To eat or not to eat? 2

PART ONE.  ETHICAL EATING: THE THEORY

One of the latest fads of the elite who know what’s best for the rest of us is “ethical eating”.

The Financial Times recently carried a long article about it. Reviewing three books on the subject, the author, Simon Kuper, castigates us for eating beef, chicken, rice, and salad:

Suppose that you and your partner go out for dinner tonight. You order steak and salad while your partner has chicken with rice. Now inspect your plates. Your cow spent almost all its life in a shed, burping methane that heats the planet. It was then slaughtered, often incompetently: it may have been still alive when its head was skinned and its legs cut off. Your “salad”, doused in dressing, is really “fat with a little lettuce”.

Your partner’s chicken lived for six weeks, diseased and crammed so closely with other birds that it cracked several bones. After torture, came slaughter: the bird was shoved into a truck, taken to the slaughterhouse, and shackled upside down. It died screaming and excreting on itself in terror. The rice comes from plants bred by scientists in the 1960s. Both your meals are lathered in the extra fat, sugar, salt and chemicals to which you have become addicted. Enjoy your meal. …

“… if you’re self-indulgent and sadistic, and care not a whit for the planet”, is not said in as many words, but strongly implied.

The author goes on:

People are increasingly wondering whether they should enjoy today’s food.

Millions of animals experience horrible deaths after worse lives. Constantly sick, they give us our flu pandemics. They occupy and degrade nearly a third of the world’s land, use up and pollute water, and warm the planet. According to the United Nations [and who could possibly doubt them?], animal agriculture is the single biggest cause of climate change. It contributes 40 per cent more to global warming than all forms of transport combined…. Certainly, in rich countries, logic should impel us to close factory farms and turn meat back into a luxury food such as caviar and truffles, to be eaten on special occasions only. …

In the past [when the expectation of life was less than half what it is now, but let not that spoil the argument], “Americans typically chewed a mouthful of food as many as 25 times … now the average American chews only 10 times.” The industry has mastered what it calls “hedonics”: how to make food feel and taste delicious. The new food is also addictive, like drugs. … Many Americans now suffer from “conditioned hypereating”, wolfing down fat, sugar and salt as a habit.

Our betters despise us for that.

“Elites want elite foods,” the FT article asserts. “healthy ethical food.” Do they? Or do they just want the rest of us to eat saltless, unsweetened, undressed mouthfuls of hunted or gathered foods that need to be chewed 25 times?

This sort of moralizing is a great luxury. It should be classed with truffles and caviar.  At the same time, it’s all intensely puritan. The old puritans wanted to drain pleasure out of life for the good of your soul. The new puritans want to do the same for the good of your body.

Environmentalists go even further. They don’t want us to eat at all. The existence of the human race annoys them. We eat. We cook. We make things. Almost everything we do endangers the planet. The planet must be saved from us. For what? The animals, presumably.

Don’t they eat too?

Yes, but you see they’re good, we’re bad. We humans are a disgusting, cruel, greedy species that the earth and all the other creatures would be better off without.

They really do think this way.

If it were the obsession of a few madmen it would be merely a curiosity. But it is the settled opinion of thousand of our species, many of whom have the power to regulate our lives.

Since we cannot be eliminated, or not immediately, we must at least be regulated.

*

PART TWO.  HEALTHY EATING: GOVERNMENT STEPS IN

The solution that our betters propose to the “problem” of us eating what we like, is as always a collectivist one. Government should, say the food police, compel us to eat what it deems good for us, good for our health. Healthy eating by force. The new ethics.

This is from Canada Free Press, by David Pietrusza:

The Invisible Hand moves amber waves of grain from farm to factory to freezer.

We all get fed.

Until now.

This month, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand decided she would allocate another $1 billion the federal treasury on building 2,100 grocery stores nationwide. [Capitalism has been called ‘the incredible bread machine’. It works as long as it’s not interfered with. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand doesn’t know this, and wouldn’t believe or even understand it if it were spelled out for her.] She is an Obama mainstream kook. Her “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” is merely upping the ante on a proposal already found buried in Barack Obama’s 2011 budget to expend $345 billion on a similar fool’s errand.

