Food Labeling

The USDA's Synthetic Oversight of Organic Food

As an ongoing lawsuit makes clear, the regulations are a joke. How do we fix them?


Raluca Tudor /

Last month, a federal judge in California refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) actions pertaining to its statutory oversight of organic food.

The case, filed last year by more than a dozen groups, challenges changes to the procedures under which the agency determines whether certain synthetic substances may continue to be used in food the agency permits to be labeled as organic.

Under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which gave the USDA authority over organic-food labeling, the agency maintains a list of synthetic substances that may be used in organic products. Decisions about any substance on the list had been forced to sunset after five years unless two-thirds of the agency's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended a given substance remain on the list.

But the USDA changed the rules in 2013, delegating much of the decisionmaking power over synthetic substances to a NOSB subcommittee. Since that time, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that this USDA inaction "has allowed more than 20 synthetic substances to continue being used in organic agriculture."

The lawsuit, which alleges "the USDA promulgated the regulation without providing the public the opportunity for notice and comment and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner[,]" is just the latest in a string of litigation and controversy surrounding the agency's oversight of organic-food labeling.

This wasn't the organic-food labeling system Congress promised us in 1990. I described briefly the history of organic-food labeling in a 2010 article in the Chapman Law Review (citations omitted):

"California passed the nation's first true organic certification law in 1979. Though Oregon's law preceded that of California, Oregon's law was chiefly an anti-fraud measure intended only to classify which producers could advertise their products as 'organic.' California regulations built upon Oregon's and in addition defined the term 'synthetic,' contained public disclosure provisions, and required specific organic labeling language. In 1982, California amended the 1979 regulations, making the state the first to define the term 'organic.' In 1990, California again amended its law, permitting public agencies or private certifiers like [California Certified Organic Farmers] CCOF, today the nation's largest such body, to inspect growers to ensure compliance with the regulations.

"In 1990, Congress enacted the first federal organic standards…. [O]rganic activists in the state and elsewhere criticized the final rule as watered-down and overinclusive."

And, as I describe in my new book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable (available for just $3 for Kindle through the end of this month!), the meaning of the term "organic" has been so watered down over the years by the USDA that the term has become confusing and largely meaningless.

Just as is the case with the current lawsuit, I write, controversy often hinges on the agency's inclusion of synthetic ingredients:

Meetings of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board, which establishes limits for which foods may earn the USDA organic seal, have become a "semi-annual ritual of controversy," the Washington Post reported in a 2015 article that focused on the possible addition of synthetic pesticides and additives to the list of substances that would be permissible to use while still earning the agency's organic label.


The organic rules have been the source of other controversies. In 2009, USDA employees urged the agency to ban some synthetic additives from organic baby formula. But they were overruled, reported the Washington Post, "after a USDA program manager was lobbied by the formula makers and overruled her staff." The report said the issue went to the heart of "the integrity of the federal organic label."

I'm not the least bit skeptical of the integrity of organic food. But the USDA's oversight of organic-food invites nothing but skepticism, save perhaps revulsion.

Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 in an effort to combat fraud. But the law has proven unable to achieve its goal. Congress should step in and repeal the 1990 law, returning certification to the states. Better still, Congress and states should get out of the business of regulating what is and isn't organic enitrely, and allow bodies like CCOF, Oregon Tilth, and the dozens of other certifying bodies around the country—working with farmers and consumers—to determine what does and doesn't meet their definition of "organic."

NEXT: Obama's Broken Guantanamo Promises

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  1. Regulatory capture for the win!

    1. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $14500 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Go to this web site and click tech tab to start your work.. Go now… http://www.ImdbCash.TK

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        go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

    2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 6-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $90 per hour.
      I work through this web site.. Go to tech tab start your work… http://www.Trends88.Com

  2. Back in 2011, the left went nuts because some people tried to market organic water.

    If water is an inorganic compound, how can we allow it to appear in organic foods?

