure” that threatened to finish off what was left of the US economy. The system of government support and regulation established by the New Deal over banks – deposit insurance, capital requirements, the Glass-Steagall Act (separating commercial and investment banks) – and over the financial industry in general – such as the Securities Act of 1933, AKA the “Truth-in-Securities Act”, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (if you think Wall Street is a rigged game these days, it’s a seminary compared with the fraud-fest of the Roaring Twenties) – made bank panics and market crashes a thing of the past. From the mid-1930s into the early 1980s, the US financial industry enjoyed remarkable stability. Bank failures were rare, isolated events. The bipolar booms and busts of laissez-faire capitalism became the much more manageable phenomenon of the business cycle. This began to change with deregulation, starting with the bipartisan overhaul of the savings and loan industry in the early 1980s. “All in all, I think we hit the jackpot,” said President Reagan as he signed the Garn-St Germain Act into law. Not quite. Within a few short years, there was no savings and loan industry, thanks to the frenzy of speculation and self-dealing that followed passage of Garn-St Germain. The biggest bank crisis since the Great Depression had erased an entire sector of American finance, leaving the American taxpayer on the hook for $160bn – a huge amount of money at the time, chump change compared with what was coming. The New Deal framework continued to be dismantled through the 1990s – Glass-Steagall bit the dust in 1998 – and, just as importantly, regulation was never extended to new markets in financial exotica like credit default swaps and derivatives. Banking and finance grew increasingly volatile, culminating (so far?) in the Great Recession of 2008, when only massive government intervention saved the economy.

I found MARX at the Rice Village Farmers’ Market

I had spent the first 18 years of the 3rd Turning ‘The Unraveling‘ doing my own life unraveling from Cleveland to Atlanta to Cairo to Phoenix and finally Houston. The ‘3rd Turning’ stretches from 1984 to 2004 and by the time I discovered Karl Marx at the Rice Village Farmers’ Market I had stretched my ’68 BS of Architecture and my ’82 EMBA diplomas across being fired three times, foreclosed on twice, 14 months as an insecure security guard at Fleming Foods grocery warehouse, 10 months hobbling around carrying 50lb feed bags at Tractor Supply, 14 months vacuuming under car floor mats at Wal-Mart’s Tire Lube Express and 10 years of cognitive psycho-therapy. Oh, I forgot, 5 months as a beverage counselor at a Shell station at night and atakes-too-much-time’ courier by day.

After three hours of selling fresh, as in raw, goat chevre and feta cheese for $5/8oz container and $4/pint raw goat’s milk kefir, paying my $10 booth fee I had EIGHTY-FIVE dollars in cash, greenbacks, real hard-earned money. Well not as hard as checking the air pressure of 50 four wheeled cars at Wal-Mart. Cheese and kefir making compared to the labor of milking 50 goats twice a day, seven days a week. I deducted $15 for a rib-eye at Chili’s on the way home to celebrate my introduction to Marx’s, “the labor theory of value.”

Mary Karman & Abundio were the “Human Labor” that milked three cows and fifty goats twice a day seven days a week. In between milkings they plucked chickens, made cheese, kefir, bottled the milk, trimmed hooves, cleaned stalls, loaded and made farmers’ market delivers.

“Human labor – the time and effort needed to bring a good to market – is the “secret sauce” that determines the value of things. This is what modern capitalists want you to forget, with all their hearts. A motorbike costs more than a bicycle because more time and human effort goes into making it.

“I am in Texas and sell chevre for $25.00 per pound and sell out!”

At my Wal-Mart, hourly wage of $7.15; I would have to work, work, for 12 hours to clear 85 bucks. Even my 10 to 10 six days a week cushy new home sales counselor gig netted me $38,453 or little more than $11/hr. But at the Rice Village Farmers’ Market, I was an entrepreneur and as Marxist Deng Xiaoping famously said, “making money is exhilarating!”


FIXED CAPITAL is the machinery, equipment, information, know-how, place of business and other “tangible” factors that go into making a product and delivering it to market.

  • $150K place of business: 15501 Alton Rd. Kendelton, TX. 18 acres with barn, septic and well 50 miles SW of Houston + dairy and trailerhouse
  • $70K machinery: 2 goat milker, tractor, F350, Ford Explorer
  • $30K equipment: freezers, refrigerators, chill tank, welder, 50 goats, 2 cows
  • information: CPA Systems Analyst, BS Architecture, EMBA, TXDept of Ag & Health, 2+ years as a Boer goat breeder
  • know-how: not much about goats, a lot of business sales & finance experience
KENDLETON, TEXAS. Kendleton is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Farm Road 2919, fourteen miles southwest of Rosenberg in western Fort Bend County. It was once the site of a plantation belonging to William E. Kendall. In the 1860s Kendall divided the plantation into small farms, which he sold to former slaves.