The idea, if it may be termed that, is to provide grants and loans to fund groceries in so-called “food deserts,” areas “under-served” by the right kind of food emporia, those not providing “fresh” food and thereby fueling the national “obesity epidemic.” …

“By building new grocery stores in underserved areas across the state,” says Gillibrand, up for election this year, “we can give people the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives, save billions in health care costs, and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Getting specific, Gillibrand estimates that her act will “create” 26,000 of those “good-paying jobs.” It’s funny how expropriating money from the private sector to fund tin-horn politicians’s hobby-horses always “creates good-paying jobs.”

Much of the rationale for combating these alleged “food deserts” relies on data as bogus as the “facts” that support the current global warming (er, excuse me, “climate change”) hysteria. Michelle Obama [she who heads the food police] has recently contended that 23.5 million people—included 6.5 million children—now live in these “food deserts,” defined by Ms. Obama as “communities without a supermarket.” Oddly enough, many of these folks are not poverty-stricken. Some are quite well to do. And thanks to the genius of Henry Ford and American capitalism many of them still own cars, so living that distance from a supermarket, translates into driving a whole 4.5 minutes more to a supermarket. …

And that translates into another federal crisis — another federal program.

But beyond jobs and geography, there is health. There is always health, nowadays.

“This initiative,” contends Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Vasquez, “is about empowering families to make healthier food choices so they live longer.” [A  perfect example of Obamaspeak, that!]

Let’s see what happens when a government “empowers” people to make the choices it wants them to make.

*

PART THREE.  NO EATING: THE END ACHIEVED

One government that tries to make the people do what it knows is best for them is in North Korea.

How has Kim Jong-il’s food solution work out for the North Koreans? These extracts come from Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick :

Kim Jong-Il had taken an even harder line against individual enterprise than his father. “In a socialist society, even the food problem should be solved in a socialist way. Telling people to solve to solve the food problems on their own creates egotism among people,” he said in a December 1996 speech, one of the few in which he acknowledged the food crisis. Other than vegetables grown at home, food was not supposed to be sold on the market. To sell rice or any other grain was strictly forbidden; North Korea considered it illegal and immoral, a stab in the heart of Communist ideology. Any private endeavor fell under the rubric of “economic crime” and the penalties could include deportation to a labor camp, and, if corruption was alleged, possible execution.

North Korea started running out of food, and as people went hungry, they didn’t have the energy to work and so output plunged even further. The economy was in free fall…

All staples are grown on collective farms. The state confiscates the entire harvest … [As famine intensified] the North Korean government offered a variety of explanations, from the patently absurd to the barely plausible. People were told [for instance] that the United States had instituted a blockade against North Korea that was keeping out food …

Enduring hunger became part of one’s patriotic duty. …

How do you tell a mother her child needs more food when there is nothing more to give? Dr Kim would write out a slip admitting the child to the hospital, knowing she had no cure for this condition. The hospital didn’t have any food either

[Many] victims of the North Korean famine … did not go passively to their deaths. When the public distribution system was cut off, they were forced to tap their deepest wells of creativity to feed themselves. They devised traps out of buckets and string to catch small animal in the field, draped nets over their balconies to snare sparrows. They educated themselves in the nutritive properties of plants. … They stripped the sweet inner bark of pine trees to grind into a fine powder that could be used in place of flour. They pounded acorns into a gelatinous paste …

North Koreans learned to swallow their pride and hold their noses. They picked kernels of undigested corn out of the [old] excrement of farm animals. Shipyard workers developed a technique by which they scraped the bottoms of the cargo holds where food had been stored, then spread the foul-smelling gunk on the pavement to dry so that they could collect from it tiny grains of uncooked rice and other edibles.

If you got out to the mountains, you could maybe find dandelion or other weeds so tasty that people ate them even in good times. Occasionally, Mrs Song [one of the author’s sources] would find rotten cabbage leaves … She would take the day’s pickings home and mix it with whatever food she had enough money to buy. Usually it was ground cornmeal – the cheap kind made from the husks and cobs. If she couldn’t afford that, she would buy a still cheaper powder made out of the ground inner bark of the pine, sometimes extended with a little sawdust. … [Nothing] could disguise the god-awful taste. She had to pound away and chop endlessly to get the grasses and the barks into a soft-enough pulp to be digestible. … All she could make was a porridge that was flavorless and textureless. … a porridge mad out of bean and corn stalks … was bitter and dry, and stuck in her throat like the twigs of a bird’s nest…