    1. My favorite organic food is “pink organic Himalayan salt.”

      1. I always wondered what could possibly make salt non-kosher.

        1. I think it would be funny to ask a waiter if there’s salt in their food, and when (invariably) they say yes? Demand to know whether its kosher or non-kosher. But not specify which you’re concerned about. and then when they come back, get really upset and look at the other people at the table like, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS”

          *technically, Kosher salt is no different from regular salt except in the shape of its crystals. its used to make meats kosher – its not kosher *itself*. It was originally known as “koshering” salt

          1. I actually looked it up this morning.

        2. Added iodine derived from shellfish is what makes common table salt non kosher.

  3. On the bright side, water is gluten-free.

  4. “Organic food” is an irrational religion, so Government Almighty should just butt out totally. Not just the feds, but all levels of Government Almighty.

    1. Are server squirrels organic or inorganic matter?

      1. They are orgasmic matter!

        1. SQRLSY One = Richard Gere.

          1. Yeah man, someone finally guessed my secret identity!

            1. You’ll have to kill him!
              Hu, I didn’t read his post, honest.

            2. You’ll have to kill him!
              Hu, I didn’t read his post, honest.

              1. Even the squirrels agree, sweet.

                1. An old man and his wife are in a bank that gets robbed, and the robber’s mask slips clear off and gets all mangled, revealing his face. He tells all the bank tellers and customers to avert their eyes, lest they see that the robber is actually Lord Rollingpin (which is still secret to this day, so PLEASE don’t tell ANYONE!).

                  So the unknown robber threatens to shoot and kill anyone caught looking at him. The old man kinda makes a nervous involuntary head jerk, and the robber says, “Dangit, Dude, were you just now lookin’ at me?!!??”

                  Old man says, “Oh, no, Sir, not at all! But I think my wife got a good look at you just a tad ago.”

                  1. Pah, I have orphans if I need any banks robbing.
                    Though the last lot I sent off on such nefarious work came back with a large sack of chocolate coins. I’m not sure if I explained matters correctly to them.

                    1. Wait until they roll around in those coins.

  5. OT – here is a Vox article you don’t see every day.

    “My parents have instilled in me a deep loyalty in the right to bear arms. I’m not a gun owner myself yet, and to be honest, my passion for the Second Amendment has less to do with the guns themselves and much more with the philosophy behind the right to own one. To me, the issue is a metaphor for big government in general.

    “As a believer in small government, I’m voting this year for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.”

    1. VOX, huh? I don’t believe that anybody who works at the place that gave that sniveling little asshat Ezra Kline a job would actually vote libertarian. Did i mention that Ezra Kline is a sniveling little asshat?

      1. No, what do you think of him?

        1. He’s very nice? as sniveling little asshats go.

          1. Does he eat his own shit, like Hillary Clinton?

      2. It wasn’t written by someone who works there. Just a millennial who is voting for Gary Johnson.

  6. Bernie Sanders doesn’t want his supporters voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson (some scrolling down required)

    “”Gary Johnson: ‘Any restriction on campaign spending violates the First amendment.’ Translation: Billionaires will be free to buy elections,” Sanders tweeted.”

    1. And Hillary Clinton wants to ban movies critical of her.

      1. Didn’t you watch the last debate? The issue isn’t free speech, it’s about money, and Hillary wants to keep money out of politics.

        Trump should have taken a mouthful of bottled water while Hillary was saying that and done a spit-take. We’d be talking about that for decades.

        1. God no I didn’t watch the last debate! Do you think I’m a masochist?

          1. Well, you are reading the comments, so, yeah.

        2. Most of the money needed in politics goes to the media to pay for air time. I imagine that what she’d really like to see is the media continuing to give Democrats a lot of free press and charge anyone else for the privilege.

    2. “Billionaires will be free to buy elections”

      Hey, Bern, you might want to ask Trump what he thinks about that one.

