Hey, Liberty Orchards, why not hire Americans?

There are reasons why Americans don’t want want to work in certain industries. Companies like cheap, imported labor, abusing the workers and the system.

This includes Liberty Orchards, maker of assorted candies, in Cashmere, Washington. Crosscut, an online media venture based in Seattle, recently produced a story on the company focusing on its workers.

Conditions are not ideal.

“…working 12 or more hours per day, starting as early as 4 a.m., six or seven days per weeks.”

What person who isn’t desperate wants to work such long hours every day of the week?

These factory employees share their bedrooms, bunking four to a room. That may be acceptable to migrants, but it isn’t to most Americans.

It’s nice not having to pay rent, and to entice migrant labor while keeping costs to a minimum, the business provides the dormitory-style housing, which was built with taxpayer money. But why aren’t they trying to attract unemployed Americans?

Meanwhile, while Liberty Orchards provides free housing to it’s hardworking, imported factory employees, the town is experiencing a housing crisis.


NPR did a similar puff piece in March.

Mitchum & the Holocaust

“The interview caused a firestorm.”

Roger Friedman, a film critic and columnist who I have followed for years since his tenure at Fox News, has written about a 1983 interview by actor Robert Mitchum in which he made some controversial comments about Jews and the Holocaust. The New York Film Festival is honoring Mitchum with a retrospective, and Roger ain’t happy about it.

It’s obviously a touchy subject. However, Friedman is a bit sensitive on the subject, overly so in my opinion. Previously he has targeted the likes of Gary Oldman and Mel Gibson, whose drunken rants made him a pariah in Hollywood circles for years.

I am no Holocaust denier. It happened. And millions were murdered, and not just Jews.

Yet, castigating those who make strange, inaccurate comments such as Mitchum, who is dead and can’t defend himself and who lived in a different, other worldly time, I think is unfair.

How his views from one interview tarnish his acting career is beyond me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was drunk at the time. That doesn’t excuse his comments either. But in all things we must be balanced. We must have perspective.

The outrage culture fostered by self-annointed radicals wanting to police the thoughts of others is not something to join and encourage. I wish Roger had not. His crusade against perceived antisemites is an oddity to his otherwise excellent reportage.

It’s important to defend comments we may find offensive, even those regarding the Holocaust. I am a free speech absolutist. It is the cornerstone of freedom.

Like Roger, I have a personal beef with Hitler and the Nazis. They destroyed the culture and nation of many of my ancestors. I will never forgive them for the damage they inflicted on countless millions, including the German people.

Many of those murdered in the camps were Germans, including many Jews. And the eastern parts of Germany, including most of Pomerania which my great grandparents left more than half a century earlier thankfully, were lost forever because of Soviet diplomatic and military dominance.

It is best to forgive any transgressions of our forebears, particularly comments and not actions. They, like us, made many mistakes.

Throughout his career Mitchum had given some peculiar interviews. One of my favorites is him talking with Dick Cavett.

Mitchum did issue an apology after his comments created a furor, a precursor of what was to come, with the near constant demands for apologies in our modern age.


I’m doing my best at being a smart patient. My life will probably depend on it.

I’ve been experiencing more pain around my gallbladder. For years I’ve known, that according to health reports based on my DNA from 23andMe, I am likely to have two major autoimmune disorders.

One is called scleroderma. It’s also known as systemic sclerosis.

The other is called primary biliary cholangitis, or PBC. It is also known as primary biliary cirrosis, though cirrosis only develops in the later stages of the disease.

I’ve been hunting for a doctor, a specialist who can help me, since most doctors have been shockingly nonchalant about these, despite providing the genetic reports from 23andMe and having many symptoms.

I have had these gallbladder attacks for more than a decade now. Every year I have an attack where my white blood cell count skyrockets. It lasts about a week and I just sleep most of the time because I am so exhausted.

A few months back, during the winter, there was a new development. My joints, elbows and knees, were so inflamed and painful that it was hard to walk around. I was constantly out of breath. That joint pain has returned too, unfortunately.

Are they related? Wouldn’t surprise me.

In my search for information, I found a doctor at Swedish in Seattle who specializes in cholangitis and other liver diseases. He has written many studies and given many lectures on it. I found his email address and sent him a plea for help. 

Initially, he replied with a question, if I had ever been diagnosed, which I haven’t, despite the pain and the genetic testing. He stopped communicating after confirming that I don’t have an official diagnosis. I don’t want to harass the man, but I need help. So I have sent him another plea.

While researching him and the specialized liver unit at Swedish, I came across another condition, something I’d never seen mentioned before. It’s called primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC. It’s a condition where the bile duct becomes damaged over time. This is what my paternal grandmother had in the 1950s.

She was having pain around her gallbladder and the kids, including my father, convinced her to have it removed. When it was, the doctors discovered a shriveled up, diseased bile duct.

One of the key words that I find curious is sclerosing. This is the same root word as scleroderma and sclerosis.

It’s obvious that there’s much the medical professionals don’t know, which has been disturbing. So I just have to be dogged in my pursuit of answers and solutions. I have to be determined, because so often the doctors are not. I intend on being polite but persistent. My life very well could depend on it.

I picked up a book the other day. It’s titled You: The Smart Patient. One of the authors is TV’s Dr. Oz. I’m not really a fan, but I need help wherever it can be found. I am going through the book, looking for advice on how to deal with doctors.