In the year after Kim Il-sung’s death the only animal product she consumed was frog… North Korea’s frog population would soon be wiped out by overhunting. …

In a famine, people don’t necessarily starve to death. Often some other ailment gets them first. Chronic malnutrition impairs the body’s ability to fight infection and the hungry become increasingly susceptible to tuberculosis and typhoid. The starved body is too weak to metabolize anti-biotics, even if they are available, and normally curable illnesses suddenly become fatal. Wild fluctuations of body chemistry can trigger strokes and heart attacks…

The killer [starvation] has a natural progression. It goes first for the most vulnerable – children under five. They come down with a cold and it turns into pneumonia; diarrhea turns into dysentery. Before the parents even think about getting help, the child is dead. Next the killer turns to the aged … then makes its way through people in the prime of their lives. Men, because they have less body fat, usually perish before women. The strong and athletic are especially vulnerable because their metabolisms burn more calories…

The killer targets the most innocent, the people who would never steal food, lie, cheat, break the law, or betray a friend. …

By 1998, an estimated 600,000 people had died as a result of the famine, as much as 10 percent of the population. … Exact figures would be nearly impossible to tally since North Korean hospitals could not report starvation as a cause of death.

Between 1996 and 2005, North Korea would receive $2.4 billion worth of food aid, much of it from the United States… While big ships laden with donated grains from the U.N. World Food Programme started docking at Chongjin’s port in 1998, the relief was off-loaded into trucks by the military and driven away. Some food reached orphanages and kindergartens, but much of it ended up in military stockpiles or sold on the black market. …

Death was a virtual certainty for people who didn’t show some private initiative. A human being needs at least 500 calories per day on average to survive; a person subsisting on a diet of what could be foraged in the woods would not survive more than three months. …

Hyuck [a homeless boy] found a small and friendly stray [dog], wagging its tail as it followed him into his friend’s yard. Hyuck shut the gate behind them. He and his friend grabbed the animal and shoved it into a bucket of water, holding down the lid. [It took about ten minutes to die.] They skinned it and barbecued it. Dog meat was part of the traditional Korean diet, but Hyuck liked animals and felt bad, though not so bad that he didn’t try it again – although by mid 1996 dogs too were scarce. …

Among the homeless population, a disproportionate number were children or teenagers. In some cases, their parents had gone off in search of jobs or food. But there was another, even stranger, explanation. Facing a food shortage, many North Koreans families conducted a brutal triage of their own households – they denied themselves and often elderly grandparents food in order to keep the younger generation alive. That strategy produced an unusual number of orphans, as the children were often the last ones left of entire families that had perished…

In the first years of the food shortage, the children at the train station survived by begging food, but before long there were simply too many of them and too few people with food to spare…

When begging failed, the children … formed themselves into gangs to steal together …

It was a dangerous life… There were strange stories going around about adults who … would drug children, kill them, and butcher them for meat. Behind the station near the railroad tracks were vendors who cooked soup and noodles over small burners, and it was said that the grey chunks of meat floating in the broth were human flesh. …

The stories got more and more horrific. Supposedly, one father went so insane with hunger that he ate his own baby. … It does appear that there were at least two cases … in which people were arrested and executed for cannibalism…

Even without cannibals … the children couldn’t survive long on the streets…

People … spoke of the large number of bodies scattered around the station and on the trains …

At the station, employees from the cleaning staff regularly made round through the public areas, loading bodies onto a wooden handcart… Some days they removed as many as thirty bodies from the station…

Why doesn’t the government just leave us alone to live our lives?” the women at the [black] market would grumble among themselves.

THAT IS THE QUESTION.

The cloud of knowing 5

Traces of some very abstruse reasoning emerge tantalizingly from the Cloud of Knowing – the thinkers who influence current US foreign policy. Secretive ends are being pursued. Can we discern what they are, or guess what they might be, from the clues dropped by the press?

The Washington Post reports:

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

So, according to a body that calls itself the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, secularism “feeds” religious extremism. Presumably that means it nourishes it, energizes it, makes it stronger than it would otherwise be.

Now how could it do that? Does it drive the religious mad by simply being non-religious? And if so, is it to blame for that, or are the religious perhaps over-reacting?

Wait. It’s not any old secularism that is guilty of annoying the religious; it is specifically Western secularism. Other sorts – if there are sorts of secularism – are not bad, or not as bad.

