The Obamas and the fable of the Tsoig 6

Bill Clinton claims that he feels your pain. Do you believe him? Do you think it possible?

Michelle Obama, self-titled “the mom-in-chief”, wants you to understand that her communist-born-and-bred, Islam-promoting husband – incredibly the president of the USA! – should govern you because he’s a loving sort of a guy, and he cares about you:

I see the concern in his eyes … and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, “You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle … it’s not right. We’ve got to keep working to fix this. We’ve got so much more to do.”

Do you believe he cares about each one of you? Like the Christian god is alleged to do? Do you think that even if Obama did, even if it were possible which it is not, it would be a good reason why he should govern you?

Do you think you should be loved by your government, even if it were possible for a government to love, which it is not?

Should a government act as if it were loving? Should citizens be nurtured by their government? Should we all be kept on Social Security, fed by food stamps, cured by a national health service, taught what to know and believe by a government department of education? Do you want to be rocked in the arms of the state?

Do you want to live under Socialism?

Socialism (political pornography!) is secularized Christianity.

Christianity (moral pornography!) commands you to love everybody. Do you think you could? Or should? Would it be just to love bad people? Would behaving towards them lovingly instead of punitively dissuade them from doing harm?

Might you not, perhaps, feel filthied and abased by a politics slimed with such hypocrisy, affectation and sentimentality?

If so, you may appreciate the fable of the Tsoig, which now follows.

*

THE  TSOIG

The Tsoig is unique as a species in that it is both animal and plant, and also sapiens: animal in its beginning, plant in its maturity, and in both conditions able to think and talk much like us.

Tsoigs had been known on the Mainland for centuries, but at last one came to the Island.

It arrived on some raft, it was thought, since though Tsoigs can walk until the age of about one hundred they cannot swim; and had this one merely been cast on the waves, the tides would have carried it in quite a different direction. So from the very beginning, one must assume, this particular Tsoig had a positive intention of coming there – a design on the Island, one might say.

On arrival it walked at once to what it judged to be the center of the Island, and there sent down its roots which were already fairly well grown and needed only to be burrowed in for the Tsoig to attain a firm grip and commence its thenceforward vegetable life, spreading very slowly at first.

Contrary to many a tale now told of it, it never did demand that it be ‘worshipped like a God’. To attribute such an idea to it is to give it at once a totally mistaken character. It never ‘demanded’. It never ordered. It had no peremptoriness, no shortness of tone, no sharpness of expression. It had so much self-confidence that it never needed to resort to a commanding or an oracular manner. It always used a tone of gentle persuasion; it wooed, it soothed, it sympathized. There was a touch of the mournful in it at all times, to the point at last of reproachfulness, but never the least trace of insistence or officiousness.

‘Confide in me,’ it would plead, in a rather bland, not very deep voice. ‘Let me be a comfort to you in your trouble.’ That sort of thing. ‘You can rely on me.’ ‘Come and tell me all about it.’ And when you had told it what you had to tell, when you had confided in it, it would say little but ‘There, there, I am sorry.’ For it was not a solution-giver. It hardly seemed to want troubles to end or ills to be cured. Indeed, some biologists are of the opinion that Tsoigs need human sorrow for survival as they need air, water, light and the salts of the earth: that they thrive on sadness, regret, heartbreak; that human sighs are the food of its spirit. And of course if a Tsoig by its spiritual nature could take in our unhappiness, transmute it, and give out happiness, as by its ordinary vegetable nature it takes in the carbon-dioxide of our breath and changes it daily into the oxygen we need, the species would surely be among the most valuable of earthly creatures. However, they do nothing of the kind.

Still, this particular Tsoig was much valued for its mere willingness to absorb whatever was complained to it. Valued by women, that is. Men did not take to it.