      1. President Romney and President -elect trump both nod in agreement.

    3. Billionaires will be free to buy elections,” Sanders tweeted.

      Jesus Christ Sanders, if this current and the 2014 senate elections prove anything it’s that money is not some magical way to win elections. Clinton’s been shoving money into the fire for months (though of course Sanders seems to have no problems with billionaires ‘buying’ Clinton’s victory, for some reason) and she’s still had to actively compete against the guy who is spending nowhere near that. In 2014 you had Democrat candidates outspending their Republican opposites by tenfold and they still lost.

    4. Stupid sexy Sanders might want to question why the government has so much goddamn power that people are willing to throw a billion dollars out the window in order to be at the top of it.

      1. This is my favorite sanders video.

    5. Billionaires will be free to buy elections

      Like when Jeb Bush raised way more money than his primary opponents and then totally beat them because money “buys” elections.

      1. He didn’t say EVERY Billionaire….

        “Please clap.”

  7. Be gentle with this editorialist, he’s a college freshman –

    Third parties are not good for the American diet

    “But let’s face it. In the political realm, three’s a crowd.

    “When people decide to vote third party, they end up spoiling the election for the person who would have won in the first place. The most notorious example is the 2000 presidential election, when Ralph Nader [wank wank wank]…

    “The last time America saw a third party nominee elected to presidency was when Millard Fillmore won the race.” (Fillmore was actually elected on the Whig Party ticket in 1848, and the Whigs were the second party at the time. Also, Fillmore was elected as Vice President and only became President when Zachary Taylor died. Fillmore ran unsuccessfully on a 3rd party ticket (Know-Nothings) in 1856).

    1. Well I’m convinced.

    2. Jakob R. Rodriguez is a journalism freshman

      1. I really think they should put the “About the author” stuff at the beginning of the piece rather than the end.

    3. the person who would have won in the first place

      Would that be the person whose turn it is?

  8. ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Original Cast: Where Are They Now?

    “Fox’s all new version of the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be different from the original. The biggest change, of course, is the all-new cast….See where the 1975 “Rocky Horror” cast is now”


    1. It’s a travesty. You just can’t repeat that recipe.

      1. Meh, it’s still a theatre production, and in some ways a theatre performance is more fun. The one I went to in Toronto had actors running around in the audience pelvic-thrusting at people and it opened with a guy explaining how if anyone threw rice at them while performing that “he’d come down there and end you.” For some reason half the audience was seventy-plus and most of them seemed to have no idea what to expect.

        Still less fun than the Evil Dead musical though, where the first two rows was a ‘splash zone’ for fake blood.

        1. Fox would have generated more goodwill toward the production if they had presented it as “Glee does Rocky Horror,” which judging by the cast, that’s what it basically is.

    1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that clown bans are going to make clowns the absolutely coolest costumes this year.

      1. I’m dressed as a clown right now!

    2. There should be a 1A issue here. (Yes, I know, FYTW.)

  9. “According to a blog post from administrators at the University of Florida, students offended by insensitive Halloween costumes are being provided with around-the-clock counseling services

    “As a community, we aspire to demonstrate integrity, respect, and compassion that strives to maintain an affirming campus climate for all members of our community. If you are troubled by an incident that does occur, please know that there are many resources available. Please take advantage of the 7 day a week presence of the U Matter, We Care program at the University of Florida by emailing Additionally, there is a 24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center available to speak by phone?”


    1. I still think universities are just trolling us now.

  10. Are clowns organic? And if so,what is Bob Dylan? It seems the role of government is to take words and change the meaning to suit it’s needs. Like calling spending ‘investment’.

  11. And here’s a list (with accompanying photos) of offensive costumes you TOTALLY SHOULDN’T WEAR no matter how awesome they look.

