The American Food Project Rings in For a Commenter and Not Good (Why Resistant Starch Doesn’t Work for Some)

Tatertot Tim put this together for us, in collaboration with Dr. BG (Grace)

What's Lurking in your Guts? Potato Starch as Litmus Test for Gut Health

Earlier this week I was copied on an email from frequent FTA commenter Nancy, who had some important news. Her American Food Project results were in and she was a bit concerned:

Subj: Results from American Gut: my innards are quite f*cked up

Results attached with crude photography below.

For context, I was the one who responded the worst to the PS. Started it twice, about six months apart, and it led to nighttime and morning loose and urgent stools. It just wasn't working. Now we know why.

My population was/is PRET-Ty sucky. And Googling some of these geni and families is freaking me right out. The same family as the bacteria causing the plague? A bacteria extremely populous in me that is only supposed to be in whiteflies?? I'm a bit nauseous! This is like the opposite of Tatertot Tim's profile!

I took one glance at her AmGut report and could tell she was right, her innards were quite f*cked up.

photo 1
 
photo 2
 

Apparently when Nancy got these results, she started looking up names and discovered that some of these microbes were disease-causing and belonged in a whitefly. I did the same thing when I got my results, if you’ll remember: Resistant Starch: American Gut Project Real Results And Comparison (Very Big News).

The report also noted I had some rare types of microbes...

  • Victivallaceae - A producer of acetate
  • Limnobacter - A bacteria normally only found in high mountain glaciers, a tribute to my Arctic life, I suppose.
  • And my favorite—because I am often thought to be a slacker—Slackia—a producer of a substance known as Equol.

[Editor's note: If Tim is a slacker, then I'm a reprobate derelict!]

With all these names readily searchable by anyone with one finger and an internet connection, it’s easy to get lost. Dave Asprey loved to tease that all my RS ingestion seemed to do for me was to insert rare gut bugs in my gut, completely ignoring the fact that I had virtually NO detectable pathogens: Is there such a thing as Bulletproof Resistant Starch?

In fact, “tatertot” who worked with Richard on this research, got his American Gut results back after lots of resistant starch. His biome was stellar, but it contained a lot of Limnobacter, a rare microbe normally found in glaciers. Who knows what’s going to eat the resistant starch you put in your mouth?

When I looked at Nancy’s report, a quick glance at the bar chart—with the massive area in keto-pee yellow—screamed at me. This is the bar we really don’t care to see. It's the bar that represents the Proteobacteria...the home of E. coli, salmonella, H. pylori, and cholera. Most people have a small band of these. But as you can see from the bars to the right of Nancy’s, most people have 5-10% of their sample represented by Proteobacteria. My sample showed I had about 2%.

So what's in this massive Proteobacteria band of Nancy’s? The charts show that one of her most abundant microbes is of the genus Morganella, at 25% of her total microbiome. But we're still missing a few specific microbes that comprise nearly 40% of her gut. ...So, I asked her to send me her full taxa report. From the full report, we can see that not only does Nancy have 25% Morganella, but also nearly 10% of an unnamed member of the Gammaproteobacteria Class, Enterobacteriaceae Family—which is precisely where E. coli lives. We don’t know for sure it’s The E coli; but at a minimum, we're talking relatives. Elsewhere on the report—in ranges of .02 - 2%—were no less than 24 other genera of Proteobacteria. For comparison, I had 12 genera. These are not all pathogens, and most are considered normal parts of the human gut. And, some Proteobacteria are actually good.

So, what’s the big deal? At tiny fractions, these bacteria are fine—everybody has them. A gut that has “broken bad,” however, favors the pathogens and allows them unimpeded growth and they then control the real estate. This is exactly what has happened in Nancy’s gut.

The genus Morganella has exactly one species—Morganella Morganii. M. Morganii, as it is more commonly called—that's en effing bastard of a microbe. But, it’s not that uncommon either—my report shows that I have approximately .01% of it. But it doesn’t take much Googling to find out that this is not who might want dominating your gut.

Morganella morganii is a facultative, gram-negative and anaerobic rod found in the feces and intestines of humans, dogs, and other mammals. It's known to be a causative organism of opportunistic infections in the respiratory tract, the urinary tract, and in wound infections. It can cause devastating infections in neonatal and postoperative stages—particularly in diabetic patients. The risk of infection is especially high when a patient becomes neutropenic as a result of myelosuppressive chemotherapy. Massive hemolysis can be associated with bacterial infection and has been reported mainly in cases of Clostridial or Vibrio sepsis.

But, it’s not all bad:

Morganella morganii is a species of gram-negative bacteria that has a commensal relationship within the intestinal tracts of mammals and reptiles, as normal flora. Although M. morganii has a wide distribution, it's considered an uncommon cause of community-acquired infection and it is most often encountered in postoperative and other nosocomial infections such as urinary tract infections.

Or is it?

M. morganii is motile via the use of a flagella. In some cases, it reacts to changes in the pH of the gut, as well as to changes in the state of the immune system. Since it's an opportunistic pathogen, it takes advantage of any compromise of the immune system—why it's most often detected  in hospitals after a serious injury or surgery, perhaps from its ability to hydrolyze and modify antibiotics through the presence of adhesins, and other enzymes.

When the host’s immune system is suppressed, M. morganii will rapidly invade the host and also cause specific IgA responses and as well as cause an increase in the volume of Peyer’s patches. It's also able to ferment sugar and is glucose positive.

So, it seems that in my haste to pimp prebiotics on an unsuspecting public, I told Nancy to go ahead and eat potato starch, one of M. morganii’s favorite foods.

When I’d realized what I’d done, I wanted to see what lame advice I gave this poor lady who, as I write this, is trembling and curled the fetal position as she awaits a call from the doctor to schedule an appointment—just kidding.

Our conversation on the blog went something like this, beginning early November, 2013: 

Maybe someone can help me. I think I have a bad biome. I have been gluten free and focused on healthy animal proteins and fats including coco oil for three years. I am quite overweight because I am a chocolate junkie. I tried the RS about 4 months ago, starting with 1 tbsp in the AM and one at night, going up to 2 and 2. After a few weeks, my TMI became late at night, first thing in the morning diarrhea. So I attributed it to the RS and stopped. The D lasted for about 3 more weeks, then finally became more normal. Because it still lasted, I ended up concluding that the D was from some other reason.

This week, I decided to really clean up my diet, and get off the sugar, mostly quality milk chocolate but also sometimes too much fruit, or crème brûlée. I was urged to try the RS again because of it help keeping cravings down. For three days I did 1 tbsp morning and 1 before dinner. After day 2 the TMI was changing. And after day 3, the looseness was back, and the urgency. I stopped RS today because I just don’t have the time to sit home in the morning.