VARIABLE CAPITAL is basically a fancy way of saying “the money spent on labor power.”


PRICE OF GOOD: Since it takes a gallon of milk to make a pound of cheese, our average price for our 55-30-15 mix of $15 milk-$25 cheese-$45 kefir dairy, was $25.00 a gallon. = FIXED CAPITAL $2.38 per gallon + VARIABLE CAPITAL is basically a fancy way of saying “the money spent on labor power.” $3.36 per gallon + “SOMETHING EXTRA” $25 – $2.38 – $3.36 = $19.29 per gallon profit.

Thanks, Karl Marx for showing me the labor theory of value.

Farmers’ Market “Something Extras”

Jane Marie at the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Ceret, France

Nina Planck “Real Food”


Nina Planck was my inspiration for visiting the Rice Village Farmers’ Market because her family in Louden Virginia grossed $375,000 serving 17 markets in the Washington DC area averaging $500 per market.

Further inspiration came from interviews with my fellow vendors: “If I do not make at least $500 per market. I drop that market” – Wharton County ‘vegie’ producer who lived ten miles further down the SW Freeway than us.

“My hero is the guy who grossed $250,000 from a 1/2 acre vacant lot in San Francisco, selling specialty greens to restaurants.” – Permaculture Professor at Leisure Learning Unlimited.

The proof in the raw goats milk pudding came when Ken showed me the $965 in cash at the close of his 8 to noon day at the Houston’s Farmers’ Market. Ken’s smile was validation of a sales record for the Anala Goat Company and his $241.25 – $60/hr share of Marx’s “Something Extra.”

Costa Coronosa


Costa Luminosa – Cruise from 03/05/2020

Booking Number: 26509327 Jane Kennedy

Dear Guest,

As you may have learned, the alert level for CoVid-19 declared by the World Health Organization has been raised, and this has led the health authorities of some countries to further increase their precautionary measures by introducing a series of bans on entry into their territories.

With the main aim to gain the most up-to-date information, Costa Cruises remains in constant contact with all the local authorities of the countries called by its vessels. This is done to allow Costa to make the most appropriate decisions and/or put in place the most adequate measures to be sure that the highest level of safety for its guests and crewmembers are met. Safety, in fact, is an absolute priority for us, both during navigation and on land.  

Given the continuous evolution of this specific situation and in accordance with the directives issued by US Department of State, who have further strengthened their restrictive measures on some specific north Italian regions (Lombardy and Veneto) , we are forced to modify  the itinerary originally planned for all American guests.

In light of this situation, the itinerary for your Transatlantic cruise aboard Costa Luminosa will now end in Marseille, France, on March 20, avoiding all the subsequent Italian calls.

Port Everglades, Florida Thursday 05 March

Billy Shaw and his wife Carol talk of their nightmare experience being confined to a cabin on a virus-ridden ship “It started going wrong before that though. We were having a drink in the bar when the boat was in the Caribbean when a guy fell down dead right in front of us.
“We are both medically trained and we both tried to work on him while we waited ten minutes for the paramedics to arrive but I could tell he was dead.

“The captain saw us two days later and said ‘thank you’ and that we had saved his life and that he was recovering in Grand Cayman. I just called him a liar there and then to his face. That man was dead.”
During a previous voyage, an Italian man complained of heart trouble and was taken off the ship in the Cayman Islands on Feb. 29, Costa Cruises said in a statement. He later tested positive for the coronavirus and has since died.

Please see the itinerary below.

3/5/2020Port Everglades, Florida23:00
3/6-7/2020At Sea
3/8/2020San Juan, Puerto Rico08:0018:00
3/9/2020St. John’s, Antigua09:001800
3/10-15/2020At Sea
3/16/2020S.Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Isl.09:0017:00
3/17/2020At Sea
3/18/2020Malaga, Spain14:0020:00
3/19/2020At Sea
3/20/2020Marseille, France13:00

While we regret this adjustment, we certainly understand this decision could be disappointing and as a gesture of goodwill, you will receive up to $250 per person onboard credit* that may be used for expenses onboard.  Furthermore, Costa will provide transfers to the Marseille airport.  Guests will be responsible to change flights with airlines from Marseille, France (MRS) to the final destination if needed.  Costa will provide reimbursement up to $250 USD for airline change fee†, and up to $150 USD for 1-night hotel in the international flight city prior to departing home. 

At Sea Saturday 7 March

Finally, you will be receiving a 25% discount on a future cruise (based on the cruise fare, this will be mailed to you at a later date).

Thank you for your understanding.

