Reblogged: Marxism 101: Andrzej Wajda Explains Surplus Value

Renowned Polish director Andrzej Wajda explains surplus value in the most simple way possible. You can teach it to a second grader and they’ll understand.

This, my dear readers, is the source of all conflict, of all economic inequality, is responsible for all of the poverty in the world. This is human exploitation explained with math.

 

A Generation was Andrzej Wajda’s first major film, made in 1954 when he was 28-years-old, the year after Stalin’s death. Since the Polish government in 1954, still headed by the Stalini…

Source: Andrzej Wajda Explains Surplus Value

Got Milk?

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The ‘got milk?’ advertisements were ubiquitous in my childhood. They were everywhere. Park benches, side of buses, billboards, in magazines and even television with celebrity endorsements. We were all told that milk is a good source of calcium (a claim that’s since been disputed) and to encourage our kids to drink milk. Schools give it out with their lunches and breakfasts and poor kids get it for free. What we are never told is excessive consumption of milk can lead to severe anemia, because milk itself is iron bare and over consumption of milk can even block iron absorption from other foods. A fact that is not widely known.

Almost all children, and specifically toddlers all go through a fussy eating phase. Arguably one of the most frustrating phases for parents. This is where the bargaining and negotiating begins at the dinner table. The fussy eating vary in severity, some children just refuse to eat certain foods but will eat most other foods and you have some toddlers who refuse eat most foods except for the few that passes through their very selective palate. Most parents wait out this ‘phase’ as it is really just a phase, and before you know it they will wake up one day and eat everything in sight. This is the approach I took with my son. He is an exceptionally fussy eater. I’ve had a few rays of hope where he ate what I presented in front of him, but they were fleeting. Within a couple of days, he resorted back to his fussy ways. The good thing is, the few things he did eat were obscure but healthy like brown rice, quinoa, occasional broccoli and carrots, some white fish and LOTS OF MILK. He refused to eat any red meat, poultry or beans. I would try ‘trick’ him into eating some of those but it rarely worked.

My boy loves milk. His nickname (one of many) is Milk Monster. I was not concerned because I loved milk too and I drank an obscene amount of milk as a child and I never went anywhere near a hospital never mind an ICU for drinking too much milk. So, I let my boy have as much milk as he liked, continued to introduce different foods to him, prepared the staples that he would eat and left the rest to the toddler-gods. This was a recipe for disaster. All that milk he drank blocked any of the receptors in small intestines from absorbing iron, and over the course of a few months, he became anemic and a routine wellness check up landed him in the ICU. It is still a shock I am yet to process. I can see a headline, ‘Toddler In ICU Because of Milk’.

Over the recent years, with the popularity of healthy eating and veganism; the supposed good qualities of milk have been disputed and the current nutritionist recommendation today for toddlers over the age of 2 is no more than two 8 ounce glasses per day. Children are encouraged to get the rest of their nutrition elsewhere, preferably from fresh fruits and vegetables and whole unprocessed foods.

As I poured out my whole week’s menu and meal planning and my frustrations to the nutritionist who was assigned to me by the hospital, lamenting the fussy ways of my boy; she calmly said, ‘if you take away his milk, he’ll be hungry and he will eat the other foods you prepare, he’s currently getting all of his calories from milk.’ And just like that a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought ‘stupid me, why didn’t I think of that?’ I was so programmed into thinking that children must have milk that removing it from their diet never even crossed my mind. The team of hematologists (yes, the team came to see my son everyday because it’s a research and teaching hospital, when they get a ‘special case’, they get very interested) which consisted of two doctors from India, flat out told me to not give my children any more milk, they don’t need it. Then it dawned on me that a whole subcontinent of over one billion people rarely drink cow’s milk as their diet and they are just fine. Since my son’s major diagnosis was severe iron deficiency due to severe anemia, the hematology department has been assigned as his follow up treatment and care. And the lead attending physician, who is from India, an older motherly figure, said unequivocally ‘no more milk’. So, since his admission into hospital, my son has not had a drop of milk.

Since he’s been force weaned off milk, his appetite just exploded. He’s eaten almost everything in sight. He still won’t eat red meat, it must be the taste or texture, but he’s been eating chicken, spinach, broccoli, carrots, yams, spinach pasta and brown rice. His favorite snacks now are cashews. He chose cashews over potato chips, his usual snack of choice. I am beyond relieved but also quietly reflective at how things got to this point. I take pride in the fact that I feed my family home cooked meals. In fact, I put time and effort into planning my menu and preparing the meals. I spend far too much time in the kitchen for a mom in the year 2016. I avoid processed foods, we have almost no junk food. My children do not eat candy, my daughter still doesn’t know what to do with a lollipop, she threw out the last one she ate because it was so sweet and it tasted like nothing I’ve ever given her. Someone once gave her a Jolly Rancher candy and spat it out, I was never so proud. I am one of those insufferable mothers who monitor what her children eat so they don’t develop a palate for sweets and processed foods. They can eat anything they like, no matter how calorie laden as long as it’s freshly cooked and not processed (carbonara pasta is a good example). Yet somehow, my son ended up needing a blood transfusion.

His pediatrician said it was a perfect storm of events. His milk heavy diet notwithstanding, he also just got over a cold which he caught from my daughter, one of the germs she brought home from school. While she got over it with the sniffles and a few sneezes, my son got a fever and later a cough before it fully went away. The pediatrician said if he was already anemic to begin with (which he was), any virus he gets can put his hemoglobin levels below safe levels. She suspects this is what happened here, as there is no way to confirm this because his levels weren’t checked prior to his cold.