Does anyone know what is wrong with my biome? Obviously something is amiss. I haven’t had any antibiotics for maybe 5 years except what they give you during a c-section birth two years ago. I also get migraines from any probiotic pills, liquids, or vegetables (I love kimchi but it doesn’t love me). I drink 1 cup of commercial full fat plain kefir a day, and 1 bottle of commercial kombucha a night in hopes of fermentation.
I suffer about 8 migraines a month. Maybe there is a connection.

Here was her plea for help...would the FTA community come through? You decide:

Richard Nikoley says:

Nancy, darling. Your comment is palpable to me.

You are suffering, girl. And it’s far beyond any advice I can offer. My only suggestion would be to fix your diet first, by which I mean no sugar that’s not in real food, no grains. Real food only you go out and get yourself, prepare yourself with whatever natural fats are your preference. Maybe feel free to include some of the foods touted for RS, but you probably ought stop supplementing it until you’re healthy.

You might consider seeking out pro help in the Real Food realm.

Then a nice number of helpful folks showed up, as is pretty common, here:

  • Nancy, based on what I know (but I could be wrong), RS works really well for gut dysbiosis, i.e., dysbiosis in the large intestine. It may not be that effective for SIBO or IBS.
  • I always crave chocolate. I find if I eat liver the cravings go away!
  • ...for what it is worth, what I found what worked for me a while back was raw, natural, unprocessed honey

Then, thank doG, Ellen came along:

Ellen says:

Nancy,

WARNING serious tmi ahead.

When you say that the PS makes you go more often, is it actual watery D or a well formed stool that is just frequent with cramping?

I was having the latter (plus headache) from more than a tiny bit of either PS or foods high on RS and have been taking Prescript-Assist for several days and it seems to be changing things for the better.

But, either way, I don’t think it can do you any harm to try a top quality probiotic.
The bottom line however is that nothing is going to change if you don’t get off the sugar. I would suggest that the higher carb end of PHD style eating might help you avoid the sugar cravings.

I had to have a say, too:

Tatertot says:

Nancy – I concur with everybody else! You would probably be wise to look for a naturopathic doctor and get this all straightened out. Right now you are shooting in the dark, something is going on, you owe it to yourself to get it fixed.

Don’t bother with the American Gut Project unless you just want to give them money. They take 6+months to get back with you and only identify gut microbes to the family level–not species level. Here is a better place.

This is a full report and quicker for not much more money. I have a buddy who can help you interpret the results if you need explaining, just post back here and we’ll get it figured out.

In the mean-time, green bananas have been used forever as a treatment for diarrhea in 3rd World Countries. I’d highly recommend buying a bunch of the greenest bananas you can find and eating 1-3 daily. If they are too hard to peel, slice them in half lengthwise and peel sideways. They taste like crap when that green, but eat while drinking hot tea or coffee to wash them down.

Oh, and quit eating milk chocolate! Learn to eat 100% Baking Chocolate, or buy the 90-100% candy chocolate. There is no high-quality milk chocolate!

Then Richard Nikoley says:

Nancy:

Please go also post your comment at my long time friend Dr. BG’s blog, Animal Pharm.

She can probably help.

So, you all decide: were we helpful or hurtful in this situation? I think we all handled it pretty well. It turns out that, back in November, Nancy had just sent off a sample of her poo to the American Food Project and decided she’d wait to see the results—returning to her diet that she knew would keep her in the most comfortable range of gastric disturbance, a low-carb paleo approach.

Also, in related emails, I dug a bit into Nancy’s background. She’s led quite a hectic life and her gut bugs have taken the brunt of the punishment. Many rounds of antibiotics, a benign brain tumor (prolactinoma on pituitary) removed—and grown back, and the usual array of health issues surrounding most everyone. She’s hypothyroid, and has frequent migraines. She’s Mom to 4 active children.

Would any of this info have swayed our musings? Probably not. So, what lessons can we learn from Nancy...amazing Mom who was overweight and had some TMI troubles, looking to resistant starch and a bunch of internet morons to help her out, i.e., just cut the carbs?

I think the big lesson we need to take from all this is that if potato starch f*cks you up, you need to go to a doctor ASAP. Get a full gut health report. Eating in a way that alleviates symptoms is not the same as eating in a way that is helping you out...it may just be doing the exact opposite! How many thousands of people get operated on every day in this same condition? Do doctors and surgeons routinely check for this kind of thing? Doubtful. It’s entirely possible that Nancy’s life will now improve, now that eating cheap Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4) identified a clear gut problem. For many months, we have heard loud and clear from those who conclude it's not about them that they can't handle it, when the clear evidence is that better than 90% of people can.

Here's someone who took the time and trouble to find out.

...Another lesson is that if you think you have gut troubles, don’t mess around with the American Gut Project. Get a real test, like the Metametrix GI Effects stool analysis and get a urine test while you're at it. These will need a doctor’s help and prescription, involving insurance paperwork and all that, but it may end up really improving your life. The American Gut Project is wonderful, but only for basic amusement. It only shows the level of diversity you have in your guts—which is totally fascinating—but potentially misleading. It won’t show yeasts, or put up a red flag if something is seriously amiss. Had Nancy not thought to share her results, she might have just gone on her merry way thinking that 25% Morganella was perfectly acceptable. Nancy may also find she has even more sinister inhabitants when examined fully.

...The gut is an amazing piece of machinery. Your gut microbes can exert a form of mind-control and do it all the time. This M. morganii, for instance, that has taken over Nancy’s prime neighborhoods, loves to eat sugar. What was Nancy admittedly addicted to? Sugar. M. morganii should also be able to eat RS as it is a form of carbohydrate, but it’s almost as if Mr. Morganii didn’t want her to have it—because it would also feed his enemies...and...diarrhea for weeks!

Nancy suffers migraines, why do I have a strange feeling that these are related to her gut? Are these migraines the remaining few good gut bugs screaming for help? Or M. morganii hoping she’ll seek solace and comfort in a piece of apple pie?

What advice would Nancy have gotten from any of the other gastrointestinal ‘gurus’ out there? Hopefully, they would have first advised her to get a full report. We are beginning to see, now, that the information you can get from genetically sequencing your poop can add up to gold.

Nancy further relates, within the last few day, and a few months later:

I started taking Prescript-Assist Probiotic 6 weeks ago. With one a day, taken at night before bed. Within 48 hours my poop and my life changed for the better. Instead of quite urgent but controllable poop that was not on the Bristol scale (I liked to call it ‘sludge’), I went to shaped poop that kept the shape even in the bowl. On the Bristol scale and one of the good ones, I think. And if someone is in the bathroom, I can wait my turn. This was a change I welcomed.