    1. Jesus Christ.

      Speaking of which, they say dressing up in a burkha is offensive, dressing up like Hitler is offensive………but no mention of dressing up as Jesus. I’m an atheist, but the hypocrisy is disgustingly obvious.

      1. If I dressed up as a scary college Safe Spaces Coordinator, would that be considered a problematic costume?

        1. Only for the scores of vulnerable college girls waiting in line to see you.

        2. You do raise an interesting issue, though. If cookies and teddy bears are soothing things to have in a college safe space, why not a cuddly clown?

      2. but no mention of dressing up as Jesus

        Unless you have bleeding holes in your hands and feet everyone will just assume you are a dirty hippie and be very unimpressed with your unoriginality.

      3. I’m surprised dressing up as Caucasian Jesus isn’t triggering.

        1. Since when are Jews not Caucasian?

    2. A bunch of those aren’t even costumes, just shirts and hats, lol.

      Also I’m pretty sure anyone wearing a Trump mask isn’t doing it to punch down.

    3. Fuck that guy. Who made him the Halloween police? I should dress up like him, because he’s scary stupid, but I’m not sure what a giant douchebag dickhead costume would look like.
      OK Brainstorming Saturday: help me pick the most offensive costume. I’m thinking handcuffs, a little steering wheel, and a flannel shirt that’s only buttoned with the top button.

      1. “Sexy Cholo”?

      2. You could just identify as a person dressed in a Halloween costume.

    4. I can’t see anything wrong with that Inuit costume.

  12. OT: Matt Ridley on Malthus, Darwin, and their misapplication by socialists and progressives to create eugenics. I knew the general flow, but not specifics, and they are pretty interesting. I had not realized, for instance, the distinction between Malthus’s and Darwin’s descriptions and the corruption into prescription; it seems so obvious now, but then again, I am so thoroughly in the government-is-incompetent camp that it doesn’t really matter much.

    1. Thanks for that.

    2. Here’s another of his articles, a speech on global warming and what he means by lukewarmist. What’s especially useful is a ton of links and references. Not that any global warming alarmist will pay any attention to the speech or his links and references, but fence sitters do notice responses which scream and rant while dodging questions.

    3. Thanks, very good read

    4. That piece very clearly summarizes everything i’ve said/felt about ‘Climate Change’ for the last 20+ years.

      What is shocking that you will never find this case being re-stated anywhere in the mainstream press. This POV, which is eminently rational, is considered the “extreme” one.

      1. At some point, the global warming alarmist house of cards will collapse, of course not before having done incalculable harm to human progress with its diversion of resources. It will be fascinating to see how the press pivots and spins it. I have a theory about how the about-face will happen. It will start with government budgets simply running otu of other people’s money to steal. The recent $100B increase in the US deficit is one harbinger. The spendy promises of Trump and Hillary are another. And when they do run out of money and have to prioritize, they can scream all they want about global warming, but it is old folks pensions and medical care that will win they day. They will have to cut back, starting with the stupid pseudo-scientific studies of Peruvian prostitutes, but the real money saving will come by cutting back climate studies which simply repeat the tried-and-true consensus. When Mann et all run out of government money, their political backers will also run out of steam. And that will make it possible for counter research breaking new ground by the easy summarizing of reality.

        tl;dr — When politicians actually run out of other people’s money, climate research and especially trillion dollar climate warming mitigation will disappear in favor of pensions and medical care.

        Obamacare and its descendants may yet have the silver lining of derailing teh global warming alarmists.

        1. You’re right, that the interest will fade when the money runs out.

          Just look at his list of “past ecological ‘crises'”. they all came and went and are hardly remembered today.

          But the problem imo is that they wont fully ditch “catastrophic climate change” until they find something else to get started with as the New Existential Crisis du-jour.

          1. I think that something else will be running out of money. Either they stop spending semi-voluntarily or hyperinflation will do it for them. And since pensions and medical care are by far the biggest budget categories, they will squeeze out climate research and alarmist projects like nobody’s business.