Why? Apparently because Western secularism, in contrast to, say, Eastern secularism if it exists, is “uncompromising”. But how should not-being-religious compromise? Should it be a little bit religious? If so, how much? And would it then still be secularism?

One may begin to suspect that here is another formulation of the now familiar accusation from the left that the West has only itself to blame for being attacked by religious extremists – aka Muslim terrorists – because it is not Muslim. Or is that leaping too quickly to an as yet unwarranted conclusion?

Let’s proceed cautiously. As well as “feeding” religious extremism, this Western secularism also “threatens traditional cultures”. How? Does it proselytize non-belief? Not that anyone’s heard. Does it try to force non-belief on believers? Again, no, not noticeably. Then does its mere existence raise questions that endanger the belief of “traditional cultures” – in which case what would the Chicago Council on Global Affairs have it do to lift the threat from those intimidated folk?

Wait again – the list of accusations against this dangerous force called secularism is not yet exhausted. It also “fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights”.

Which groups would those be – could we have some names, please? And why can they only carry out their noble mission if they are encouraged?

Answers to these questions cannot be found in the Washington Post story.

What it does tell us is that it took this body two years to reach its conclusion. So we  should not brush it off as nonsense: in two years it is possible to go very deeply into grievances.

What’s more, the conclusion requires, and will elicit, action by the government of the United States.

The council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House on Tuesday. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy”. 

A serious capabilities gap? Not a mere pothole in the diplomatic road to perfect global accord? And it could be filled in by – what exactly? A state religion? No – that could not be the recommendation of 32 officials and scholars representing all major faiths.

Just a generalized religiosity then?

But how is religion, whether specific or a mere aura of sanctity assumed by the State Department, going to improve American foreign policy, soothe the extremists of foreign creeds, reassure traditional cultures,  and stiffen the backbone of groups (presumably different from the religious extremists) intent on virtuously promoting peace  and human rights?

We are not told, and can only hope that the Chicago Council’s report to the White House provides answers to these difficult questions.

Thomas Wright, the council’s executive director of studies, said task force members met Tuesday with Joshua DuBois, head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and State Department officials. “They were very receptive, and they said that there is a lot of overlap between the task force’s report and the work they have been doing on this same issue,” Wright said.

Something is already being done by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to make religion in some way an integral part of US foreign policy? It would be most interesting to know what exactly.

DuBois declined to comment on the report but wrote on his White House blog Tuesday: “The Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership and the National Security Staff are working with agencies across government to analyze the ways the U.S. government engages key non-governmental actors, including religious institutions, around the globe.”

Ah! He’s not being exact, but there’s a clue in here somewhere.

The Chicago Council isn’t as influential as the Council on Foreign Relations or some other Washington-based think tanks, but it does have a long-standing relationship with the president. Obama spoke to the council once as a state senator and twice as a U.S. senator, including his first major foreign policy speech as a presidential candidate in April 2007.

It could depend on his sympathy then, with whatever it is they want done.

Michelle Obama is on the council’s board.

Again, ah!

Now we learn that the problem, however obcure it may seem to the public, has been troubling smart people for quite some time.

American foreign policy’s “God gap” has been noted in recent years by others, including former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright.

Well, she has been associated with a few faiths in her time – Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism. So perhaps she would be especially aware of a shortage of religious belief in the State Department. Could have struck her forcibly when she assumed office.

“It’s a hot topic,” said Chris Seiple [read something very politically correct that he’s written here], president of the Institute for Global Engagement in Arlington County and a Council on Foreign Relations member. “It’s the elephant in the room. You’re taught not to talk about religion and politics, but the bummer is that it’s at the nexus of national security. The truth is the academy has been run by secular fundamentalists for a long time, people who believe religion is not a legitimate component of realpolitik.

Come now, politics can hardly be avoided by a Council of Foreign Relations. But you say that religion is “the elephant in the room”? And it is “at the nexus of national security” ?

The Chicago Council’s task force was led by R. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

Who is Richard Cizik, and what is the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good? According to Newsweek he was the Washington lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals for nearly 30 years, and then, towards the end of 2008, he announced “the formation of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a group devoted to developing Christian responses to global and political issues such as environmentalism, nuclear disarmament, human rights, and dialogue with the Muslim world”.

Hmm.

“Religion,” the task force says, “is pivotal to the fate” of such nations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Yemen, all vital to U.S. national and global security.