Costa Cruises

*Onboard credit amount is based on the Guest’s original disembarkation port:  Savona- $50pp, Naples- $100pp, Venice- $250pp. Onboard credit is based on double occupancy, may not be used in the casino or for Hotel Service Charges.  Any unused portion will not be refunded.

San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday, 8 March

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Docking in San Juan: First and only port of call that we will see on this transatlantic cruise as it was struck with the coronavirus and the coronavirus panic.

Sunday, Mar 8, 3:10 PM

Just arrived in Puerto Rico. Heading down for breakfast. I will meet with on board agent to solidify travel plans from Marseilles 

Just found out that Italy has ordered more quarantined

Sunday, March 8, 8:08 PM

I like the new air con. I just booked hotel in Marseilles for March 20. I will continue to work on changing my flight but flight times with Turkish air are not ideal. 

On March 8, when the ship was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a 68-year-old woman from northern Italy was evacuated from the cruise ship with pneumonia, accompanied by her 70-year-old husband. Both tested positive for the virus Saturday.

Monday, March 9, St. John’s, Antigua

Sorry Jane Marie the port is closed to the Costa Corinosa

Tuesday to Sunday 10-15 March, At Sea

The company said three passengers who disembarked the ship since Feb. 29 have since tested positive for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Three more passengers were allowed to disembark in the Canary Islands on Sunday after complaining of breathing difficulties or a fever, but the Spanish government would not allow other passengers to disembark because the nation’s ports were closed, the company said.

Monday, March 16, S.Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Isl.

We have headed out to see despite a passenger being removed from the ship with possible Corona virus. Some people on board have already been quarantined and the others are getting a bit concerned. My concern is that the

Tuesday, March 17, At Sea

Finally got breakfast 2 hours late I cleaned my cabin and am sorting out my supplements and vitamins, I am finished with some but needed a prescription to get in U.S.We are presently passing through the straights of Gilberto Wrong spelling Rough seas and rain

The Costa Luminosa passed through the Strait of Gibraltar on Tuesday and was headed toward its next scheduled stop in southern France, but it remains unclear what will happen when it arrives. France began a lockdown Tuesday ordered by President Emmanuel Macron.AD

There are 233 Americans aboard, the company said. Some passengers are growing increasingly anxious, according to relatives who have spoken to them. A number have developed coughs and one woman told her daughter that the crew appeared overwhelmed by the need to deliver food to all the cabins. Symptoms of the coronavirus include coughing, fever and shortness of breath.

Costa Cruises, which operates the ship, said in a statement that there was a delay in organizing room service for the first meal when passengers were sequestered in their cabins, but that food delivery is now running smoothly.

Rossella Carrara, a vice president of the Costa line, said in an email to The Washington Post on Tuesday afternoon that “at the moment the health situation on board is under control, with no need for medical disembarkations.”

The ship, she said, is sailing off the Spanish Coast heading to Marseille, France, in hopes of docking and disembarking passengers there on Thursday. It is not clear how French authorities will handle the situation. The French Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Starting at noon on Tuesday 17 March, France was under total lock-down under the orders of Macron

who addressed the nation in a somber speech the night before. “We are at war,” he said, noting that the restrictions he was imposing were unprecedented during peacetime. “A sanitary war.”

Cruise line officials said they were communicating with French authorities Tuesday, discussing disembarkation procedures.

On the current voyage, an Italian woman who disembarked in Puerto Rico on March 8 after complaining of breathing trouble has also since tested positive for the virus, as has her husband, who was traveling with her, the company said.

Despite the woman’s respiratory distress, the Costa Luminosa ship continued across the Atlantic bound for Europe. Passengers were told early into the voyage that because of the outbreak, the ship would not head to Italy, but that stops in the Canary Islands and France were still planned, according to what passengers have told relatives.

Wednesday, March 18, Malaga, Spain

“Jane Marie I’m sad that you skipped Malaga this time because of the virus. There aren’t any tourists here now.”

Carrara, the cruise line official, said that isolation and room service rules were put in place Sunday, the day after the cruise company was informed of two positive cases involving passengers on the current cruise.

“Other measures had already been implemented in the days before, including isolation of the close contacts of the suspect cases and the cancellation of several on board activities,” she said.

The company said it learned that passengers from a previous cruise on the ship had tested positive on Friday and had stepped up sanitation procedures.

However, several Americans whose parents are aboard said that passengers continued to eat communal meals and freely roam the ship until Sunday. Only then were they told that passengers should isolate in their rooms and that meals would be delivered to their doors, they said.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik, whose in-laws are on board, said they and other passengers have developed coughs. Sverdlik said that late Monday, his father-in-law, Alexander Smirnov, 67, had reported that he had a fever, as well. He said that a few hours later, Smirnov reported that his temperature had returned to normal.