  13. Happy Saturday, booster! Hash of red potato, whole garlic cloves, shallot, white yam, parsnip, carrot, butternut squash, red beet, bacon, and leftover marinated pork chop. Fried up in the bacon fat and a dollop of butter. Dounless shot of Caff? Motta gusto classico

    1. Yes, dounless makes more sense than double. *slap*

      1. You’ve been hitting the booze early, haven’t you?

        1. I want my lawyer, Ron Koobie

    2. Sounds good. We’ll be keeping it light this morning. In fact, it’s time to head to Dunkin’ Deeznutz.

    3. Sounds good but labor intensive for so early in the day. Probably why my favorite meal to eat out is breakfast.

      1. The only thing that doesn’t do really well to prep ahead of time is the white yam and potato, which is really just a cosmetic issue.

  14. The other day, some smart* guy who is probably extremely handsome mentioned that you could use DKIM to validate at least some of the Podesta emails.

    Evidently, there are other smart, sexy (but less lazy) people out there, because several people have begun doing this:
    Verifying Wikileaks DKIM-Signatures
    This one has a crappy title

    While not all of the emails validate (which does not mean they are fake, mind you), many of them do, including, notably Donna Brazile’s exchange. So unsurprisingly, she’s just a liar.

    *evidently not that smart, because kbolino had to correct a mistake he made

    1. Additional link, because of Reason‘s stupid (why would a spammer need three or more links?) and broken (it does not count HTTPS) limit:
      Yes, we can validate the Wikileaks emails

      1. *you can trick the link-limit by *adding* the “s” to http in certain cases. It works on most corporate domain names… not so much on small blogs, etc.

        1. I tried just that with both ErrataSec and Solsticlipse but neither has TLS enabled. It would have worked if I had changed the Reason link to HTTPS, but I forgot to.

      1. Be sure not to persecute Brazile over it. She’s a Christian woman, after all. You THIEF!

    2. Also not that smart because the guy doesn’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”.

      1. Hm?

  15. Earlier, I was watching Smerconish on CNN and he had Pat Buchanan on discussing his latest column arguing that the media panic over Trump “undermining democracy” by claiming the system is rigged is a fear that a large segment of the electorate agrees that our rulers are no longer legitimate rulers. (No hat-tip to Ken Shultz, however.)

    Interesting that Smerconish scoffed at the idea that the media is biased against Trump by pointing out that the sexual harrassment charges against Trump are a real story that needs to be covered and that’s why they were pushing it 24/7. (No mention that this big story is obviously not anything that would disqualify a person from being President – that question was decided when Bill Clinton was accused of multiple incidents of sexual harrassment and wasn’t turned out of office. Right?) After Buchanan insisted the story was not really that big of a deal and why isn’t the media covering Hillary critically the same way?, Smerconish ended the segment with his usual “well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree” and then went straight to that very issue of the Wikileaks e-mail revelations. Namely, the issue of shouldn’t we really be more concerned that the Russians are attempting to influence the election with these hacked e-mails? Nope, no bias there in how you handle a leak of what Trump said versus a leak of what the Clinton campaign said.

  16. It was mostly meaningless when it began in the late 1990s.

    by the way

    Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 in an effort to combat fraud.

    no. Almost nobody at the time was fraudulently selling things labeled “organic” that actually weren’t. Because no one knew WTF “organic” actually meant. It had entirely different implications depending on what product you were talking about.

    The 1990 law just acknowledged such a category “existed” and began a process of trying to provide a national-standard definition. And the purpose of that was mainly to provide a clear way for larger agribusinesses to compete and for state-certified producers to be able to sell their stuff anywhere w/o regulatory burden.

    Even after the 1990s law, it was just a cluster of state-regulated certifications which often were inconsistent with each other. The “National Organic Program” wasn’t implemented until 2000. The interesting part of the story are mostly in fights in the late 1990s where the NOSB (‘national organic standards board’) gradually created a ‘lowest common denominator’ definition which left huge room for producers to *exceed* the definitions if desired.

