Comments: A Modest Proposal

It's terribly discouraging, isn't it?

Posted by cemmcs at November 18, 2008 09:36 PM

Can't he look to Swift's "A Modest Proposal" for some guidance?

Posted by En Ming Hee at November 19, 2008 01:17 AM

Unfortunately this proposal is at best only a half solution: as far as I can tell, the Taliban do not permit child slavery, though they may allow child brides. Perhaps the crusade could go via Pakistan? I've seen reports of it there.

In all of the criticism of Larry Summers I've yet to see an alternative suggested who actually wanted the job. Perhaps some alternatives for other posts need to be drawn up before they're filled?

Posted by me at November 19, 2008 05:32 AM

Solution: Get the Federal government out of education.

Ok, seems counterintuitive, stick with me.

1) No more focus on producing consumers and cheap labor for industry with our "schools". More focus on producing self sufficient members of society. And as a by product, more cohesive and sustainable communities. All this from returning responsibility to where it belongs, responsibility to your community, to each other. (hey I know you may think the idea is to drop humanitarian aid on Appalachia, but you're wrong).

2) Magically the members of these communities will be more educated in the matters of civics, because educated citizens are actually connected to it by their community involvement. Our "leaders" struggle to spread ignorance amoung those people, find support for their imperalistic wars of profit non-existant. All because the society didn't just accept it as fact that the toothless hicks in Alabama are just naturally stupid and ignorant, unable to teach themselves, or feed themselves.

I apologize that my solution doesn't involve Suzanne Somers mugging for the camera to make suburban housewives feel like they did something special-- or that it might allow people to hang on to backwards beliefs that might cause indignation for the enlightened.

But that's the way it is.

Posted by tim at November 19, 2008 05:56 AM

tim: NEVER been to Alabama, I see.

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 19, 2008 11:04 AM

We could just send an army of Ann Coulters, armed with loaves of French bread. The lady always looks kinda hungry to me, and I've always wondered if her disposition would improve if she were better fed.

Posted by tiffa at November 19, 2008 11:23 AM

Economists as the new Priests.......

Thought you might like to see this.

http://poweringdown.blogspot.com/2008/11/food-production-or-distribution.html

"Once you spend any time at all learning about our food system you will quickly find people suggesting that it’s not production that needs improvement, it’s distribution."

Posted by Bruce F at November 19, 2008 11:57 AM

The funny thing is that your Bernard's proposal isn't that far from what will likely happen, poor teenagers being drafted to fight on various fronts, or enlisting because there are so few other choices to not starve.

Posted by Marcus at November 19, 2008 12:41 PM

Rupa, capitalism doesn't mean no compassion, but I don't see how capitalism is related except peripherally.

I looked at the problem in the most abstract and general way and tried to think of a solution. Teaching dependence to people is not a very good long term solution IMHO, counterproductive in the long term I think. That said you are right about everything, that doesn't feed helpless kids.

Particularly, I see the political pressure for ethanol to be a huge problem. Agribusiness is another abomination I detest, another example of concentrated power. Look no further than that concentration of power for the answer to your question about why we pay farmers to leave fertile fields fallow.

One thing Rupa Shah, "what are we going to do as a country". I'll tell you what-- and this is the problem-- as a country we are going to keep fighting those B.S. wars, developing tech like ethanol with no thought as to the consequences, and just generally wrecking shit in the name of fixing it. No one is going to deny it, why do you think I rail against central power so much?
The real solution (as far as such a thing exists) rests with the good folks like you helping your neighbors. It rests with people taking this responsibility back from on high.