The women liked to sit on its root-humps, leaning up against the rather soft ‘bark’ of its trunk (known in the timber and hide trades as Sorgderm, or, more colloquially, Soigeen), and telling it all sorts of nonsense that women can fortunately seldom find anyone to listen to. What the Tsoig gave them, apart from soothing sounds and plenty of attention, were its flowers – rather small, of a dullish pink, and of a slightly unpleasant scent if any at all. It shed them lavishly on these ladies, who persistently expressed their gratitude and insisted to their indifferent husbands that it was ‘a kind old thing’.

But most of all it was sought by the children. And to confound the theories of biologists it seemed to require nothing of children but their delight. It tossed them in its branches, gently and tirelessly, and set them down again lightly on the ground. ‘Climb me, jump on me, play all over me,’ it invited them, and they did. ‘I love, love, love you, little ones,’ it would say, in a phlegm-thick voice, so that it sounded like ‘I l-huv, l-huv, l-huv you, l-hittle ones’.

And on them it showered its all-the-year-round fruits, luscious things, over-ripe as soon as formed, full of juice (known as Tsoigdrain), thin of skin, so that they always burst, you could never find one whole, and the flavour was sickly-sweet, relished by children – and at first by the women, who soon got tired of it. Certain medicinal properties were attributed to Tsoigdrain, but were never proved. The children would overeat of course, and sometimes get sick on the stuff. And all of them, as they grew up, would begin to find the fruit too cloying, and it was seldom that anyone over the age of fifteen would touch Tsoigsimmon (as the fruits of the Tsoig are called).

And when a boy reached the age of fifteen or thereabouts – a little later if he was backward, a little sooner if he was forward – he would not only stop eating the plenty which the Tsoig provided, but would even start shunning the tree, as he might an aunt who continued to treat him as a child too long: and even perhaps developed some sort of unconfessed fear of the thing – its reaching branches, its spreading roots, its ‘come hither’ tones, its ‘I I-huv you so, why don’t you come close and let me I-huv you, I don’t ask anything of you but that you let me l-huv, l-huv, l-huv you’. It moaned too, and got rather moist round the joins where the branches came out of the bole, and gummy in the ‘eyes’ where lesser branches had dropped off.

But the children continued to play on it, and women to confide in it until the men began to notice that the Tsoig was spreading too far and taking up too much space.

‘You must stop spreading,’ they told it, ‘or you will grow right into and through and over our houses, and take up so much of the land that we shall not be able to use it.’

‘I only want to please you all,’ it replied in a hurt tone, ‘and protect you all, and shelter you all, and feed you all … if you have me to do all this for you, you do not need houses or land.’

‘Stop!’ they begged it. But the Tsoig shed gummy tears, and spread a little further, saying, ‘Why do you retreat from me, and speak to me so roughly? Why do you want to hurt my feelings? I only wish for your good. I do everything for you. I l-huv you. Come near and let me embrace you. Here, here, here are flowers for you. Here is fruit – eat, eat!’

‘Just don’t go too far,’ the men said, who didn’t really want to be hard on the Tsoig. And grumbling a bit they went away and left it to the women and children.

But the Tsoig spread further yet, and went on spreading, until at last the men had to tell it, ‘You must go. Get up if you can, and leave the Island. If you can’t we’ll help you. But you must let go with your roots, and take them up, and let us lift you and put you on a raft and take you to the Mainland. There is not enough room on the Island for you and us. Either you must go or we must go, and as we are many and you are one, we suggest that you go somewhere else, where there is more space for you.’

The tree moaned and wept. But it told the Islanders that it would forgive them their cruelty. And the children were full of compassion for the Tsoig, and sat in its branches, and leant their cheeks against its soggy derm, and stroked the oozy bumps and humps of the good old Tsoig.

So the tree stayed, and spread. And it shed so much fruit on the earth that the rank smell of the Island was detectable far out at sea, and even on the Mainland.

‘The Island has been cursed with a Tsoig,’ the Mainlanders said. ‘They should have killed it before it rooted itself firmly. Once a Tsoig has established itself there’s no way to destroy it. The Islanders will soon be putting out to sea.’