As to Resistant Starch and her diet lately:

I only eat RS in the form of cooled rice really, right now. I was planning to start Potato Starch soon, now that my stools are changed and maybe my biome too? I have to go very easy with most fermented foods, like kimchi or real sauerkraut. Love them, but more than a tablespoon and I get a migraine. I drink a cup of commercial plain full fat kefir maybe 3-4x a week. I drink half to one bottle of chia kombucha a night. That is as much alcohol as I can handle without migraine. It's the weak kind of kombucha that you can buy under 21.”

Hopefully, when Nancy gets her gut bugs re-checked very soon, she’ll find that the Prescript-Assist, fermented foods, and rice have turned the tide and her gut is well on the way to healthy.

Some advice from Dr. BG on what tests to ask for can be found on her blog.

Grace’s thoughts on RS failures are that there are four main reasons why people can have a hard time when they first start an RS rich diet:

  1. SIBO/SIFO—Small Intestine Bacterial or Fungal Overgrowths. RS utilizing bugs in the wrong place (right bugs, wrong place). The only way to tell is with testing.
  2. Antibiotics have removed the RS utilizing bugs—over 25% of individuals make zero butyrate with RS due to missing ‘core’ gut bugs.
  3. Parasites, yeasts and pathogenic strains in the small intestines and/or colon—either too much (or too little) butyrate, propionate, or acetate production depending on which strains, how much and where in the enormous ecosystem.
  4. VLC or ‘Atkins’ type diets—drops butyrate to 1/4 of control diet. Symbiont RS-utilizing strains are decimated analogously, particularly Roseburia which tracks with butyrate production.

So if you think you have a serious problem in your gut, please don’t mess around—get it checked out. Maybe it's not the potato starch. Maybe it's you. Spend some money and get a real test done. Waiting 6 months for an American Gut report is fine if you're generally healthy; but if you cannot eat real food, like potato starch or cold potatoes—you just may be ill, from the perspective of a normal human. Resistant starch is an age-old food, one we evolved millions of years eating. If you can’t eat it, you probably need some modern medicine to find out why. Hopefully, Nancy will get her appointment and a new stool test very soon and she and her doctors will come up with a solution to restore balance and heal her gut fully. Last word is, she's well underway with that.

What’s lurking in your guts?

~~~

Editor's comments: Let me close with a little hubristic spice. It's not a question, anymore, about all the millions of folks who've invested countless dollars and time in oder to fully understand every metabolic pathway, every axis, or every single genetic expression that they just love to go on and on about.

None of it—regardless of how detailed and precise—has even a sliver to do with a scintilla of all of the foregoing. What does that mean? Smart people, but smart people who are literally back at the drawing board. Every one of them. And I'm talking day one, and kindergarten—and I care not their names or credentials. Meaningless.

  1. When they are talking about metabolic function, hormonal signaling, et al, they are talking, at most, about 10% of you. Until they fully integrate the gut biome's role in all of this and minimally, begin to start classifying different levels of healthy guts vs. bad guts, they ought be regarded as going bla bla bla.
  2. When they are talking about gene expression it's even worse, and more embarrassing, since our own genome is less than 1% of the total genome including the up-to 1,000 lines of microbiota.

I'll tell you what's far more hubristic, though; and I'm just alerting you, because you're going to see it a lot—from those who invested so much to be "experts" on 10% and 1%. It's very simple and you watch. You are going to see tons of people who are behind, who thought they were the Bee's Knee's tell you it's all a bunch of BS, don't look. Watch for being told not to look.

That's exactly how things shift from who knows nothing, to who knows everything—and vice versa—in every paradigm shift; and if the science of the gut microbiota doesn't represent a back-to-the-drawing-board paradigm shift in health and medicine, then nothing does.

Stay tuned for the book. The foregoing represents a Tim drafted, but Richard and Grace collaboration—with me as your final say editor. Hope you liked it.


 

One Thousand Nails in the Coffin of Arctic Explorer Vilhjálmur Stefansson, and His Spawn

This is yet another Duck Dodgers post....

He and I collaborated over answering Dr. Mike Eades' tweets in counter to my post: To Reiterate, Just In Case You Missed It: No Elevated Ketone Levels in the Inuit. Duck came up with most of it.

~~~

Ask any ketogenic dieter about the Inuit's eating habits and they'll tell you to "read Stefansson." Ah yes, Vilhjálmur Stefansson—easily one of the least capable Arctic explorers and well known for stretching the truth. One of Stefansson's early claims to fame was his supposed sightings of "Blond Eskimos" in Western Nunavut—a claim that was later debunked by DNA testing.

In 1913, he set out to search for a "hidden continent" for the Canadian government which he believed to be concealed by the polar ice cap. He made the mistake of purchasing the Karluk—a retired whaler that was completely unsuitable for an expedition into the Arctic. Within three months, the Karluk became trapped in the Arctic ice, and Stefansson deserted 22 men (and two children) who were aboard. He just turned and walked the other way. Eleven of those men died before a rescue party finally saved the survivors.

Despite the expedition being fully backed by the Canadian government, it is now known that Stefansson skimped on purchasing quality supplies for his men. He bought subpar polar gear for the party and inferior tinned pemmican, which was the primary staple of any polar expedition. Historians now believe that improperly prepared pemmican contributed to the deaths of two of the party and the illness of some of the others.

Years later, he launched a book tour promoting "The Friendly Arctic," where he set out to challenge the notion of the Arctic being a harsh and inhospitable land and promoted the idea that the "friendly" Arctic was open for development. He had the audacity to claim that the Karluk disaster not only wasn't his responsibility, claiming the men who perished would have survived if they knew how to live off the land the way he did.

In 1921, Stefansson convinced four men to settle the same Arctic island where the Karluk members perished and within two years the four men died. Once again he shirked responsibility, blaming their incompetence—rather than their misplaced trust in him.

Rudolph M. Anderson, a zoologist and member of two of Stefansson's expeditions, wrote, "Stefansson is the outstanding humbug in the exploration world at the present time—a persistent, perennial, and congenital liar who for years has made his living by sheer mendacity and skill in handling words."