    One of the more interesting angles is that early drafts of the definitions were going to *include* GMO. because the science did show that you could produce foods with less pesticides, lower environmental impact, etc. using them. lots of that sort of debate.

  17. Since the designation “Organic” has as much objective validity as the other beloved progressive term “assault weapon”, I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised that any atempt to administer it is a cluster grope.

    1. It’s people like you who are enablers of “gun violence” in this country.

      1. It’s the idiots who persist in the “War On Drugs” that are the biggest enablers of violence in the country. Legalize the damn things, with taxes low enough to make the black market unattractive, and watch the violent crime statistics drop as drug distributors take their disputes to court.

        As for the legality of guns; how about we allow citizens (anyone eligible to vote) to own and carry any weapon that an agent of the state not on a designated military reservation can carry. Then, if the political class wants to keep the people from carrying scary semi-automatic rifles, they can prohibit the police and feds from doing so.

  18. Whose War is This Anyway?

    US Request For Turkish Inclusion in Mosul Attack Rebuffed

    BAGHDAD (AP) ? U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s push for Iraq to let Turkey play a role in the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group encountered stiff resistance Saturday from Iraq’s prime’s minister, who said his country’s forces will oust the militants from the northern city.

    “I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories,” Haider al-Abadi said through a translator after meeting with the Pentagon chief.

    Carter’s meetings in Turkey were a sign of moves to ease tensions between Turkey and Iraq over Turkish military operations in northern Iraq. That divide has grown as the operation to retake Mosul began to take shape.

    Some 500 Turkish troops at a base north of Mosul have been training Sunni and Kurdish fighters since last December. The Iraqi government says the troops are there without permission and has called on them to withdraw. Turkey has refused, and insists it will play a role in liberating the city.

    We keep trying to pretend that the current M.O. of the US inserting itself into other country’s conflicts and telling everyone what to do is “normal”.

  19. Bob Dylan-Watch Continues: Nobel Committee Members Starting to Get Pissed Off

    A member of the Swedish Academy that awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature to Bob Dylan says the American singer-songwriter’s silence since receiving the honor is “impolite and arrogant.”

    Per Wastberg said Dylan’s lack of reaction to the honor the academy bestowed on him last week was predictable, but disrespectful nonetheless.

    “We have agreed not to lift a finger. The ball lies entirely on his half,” Wastberg told the newspaper. “You can speculate as much as you want but we don’t.” He was not immediately available for comments.

    1. That’s a riot. “How dare you ignore us? We are the great and powerful Nobel Committee! Even us just saying your name is a great honor, to you!
      You’re just arrogant!”

      1. it reminds me of the cloying Great Aunt who comes over for Christmas and gives 8yr old you a terribly ugly sweater, then gets really upset when you don’t put it on.

        1. bad example. at least the sweater is useful, if ugly.

  20. Forget Duterte. The Philippines loves the United States.

    Yep – don’t worry that the head of government is saying he’d rather be friendly with China than the US. As long as “the people” support a given policy, the fact that the people that run the government are free to do the exact opposite of what “the people” want, well, no big deal. And it’s not like he’s a presidential candidate getting friendly with Russia. That would be a disaster.

    Also: As my colleague Emily Rauhala reports, Duterte’s camaraderie with China has surprised many and compelled even his own officials to attempt to backtrack. The U.S. State Department has expressed bemusement. Don’t worry that our Top Men in the Foreign Policy Department obviously have no clue what the hell’s going on, but worry instead that Gary Johnson’s ignorance is disqualifying.

    1. The US has tens of billions tied up in the Philippine economy

      And never mind that in 2012 the country started inviting the US Navy to come back and make permanent facilities for itself again

      No one took Duerte’s comments seriously except the 27yr-old kids in the press.