“It’s definitely terrifying. It’s been challenging to get any information,” said Sverdlik, of Albany, Calif.

Costa Cruises said that staff members are going cabin to cabin taking the temperatures of passengers and crew members and reporting the results to doctors on board. Anyone with an elevated temperature is seen by a doctor as soon as possible, the company said.

Ashley Ecker, 41, of San Diego, said her parents have reported that the ship’s crew members appear shaken by the situation and overwhelmed by the need to deliver food to every cabin.

When her parents had received no breakfast by 11 a.m. Monday, her mother left her cabin to determine whether there was a problem, encountering an elderly man in the hall who said he was diabetic and had not had a meal in 18 hours, Ecker said.

“The captain, the crew and the cruise line is operating in an extremely dynamic environment with layers of variable,” he said. “ The crew is doing an admirable job of maintaining a single sheet of music from which we can all sing.”

“They’re in good spirits, which helps. I just get very worried that one morning, the message is going to be that they don’t feel well,” she said.

Shawn Dawley, 46, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is on board with his wife, said that by Tuesday, the crew had appeared to work out kinks in the food delivery process and had also increased efforts to keep passengers informed during a rapidly changing situation.

Dawley said crew members have been collecting information from passengers to try to help them develop plans to get home. Still, he said the uncertainty about docking and the chaos in the airline industry have made things more difficult.

Ecker said a State Department official told her Monday that the U.S. government will not be able to do much to help if France requires passengers to remain on board or will not allow them to leave France.

“She said the State Department has no intention of sending a plane for the Americans,” she said. “I realize this is a drop in a bucket in all the suffering. Still, you would think there would be a better government response to this.”

A State Department official said the agency is “closely monitoring” the Costa Luminosa. “We are aware that the ship has multiple U.S. citizen passengers. Our team is in communication with U.S. government partner agencies, such as the CDC, and relevant local authorities. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services to the U.S. citizens on board, in accordance with guidance from local health authorities and in coordination with the CDC,” the official said.

Sverdlik said that he was able to reach a U.S. official at the consulate in Marseille on Tuesday 17 March, who said that French officials were aware of the situation and debating whether to allow the ship to dock. The U.S. official indicated that if the ship docks, French authorities will probably test all passengers for the virus and hospitalize anyone who tests positive.

For passenger cruises Shouldn’t the Costa cruise captain know this Finally got breakfast 2 hours late I cleaned my cabin and am sorting out my supplements and vitamins, I am finished with some but needed a prescription to get in U.S.We are presently passing through the straights of Gilberto Wrong spelling Rough seas and rain

True it was a dock workers strike and protest have not found official notice of closing. watching video of Oakland docking all passengers quarantined on military bases crew aboard ship that’s us bad joke Costa Coronosa

I was aware of the Oakland cruise. We will likely be kept on ship for an extended period and then flown back to U.S. where wevwill be further quarantined Uggg

I haven’t yet heard “I told you so….

Turkey now letting the cat out all tests only in Ankara 47th today

Jack of clubs are inherently lucky

It will continue to rise. Perhaps being self isolating on ship with room service isn’t the worst place to be. Smoking allowed on balcony, free WiFi for what’s so only m do I’m paying by the day. Yesterday we received a letter offering free future cruise with Costa up to amount spent on this cruise…,doubtful many of us are contemplating future cruise

Three passengers and their companions on the Costa Luminosa cruise ship were offloaded Sunday with respiratory problems in Spain’s Canary Islands. The cruise ship, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corporation, has left three people diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in two countries since it departed Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Feb

On Sunday evening, the ship departed the Canary Islands. Emilio fears that the ship will not be allowed to dock in France given the history of sick people on board. There are currently 1,427 passengers on board; of those, 233 are U.S. citizens. The company did not respond to a request for information about how many crew members are on board. The ship can hold 1,050 crew members. The Costa Luminosa isn’t the only ship with positive cases.

If we had read this – On Feb. 29, a 68-year-old Italian man was evacuated from the ship in the Cayman Islands following a stroke. He tested positive there for COVID-19 before he passed away Saturday.

The ship returned to Fort Lauderdale on March 5 to pick up new passengers.

Good information, the cruise line was negligent in allowing people to board, knowing this.