The idea that anyone would take dietary advice from Stefansson is mind-boggling, but in his 1946 low carb diet book, "Not by Bread Alone," Stefansson Westernized the mostly raw Inuit diet by promoting a cooked, all-animal-food-diet including dairy and eggs. Never mind that the Inuit diet relied heavily on raw marine mammals and tended to look a lot like this…

4R6QisK
The things kids do these days

To give you an idea of Stefansson's mendacity, here's how he dismissed the Inuit's raw meat consumption:

From: Not by Bread Alone, by Vilhjálmur Stefansson

"If we compare the whole diet of a strictly carnivorous group of Eskimos with the carnivorous portion of our diet, they would be found to eat, on the average, a higher percentage of raw or rare meat than we do. But if we compare our whole diet with theirs, remembering that our milk and cream are sometimes raw, our fruit and vegetables frequently raw, our eggs usually soft-cooked while Eskimos invariably cook theirs hard, and that our roasts are more rare than theirs though their boiled meat is more rare than ours—if we consider the whole picture, we doubtless use nowadays a far higher percentage of uncooked food than did the pre-white Eskimo world."

And never mind that those raw meats were what made them feel warm and strong.

Rather than providing an accurate representation of the Inuit's dietary habits, Stefansson was more interested in winning over converts—and he stretched the truth whenever it suited him. The fact that nobody trusted Stefansson is why the year long Bellevue Experiment was performed in the first place.

[Editor's note: Tim "Tatertot" Steele, who lives in North Pole, Alaska, tells me that the natives uniformly regard Stefansson as a liar. Of course, they're munching canned Pringles when the say that. But it was passed down.]

Yes, "read Stefansson" if you want a Disneyland portrayal of the Inuit that isn't supported by scientific observations and appeals to Westerners. Stefansson's cooked and Westernized version of the Inuit's diet became the cornerstone of future ketogenic diets—every single one pointing back to Stefansson as if he was a reputable source.

LAND MAMMALS ≠ MARINE MAMMALS

Stefansson—who died of a stroke at 82 (though, surprisingly, he lived longer than a lot of other VLC authors)—made the fatal assumption that land mammals and marine mammals are similar. They aren't. They are entirely different, and the difference is tantamount to different species classification. The Inuit were exploiting unique carbohydrate properties in these marine mammals that aren't found in land mammals.

It turns out that marine mammals that spend a good deal of their time diving to great depths have significant glycogen stores. Sperm whales make routine dives to 400 meters for 40 minutes and can reach a maximum depth of 2000 meters (6,560 feet, or 1.25 miles). Narwhals make some of the deepest dives recorded for a marine mammal, diving to at least 800 meters (2,600 feet) 18 and 25 times per day every day for 6 months, with many dives reaching 1,500 meters (4,900 feet). Narwhals have been recorded diving to as deep as 1,800 meters (5,900 ft, over one mile). In addition to making remarkably deep dives, narwhals also spend more than 3 hours per day below 800 meters—this is an incredible amount of time at a depth where the pressure can exceed 2200 PSI (150 atmospheres).

[Editor's note: most of your grilled Paleo land food lives its entire life at 1 Atmosphere, or nearly so.]

During their deep dives these marine mammals run out of oxygen and switch to their unique glycogen-based energy stores. They store large quantities of glycogen in very odd places, but it typically gets concentrated in the skin and organs. Researchers have discovered significant "glycogen pools" in the narwhal's arterial thoracic retia. Ringed seals have "large quantities of glycogen" in a gelatinous material near their sinuses. A sperm whale's blubber ranges from 8—30% carbohydrates, mostly believed to be glycogen. The hearts and brains of weddel seals have concentrations of glycogen that are two to three times that of land mammals. Furthermore; in marine mammals, these organs tend to be larger in proportion to the total body weight than in land-based mammals.

In 1973, George and Ronald wrote about the harp seal, "All the fiber types contained considerable amounts of glycogen...it is postulated that the seal muscle is basically geared for anaerobic use of carbohydrate as an adaptation for the animal's diving habit."

In a paper on diving marine mammals Hochachka and Storey wrote, in 1975, "In the terminal stages of prolonged diving, however, even these organs must tolerate anoxia for surprisingly long times, and they typically store unusually large amounts of glycogen for this purpose."

Perhaps what's most disappointing is that Stefansson never bothered to clearly explain the Inuit's favorite sweet-tasting whale skin dish (muktuk), that was already known by scientists to be a carbohydrate-rich food. In 1912, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had reported, "the skin [of the narwhal] contains a remarkable amount of glycogen, thus supplying sufficient quantities of a carbohydrate to cure the scorbutus. The walrus liver also contains much glycogen."

So, this idea that we can compare glycogen content of a [grilled, braised, stewed, or otherwise thoroughly cooked, long after dead] cow or human to that of what the Inuit were eating is entirely misguided. We're talking about marine animals that need large quantities of glycogen to complete their extended deep dives.

[Editors note: It's almost like we're talking about the other 2/3 of the planet earth!]

THE INUIT ATE GLYCOGEN-RICH FOODS QUICKLY

It's well known that glycogen does not survive very long post-mortem. So, it was no coincidence that the Inuit often consumed glycogen-rich foods quickly and froze whatever they couldn't consume. Peter Freuchen, a Danish doctor and member of the 5th Thule expedition based at Melville Peninsula from 1919-1925, wrote that when a whale was brought to the beach at Repulse Bay everyone feasted on large quantities of the skin until their jaws became too sore to continue.

After a hunt, seals are quickly cut to expose the internal organs. Kristen Borré writes in her 1991 report for the Medical Anthropology Quarterly, that "one of the hunters slits the abdomen laterally, exposing the internal organs. Hunters first eat pieces of liver or they use a tea cup to gather some blood to drink." This was no coincidence. The parts of the animals with the most glycogen were eaten quickly.

At the time of death, the glycogen and free glucose in beef muscle contains approximately 6g of glucose equivalents per pound. As explained above, diving marine mammals have much more glycogen than land mammals. When we consider that the average Inuit consumed 5 to 10 pounds, or more, of raw fresh or flash-frozen meat per day, it should be clear that they were consuming a lot of glycogen.

[Editors note: no matter how you want to slice the blubber, they are not in ketosis, and it takes a long fast to get them there. Inuit are off the table for ketogenic low carbers. Find another ketogenic society, if you can.]

But, of course, the Inuit consumed other carbs, too. They consumed berries, seaweed, nuts, corms, and tubers—such as yupik potatoes, boiled polysaccharide-rich seaweed, glycogen-rich winter mussels. See the Disrupting Paleo series for a more indepth discussion of these foods and their importance in the Inuit diet.

THE INUIT INVENTED "FLASH FREEZING"

What about the glycogen in the foods that weren't consumed rapidly? If only the Eskimos had access to extremely cold temperatures where they could rapidly freeze chunks of meats immediately after hunting... Hmmm... Kidding aside, the Inuit not only consumed fresh raw meat, blubber and skin that was rich in glycogen, but they also consumed it flash frozen—thus preserving and maximizing its glycogen.

