Friday, March 30, 2007

Duck livers and nanny government

ABCNews Nightline had a report last night (3-29-07) about the Chicago ban on selling foie gras. One of the "reactions" they had in the piece was a guy complaining about "nanny government." I wish a had vid-clip for it because it was the most important part of the entire report. However, on the Nightline message board at was this post:

When we are children it is our family and our community who teach us what is acceptable behavior, including how to be kind to all creatures. Unfortunately, as adults we need to rely on all kinds of legal forces and governing bodies to keep society in check to protect that which cannot protect itself. The foie gras issue should not be focused on ducks, restaurants, or what people have acquired a taste for. Instead , the focus should be cruelty and the lack of conscience in man. It defies my imagination for humans to justify the continuation of this cruel food on the grounds of entitlement. One has to wonder what kind of person/culture it takes to create and perpetuate such barbaric cruelty. Mayor Daley need not be embarrassed by a city council who want less cruelty in the world, rather he better be checking his own attitudes about why he does not feel that cruelty in the heart of man is not exceedingly more important than what he prefers to eat. Yes, Mayor Daley eats foie gras.

It is a sad commentary of our society when bad becomes good and good becomes bad. The world will always have its share of those whose main concern is self with no concept of sacrifice even if it halts cruelty. I want to live in a world where there are many Joe Moores who are not afraid to stand for compassion and who make a diligent effort to reduce cruelty.

There is nothing in the world more dangerous than a conscienceless human: think war.
Thank you ABC for showing it like it is.
[posted by stop_slavery]
My first thought was to have the people who want to eat or serve this stuff be required to do the forced feeding of these creatures for the entire time it takes to produce their precious fatty liver they feel they have a "right" to eat or serve. At the same time, the person doing the forced feeding is to be fed the same way as stated in a post subsequent to the one above:
I'd like to see someone shove a feeding tube down your throat like the cruel procedure done to those ducks. I have a feeling that the people who order this off the menu really have no idea of the torture done to these animals. It is inhumane. Period. It doesn't have to be this way. [posted by tjshybow]
It is precisely the mindset that sees nothing wrong with doing this to ducks and geese that leads to a policy of rescinding the Geneva Conventions against torture. As Mencius said over 2000 years ago, "the feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity" and "the feeling of right and wrong is the beginning of wisdom."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pick an issue

Pick an issue, any issue, and I can trace it back to some cultural or social attitude that pervades policy.

My biggest issue at the moment is my dad. He had a stroke a little over a year ago in Nov. 2005. He went to the nursing home for rehab and could be there for 100 days on Medicare, but after that he would have to go to private pay--hardly affordable by anyone with only $20k in annual income.

But that's not why he hated being at the nursing home. For him, and many others, the nursing home is the last stop before going to the cemetary. He certainly needed the speech therapy and was fine with that, but the only place he wanted to be was at home. He also hated the food and refused to eat most of it. I had hoped he would stay for the full time Medicare alloted to get the speech therapy he needed, but his desire to go home was so strong and his health was not getting the medical attention it needed so I brought him home a month early. This was February 2006. After a year of taking care of my dad pretty much 24/7, I'm really starting to get burnt out.

I love my dad, but he is a very typical American male. He was born in 1919, served in WWII and retired from the Army in the 1960s. He married a Japanese woman so I grew up being bi-cultural even though my mom's insistence on my being American kept me from being bi-lingual today. What a shame. And though I am bi-cultural I am as American as it gets when it comes to thinking that women have as much say in the household as men and have as much right to their own outside the house interests. But more significantly, is the absolute refusal of my dad to understand the limitations his stroke put on him. He wants to act like everything is the same as before his stroke. Though he didn't suffer from any permanent paralysis, he is weaker, less coordinated, and less able to deal with physical demands. At 87 with asthma, emphysema, anemia, pulmonary hypertension, and a weakening heart, he just can't do all the things he did before. But he is fully capable of bitching about it and does so on an almost continual basis. Unfortunately, the cussing is all that is left of his ability to speak and so communicating is a combination of doing 20 questions and reading his mind. Nor can he write or spell anymore and this is enormously fustrating for both of us. Not to mention he's pretty hard of hearing even with hearing aids for which he gets VA Disability because it happened as a result of his service in the Army.