So the particular religion they have in mind is Islam?

Not necessarily … don’t jump to conclusions …  it could also be  .. hmmm-mmm … Hinduism and …  Christianity and … who knows what?:

“Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor,” the task force says, “the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role.” Those include the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Latin America, evangelical Christianity in Africa and religious minorities in the Far East.

All of which feel threatened by Western secularism? Are crying out for it to compromise a little?

But okay, mostly Islam:

U.S. officials have made efforts to address the God gap, especially in dealings with Islamic nations and groups. The CIA established an office of political Islam in the mid-1980s. … During the second Bush administration, the Defense Department rewrote the Army’s counterinsurgency manual to take account of cultural factors, including religion.

Could that have had something to do with the shooting of soldiers by an “extremist” Muslim officer at Fort Hood? Just wondering.

The Obama administration has stepped up the government’s outreach to a wider range of religious groups and individuals overseas

… even, say, the Dalai Lama if he’ll use the back door …

…  trying to connect with people beyond governments, said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Very hush-hush stuff this.

The effort, he said, is more deliberate than in the past: “This issue has senior-level attention.”

He noted that Obama appointed a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference …

The envoy being a Muslim and a terrorist sympathizer [see our post The trusted envoy, February 20, 2010], and the Organization of the Islamic Conference being a major instrument of the Ummah for the conquest of the non-Muslim world, chiefly by methods of “soft jihad” in Europe.

… and created a new Muslim outreach position in the State Department. In the past year, he said, embassies in Muslim-majority countries have held hundreds of meetings with a broad range of people not involved in government.

Huh? Muslim-majority countries have had hundreds of meetings with individual people not involved with government? What people? Why? To what end? How does the government know about them?

Whatever was going on with that, it was apparently too “episodic and uncoordinated”. Now there must be something more programmatic, more official, more formal, more defined, and definitely involving government:

To end the “episodic and uncoordinated nature of U.S. engagement of religion in the world,” the task force recommended:

— Adding religion to the training and continuing education of all foreign service officers, diplomats and other key diplomatic, military and economic officials. …

— Empowering government departments and agencies to engage local and regional religious communities where they are central players in the promotion of human rights and peace, as well as the delivery of health care and other forms of assistance.

Leaving aside the code words “human rights” and “peace” which in such a context as this usually mean “leftism” and “Islam” – diplomats, and military and even economic officials should deliver health care?

But here comes the stunner. (Remember that “clarify” in diplomatic talk always means “take it back and say something more to our liking”.)

— Address and clarify the role of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy.

Cizik said some parts of the world — the Middle East, China, Russia and India, for example — are particularly sensitive to the U.S. government’s emphasis on religious freedom and see it as a form of imperialism.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS A FORM OF IMPERIALISM?

We give up. Such nuanced thought is beyond our grasp.

Fattening the state 0

How does the seemingly benign campaign, figureheaded by Michelle Obama (see our post Great ideas from the pumpkin patch Janury 29, 2010), against childhood obesity, serve the socialist agenda of Barack Obama?

Michelle Malkin explains how. She writes:

Behind every seemingly good deed in the Obama White House, there’s a deep-pocketed, left-wing special interest. Take first lady Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity. Who really benefits from the ostensible push for improved nutrition in the schools? Think purple — as in the purple-shirted army of the Service Employees International Union. Big Labor bigwigs don’t care about slimming your kids’ waistlines. They care about beefing up their membership rolls and fattening their coffers….

The East Wing is now in full campaign mode — leaning on the nation’s mayors, traveling with the surgeon general and meeting with Congress and cabinet members to reauthorize the Lyndon Johnson-era Child Nutrition Act, which provides government-subsidized meals to more than 30 million children. It’s part of the Obama administration’s self-proclaimed “cradle-to-career” agenda for America’s youth.

For decades, school administrators have criticized this Great Society relic for outgrowing its initial conception. The program was originally created to use up post-World War II food surpluses… While spending on youth nutrition and wellness have ballooned, so have the kids. Nearly one-third of U.S. children are now overweight or obese. The feds spend $15 billion a year on nutrition in schools; the White House wants at least a $1 billion increase this coming fiscal year.