    2. Duerte’s just playing hard-ball after Obama made his stupid comments. The Philippines and China are still battling it out over the whole South China Sea claims (see the recent PCA case).

      This is political theatre, nothing more.

      1. This isn’t exactly so. In fact, China and Duerte are probably on the cusp of finalizing a deal to share energy from the Philippine’s claims in the South China Sea.

        Read this article:

        “Earlier reports by Philippine newspaper the “Inquirer” suggested that Beijing and Duterte were set to enter into an agreement to explore for energy sources in a part of the South China Sea close to the Philippine coastline. China has long sought to exploit what it believes could be more than 100 billion barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lurking beneath the South China Sea. However, a litany of overlapping territorial claims in the region by the more than half-dozen nations rimming the South China Sea has rendered broad energy development there a nonstarter.

        The fact that potential joint development of offshore energy deposits in the region is even being discussed underscores the tectonic shift in regional foreign policy undertaken by Duterte since winning the Filipino presidency in May.…..a-sea.html

      2. This isn’t about ideology or picking sides. This is about oil for the Philippines.

        Duerte’s comments were probably intended for the Chinese people. China may have asked him to say something like that.

        And this is good news for the United States. Despite Duerte’s statement, China’s trade ties to the United States and the Chinese holding so much of our debt makes us effectively allies. The Chinese like to use the U.S. as whipping boys to help with public opinion back home, but the only really significant change here is that the Chinese and the Philippines are agreeing to settle their energy claims in waters near the Philippines.

        That’s excellent news for everybody–including the United States.

  21. Just in case you were disappointed Reason didn’t offer a review of Michael Moore’s “Trumpland” fillum.

    It is his answer to the culture of fear and anger and hostility that has dominated this election cycle.

    E.G. Next comes a parody news report of what it would be like on the day of a Trump inauguration. The reporter tells us that the “shitshow started within minutes.” Trump orders aerial bombardment of all Mexican border towns, establishes stop-and-frisk checkpoints in all inner U.S. cities, and deports Rosie O’Donnell to American Samoa. Then the reporter explains that Trump is refusing to stay in the White House, so he leaves his kids and Pence and heads off to Florida. “By day’s end, 20 million Americans who stated they had voted for Trump signed an online petition asking for a do-over election.” The reporter then signs off saying it is their last broadcast since the station has been taken over by the new Roger Ailes-headed network, “Trump Channel.”

    It’s satirical and funny ? but it is also very easy for the audience to imagine that what Moore has portrayed actually could happen.

    See there? “Satirical and funny”, not “culture of fear and anger and hostility”.

    1. h/t Episiarch = “They’re about projection, all the way down”.

      Everything progs say about others is just a reflection of their fears and doubts about themselves.

    2. Didn’t know Rosie O’Donnell was a Samoan native. Or was that supposed to be “exiles”?

  22. Looking at the daily tracking polls, it looks like some of the sting is coming off of pussygate. You can see where Trump tanked and Hillary spiked after that, but it seems to be settling back down some.

    I’m suspicious that national popularity polls may be exaggerating support for Trump. It doesn’t matter if he’s twice as popular as Hillary throughout the South–he gets the same number of electoral votes from them anyway . . . although that may auger well for him in Florida’s redneck riviera. I know the electoral college usually tracks popularity, but this election ain’t usual.

    The statistic I found surprising is how well Trump is doing with white women–one poll I saw had them split 47/47 between Trump and Hillary. The big divide between women was between white married women and single white women–single white women breaking heavily for Hillary. That may be about age more than marital status.

    Regardless, the narrative I get from the news is that women everywhere are up in arms over Pussygate, but the polls I’m seeing are showing that women are predictably unpredictable. Tell them what they’re supposed to be upset about, and they’ll prove you wrong.

    1. “That may be about age more than marital status.”