But the worst of it is his complete failure to understand that the world does not bend to his will just because he wills it. He hates his bowels when they don't work they way he wants them to because it violates his early childhood potty training. It's especially bad when he has diarrhea because then he has to get to the bathroom and get his pants down before anything escapes and will bitch like the dickens because he couldn't hold it. He also bitches when he has constipation. Or when he has to go to the bathroom at all if the urge comes suddenly. He also bitches when he drops something, or can't find something, or can't get the tv remote to work, or especially when Bush's face is on the tube. In other words, my dad bitches about most everything and acts like it is personal insult if the physical world doesn't do exactly what he wants it to. After a year of living with this 24/7 I'm pretty sick and tired of it. I just want some peace and quiet so I can concentrate on thinking and writing.

At the same time I am also an at-home mom of a 10 year old daughter. Due to various pressures and other problems, my own dad is a huge factor, her dad no longer lives with us. Fortunately, he is just down the road in our tiny little town. This much is good.

Another thing with my dad since he is at home, his home, the home his mother bought, his income is what is supporting this household. It isn't enough. And like mothers who have no way to stay at home and raise their child(ren) but can get a subsidy to pay someone else to take care of their kid(s), there are also others taking care of parents or relatives who are in essentially the same situation. They stay at home because they value their family and feel a deep responsibility to care for its members. But they are not able to earn a living doing it. Instead, we can only be paid for our work if it is done for someone else's children as a day care provider or for someone else's parent(s) at a long-term care facility. Caring for our own children and our own elderly parents must be done by someone else to in order to get any financial support to do it.

The idea that EVERYONE who provides care for ANYONE can only do so as an employee of some company has done more to destroy families than any other single policy in America. And while there ARE unrealistic expectations of partners in marriages today that result in divorce, there are also a great many marriages that break up because of the financial hardships these families are facing. These are the greatest threats to marriages and families today.

And even if I wanted to earn some income, the sheer lack of jobs in rural MN, let alone rural anywhere in the U.S., is a major barrier, especially for someone with a master's degree in a career field that depends on city, county, and state governments being able to afford planning and community development departments.

After all this rambling and having to get up umpteen times to answer my dad's bitching I've forgotten exactly how I wanted to tie it all together. Nevertheless, the place where it all boils down to is that people don't matter. All that matters is someone else's profit margin and I am very angry about the suffering this stupidity and indifference is causing. I truly wish that all the unrepentant Scrooges in this country could suffer the fate of Marley who failed while alive to learn that Mankind is our business and the affairs of one's trade are but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of our business.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Capitalism: The Heart of Darkness

Information Clearing House has this article by Mike Whitney talking about Bush's visit to Latin America.

In the article is this quote by Chavez as he shadows Bush's tour:
“Those who want to go directly to hell can follow capitalism,” Chavez boomed to a standing-only crowd in Argentina’s soccer stadium.

As an economic system American-style robber-baron capitalism is meeting its end. It is the most duplicitous, deceitful, and double-crossing system ever. The utter blackness of its heart for anything but its own gain is exactly the path to hell, particularly the kind Marley occupies in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and the one that awaits Scrooge should his heart fail to be moved by what the Spirits of Christmas show him.

The story of "A Christmas Carol" was first published 161 years ago in 1846. Despite its age it remains an ever-present and universal story of the evils that lurk in the darkest regions of capitalism which exploits others in an ever rapacious appetite of greater and greater greed. As Dickens so eloquently illustrates in his story, the evils of capitalism can drain the humanity out of a person. It can turn them into a wraith that feeds on the enslavement and misery of others causing untold suffering for the great mass of human beings. The exhortation against greed is in every religious and spiritual teaching in the world.

Whenever I see "capitalism" I now automatically equate it with the selfishness and heartlessness of Scrooge. And though the story of Scrooge is about the redemption of one man's humanity, I'm not holding my breath for the redemption of those running this country or their proxies in the U.S. Government.

Bush and rest of the American imperialists can blah, blah, blah all they want about "democracy" and "freedom" but no one with an iota of sanity or humanity is being fooled anymore. There is no question that whenever Bush or any Bush mouthpiece opens their yap they show themselves to be deluded. They do not live in the real world, they spew lies, and it is they who are guilty of what they accuse others of doing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Iran you won't see on American TV