The well-intended program to feed poor kids has morphed into an untouchable universal entitlement with a powerful school-lunch lobbying coalition of Department of Agriculture bureaucrats, food-service industry executives and union bosses. Enter the SEIU. Headed by the White House’s most frequent visitor, Andy Stern, the powerful labor organization representing government and private service employees has an insatiable appetite for power and growth. Working alongside the first lady, the SEIU unveiled a major ad campaign this week demanding reauthorizing and funding increases in the Child Nutrition Act.

What’s in it for Big Labor? SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman explains: “A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC (the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity and providing fair wages and healthcare for front line food service workers” (emphasis added).

There are 400,000 workers who prepare and serve lunch to American schoolchildren. SEIU represents tens of thousands of those workers and is trying to unionize many more. “More robust expansion” of the federal school-lunch law means a mandate for higher wages, increased benefits and government-guaranteed health insurance coverage

They are casting food-services workers as indispensable saviors. The union has rallied behind P.R. efforts casting them as superheroes “serving justice, and serving lunch.” Opposing the union means opposing children’s health. SEIU propaganda features New Jersey school cafeteria workers like Leslie Williams of Orange, N.J., lamenting: “I love my work, but it’s getting harder to prepare nutritious meals on the low budget we’re working with. … It breaks my heart to see a child who’s hungry. As I see it, part of my job is to make sure the kids are well-fed.”

Actually, that’s the primary job of parents. Mom? Dad? Remember them? But the more responsibility we demand of parents, the less power and influence SEIU bosses are able to grab. Unionized school dietician and nutrition jobs are booming. And in addition to school breakfast and lunch, the SEIU is now pushing subsidized dinner plans and summer food service to create a “stronger nutrition safety net.” Translation: Perpetual employment for big government and its public employee union au pairs.

Cede the children, feed the state.

Great ideas from the pumpkin patch 0

The food police, led by First Busybody Michelle Obama, are on the warpath.

Why can’t these obominable people mind their own business? Medium-sized people as we are, we libertarians of this website stand in solidarity (as the left would say) with our large-sized fellow citizens against these interfering bossieboots.

Reuters reports:

U.S. health officials have leveraged the star power of first lady Michelle Obama to roll out a new campaign against obesity, a preventable condition that drains billions of dollars from the economy.

Could someone explain to us how on earth obesity, or for that matter any other condition of the human body, can ‘drain billions of dollars from the economy’?

If there was a nationalized health service in America the government would be sure to claim the right to interfere with what and how much people eat – Fat Panels alongside the Death Panels – but as there is no such thing at least for the present, neither the government nor its henchwomen have any excuse to monitor and complain about individual choices even if they affect those individuals’ health.

[Michelle] Obama, who plans to take on childhood obesity as a cause, headlined the launch on Thursday of Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s blueprint for what can be done at home, school and work to reverse the epidemic.

Hasn’t the First Busybody got anything better to do? Actually no, probably not.

In her first initiative since becoming “America’s doctor,” Benjamin issued a report on the consequences of obesity to start a national dialogue on the subject.

“The number of Americans, like me, who are struggling with their weight and health conditions related to their weight remains much too high,” she said.

Benjamin’s report lists recommendations for preventing obesity. They range from simply eating more fruit and vegetables to adding “high-quality physical education” in schools and bringing more supermarkets to low-income communities.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the launch that the Obama administration was investing $650 million in economic stimulus money in wellness and prevention programs aimed at obesity and stopping smoking.

Ah, now we see! So the government is going to waste hundreds of millions of tax-payer’s money on this busybodying in order to claim the right to interfere? Waste the money and then accuse those they’re interfering with of being the wasters?

She introduced the first lady as “everyone’s favorite vegetable gardener.”

Charmingly sycophantic. But – everyone’s? Not ours! And wasn’t there something about the soil in the White House garden being too full of chemicals to grow edible vegetables? If so, it’s gone down the official memory hole.

[Michelle] Obama, who created a White House garden with local school children, said the solution to the obesity epidemic cannot come from government alone. Everyone has to be willing to do their part to end the public health crisis.

Here it is – the community organizing. The mind of the collectivist at work. ‘Don’t make me alone bear this burden of ordering the lives of 300 million people – be kind enough to share it with me by co-operating.’  That, in coy terms,  is what happened in China when Mao launched the Cultural Revolution.

“This will not be easy and it won’t happen overnight. And it won’t happen simply because the first lady has made it her priority,” Obama told an audience of children’s advocates [?] at a recreation center in Alexandria, outside Washington.