Interestingly, Clarence Birdseye—who invented technology for "flash freezing"—learned about it from the Inuit. According to Wikipedia, "He was taught by the Inuit how to ice fish under very thick ice. In -40°C weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost instantly, and, when thawed, tasted fresh." He recognized immediately that the frozen seafood sold in New York was of lower quality than the frozen fish of Labrador, and saw that applying this knowledge would be lucrative.

ERRORS IN THE USDA NUTRITION DATABASE

You might be wondering why the USDA Nutrition Database lists known glycogen-rich foods like muktuk or beluga whale liver as having either zero or virtually no carbs. There are two reasons. The first reason is that glycogen tends to rapidly degrade post-mortem. This makes it especially challenging to measure, in a lab environment—particularly since nutrition scientists tend to not do their own slaughtering and butchering. The second reason might surprise you.

When measuring carbohydrates, the USDA and international Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) standards for nutrition data have decided that the standard procedure is to not measure the carbohydrates in a food sample. (Say what?) Yes, you read that correctly. Carbohydrates are actually inferred to save money and to highlight dietary fiber.

From: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations : Methods Of Food Analysis

"Total carbohydrate content of foods has, for many years, been calculated by difference, rather than analysed directly. Under this approach, the other constituents in the food (protein, fat, water, alcohol, ash) are determined individually, summed and subtracted from the total weight of the food. This is referred to as total carbohydrate by difference and is calculated by the following formula:

100 - (weight in grams [protein + fat + water + ash + alcohol] in 100 g of food)

It should be clear that carbohydrate estimated in this fashion includes fibre.

The problems and errors that come with this calculation are well known. In fact, even the FAO does not recommend using subtraction for determining "available carbohydrates."

From: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: Methods Of Food Analysis

"Obtaining values by difference should be discouraged because these values include the cumulative errors from the analytical measures of each of the other non-carbohydrate compounds; these errors are not included in direct analyses."

And it's not just the FAO that has noticed this. You can read about the problems of erroneous carbohydrate analyses from the subtraction method here, here and here. Each of these papers explain that the gold standard for measuring carbohydrates is to actually measure the carbohydrates by direct measurements.

You might wonder why the international "standard" is to infer carbohydrates. The first reason is that carbohydrates on nutrition labels are designed to highlight dietary fibers. By inferring carbohydrates, nutrition labs can be selective as to which fibers are counted. So, that candy bar with resistant oligosaccharides (maltotriose and maltotetrose) wouldn't be labeled as a significant source of dietary fiber.

The second reason is to keep the labels neat and tidy. For instance, CHOAVLM is a carbohydrate analysis method that actually measures "available" (glycemic) carbohydrates, thus it excludes resistant fibers. CHOAVLM is typically expressed in monosaccharide equivalents and includes free sugars plus dextrin, starch and glycogen...

From: Impact of different macronutrient definitions and energy conversion factors on energy supply estimations

Therefore, if CHOAVLM is used, the sum of macronutrients in starchy foods often exceeds 100g. For example, 100 g starch expressed in monosaccharide equivalent weights 110 g. On the other hand, when calculating carbohydrate values by difference, the sum of macronutrients always equals 100 g food weight. Even though, chemically, the grouping of carbohydrates is unambiguous, five definitions of carbohydrates are in use in food composition databases and labeling regulations leading to different values and thus inconsistencies and possible confusion.

So, the subtraction or by difference method yields a nice and tidy number that won't exceed the weight of the food. It makes the nutrition label less confusing but inaccurate.

...And this is why you see studies analyzing the nutritional content of the Inuits' whale meat or blubber with the "subtraction" method, finding virtually no carbohydrates. And then you see other studies that actually measure the carbohydrate content of whale blubber with direct measurements and discover significant quantities of carbohydrates. In fact, the study that actually took the time to measure the carbohydrates by the direct method [Editor's note: "direct" is euphemism for actually measuring] concluded that a large portion of the carbohydrate is probably glycogen still present in the blubber more than a day post-mortem. This is rather impressive since glycogen should degrade quickly from an animal, post-mortem.

ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE INUIT ARE NO LONGER VALID

The obsolete and overly-simplistic observation of the Inuit eating lots of fresh and raw marine mammal meat, and equating that with eating lots of cooked steaks and hamburger meat can no longer be considered valid. The Inuit were not eating like a Western low carb dieter—that much should now be abundantly clear.