Tamara I just received a call from cruise staff asking my final destination. They are hoping to remove passengers and fly them home. Chicago is my only option at this point.

chicago to Istanbul. Or Chicgao to s.Carolina sort out the paper work and then Atlanta to Istanbul – Antalya

I can’t fly to Turkey without valid residence permit. If I am able to disembark, at some point i will be forced to quarantine No country, USA included will allow any passengers from corona infested ship, I meet with Ceyhan tonite re: residence permit. Turkey needs you. maybe they will allow you to quarantine Antalya. US quarantine Nebraska?? or maybe you pass the test in Chicago and let you go to Michelle’s. I just had my temperature taken. …normal


“Turkey has shut down all activity and sending foreigners in antalya home My BBC news channel went off All the news stations are focused on the virus Which airline will be allowed to fly from Marseilles to USA Delta air France TUE 5:01 PM Okay, great TUE 7:56 PM turkey closed until april 27 even I with valid kimlik would have to return to USA. turks can’t leave.

TUE 9:13 PMokay, seems the cruise is working to fly U.S. citizen’s home No other nationalities have been asked where they are going. My account was balanced out and I even had a refund They also came around to ask if my safe was working Maybe we will be off the ship on 19th They are even coming around offering free packs of cigarettes to smokers. Wine and beer cart twice a day. They think there are 2 people in my cabin so I get 2 drinks and 2 meals. ….getting fatter Just had hot shower and shampoo. Perfect timing as They came around to change pillow cases

223 americanos will it be NY or Chicago? Stay with Tamara or Michelle?

I said Chicago. I will stay with Tamara. Michelle has babysitting duty since school has been cancelled.”

This will be a re-birthing for you and Tamara Metin crew wearing rubber gloves cafe coffee shops closing do you get your cigarettes?

Yes, they are giving them away Do you think if we are lucky enough to get to U.S., we will be quarantined

Arrival will be in 18 hrs 25 min. (at 14:00 h local time)I’m hoping they test you and let you self isolate in Iowa

Me too, but since 3 people tested positive, not likely. ..we hope and pray

The fact that my account has been finalized and they have been asking me about where I want to go, is a good sign. Tamara is over the moon to have me back. Plus, if I should need any treatment, U.S. would be preferable to Europe. I ate 2 meals for dinner….again. rare tenderloin roast. Small portions but tasty.

Yeah maybe that’s the hidden message medical marjijuana and serious health care in Iowa City.

Wednesdy, March 18, 12:26 PM

I was informed that with 100% certainty, we will be allowed off ship in France I’m going with the flow. Good idea I’m going to take a nap. All is well love you Love you!

in 3 hrs 32 min. (at 14:00 h local time) this is exciting – scary but exciting

Wow, we will be in Marseille today? No announcements yet but I am checked out, got my refund and have free WiFi

Be Sure to be on the balcony

I see that there are flights still scheduled for U.S. I’d have to get all dolled up if I’m going to be on t.v.


Wednesday, March 18, 10:34 PM

Just announced we will be allowed to disembark tomorrow. We are outside port now Waiting for further information to be sent to cabin

wonder when they put your bags in the hall No bags in the hall. We have to keep them with us. They will call us out one by one Some time tomorrow. That’s all I know for now

The Costa Luminosa is now expected in Marseille, a major Mediterranean port, on Thursday at around 1 p.m. (1200 GMT), a Marseille port spokesman said, but they would not be permitted to disembark before being tested for coronavirus. On a Costa Luminosa Facebook group, passengers shared their distress about being confined to their cabins, the uncertainty about when they can disembark, and the lack of information. “Physically we are fine, but mentally we are all exhausted. Three days into this trip, it all became about COVID-19 (coronavirus),” Martha Bradbury, a 51-year-old Canadian passenger, told Reuters.

wonder how they are going to test on board They didn’t tell us about testing. How long does it take to get results back? one day before. now they have tests within hours but I don’t know about the frogs. Really, hours! A swab or blood test I’ll research testing after a

My god canary island patients got confirmation one two days later. the lag turn around time depends Where will we stay until results come back I’m reading the diary of Princess crew they flew test kits to the boat and got the results same day. I’d say your on the boat until they do the same

We jyst got menu selection for 3 meals tomorrow plus some strange French document regarding limitations of our movements in France. Doesn’t make sense to me

Thursday, March 19, Marseilles, France 8:28 AM

We have been circling outside of Marseilles port since last night. I have received information regarding flight, destination Atlanta with 10 hour layover in Barcelona then to London and on wards

Not possible to fly out of Atlanta on 20th as arrival is too late Since we haven’t even gone port side, perhaps I’m worrying too much Any news about France?

Dozens of crew members and passengers aboard the Costa Luminosa cruise ship are recorded as sick as the ship nears France in hopes of docking there Thursday, according to ship logs obtained by the Miami Herald.

I’m not going to start packing, I only got a few hours sleep last night. It was after 1 when I managed to drift off and the coffee in the hall wake up team came around 5am

At least 24 crew members on board the ship are classified as sick and are isolated, according to ship logs obtained by the Miami Herald, and at least 50 passengers are classified as sick, or are roommates of passengers who are classified as sick.