      And that single moms look to government to be their sugar daddy.

      1. + abortion

      2. I’m not sure Trump and Hillary have differentiated themselves from each other on that issue.

  23. OT: Town officials plan for election after claims that town moderator violated election law

    Following the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s assertion that Town Moderator Mary Till violated state election law during the primary, town officials met Friday to discuss how to move ahead to next month’s general election.

    According to N.H. Secretary of State William Gardner and state Attorney General Joseph Foster, Till violated state election law during the Sept. 13 primary.

    After the primary, a complaint was lodged against Till, a Democrat who is also running for a state representative seat, by Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, a state representative who lost her bid for re-election. In her complaint, Prudhomme-O’Brien said the results of the primary election should be overturned because Till was running for office at the same time that she was moderating the election results.

    “The tabulation of votes and counting of ballots was overseen by a disqualified public official,” wrote Prudhomme-O’Brien, a Republican.

    1. A little background

      Among the alleged violations, Gardner wrote that Till conducted a hand recount of an AccuVote machine, “an act which was not sanctioned by the Secretary of State and is not permitted by any provision of New Hampshire Law.”

      Gardner went on to write that Till was told by his office that there was no authority for her to conduct a recount “yet you did so anyway.”

      But Till disagreed with Gardner’s conclusion, saying she didn’t conduct a recount but an audit of the machine.

      What I did was audit one race on each ballot on one machine just to make sure the machines were working properly,” Till said. “It was a disagreement between myself and the Secretary of State about what a recount was and what the authority of the moderator is with regard to validating that the vote counted.”

  24. [O]rganic activists in the state and elsewhere criticized the final rule as watered-down and overinclusive.

    Yes, we would not want food for snobs to be overinclusive.

  25. The people who wrote them are just as much of a joke as the people who clamored for them.

  26. “Mr. Ryan says the “Better Way” was designed to be “majoritarian, an agenda that can win in the suburbs of Miami and Denver and Midland, Texas. Something that can succeed and capture the hearts and minds of discerning voters in red, purple and blue areas, so that we can win a national election, win the Electoral College, keep Congress, put it into law. That is the only way in my opinion under this constitutional republic you can save this country.”

    —-Wall Street Journal…..1477090636

    How many of you have been keeping up with Ryan’s “Better Way”?

    I’d never even heard of it until I read that article.

    The word “majoritarian” piqued my interest. It sounds like kinda libertarian. I looked through the proposals on the Better Way website, and it reads kinda libertarian.

    “Majoritarian” sounds like a word Welch and Gilespie might have made up to describe fiscal conservatives and civil liberals.

    Do you people realize what we’re looking at?

    It’s the majoritarian moment.

    1. sounds to me like something akin to Clintonian ‘triangulation’.

  27. “This wasn’t the organic-food labeling system Congress promised us in 1990”

    Well, this ain’t the most transparent administration, either, so I’m gonna say lying is the default communication form from government.

  28. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….


  29. If a food contains carbon, it’s organic. If it doesn’t, it isn’t. I don’t see what’s so difficult about this, people.

  30. Liliana . if you think Lawrence `s blog is incredible, I just purchased a new Honda after earning $5741 this – 4 weeks past and also 10 grand lass month . it’s by-far the most-comfortable job I have ever done . I started this four months/ago and almost immediately began to make minimum $85… p/h .

    see this…………….

  31. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….


  32. as Charles responded I’m alarmed that a mother able to get paid $5207 in 1 month on the computer
    see more at———–>>>

  33. The USDA’s Synthetic Oversight of Organic Food
    As an ongoing lawsuit makes clear, the regulations are a joke. How do we fix them?

    How do you fix these regulations?
    You eliminate them and allow the consumers make the decisions what food to buy.
    Oh, wait…
    We can’t have that.
    That makes sense.
    My bad.

  34. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….


  35. Remember, E. coli and salmonella are both “organic”…

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