The Inuit had a unique situation where they could find glycogen-rich marine mammals and flash-freeze them by cutting them up into chunks—preserving their glycogen for long periods of time. And then they would often eat those chunks still frozen and drink a little tea to help thaw the ingested pieces. You can't easily reproduce that kind diet anywhere else.

~~~

Editor's [second to last] final note:

What Duck Dodgers has done here is going to potentially help millions of people, once word spreads; and it's going to spread even without my help. You're going to spread it, and you'll not be able to help yourself, because it's truth, you wallow in wrong, and people you love wallow in wrong. It's going to make them realize—in terms that are far from uncertain—that they have been wrong.

But I must say this, and I just want too. For a long time I've thought the whole thing is evolving. Stuff like this, and the gut biome, I'm more than sure of it. I'm making a commitment to be conciliatory, even though my tendency is to hubris. One big reason why I can't wait to guest host Jimmy Moore's show on April 28, just a few weeks away. You're not going to miss it even if you try.

This is not about any bad people. It's about people being wrong, and everyone is a member of the club.

Update: Hoping to persuade Dr. Mike Eades to dig deeply into this after his tweets from the last post about the Inuit not being in ketosis, demonstrating excellent glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, but then demonstrating awful glucose tolerance and insulin resistance when put into no-shit ketosis, I tweeted out last night after publishing and got a reply this morning.

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I tweeted back "Welcome to the club, then." There's a problem with that sort of out-of-hand dismissal, from the perspective of PGH (Pretty Good Honesty). I have been a strong proponent of low carbohydrate dieting and lifestyle going all the way back to 2007 when I began blogging about Evolutionary Fitness, upon discovering Arthur De Vany. I promoted it, interviewed about it, shot a thousand pics of my food. I often ignored reports in my own comments—especially from women—reporting "issues."

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When I got to a weight of 175, about 10 lb. from my 165 goal, unless it was about 75F, I had ice cold hands & feet. Just didn't really feel that great, anymore. Eventually putting on 10, then 20 lb., those problems rectified somewhat, but not entirely. Something wasn't right. Long story short, simply adding some starch—no, not sugar drinks and pastries—fixed everything right up. We're not talking swinging for the fence, but a mere 100-200 grams daily of rice, potatoes, legumes, more often 100-150. Now, when the wife unit is away, I can sit in the house with the furnace off, at 60-65F and have no problem at all.

Let me summarize my irritation in this:

  1. I am far from an enemy of LC, or "biased" against it. As example, Jimmy Moore knows this, and I'm gearing up to record my guest hosting of the Livin' La Vida Low Carb Show that will air April 28. And I will do it professionally; i.e., what his audience actually is and does, with a view to helping them benefit from resistant starch. Sooper duper "bias," there.
  2. Some elements of LC didn't work for me and I have thousands of anecdotes in my comments from others similarly questioning. Namely: chronic LC. Sporadic LC, even ketogenic (like intermittent fasting) are not only A-OK in my view, but probably healthful measures. I go ketogenic on average of once per week or two by not eating for 30-40 hours.
  3. In that previous post that Dr. Mike sent out a bunch of tweets on, he/they seemed to miss the entire thrust of the post, which was: look how good their glucose tolerance is on their normal diet, and how bad it is when put into deep ketosis.
  4. Instead, it seemed to me to be a bunch of quibbling over whether or not they are really in ketosis or not, measuring methods, etc.; when the whole thing is staring you in the face. After an 82-hr. fast, quibbles over whether or not in ketosis ought be disregarded by any honest person. And the difference in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity are beyond stark. Today, anyone who spikes at 300 BG under any circumstances would be diagnosed clinically diabetic.
  5. Not one single up to 140-characters from Dr. Mike on that issue.
  6. And now, on this last post. Duck and I originally began to focus on those issues of whether in ketosis or not, the distraction of measuring, etc. What's the point in that? Why did the Inuit have to have crossed some line? Bias, perhaps, because some have staked so much on it—it's folklore at this point? Perhaps a different bias than I have, being biased against feeling shitty on LC while achieving a state of not burning a lot of body fat, anymore, at about 49 years of age?
  7. It's "one thousand ways of confirming [my] bias" to simply point out that heretofore, nobody in this general LC/Paleo community has pointed out that the marine mammals the Inuit hunted as top prize have huge glycogen stores all over, owing to their completely different evolution in inner-space—that have some doing extended dives a mile deep in the ocean? It's confirming my "bias" a thousand ways to point out that their entire body composition is so unlike land mammals as to realize that classification by species has human classification tendency limitations?

Ever heard of Ada Blackjack?

Ada Blackjack Johnson was born in Solomon, Alaska. Early in her life Blackjack relocated to Nome, Alaska. She married and gave birth to three children but only one survived past infancy. Her husband left her destitute, and she temporarily placed her son in an orphanage. Soon after, in 1921, she joined an expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia’s Wrangel Island led by Canadian Allan Crawford but financed, planned and encouraged by Vilhjálmur Stefansson.

Ada BlackJack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic. From the book description:

"The last third of the book details the battles by Stefansson, who comes across as little more then a tireless self-promoter, to protect his belief in the Friendly Arctic. Stefansson's detractors - including the man who led the 1923 relief expedition - were determined to discredit him. The families of the men who were lost, of course, want answers. And caught in the middle of this tragedy is Blackjack - praised at first for surviving the doomed project and then vilified before having her reputation restored."

You get to decide for yourselves, but I'll just tell you what I think anyway. When something reaches folkloric proportions, as has Vilhjálmur Stefansson in various LC communities, it means that there's literally nobody asking questions, anymore. Instead, they actually see any detraction as from an outsider, and those questions are dismissed as confirmation bias. Hilariously, I might add.

AdaBlackjack1
Who ya gonna trust, since you weren't there?

A Little Blog Redesign

Earlier today I put up a bit of a bleg (now taken down). I was trying to install a more modern commenting platform (Jetpack) that features things like users being able to log in with various accounts they have elsewhere, like Twitter, FB, G+. Problem is, it uses different stuff to call up the form, as well as display comments, while my old Cutline theme uses the old way.

Initially, I figured I'd get in and futz with php (I suck at it for all but very basic shit) to edit the old theme files. Ended up I could get the comments to display but not the new form, or vice versa—not both at the same time. Got a few tips that didn't pan out either. In the end, I just bit the bullet, went all in, and spent the day completely rebuilding the site under the Prose Theme on the Genesis Framework (which is cool, because Prose is a child theme and that has a lot of advantages I won't get into).

Anyway, not a huge number of changes in terms of look and feel. Frankly, I don't like a lot of very modern designs, many that strike me as style and design over function and content, and I'm old school. A blog should be about content.

So there it is. I have a few things here and there to touch up, like the display of images I had as a global hack on my old theme. Lots of the stuff on my old theme was hacked and in this new environment, most stuff is a bunch of pointing and clicking and picking fonts and colors. Since I built fresh and from scratch, and the tech is more modern, hopefully things load faster.

I'm shot, so I'm just going to put up some funny shit. This is just hilarious.

Flexible Good Food Eating

Just a dump of photos of the sorts of things I've been eating mostly, lately. Nope: not particularly Paleo, not particularly low carb, not particularly high carb, not particularly high fat, not particularly low fat. Etc. It's not particularly anything at all.

Rather, at different times, places and circumstances, it's one or more of all of those because it's simply...omnivorous.

I will add that achieving the dietary flexibility to have highly satiating starches lately has virtually eliminated all desire or practice of going out and getting some crap sandwich or burger—or even Taco Bell.