‘Tsoig,’ the people of the Island pleaded – this time the women too, ‘please, please go, or else we must leave our homes, and leave the Island, and leave you here all alone. We know that you like to be where there are people. You love people, don’t you? Well, if you went to the Mainland and took root there, all the people of the Mainland would come and see you, and there are many more people there than here, and plenty of room for all. You could spread and spread for another hundred years. And you would not be lonely. But on the Island there is not enough room for you and us. We are many and you are one. You should go. If we go we shall be scattered, separated from one another. We shall have to go to strange new lands and work hard for years to build new houses and recover what we have lost. And we shall be lonely, and homesick for the Island we were born on.’

But the Tsoig only wept, and spread faster, further and further, and splattered its round wet fruits on them.

Then the women took the children into the houses and shut the doors and drew the curtains and the men fetched axes and saws. Ignoring the sobs and cries of the old tree, they hacked furiously at it. But they soon found there was no way of cutting it down or cutting it back; for as fast as a Tsoig is wounded it heals itself, and as fast as its limbs are cut off it grows more, stronger than before, and it had grown too tough to be poisoned. Whatever was poured on its roots and leaves seemed only to nourish it.

So the people had no choice but to get into boats and put out to sea.

Because of the tides those who left from one side of the Island never again found those who left from the other side. Families were broken, and friends lost each other. And worst of all some of the smaller children were snatched up at the last moment by the Tsoig, swung up high, and held fast and unreachable in the embrace of the tree they had trusted. Their parents could not rescue them, and had to abandon them to the Tsoig.

To these young children, clasped helplessly and desperately weeping in the coils of the wet, fruit-erupting branches of the ever more lovingly, closely holding, the ever growing, ever more tightly tangling tree, the Tsoig expounded the moral of its story: ‘L–huv Conquers All.’

 

Jillian Becker

Vicious racist pets of the Democratic left 4

Munir Muhammad’s Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad is one of the fragmented organizations squabbling over the vicious legacy of the Nation of Islam … one of the country’s oldest hate groups. [It] has an ugly fratricidal history. Along with its violent attacks on those outside its circle of race and religion, fueled by a belief that white people are subhumans created by a black mad scientist, it has carried on an equally violent campaign against its own. The list of Nation of Islam dissidents murdered or assaulted by their own people stretches back nearly eighty years. …

Daniel Greenfield writes about Munir Muhammad, the Nation of Islam, and the Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and how they stand in high favor with powerful Democrats in Illinois, at Front Page:

The difference between the Nation of Islam and most hate groups is that NOI members and groups can receive government contracts and plum posts from the Democratic Party.

Munir Muhammad … has spent the last nine years sitting on the Illinois Human Rights Commission, with a nearly fifty thousand dollar salary …

How does the business manager for a hate group get appointed by two Illinois governors to a human rights commission? It’s surprisingly easy. It’s just a matter of knowing the right people. …

CROE-TV, the Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s broadcasting arm …  puts out several television shows featuring Munir Muhammad. … Guests  include Valerie Jarrett [senior advisor and assistant to President Obama], Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Barack Obama. …  former Chicago mayor and brother of the former Chief of Staff, Richard M Daley, .. Senator Dick Durbin, … Louis Farrakhan …

When Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan wanted to get rid of one of his critics, he just swapped him out with Munir Muhammad, who became Vice-Chairman of the Board of Corrections, not to mention also serving on the Cook County Sheriff’s Committee on Religious Tolerance

Ponder that: a man notorious for his intolerance serves on a County Sheriff’s Committee on Religious Tolerance …

… and the Chicago Police Department’s Multicultural Forum.

Illinois politicians didn’t just give Munir Muhammad lucrative policy gigs, they donated thousands of dollars directly to his organization. An organization whose reason for existence is promoting the ideas of a bigot, whose views, aside from skin color, have little to distinguish them from those of Aryan Identity groups.

Governor Blagojevich had doled out some 50,000 dollars in state money to Munir’s hate group and even proclaimed February 12, 2006 to be “Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad Day” and encouraged citizens of the state to recognize the organization for its “ongoing commitment to ensuring the legacy of this influential African-American leader”—an influential leader who had described white people as devils and “born murderers”.