Posted by tim at November 19, 2008 01:53 PM

Tim:
IMO, with few exceptions, everyone wants to live in dignity and not depend on anyone for handouts( as we discussed in a previous post, it is humiliating ) however when there are natural disaters ( tornados, earthquakes, typhoons, flooding etc ) over which no one has any control, ( and the first priority for the victims is to provide them clean drinking water and food ) ordinary self reliant people become helpless and before they can return to normality, need massive assistance and we know what the govt did for Katrina victims or rather did not do ). And I still remember the Great Flood of 1993 in South Dakota where there was no assistance available for days. And in these situations, it not that people do not want to help each other. It is impossible to do so.
So, while the process of providing equal opportunity is being built ( one can not have that when one public school district spends 5-7K per child and another district spends 12-14K ), people are educated in terms of thinking of betterment of community and not just self ( which will take some time ) and we will have self depndence---till then, the society, in turn the govt will have to take responsibilty for the needy. Only if, one could put onself in the shoes of a parent who sees the tears of her/his child because it is hungry!

ps As far as the wars are concerned, I guess, as many supported the last war as opposed it till the real news started coming out. So, though I protested in the streets, may be not enough and did not educate my neighbours and others why it was wrong. Govt will always get away with whatever it can, specially GWB type. Educating the citzenry about what our govt does may bring about changes faster than otherwise.

Posted by Rupa Shah at November 19, 2008 04:01 PM

I wonder what will be President Obama's plan for NOLA?

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 19, 2008 05:11 PM

Billions for war, trillions for bankers, yet NOTHING 4 NOLA? How about Galveston?

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 19, 2008 05:17 PM

Rupa, how I wish you were right.
On the whole, citizens don't want to be "educated" about what their leaders do.
The Germans didn't (except the active perps), the French didn't, Americans don't.
As Brecht put it, "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Moral." Or, "first the stomach, then morality."
To bring about changes, somebody's got to break some factory windows. And that would be just a start.

Posted by donescobar at November 19, 2008 05:24 PM

Mike Meyer:
I hope, Obama administration will break up the agency of Homeland Security and make FEMA an independent agency as it was earlier ( it functioned more efficiently and responded faster to disasters). And you said in a previous post, you will give Obama 8 weeks ( at my request ) in the White House before judging him so how about waiting till then to see, what he will do?

donescobar:
I have to admit, to some degree I agree with you and sadly it does not speak well for at least some segment of the population. When a significant segment of the population believes that Obama is Muslim IN SPITE OF repeated correction on TV and radio, and that Sadam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 , again in spite of repeated announcement to the contrary, I guess, some people will believe what they want to and that will make educating them more difficult but that is the only way to bring about change. And IMO, change brought about by peaceful means will be long lasting.

Posted by Rupa Shah at November 19, 2008 09:51 PM

The whole Obama is a Muslim thing is really nauseating to me, as a Muslim. The underlying assumption is that if he, in fact, were, it would be a problem. Colin Powell, of all people (!) was one of the very few to actually point out that this assumption was the most despicable part of the whole thing. Whether people believe that he's of one religion or another, what they should realize is that that ultimately does not make him more or less fit for office.

Posted by Anna in PDX at November 20, 2008 01:14 PM

Anna in PDX: EXACTLY!!!

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 20, 2008 02:21 PM

Anna in PDX:
I hope, you did not misunderstand my comment. I was giving it as an example of how a segment of the population stubbornly refused to belive a 'specific' fact, just like about 9/11 and Saddam Hussein.

But OF COURSE you are right i.e. "SO WHAT" if he was a muslim or an arab or for that matter an atheist as far as I am concerned. Important thing was, whether he was fit to be elected or not. For me, it was disappointing that Obama himself did not say right from the beginning that what religion he belonged to was not the issue and that would have been the end of discussion or that a prominent democratic leader did not speak out right at the start of the campaign that in these united states of america, anyone can become a president no matter what his/her religion and put the issue at rest

Posted by Rupa Shah at November 20, 2008 03:30 PM

-till then, the society, in turn the govt will have to take responsibilty for the needy.