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Chicken & Shrimp Pancit Bihon with Rice Noodles
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Leftover Pancit with Bacon Bits, Orange, Fresh Cabbage & Siracha
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Turkey & Swiss on Lightly Toasted Udi's Gluten Free White
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Classic Beefsteak Tomato & Mayo on Toasted Udi's Gluten Free White
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Leftover Corned Beef & Cabbage with Mustard & Horseradish Sauce on Udi's Gluten Free White
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Grilled Ribeye & Mashed Potatoes with Butter, and Salad Vinaigrette
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Sunny Up Eggs over Baked, Cooled & Wok Fried Potatoes in Juka's Red Palm Oil & Leaf Lard Refried Beans
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Over Easy Eggs, German Fried Potatoes and Medium Rare Fresh Ground Beef Patty at Gunther's
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Mom's Take on Classic Potato Salad with Hardboiled Eggs
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Thai Massaman Beef Curry, made on the fly with Russet Potatoes and TJ's pre-cooked Roast Beef
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Patty Melt with Swiss on Udi's Gluten Free White
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Deviled Eggs topped with Dungeness Crab at Dry Creek Grill
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Peruvian Seared Filet Mignon, Sautéed Onions, Peppers & Tomato in a Roasted Garlic & Chile Sauce. Served with Fried Fingerling Potato, Tacu Tacu, and Salsa Criolla at Ciano's Modern Latin Flavors
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Crispy Plantain and Taro Root Chips with Black Bean Hummus at Ciano's Modern Latin Flavors
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Organic Rotisserie Chicken Fettuccine with Leeks, King Trumpet Mushrooms, English Peas, Smoked Tomatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Shaved Parmesan at Dry Creek Grill

I saved that pasta dish for last because not only was it my last meal (last evening), but I wanted to relay how it went. Since doing all the stuff with Resistant Starch and the Soil-Based Probiotics, I've done a few experiments both in terms of blood glucose (reported here) and heartburn tolerance, since others have reported such improvements over time. A couple of weeks back, I had some pizza & beer, sure to give me heartburn. Nothing. This was test number two, a pasta dish, probably the worst in terms of getting heartburn. In addition, I had half of that deviled egg app and one Perfect Manhattan, stirred, not shaken.

I waited for the inevitable nuclear heartburn to arrive (especially in combo with hard liquor), but it never did. Does that mean I intend to go out and have pasta regularly? Nope, no need. Because, since things are flexible enough now, I can simply have gluten free pasta which I've found to be pretty damn good, and I can have a few sandwiches every week, also on gluten free. The bottom line? Since adding this degree of flexibility, I am far, far less likely to go anywhere and eat something cheap and crappy.

THE Weirdest thing just happened

I was in the car, listening to the local NPR affiliate as I always do—when not classic rock, or Top-40 Hits.

It was a forum with a host and several local professionals; least, that's what they call themselves—professionals. They really like to use the word a lot to describe themselves. I was told these professionals constitute a $10 billion industry, so good for them, I'm guessing. They were talking what seemed to me to be really weird shit about some deadline that happens April 15th, and they use this 3-letter word to categorize it. My mind flashed to a 5-letter word that might better described what I was hearing, but then I realized that I'm just a citizen, and they're just talking about some sorts of obligations us citizens have. Apparently, that important obligation is that you have to do a bunch of accounting of your affairs that involve any sort of net financial benefit to you, file papers before this certain date (April 15, any given year), or serious shit comes down on you. I couldn't immediately discern whether this was a right, obligation, or privilege of citizenship—or whether it was just best left ambiguous.

Eventually, as I listened, I took it to mean that you're supposed to have trepidation, fear, loathing and above all, submissive obedience to a stranger you were taught was your authority. I was just guessing, though, so just me. But it also seemed to me—on the weirdest level of all—that lots of people actually love all this complexity, accounting, filling out of paperwork...feeling really good about licking a stamp—even driving miles to drop it it a mailbox before The DEADline—right before they turn into pumpkins. Does it mean that if you don't, you're actually dead? I wondered. Or, is it meant to just scare you? I wondered that, too.

In a flash of silly thought, it seemed tantamount to being told to go kneel, do Hail Mary's, and then feel AWESOME! And likewise, I'm not dead! So, is it the exersise that saved me?

I want to know.

For a second, I wondered why I wasn't really feeling it; perhaps, it's because I have a really hard time feeling a sense of guilt when I haven't used force against anyone. But then again, I'm a miscreant of the worst sort.

So I immediately dismissed it as a totally dumb thought (it happens). See, I recalled how, in the 1960s and 70s, tens of millions were persuaded to pay to cover their beautiful hardwood floors with wall-to-wall carpeting, some shaggy. Then, they did away with perfectly functional white appliances in order to pay for ones colored in avocado and harvest gold. ...And the entire nation might now suffer compromised vision owing to the wallpaper that covered perfectly functional white walls. Oh, yea, and wasn't there those very dark, dark, dark cabinets? I think they were touted as Spanish style, or something.

It was all so confusing and complex, and especially in the retrospective; those clever home remodelers paying for those services, being very happy with themselves. They even had friends over to show it all off, so that everyone could share in the mutual joy and comfort of everyone being exactly like everyone else.

On the other hand: forms, boxes, numbers—some numbers being so powerful as to confer security of a social dimension—and thousands of pages of rules (I suspected that the complexity was so that some people could do better—maybe those who can afford "professionals"—than others).

Spending time in perplexed, deep analysis, I think I get it, somewhat. It appears to all be entangled in some earthling concept of services. Oh, I get it—I thought—at first, thinking I had made some bit of sense of it—I know about that! I pay for a lot of services, from the various merchants I deal with daily, to the bills I pay monthly...because the trade seems mostly worth it and I seem to have more and more options. Moreover, Division of Labor is pretty cool, too. Imagine if you had to go bag groceries for 10 hours every week to trade for your family's food—much less cultivate and harvest crops, or raise and slaughter pigs, cows, chicken and fish, between attending to your Alaskan salmon tanks, with seawater piped in from Alaska.

But it was only a wistful euphoria, by which I was captured, blissfully shuttled away into fantasies of absolute security at the expense of others. What services, really? Is it a "service" to me to face deadlines and file paperwork? How is that a service? Or, but is it a service and I was simply confused over who was being served? I'm trying my best, and I think I figured it out. It's apparently a service centered around something they call "internal revenue." When I thought about it, I immediately dismissed the "revenue" part. Duh. Follow the money. It's that "internal" part I found interesting.

I immediately thought of Guido and Vinny, well known in the hood-lore-metaphor. They too provide internal revenue services. But to whom? Yea, I know, they protect all those mom & pops from getting their places broken into, firebombed at 1am, all that. It's why we love to watch movies about them.

Their service to the public is noteworthy and you will do well to file your annual papers with them, not to mention hire a professional (friend of the family) to help you. What's really cool about Guido and Vinny, though, is they really go to lengths to serve. They come to your door so  that it's so easy for you to purchase their services.

They are very competitive service providers. You do not have to drive. You do not have to lick a stamp.

I'm just waiting for the online version, where you can file electronically: TurboGV.com.

How Barack Obama Becomes The Greatest President In US History Without Killing 750,000 Americans

