Monday, September 24, 2007


Food Insecurity

I never thought that the technical things in Orwell's 1984 would come to fruition, but I was always worried about newspeak. That reduction of language had a real shot of coming true. Behold.

There isn't any starvation in America. Whenever it happens, usually some evil parents, of some sort, starving their kid or charge to death, it makes the news. We have the opposite problem, too much food and the 20% obesity that follows.

However, that's not good enough for some bureaucrats, so they have concocted a new description, called food security, strictly from the self evaluated response to a questionnaire. If at all times in the past year you have had all the food you thought you needed for an active and healthy 'lifestyle' then you are food secure. If at any time during that year you have not had all the food you think you needed, then you are food insecure. 12 years ago they used to talk about food insecure with hunger (feeling uncomfortable from lack of food) and food insecure with severe hunger, but the newspeak is now down to three categories: Food secure; Food insecure; and, Very low food security.

In an earlier post I made fun of Al Gore and his Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman for saying in 1997 that there were 30 million hungry people in America. I was right. They were wrong. The 1995 figures (p.5) were that 88.1 % of the American households were food secure and only .o8 % (roughly 800,000 people) were food insecure with severe hunger. That's not even close to the millions Gore and Glickman were falsely portraying as starving, sorry, suffering from hunger.

The 2005 figures (p. 4) are better; a full 89% are now food secure (so much for the problem growing) and only 3.9 % have very low food security.

School children of poor families get free breakfast and lunch on school days. The federal Food Stamp Program is so rich in food and poor in takers that they are running advertising to get more people to apply for food stamps. Anyone who says there are a lot of hungry people in America and the problem is getting worse is delusional. Just in a separate reality.

Or perhaps the idea of actually not having enough food to eat has been replaced by the newspeak 'food insecurity'.


"The study tells us that -- in America, at the dawn of the 21st century -- about 12 million households a year experience food
insecurity. And this figure does not even count the homeless population.
It is an appalling figure -- and we as a nation must do more to end the human tragedy of hunger."

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Vice President Al Gore
Release No. 0322.97
September 15, 1997

"The large majority of American households were food secure in the year ending April 1995. About 88.1 percent of the approximately 100 million households in the United States are classified as food secure over that period, as illustrated in Exhibit ES-2. About 11.9 million households,however, experienced food insecurity at some level during that year. '

Summary Report
of the Food Security
September 1997

"spectacularly wrong" ???
Here's what he said before what you quoted:
in America -- the land of plenty -- parents will whisper, trying not to wake
the children, and struggle to figure out how to make ends meet, how to get
food on the table

And in another room, their children will be trying to fall asleep and
trying to ignore the sore pain of hunger. Those of us who are parents feel
their pain in our own hearts. Those of us who are Americans feel their pain
in our nation,s spirit.

We are here to today to try to ease some of that pain -- to join
together in the fight against hunger. As you all know, this is the
first-ever national summit on food recovery. We have come together here in
Washington and -- by satellite -- in over 50 locations around the nation.
We stand united in our commitment to end this blight on our nation,s soul.
And I hope you leave here reenergized to go out and do the Lord,s work in
your communities.

For the first time, we will be fighting hunger with a fuller picture
of the problem itself. Today, our Administration is releasing the first
ever baseline study of the scope of hunger in America.

(Emphasis added). Hunger is not food insecurity. Over 60% of the food insecure were never hungry according to the report you cited.

By repeating hunger repeatedly and then using only the food insecure figures, Gore, and you, are spectacularly wrong.
In your 9/15/07 post you stated (without giving any cite), that Gore and the Secretary of Agriculture bothe claimed on 9/15/97 that "30 million Americans (roughly 1 in 9) were suffering from hunger". I then found and cited the key part of Gore's exact speech. He never said "30 million Americans (roughly 1 in 9) were suffering from hunger". He said "The study tells us that -- in America, at the dawn of the 21st century -- about 12 million households a year experience food insecurity. And this figure does not even count the homeless population."
This is exactly what the study said- 12 million households a year experience food insecurity.

So you were caught misquoting Gore. But rather than admit your mistake, you respond by saying well, Gore was wrong when he " repeated hunger repeatedly". Huh?

While its constantly hard to keep following you as you change the issues of the argument, what I think this now boils down to is that the study said a lot of people suffered from hunger in this country, and Gore said that was a problem that we should do something about. He never said "30 million Americans (roughly 1 in 9) were suffering from hunger" and you were spectacularly wrong in misquoting him.
Nice try, pete. Let's do the math. I'll make it as simple as I can. If 11.9 percent of all American households were 12 million households, that means there were about 100 million households. I don't know if Gore was rounding up or if the household figure was slightly different. It doesn't matter, however, because the population was 266 million ( but I'll round it down to 250 million for convenience; so that means 2.5 people in each household. 12 million households times 2.5 people per household equals 30 million people involved in the "the human tragedy of hunger" I didn't misquote a thing, Gore apologist. Next time you accuse me of misquoting someone, get your figures straight first.
Please stop moving the goaline. Please stop misquoting. Please stop insulting people who you disagree with. You consistently do this and it is disengenious way to argue.

Again, Gore did not say 12 million households (or 30 million people) were suffering from hunger. Both Gore and the study said the same thing: about 12 million households a year experience food insecurity.
You misquoted the speech.
Pete, last comments. I did not quote Gore and Glickman. When I quote people I either use quotation marks or I put the statement in italics. I paraphrased what they said. I was right about the 30 million figure and I was right about their calling it hunger again and again. I think it was a reasonable impression, given the whole of the speech (which you have apparently read), that they were saying 30 million were suffering from the human tragedy of hunger. Indeed Gore did use the near newspeak term 'food insecurity' but all of the speech equated that with hunger, which it is not. I'm not moving the goal posts (whatever that is) nor am I changing the subject and I don't think I was too harsh on you. You can't see mistake or wrongness on the left and I am hard pressed to see anything but that. My paraphrase was fair and I stand by it. Thanks for your research and comments. Bloglife would be duller without you and your ilk.
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