Similar proclamations from the governor’s office in 2004 and 2005 described the Coalition as “an important voice in both the African-American community and the general public”. …

After Blagojevich was gone, Governor Pat Quinn renominated Munir Muhammad to the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

But this time – confusingly to observers like us, resigned to the extreme cynicism of most politicians – there was a sudden astonishing upsurge of decency, or conscience, or revulsion, or something we don’t know about, in the minds of some Democrats, and this notorious racist was voted down:

The result was a brief debate and a close vote with the Illinois Senate splitting mostly down party lines. Twenty senators voted to reappoint Munir Muhammad and thirty voted against—with only seven Democrats crossing party lines to vote against him. … The Illinois State Senate transcript for Munir Muhammad’s original appointment shows that it was carried without a single opposing vote. Obama appeared to be present at the session, which means that he voted to confirm Munir Muhammad.

In 2001, 75,000 dollars was allotted to the Coalition for the purchase of television cameras for its production studios, courtesy of Illinois State Senator Donne E. Trotter. When Gilad Atzmon, a figure so repulsive that even Anti-Israel groups have deemed him too Anti-Semitic to be associated with, appeared on Munir Muhammad’s show, the cameras filming the whole thing may well have been the ones paid for by taxpayer dollars. At the time Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate and his funding requests appear next to those of Trotter.

But wait, there’s more:

It would be nice to think that Munir Muhammad’s success was an individual blind spot in the system, but it wasn’t. Claudette Marie Muhammad, Chief of Protocol in the Nation of Islam, had been appointed to the Illinois Anti-Discrimination Panel.

And there was Willie Barrow, the Chairwoman of the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, an enthusiastic admirer of Farrakhan and one of Obama’s Faith Endorsers. A woman whom Michelle Obama described as “our friend”.

Munir Muhammad has lost his position and his fifty thousand dollar salary, but there is little doubt that Illinois politicians will continue trooping down to the studio to chat with the bigot …

Corruption is the way things are done in Chicago and that includes turning a blind eye to black racist groups who may believe that white people are the devil, but can be counted on to deliver the votes from Elijah Muhammad’s mothership.

Chicago’s dirt is no longer just the property of that city; it belongs to all of us. And Munir Muhammad also belongs to all of us. The men and women he sat across from are no longer just big wheels in state politics — they run the country. And the Chicago Way has become the American Way.

Only for a little while longer, we hope.

Posted under Commentary, corruption, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 26, 2012

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A Standing of Stans 1

American fighting men and women (heroes all, whatever their sexual proclivities) are being sacrificed to no purpose in the wretched region of feuding fiefdoms named Afghanistan. It may soon merge with Pakistan. Other stans may join them. There will be a whole Standing of Stans. And they will have Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to promote jihad.

Because “the coalition forces”, which is to say the United States forces under Obama’s command, have lost the war they’ve been fighting there for – how many decades is it now?

It is not the fault of the US army.

It is because it has been organized into a community of social workers and nation builders.

Its orders are to win hearts and minds. The hearts of Afghans! The minds of Afghans!

Medals are to be awarded to soldiers for not shooting.

The ideal army for an America under an Obama presidency would be manned – so to speak – entirely with women and gay men with pacifist opinions. But with ethnic diversity of course.

Its motto would be: ‘Ask, tell, and no fighting please.”

Its perfect field commander – or rather, “feel commander” – would be Michelle Obama. She would soon have the troops armed only with spades and teaching the Afghans – victims of US aggression, one and all – to grow veggies instead of opium, and watch their fat intake to avoid becoming obese.

Until, that is, the Taliban objects to her being female and doing a job at the same time.

Then Obama could apologize to the Taliban and bring Michelle and the caring sharing land-army home and declare the war over.

“His home country” – Kenya 1

Posted under Africa, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, May 24, 2010

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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 6

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 9

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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