That figure was news to me. I've been winging it with ~650k American "Civil" War dead (don't you just love that oxymoron?) for two decades of writings when I bring it up. Perhaps that's what it takes to be the greatest president, in The Land of the Free. Kill lots of people that lots of other people don't like. Simple equation. Little history lesson. Letter from President Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune, 1862.

As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free. [emphasis added]

Spoken like a master pragmatist.

Shorter Lincoln: 'Don't you fuckin' get it, man? I'm a politician and as such, seek power over the lives of other people and the more, the better. We euphemistically call it a union; and the constitution and statutes it has enacted; I have sworn to uphold. and I will do so, no matter how many lives it costs.'

The "Civil War" was about secession of the southern states, tied to slavery economically, via unmechanized agriculture; but not about ending slavery in any sort of Enlightenment, moral ideal. Abolition of slavery had a long history, since The Enlightenment, and the first nation to enact laws abolishing slavery was Spain (Leyes Nuevas), in 1542, more than 300 years before the US "Civil War" to "end slavery in the 'free' world." (The only thing that surpasses American hubris is American ignorance, to a degree that might make North Korea blush, some days.)

The root cause of slavery was agriculture. Logic flow:

  1. Agriculture creates many calories, relatively easily available and cheap vs. hunting and gathering.
  2. Relatively easy and cheap calories equals a boon to fecundity and survival of young.
  3. More people.
  4. Requiring more agriculture.
  5. Exponential growth.
  6. Eventually, people are no longer self sufficient.
  7. Vacuum.
  8. Protection racket, euphemistically called Politics.
  9. Non-industrail; so, let subjects starve, or arbitrarily create classes of slaves based on differences and natural antagonism?
  10. Slavery wins out. Gotta protect the political power of having the most influence over the most people.

It's not morality or conscience that ended slavery. They just hitched a ride and have been milking it ever since. What ended slavery was the Industrial Revolution that got started in about 1760 and was in full swing...guess...20-40 years before our most civilized war. OK, so maybe Spain and a few others were acting on conscience in their Abolition. Don't know, for sure.

America largely and officially, was not. It was not! America has no seat at the table over freeing slaves because it was morally abominable to hold slaves. And yet, Americans are like North Koreans on this point of history, and it has fucking irritated me for 2 decades.

I have plenty of hubris over a lot of things, but the American fantasy and hubris over being the shining light in terms of human slavery makes me blush.

...OK, shifting gears and connecting dots, suppose we forget all that and focus on the existing American enslavement of blacks and Latinos? They call it the War on Drugs. I call it the War on American Citizens, but it's really just another "Civil War" that morally depraved Americans just seem to sadistically love—the most sadistic being the most religious; completely not ironic, if you understand their lust for people they don't like being tortured in hell eternally. Let's get started.

According to Sen. Robert Byrd, cosponsor of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the reason to attach five- and ten-year mandatory sentences to drug trafficking was to punish “the kingpins—the masterminds who are really running these operations”, and the mid-level dealers.

But, the logic of law enforcement is to always go with the least risk, least cost, and just plain easiest—all while showing off their fashion clothing. This is why if you're paying attention, they are praying on peaceful citizens daily and shooting the family dog—probably a combination  of wanting something low-risk to do, combined with a pussy complex...but I'm just guessing.

Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett:

How Mandatory Minimums Forced Me to Send More Than 1,000 Nonviolent Drug Offenders to Federal Prison

Growing up in blue collar Circle Pines, Minnesota, in the 1950s, raised by parents from the “Greatest Generation,” I dreamed only of becoming a civil rights lawyer. My passion for justice was hard-wired into my DNA. Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand. While I’m extremely proud of my father’s service in World War II, I am greatly conflicted about my role in the “war on drugs.”

I'd ask why his government retirement is more important than those lives and his conscience, but it's not the point. It's going to happen anyway. I get that, so I'll give him a pass so long as he maintains a voice of conscience. And it has a certain power: "why are you torturing my conscience like this, for the sake of your politics and irrational fears?"

So, You da Judge. Keep at it, sir.

Keeping with Da Judge, Let's take a look at the facts, just in terms of federal law and conviction, keeping in mind that in total, the Land of the Free incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other nation on earth.

Crack defendants are almost always poor African-Americans. Meth defendants are generally lower-income whites. More than 80 percent of the 4,546 meth defendants sentenced in federal courts in 2010 received a mandatory minimum sentence. These small-time addicts are apprehended not through high-tech wiretaps or sophisticated undercover stings but by common traffic stops for things like nonfunctioning taillights. Or they’re caught in a search of the logs at a local Walmart to see who is buying unusually large amounts of nonprescription cold medicine. They are the low-hanging fruit of the drug war. Other than their crippling meth addiction, they are very much like the folks I grew up with. Virtually all are charged with federal drug trafficking conspiracies—which sounds ominous but is based on something as simple as two people agreeing to purchase pseudoephedrine and cook it into meth. They don’t even have to succeed.

I'd suggest considering a different view. That America is morally depraved and its people—you, voters—directly culpable. I know. you don't care. God & Country, Law & Order. Damnation, Hell, and eternal torture. Turn your Bibles to Chapter X. It all reads the same.

I'll limit this to Federal incarceration and it goes to the post title as to why, which I'll get to shortly. Drug offenders in the Fed system:

  • As of 2013, 99,426 were serving time for drug offenses, about 10% associated with violence. Call it 90K non violent. Interestingly, for all 50 states, "only" 55k are in for possession, while 167K are associated with violence. Since state law typically deals with the adjudication of violent acts, this makes sense. On the other hand, how much of the violence is associated with the presence of laws that make no rational sense to people? "Where there are laws, there will be crime." - Solzhenitsyn
  • As of 2013, 985,000 people were on probation for federal drug offenses.
  • As of 2013, 280,000 people were on parole for federal drug offenses.
  • As of 2013, approximately 500,000 people are in federal and state prison over drug offenses, violent and non-violent combined.

Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants unilateral executive power to the president to "grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." 

So, all that to get to this. President Barack "Choom Master" Obama gets to be the greatest president in our history by the stroke of a pen during his last few days in office. See, he's pretty famous for pleading his duty to "uphold the law" when admonished by common citizen surfs in town-hall publicity stunts, who harangue him for not holding up the Black end of things.

OK, so just enforce the law to convict them, then pardon them all. By my rough calculation, he could free 1,355,000 slaves in prison, on probation, or parole with a single signature—a hugely disproportionate population-based percentage of them black and Hispanic.

Would that fucking rock the world, or what? It would literally gut the whole Drug War and get poor, peaceful folk back to their families—or remove dark specters of federal conviction hanging over their heads—for good. As a bonus, as Presidents love to apologize for the past sins of the nation they execute power over, how about a public apology for the American Disgrace, since Nixon started it? Barack: just say that you were inhaling, when Clinton was in office. That outta do it.

How many state governors would then find the "political will" (one of the funniest fraud-concepts ever) to follow suit and open their prison doors to non-violent offenders and release parolees and those on probation?

It would be so awesome. That's why it would and will never happen. It's complicated, but it turns on the secret handshake between those who hold office, and those who proudly wear lapel stickers every 2-4 years.

Barack Obama is a politician and the Democrat party is far more important than all those lives. So is the Republican party.

Now, voters, go out and wave your party flags, you proud people, you.

One Thousand Words

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I miss your Divinity terribly, sir.

Ok, 1,006 words.