Right, let me know how that works out...


ps As far as the wars are concerned, I guess, as many supported the last war as opposed it till the real news started coming out. So, though I protested in the streets, may be not enough and did not educate my neighbours and others why it was wrong. Govt will always get away with whatever it can, specially GWB type. Educating the citzenry about what our govt does may bring about changes faster than otherwise.

donescobar is absolutely right about this. I was in Korea at the beginning of the war in Iraq. I was also as ignorant as they come. But I found myself asking "wtf, they never did anything to us". I mean, it doesn't take any education really, just critical thinking. People like you and I keep putting our faith in the government to protect us (I don't know how many different ways I can say it until you get it), and sad sacks like me will keep finding themselves on a plane from one colony (Korea) to the next potential colony (Iraq). You can keep waiting for the money that sent us there to feed some hungry kids or clean up New Orleans, but please don't hold your breath, I couldn't stand to see another casualty for no reason.

So whatever, don't tell me about keeping everyone equal with central power, tell it to the Iraqis, or the parents of my buddies that didn't make it back.

Posted by tim at November 20, 2008 04:50 PM

Tim:
People like you and I keep putting our faith in the government to protect us and sad sacks like me will keep finding themselves on a plane from one colony (Korea) to the next potential colony (Iraq).
I DO NOT NEED GOVT PROTECTION. I am not afraid for physical safety ( if that is what you meant by govt protecting us )and am against owning a gun, am against a standing army and am against any war or occupying another country.
And isn't critical thinking part of educational process? I am not an "Education" specialist but I think, discussion of a subject, not with individuals with whom one agrees with but also with someone with whom one disagrees, broadens one's perspective. So, talking to someone who was for the war and giving them my point of view may have changed their minds before the start of the war ).
And I absolutely do not want anyone to die in this awful war. What made you think, I would want that? Your saying I couldn't stand to see another casualty for no reason gives that impression--if I have misunderstood you, I apologise.
And we all want CHANGE, in the govt, in the communities, in individuals etc, which will take time. How long, one can not say. Meanwhile, the vulnerable population is the responsibility of the govt. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness ring hollow when when one is hungry and homeless. You and many commenters will not agree with me, ever, on some issues but on those issues, for me, there is no compromise.

Posted by Rupa Shah at November 20, 2008 06:02 PM

Rupa Shaw: you did misunderstand. I was just being sarcastic, and it wasn't directed at you (well it was, but 's just the way I am). I've nothing but respect for you, and I definitely don't ascribe any deliberately malign beliefs to you.

But when
Meanwhile, the vulnerable population is the responsibility of the govt.

I'm just trying to get you to see (as always) that neither is this true in fact, nor should it be. And that all of the "change" we "need" is away from this type of thinking and acting, and it is the cause of all of the problems that we ascribe to the national government. Seriously, you cannot think that our national bureaucracy could ever come close to solving such a problem as hungry children. Local local local!

I DO NOT NEED GOVT PROTECTION. I am not afraid for physical safety ( if that is what you meant by govt protecting us )and am against owning a gun, am against a standing army and am against any war or occupying another country.

So you don't want the government to protect you, and you don't wish to protect yourself. I know you don't think there are no people to fear in the world, so I assume you are a PACIFIST. Not to be insulting, but a more childish and irresponsible 'ISM' have I ever found.
You don't feel the need for fear, so you (wish to) ascribe unnecessary power to the feds. Thus innocent people all over the world do need to fear. You are using bad logic, or emotion in the place of logic. You pay your taxes to feed hungry children, but would you say that Obama will (indirectly of course) feed more children or kill more children? Personally, I don't think it matters what he does, the latter will be true.

discussion of a subject, not with individuals with whom one agrees with but also with someone with whom one disagrees, broadens one's perspective

Duh ;-)

Posted by tim at November 20, 2008 09:39 PM

No time listener, first time caller.

Win some, lose some.

The Saskatoon joke at 1810 hours is funny.

President Summers is (predictably) not.

Happy days.

Posted by Not Dean Swift at November 22, 2008 08:00 AM