It’s going to take all of us. Thank God it’s not going to be solely up to me.”

The United States spends nearly $150 billion a year on obesity and related complications — twice what it cost in 1998 and more than every cancer cost put together, Sebelius said.

Note  – in their minds it is the ‘United States’ that spends this money.

Perhaps the First Busybody, obviously having too much time on her hands, could use some of it to learn some basic Economics.

“The unhealthier we are as a nation, the more our health care costs will continue to rise and the less competitive we will be globally,” she said.

Good grief! What a silly woman!

Being really nice to democratic Libya 0

From a report by John Rossomando at Newsmax:

The White House declined to comment on a letter that an Illinois Republican sent to President Obama demanding that he cancel funding for two $200,000 State Department grants to groups belonging to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s children.

Rep. Mark Kirk wrote the letter after the State Department notified the House Appropriations Committee on Sept. 15 of its intent to provide the foundation belonging to the Libyan dictator’s son, Saif, with a $200,000 and an additional $200,000 to Wa’ettasmeno UNDP Foundation run by his daughter, Aisha.

“Last month, when Scotland freed Abel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Gadhafi greeted him with a hero’s welcome,” Kirk wrote in his Sept. 23 letter to President Obama. “As you know, Megrahi was accompanied back to Libya by Gadhafi’s son, Saif, who was involved with negotiations for Megrahi’s release. Just weeks after the Gadhafi family celebrated the return of a terrorist for the murders of 189 Americans, the U.S. taxpayer should not be asked to reward them with $400,000. For the sake of the victims’ families who have endured so much pain these last few weeks, I ask you to withdraw your Administration’s request.”

The State Department told Newsmax the grants were part of a larger $2.5 million economic support program intended to promote democracy and women’s economic opportunities in Libya, which Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2009.

Ah, that democracy, and all those opportunities for women in Libya! How proud we American tax-payers can be that we support them. If  only we’d known about them sooner!

Giving away two and half million to the needy in an economic crisis is being really, really nice. Michelle Obama used to think America was ‘downright mean’, but now that her husband is showering Ghadhafi’s family with largesse, she too can at last be proud of her country.

Poisoned soil 1

Dry Bones cartoon: Michelle Obama's Organic Vegetable Garden.

Posted under Commentary, Humor, Miscellaneous, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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The gulag guard & Madame Pompadour 0

Burt Prelutsky writes:

Ever since the presidential campaign, when Obama told the guy with the ailing elderly mother that instead of an operation, he should consider pain pills as the more sensible option, I knew this cold-blooded good-for-nothing was a man born, not to govern a nation, but to run a gulag. 

But what makes it even worse is that the people in Washington who’d like to put old folks on ice floes and stick the rest of us in under-staffed medical clinics have no intention of sharing our sorry fates. Do you think Charley Rangel is going to take a number and twiddle his thumbs if he needs to have his 79-year-old gall bladder removed? Do you think that Marian Robinson, Obama’s 72-year-old mother-in-law, is going to be given a pain pill if she ever needs a liver transplant? As George Orwell put it in “Animal Farm,” which could well have served as a training manual for Obama’s administration, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Still, say what you will about the Obamas, no one can deny that they aren’t doing all they can to combat unemployment. For instance, Barack is appointing so many czars, you’d think his last name was Romanov. In the meantime, Michelle has gathered a larger staff of courtiers and ladies-in-waiting than Madame Pompadour and Madonna put together. There were, at last count, 22 people answering directly to the First Lady, costing the taxpayer roughly $1.6 million a year. In Mrs. Obama’s case, these servants are called, among other things, Director of Communications for the First Lady, Deputy Social Director, Director of Scheduling and Associate Director of Correspondence. I swear there’s even an underling who goes by the title of Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence. In the Obama White House, it seems that even the gofers have gofers.

Posted under Commentary, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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Nothing new 0

In a speech on May 16, 2009, Michelle Obama announced that the President has ordered the establishment of ‘an Office of Social Innovation’.

Bearing in mind that in a political context the word ‘social’ negates any word that it precedes – as in ‘social justice’, ‘social democracy’, ‘social conscience’ – this is not good news for innovation.

True innovation springs from originality of thought, and it occurs only when gifted and inspired individuals have time and money to spare, and where they can reasonably expect achievement to bring reward.   