With some new blood (very grateful for blood donors) and a new diet, he’s resuming the healthy bouncing boy in the throes of his Terrible Twos (almost Three) again. There is a new spring in his step, he’s playing tug of war with his sister again; it’s as if none of this even happened whilst I am still ruminating the events of the last week.

Reblogged Content: My Mom Does Not Give AF. (Shades of my own mother and grandmother)

This is an excellent depiction of a first generation Chinese immigrant family, written by a second generation, American born child of immigrants.

My grandmother and mother are Chinese, and like the mother of this writer, they didn’t give AF. To be more clear they didn’t give a AF about American, American culture, Americanism or what this author calls American “hegemony”. To them, America is a new country, too callow, uncouth and far too arrogant to know what’s good for them. China on the other hand is an ancient civilization millennia old (with its own set of intractable, entrenched problems), the 250 years of American existence barely covers the arse end of the corrupt and mismanaged Qing Dynasty. If China doesn’t go around the world telling people what to do, what to believe, how to behave and how to construct a political system, what right does the United States of America have? Even if we take the argument and say America really comes from Europe which has a history longer than 250 years, its history is still far shorter of recorded Chinese history, which is bloodsoaked, genocidal and homicidal even on its best days (very much like Chinese history – minus the genocidal and conquering tendencies). My grandmother always thought Americans were like overgrown children, well meaning but at times too rambunctious and arrogant for their own good. My mother has a more nuanced view, but she didn’t find Americans and their ways better than the rest of the world (as is the common view then), they just happen to be the victors of World War II and built its economy from it. Mom’s view has always been you learn from the best and leave out the worst from every culture and everything. Practical, unsentimental, useful.

What I learned slowly over the years is the very taboo subject of abortion. Subversive Mommy said her mother had several abortions and one miscarriage. She took the decision on her own, didn’t consult with her husband or conscience or religion or God. My grandmother had several abortions throughout her life, she didn’t give me the details but I was pretty sure my grandfather wasn’t consulted before the fact and was casually informed after the fact if he even knew she was expecting to begin with. I don’t know what his feelings are. They don’t talk about those. I don’t know ‘how’ she got those abortions with what method and they were most definitely illegal, but it must have been safe enough because she still bore five healthy children and lived to her late seventies. Women of who came of age during the brutal years of the Japanese Invasion and subsequent World War II, Civil War and then the Cultural Revolution had no such luxuries of ruminations of ‘only what if’. It was all about survival and preserving the family you have and not ruminating about the ones that could have been. Ruminating and overthinking about the ‘choices’ in your life is a distinctly Western luxury that many other women around the world can ill afford. My grandmother, a huge fan of Western cinema, always found Woody Allen irritating (where I was a huge fan), I asked her why, she said he thinks and talks too much. In my grandmother’s middle years, before her grandchildren came along, I was told she suffered from crippling menopause related health issues, where for long periods of time she couldn’t get out of bed. I later learned it was debilitating depression and sadness, but again, it wasn’t discussed. She just got on with it the best she can. She got out of it slowly and life resumed its natural pace.

Being brought up in two cultures, two distinct cultures with very polarizing views on the important matters of life, I’ve come to appreciate the practicality of the Chinese culture specifically, Chinese women as it’s depicted here:

She would always tell me and still does that the only thing you really need to raise a family is rice. As long as you have rice the kids will never go hungry. [So True]

She was right. She is right. I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve been a spoiled ungrateful brat, but I’ve never been hungry.

Perhaps the biggest gift my mom has given me is the luxury of giving a fuck. I have all this damn time to read and to ruminate AND all the while trying to raise my kids.  For that I must thank her and more importantly, pay my penance eternally.

My mother has had very few luxuries in her life. She has no time for my shame. She’ll tell me to get over it. Talking to me about my regrets as a young foolish daughter is the last thing she would want to do with her afternoon. Her luxuries today are things like catching the bus at just the right time or slaying at a sale on evaporated milk. She wants her afternoon nap.

A luxury in her past was having the access and the choice to terminate her pregnancy–not what her husband preferred.

And she still doesn’t give AF what she puts on the table when I visit her now with my two sons in tow these days. There can be two stalks of celery and an a half eaten hard boiled egg on the table BUT there is always rice.

This also speaks to the hegemony of feminism, what it means to be a feminist and how feminism looks very different in different countries under very different circumstances. Growing up as an ungrateful bratty granddaughter, I would have never classified my grandmother as a feminist, in my mind she was the opposite of what a feminist was, she spent far too much time in the kitchen to be one (the irony of this). She deferred to my grandfather in most important matters, I thought of my grandfather as more a feminist because he always considered the situation and feelings of his wife over his own and what’s best for his children. My grandmother though was probably better educated than her peers because she came from a wealthy landed family, when she married, she took on the traditional role of a wife and mother, without having the luxury to decide if that’s what she wanted or if she aspired to more. There were interims where she worked out of the home as an accountant but she never had a career of her own. Tellingly, she never wanted the same life for her daughters and granddaughter. She spent her days in the kitchen but rarely told us to do so, or even bothered to teach us to cook – my mother and my aunt are pretty atrocious in the kitchen as a result. She wanted us to pursue higher education and get out there and make our marks in the world in ways she couldn’t. She even told us to forego the idea of marriage and children though her marriage by all accounts (even her own) was quite happy and fulfilled. But when it came to the most important decision of her life, whether to bear a child or not, and whose consent she sought for that very personal and important decision, she only consulted herself and no one else. For that, she’s a feminist.

The full link on the bottom. It’s worth a read.

Abortion was controversial. Abortion was murder. Abortion was a choice. It was clear to me what side of the debate I had to be on. My mom made her own choice. She kept me.

Source: My Mom Does Not Give AF.