Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rumble-Jumble, Parte Trois...

The Post’s Metro section printed up a piece on “freegans”, or “free vegans”, who dumpster-dive but don’t actually need to. These kids have a point, if they’re not also sort of insane. Indeed there’s a lot of overconsumption and waste in our society when it comes to food.

But they’re running a risk, at least health-wise. And it is naïve to attack a system from the waste end — you’re working backwards.

Besides, to make a last (but not least) point, what about the people who actually have to bum food out of the dump to survive? It is selfish on principle, and we read that such freegans seem to be principally-motivated at some level, to act in such a self-illusory (and likely pointless) way — especially if it deprives ... panhandlers. You know, homeless.

(The people most often ignored, or best simply invisible; more often than not, they don’t get the front-page of a major newspaper’s Metro pages.)

Crunchy Cons: Sounds like something I’d want to be a part of at first look, at least to be a kind of honorary observer. They’re a motley sort of freewheeling, unconventional right-wingers. To be clear, not an orthodoxical Right, but probably conservative in disposition instead of an ideological sense, a tricky stand to which I have much sympathy — and some attachment.

I’ve often been styled, cast or even pigeonholed into a number of ideo-set designations, be they “ultra-liberal” by those who really don’t know who I am, even “reactionary” — by people who really have no idea. (Although I’m not comfortable with such place-markers and ideological thinking in general, and for the most part ideology as a practice is bullshit, ‘left-wing conservative’ seems comfortable.*)

*Then again, social libertarian seems fitting, too; essentially, anything that isn’t extreme, intolerant or irrational — if it blossoms within those bounds, chances are I might go along with it.

ISRAEL/LEBANON update: The fire has largely ceased for now, as far as I can tell from the far-outside, so at month’s end it looks like this...

If the guns were reversed, with the proportions kept, the Israeli and Lebanese civilian deaths (respectively) are 1,840 and 24. To deny the obvious tragedy that has befallen Lebanon, from within and without and with the help of several actors, is to deny the equal moral weight between Israelis and Lebanese.

The Post published an op-ed by the Secretary of State, who writes (“A Path To Lasting Peace”, A13) that “we have increased our immediate humanitarian assistance to $50 million” (my italics). Increased to 50 million dollars? The paper, on page 10, reads that “Losses to infrastructure” in Lebanon have thus far totaled $2,400,000,000. The 50 mil is 1/48th of that; in proportion to the Israeli infrastructure damage, that comes out to 27 mil.

“For our part, the United States is helping to lead relief efforts for the people of Israel, ... we have increased our immediate humanitarian assistance to $27 million.” You would not see that sentence, especially by our State Secretary, and for good reason. The idea is simply insulting to Israel; such little funds for so much damage.

For the U.S., again keeping the proportions, if we take the place of Israel, is 1,860; if the place of Lebanon is taken, 87,630 ... which is about 29 9/11s (over the course of a month, roughly one every day), whose fifth anniversary looms quite soon. [Suppose a far greater power promised financial aid for our reconstruction? It would be (by my count) a transparently paltry $3,947,305 for our $1,894,736,832 in damages. Maybe my math is wrong. But it would be a start.]

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