I’d still rather be floating around the port than 24 hours of airports and flying

Wow, good news, thanks. Can I come home now? I’ve been a good girl

Hard to find what is going on Miami Hearld crew logs Take a rest by the time they test on-board – dock or no dock – negotiate with Macron etc?? I’ll watch French English TV

Thursday, March 19, Marseilles, France 9:02 AM

The Costa Luminosa is now expected in Marseille, a major Mediterranean port, on Thursday at around 1 p.m. (1200 GMT), a Marseille port spokesman said, but they would not be permitted to disembark before being tested for coronavirus.

Announcements include completing menu selection and temperature checks to commence menu for today or tomorrow?

Today But we continue to circle the sea I showered but can’t seem to work up an appetite to eat My body hurts, my neck is swollen

Where will the tests come from Each country is focused on their residents, Costa dug its grave

You’re supposed to dock at noon. the frogs should have the kits. I see land and we are heading towards it

When the cruise ship docked in Cuba they took all direct to plane So you think that will happen My flight is scheduled for 10 pm

100 Canadians 200 american hot potatoes they want you guys out of there

I guess it is arriving? \One o’clock we should arrive at port.

I don’t think they will let us off in France based on scripted announcements. ..reading between the lines, looks like we will sail to savona

I bet they dump the foreigners off. Savona final destination for Italians crew and boat

We are docking now, I was called downstairs for my 4th reimbursement and was told Americans would fly out. The Lobby was full of angry people. Many will not be allowed off unless Costa has booked their flights.

19 hour layover in Barcelona. I opened my complimentary bottle of bubbly Can’t eat so should at least drink

what airline? Multiple but I think we start with iberis.

This is the sad part, when ambulances are preparing to take passengers off

? Yes/no testing besides temp

are you on balcony Yes how many ships 4 the two in photo not costa One is.

the big one with squiggle now where’s your selfie

THU 6:49 PM

Good news We should head out soon did they take off the sick ?

Carol said: “I was going crazy yesterday. There have been announcements for Swiss, Canadians, Americans but no news at all for the British. The British rep has been as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.

When asked about the situation at a press conference Thursday morning, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he didn’t have any updates on Canada’s role in helping Canadians disembark the Costa Luminosa.The Canadians that were trapped on the Costa Luminosa at the port of Marseille in France were able to board a charter flight by the cruise company Costa to Atlanta in the United States, reports say.

According to the cruise line, 386 Costa Luminosa passengers, including all 233 Americans on board and some Canadian and French passengers, too, disembarked in Marseille. Those who disembarked on Thursday evening were accompanied to flights and transfers organized by the company, and the partial disembarkation continued Friday.

Friday, March 20, 9:51????

FRI 9:51 AM what happened?

Friday, March 20, 1:39 PM ????

FRI 1:39 PM Jane missed your call.

Marseilles to Atlanta

Did you get on the plane?

ATLANTA (AP) — On a chaotic flight home, some passengers who had been stranded for days aboard a cruise ship after being exposed to the coronavirus suffered breathing problems, many coughed and several fainted with no food or medical personnel provided, travelers said Friday.

“It was a suicide mission,” said passenger Jenny Harrell, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. “It was a mass triage with absolutely no direction and the crew going, ‘What should we do now?’”

Decisions were left up to the passengers, said Harrell, who had some emergency medical training in the past and helped a physician who was also among the passengers.

Harrell, 51, said she isolated two other passengers who were having breathing problems. One had a chronic lung disease and needed to be hooked to a ventilator, she said. Another passenger had an asthma attack and several others fainted, apparently from low blood sugar levels. Harrell said many travelers were coughing and she helped treat people who had a fever.

“There should have been medical personnel on that flight,” Harrell said.

Costa Luminosa passengers also complained they were given no food other than orange juice and crackers in more than 24 hours — the time it took to disembark in Marseille, France, to fly to Atlanta, and be cleared by officials.

At one point, Harrell said, the flight attendants handed her the cabin microphone. “I basically took over the plane,” she said. “I couldn’t even make this up for a movie.”

KEY WEST, Fla. — An airplane carrying hundreds of Americans who had been evacuated from the Costa Luminosa cruise ship in France idled on the tarmac in Atlanta for about five hours Friday morning because health officials learned that three passengers aboard the plane had tested positive for the coronavirus. According to two people who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the voyage, the test results became known while the passengers were in the air, triggering the hours long delay that frustrated, angered and scared those aboard the plane.

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Ms. Catron said there was a brief debate during the flight about whether to make an emergency landing, but fears that the passengers would not be allowed to enter hospitals pushed them to continue the journey.