When individual freedom is suppressed and conformity imposed, innovation is brought to an end. And when that happens in a nation, it stagnates.

By ‘social innovation’ the Obamas can only mean community organizing.  The Office of Social Innovation will recruit a multitude of young volunteers to pressure their fellow citizens into consensus and obedience, in preparation for concerted ‘grass-roots’ political action – as was done by young Maoists in China’s ‘Cultural Revolution’; as the Hitler Youth did in the Third Reich.

Posted under Commentary, News by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 17, 2009

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More on ‘collective salvation’ 0

 Thanks to Indigo Red (see comments on the post below) for directing our attention to this report on ‘Public Allies’.

Though the report means to be favorable to Michelle Obama, you can get a sense of her victim mind-set from it.  In particular I was struck by this:

‘As a Harvard Law School graduate, Ms Obama said, she had struggled to get off the path that was leading her toward becoming a partner at a corporate law firm.’

You gotta feel sorry for her – don’t you? 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 8, 2008

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Obama’s ‘collective salvation’ 10

A nasty  Communist idea was proposed for America by Barack Obama in that acceptance speech at Denver. 

Investor’s Business Daily makes it clear that his ‘Universal Voluntary Public Service’ program involves Communist-style re-education camps :

Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies in 1993. Obama plans to use the nonprofit group, which he features on his campaign Web site, as the model for a national service corps. He calls his Orwellian program, "Universal Voluntary Public Service."

Big Brother had nothing on the Obamas. They plan to herd American youth into government-funded reeducation camps where they’ll be brainwashed into thinking America is a racist, oppressive place in need of "social change."

The pitch Public Allies makes on its Web site doesn’t seem all that radical. It promises to place young adults (18-30) in paid one-year "community leadership" positions with nonprofit or government agencies. They’ll also be required to attend weekly training workshops and three retreats.

In exchange, they’ll get a monthly stipend of up to $1,800, plus paid health and child care. They also get a post-service education award of $4,725 that can be used to pay off past student loans or fund future education.

But its real mission is to radicalize American youth and use them to bring about "social change" through threats, pressure, tension and confrontation — the tactics used by the father of community organizing, Saul "The Red" Alinsky.

"Our alumni are more than twice as likely as 18-34 year olds to … engage in protest activities," Public Allies boasts in a document found with its tax filings. It has already deployed an army of 2,200 community organizers like Obama to agitate for "justice" and "equality" in his hometown of Chicago and other U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Washington. "I get to practice being an activist," and get paid for it, gushed Cincinnati recruit Amy Vincent.

Public Allies promotes "diversity and inclusion," a program paper says. More than 70% of its recruits are "people of color." When they’re not protesting, they’re staffing AIDS clinics, handing out condoms, bailing criminals out of jail and helping illegal aliens and the homeless obtain food stamps and other welfare.

Public Allies brags that more than 80% of graduates have continued working in nonprofit or government jobs. It’s training the "next generation of nonprofit leaders" — future "social entrepreneurs."

The Obamas discourage work in the private sector. "Don’t go into corporate America," Michelle has exhorted youth. "Work for the community. Be social workers." Shun the "money culture," Barack added. "Individual salvation depends on collective salvation."

"If you commit to serving your community," he pledged in his Denver acceptance speech, "we will make sure you can afford a college education." So, go through government to go to college, and then go back into government.

Many of today’s youth find the pitch attractive. "I may spend the rest of my life trying to create social movement," said Brian Coovert of the Cincinnati chapter. "There is always going to be work to do. Until we have a perfect country, I’ll have a job."

Not all the recruits appreciate the PC indoctrination. "It was too touchy-feely," said Nelly Nieblas, 29, of the 2005 Los Angeles class. "It’s a lot of talk about race, a lot of talk about sexism, a lot of talk about homophobia, talk about -isms and phobias."

One of those -isms is "heterosexism," which a Public Allies training seminar in Chicago describes as a negative byproduct of "capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and male-dominated privilege."

The government now funds about half of Public Allies’ expenses through Clinton’s AmeriCorps. Obama wants to fully fund it and expand it into a national program that some see costing $500 billion. "We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the military, he said.

The gall of it: The Obamas want to create a boot camp for radicals who hate the military — and stick American taxpayers with the bill.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, September 5, 2008

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