Jennifer posted the only on board vids: Their evacuation turned into an all-night odyssey, with the group sitting on a bus for hours in Marseille before boarding the flight to to Atlanta. Left without food for more than 24 hours, passengers on the plane started fainting. Several had severe coughs. Jennifer Catron, who described herself as a wedding photographer with some medical experience, said she helped care for passengers while en route to Atlanta. She described a chaotic, dramatic flight with perhaps two dozen medical issues, some emergencies, some relatively minor.

Friday 6:00 PM Atlanta

The group arrived at the Atlanta airport at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, but then waited on the tarmac for about five hours. Many had not eaten since lunch on Thursday, and several passengers who have diabetes fainted. Many others had severe coughs. “Everyone is up in arms,” Kelea Edgar Nevis, 47, said in a text message while she waited to leave the plane in Atlanta. “We’re going to have a mutiny.” Several passengers called 911 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said. A Georgia State official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the situation, said information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated that 359 passengers were on board the flight to Atlanta, including 70 Canadians. The official said the three people who tested positive for the coronavirus were not exhibiting symptoms, and that 13 others, who were sick on the plane, had not been tested.

Yes, we were forced to sit on bus at airport 6 hours. Now cleared my health screen in Atlanta. Chicago flights to be checked out after we get thorough customs

Made to sit on plane on tarmac for 5 hours. No hot food or drinks other than water and snacks for 2nd day

when do you take off? We have just been let off plane. We were not allowed to go to terminal. …waiting for further instructions

where are you? how many in your group? 300. I’m quarantined with all passengers. Several people very sick with virus on plane. Man behind me fainted and many passengers were too week to stand.

Are you at the airport? Yes. what airport? Atlanta, cargo section They brought us chick fillet and wraps

you are in Atlanta to Chicago or quarantine Quarantine but should be bused to terminal soon Any idea where Q will be? Cargo port of airport. They will allow 2 week home quarantine if no fever or coughing

can i post your pic? Sure

Friday, March 20, 9:15 PM Atlanta Airport

Chicago or direct to Cedar Rapids maybe I’m hoping direct. Flight at 3 is direct but I told cruise my destination was Chicago. Hope I can change Think of all the stories you can tell love you Love you too. I’ll let you know about flight

Got ticket but will have to get cruise to reimburse. …they booked with a not Chicago? are you in terminal or cargo? you’ll be home before dark Mary Frances likes that Boarding in 5 minutes ship hip hoorah

got your elevator speech ready for the press I calc at least six died? That is the most interesting story we had police escort from quarantine area 15 minute drive. Streets all shut down but tv crews all lined up. I waved . Check the news, too tired to write it all out now

I’m hungry but no service and not Enough time to find restaurant Pretty quiet here buy a round on the plane. I had chips and dip to celebrate I just got chipotles taco salad with chips and salsa but flight has been delayed as one of the crew is circling the airport Can’t wait to have a bath

hard to find fellow shipmates may have and luminous has a FB site I’ll look up luminosa reunion next year

Marseille … Ms. Catron posted a video from the T.G.I. Friday’s at the airport where she

28 mins ago – The trans-Atlantic cruise ship Costa Luminosa moored at

Was there an article in Atlanta newspapers I can’t access it

Flight crew is sick so we are waiting for a replacement

The French media reported that another 36 people who disembarked Thursday also tested positive. The passengers who did not test positive were released and told to self-quarantine. But scores of them booked flights back to their home cities, despite having been near sick people all night and on the cruise since March 5. This is NYT

In the early afternoon, the passengers were being sent to a hangar for screening. State officials said they had encouraged H.H.S. to send two commercial buses to the airport to be standing by once the screening was complete. When asked where the passengers would be taken, the officials said, “We don’t know yet.

”Got to find her TGIF vid: Many of the passengers — including Ms. Catron — were roaming about in the Atlanta airport Friday. Ms. Catron posted a video from the T.G.I. Friday’s at the airport where she and other passengers were getting food.

Good work

was almost as much of a debacle as the cruise was,” Ms. Catron said. “It was probably scarier than the cruise.” By noon, most of the passengers had disembarked after getting their temperatures taken and were waiting for their luggage. Mrs. Nevis said they were instructed to self-quarantine at home

Saturday, March 21, 3:10 AM north Liberty, Iowa

I’m at Tamara’s now Today is almost over. Back in Iowa. Surprised We were allowed to continue traveling 9:41 AM Did they take the sick off in Marseilles?

SAT 2:45 PM Not sure. My Danish friends set in buses in Thursday for 5 hours waiting to be flown home. They had to return to ship. Not sure what is happening with cruise.

I slept. I awoke Drenched in sweat. …horrible night sweats and nightmares about the virus. Plenty more homemade chicken soup awaits

The police escort for our bus back to terminal from medical, holding hanger was hyperbolic. 3 cars in front with flashing lights. All roads and intersections on way to airport were blocked by more flashing lights…tv and newspaper, camera crews along the side if the road. …for a few buses of people. ..we had been asking for hours to get some food in our bodies. …surly would have been much less time and money.

Many of the people from cruise/flight, took off their masks and ignorantly /selfishly /vainly carried on spreading the virus. When I was standing in line at Delta to pick up a ticket, the cruise line failed to book, airport security started to drop off hands of sanitizer in front of each agents area. We were now officially Costa Corona Cruise passengers.

ATLANTA (AP) — On a chaotic flight home, some passengers who had been stranded for days aboard a cruise ship after being exposed to the coronavirus suffered breathing problems, many coughed and several fainted with no food or medical personnel provided, travelers said Friday. “It was a suicide

Most concerning is that people on flight with virus were not identified and the flight was open seating

SAT 9:27 PM

Monday 23 March

Jane Marie goes for a Covid-19 test

Sent from my iPad

Doors of Funchal Madeira

We or should I say Jane Marie was looking for bargain cork purses in Funchal Madeira Portugal, when a shop keeper said “turn left at door #59.”
It’s the technique
They take their doors very seriously, very competitive.
Artsy Craftsy neighborhood
#47 Deep
How many more doors to go?
By appointment Only
#58 we must be there?
Aguardente from Madeira is a spirit drink produced exclusively by alcoholic fermentation and distillation of the juice of sugarcane
“Did she say #59 or #69?”
Only the Postman knows.
La Tartaruga
Let’s slug down a little Augardente
Look Jane Marie we could sit here
Pretty clever those Portuguese
What’s that up there?
#76’s idea of utopia
Clean & Crisp
Gallery Street Art
Close but No Clothes
Duck before entering
Does that say #95
Only the shadow knows
Top Ten
Bag Family
Sex Sells
Is that it?

Breakout the Kim Chee

When our sixty laying hens were looking a little peaked I bought some organic kimchi *Kim Chee) at the Houston farmers’ market b/c I had read how South Korea avoided the ‘Bird Flu’ in the 2003 SARS epidemic.

No longer in the goat business, forget the chickens, I’ll be the one scarfing down the Kim Chee.

By Jun-seok Yang
Staff Writer

“Kimchi Prevents SARS in Korea”

It’s been less than a year since SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, began to sweep away Asian region, particularly China and Hong Kong, and became everyday vocabulary. What SARS has left is severe indeed.

More than 3,000 people all around the world were infected with the epidemic disease, and almost 200 of them have died. Since most of the SARS patients were from Asia, many people thought Korea could never be free from the impact of SARS.

Despite the worries, however, there has been no officially known SARS patient here in Korea yet. Many would wonder what is keeping SARS from taking over Korea. And Kimchi could be an answer.

Kimchi, a pickled cabbage seasoned with garlic, red pepper, and ginger, is a traditional staple in Korea. Kimchi has recently broadened its boundary to other Asian countries, such as Japan. Even in Western countries, Kimchi has become fairly popular by now.

As SARS failed to penetrate Korea, some efforts to draw out the reason from Kimchi have been made. The studies about Kimchi’s preventive effects on SARS have become so compelling that LA Times once ran a feature story about Kimchi and how it prevents SARS.

Dr. Hong Chong-hoon of Rural Development Administration in Korea speaks confidently of how Kimchi can scientifically prevent SARS.

“A chemical compound called allicin in garlic is key to preventing SARS. When allin reacts to allinase, allicin is produced,” said Dr. Hong, “Allicin not only gives garlic its characteristic strong odor, but also produces anti-biotic chemicals, which is thought to help to prevent SARS.”

How garlic can be used as a remedy to flu has already been proven by Stanford Univeristy professors. SARS is speculated to be caused by Corona virus, which causes respiratory diseases such as flu. Dr. Hong explains that garlic in Kimchi could react against SARS virus in the same way as garlic does against flu virus. The spreading information of Kimchi’s effectiveness in preventing SARS coincides with the dramatic increase in Kimchi products’ sales in overseas market.

The estimated value of exported Kimchi is 90 million dollars, compared with 79.31 million dollars last year. The largest overseas Kimchi market is Japan, which imported 28.53 million dollars of Kimchi products from South Korea, followed by the United States, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Even though Kimchi is receiving better recognition than ever before, a lot of foreigners are still reluctant to try Kimchi because of its stinging smell and taste.

“To promote Kimchi in overseas market, the Kimchi producers should standardize Kimchi products. They should mark the degree of sourness of each Kimchi product,” says Dr. Hong when asked how Kimchi could be better promoted.

Healing from the Ground Up