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Gary R Varner

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A Land of Plenty
by Gary R Varner   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2005

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A commentary on the present political climate in America.

The United States has had a dubious reputation of being the wealthiest nation on the face of the globe. Many nations feel that this wealth has been obtained by coercion and deceit by the US and that the US has exploited the natural resources of other countries for economic and political gain. There have been sufficient examples of this over the years to justify their assertions.

There is another aspect of this “wealthy nation” status that should be examined as well. In reality, there are only a few mega-conglomerates and 2% of the population that controls and owns the vast wealth of the United States. It is, of course, this group of the few that the Bush administration wishes to protect and to offer the various “tax break incentives” in the theory that the wealthy will provide for the poor. A bad theory that one. Bush uses tax breaks as a cure all for issues that require much more thought and investment. One of his more dubious "tax breaks" was to give such a "break" to the poor so that they could invest the "extra" money into health plans. The only problem is the poor he targeted don't make enough to even pay taxes, or if they did they would use the "extra" money for food or clothing for their families.

While Bush claims that his economic policies, whatever those are, are creating jobs and a healthy economy the facts are otherwise. His failed attempt to create “democracy” in the Middle East by vastly underestimating the situation and by sending poorly equipped troops that have had their pay and health care cut, his crazy notion that he can save money and reform Social Security by having portions of Social Security funds diverted into the stock market—at a cost of several trillion dollars that will wind up in the pockets of investments companies, and his continued cuts in social programs all demonstrate that the Bush government has no understanding of the world situation or what the American people need and want.

His creation of the largest budget deficit in American history (created well before the war), on the heels of the largest surplus under the Clinton administration, and his demand for costly military programs without a funding source show that his programs are destined to fail. The repeated charges of corruption in his government and the powerful people and corporations that he supports indicate that his only motive is one of self-interest and economic wealth for his chosen few.

My current “day job” is with a small agency that helps people keep their power on during the cold winter months in the Pacific Northwest. We have limited funding to provide a means for a few hundred lucky people to get a utility credit to avoid shut-offs and to keep them warm. I see a large cross-section of America each day that troop through my office with disconnect notices or have actually had their power turned off. Normally this is not the fault of the individual other than they cannot pay their bills. The economy in this small coastal town where I live is reliant on the fishing fleet and tourism. Over the years, fishing has become more and more difficult and many that have braved the storms at sea day and night to haul in their catch have left the industry. Tourism, due to rising gas prices and the poor economy overall, has dropped as well. There are few jobs and the jobs that can be had pay minimum wage and are normally 20 hours or less a week. It is not uncommon for more than 30 people to be interviewed for any job that becomes available—even those few 20 hour a week positions. This in a town with less than 9,000 residents. I have seen couples with four children getting by on $600 a month or less and all I can do is marvel at their will to survive.
Social programs have been cut to the bone with most people dropped from the Medicaid rolls which has resulted in untreated illnesses and uncompensated care. The number of hungry children has increased dramatically and more and more people—people just like you and I, are winding up sleeping in the open with nowhere to go. The Bush administration says that all is well.

Almost half of my state’s National Guard troops are in Iraq. These are soldiers created originally to stay and protect the citizens of this state. It is not uncommon for one or more of these citizen-soldiers to die each week in a war created by Bush for personal reasons. The governor of my state attends the funeral of each National Guardsman or woman killed in Iraq. I wonder if George Bush would consider undertaking such a responsible and compassionate act?

As the flag is again lowered in my state for a fallen citizen-soldier, I see the Secretary of Defense justifying his failure to provide protection for our troops by saying “You go to war with the army you have”—implying that it’s the failure of our soldiers to protect themselves and not the responsibility of the government that sent them there in the first place. The war will be a very long and costly one—not only for America but for the citizens of Iraq that die by the thousands at the hands of their American liberators as well as by the mercenaries wishing to create their own land of intolerance. We will probably never know how many Iraqi citizens have died as the Bush administration has prohibited these numbers from being reported. Daily accounts of atrocities committed by American intelligence officers in Iraqi facilities and Guantanamo dispute the statements made by Bush that we went to war to stop Saddam from torturing the Iraqi people. No wonder Bush refuses to agree to support the World Court that prosecutes such acts of murder and torture. Actually this is incorrect—we do support the World Court when it prosecutes war criminals of other countries.

I would like to ask Mr. Bush why is it that the wealthiest nation on earth has the fewest international friends? Why is it that the wealthiest nation on earth has a continuing increase in poor and hungry citizens, an increase in the homeless population, an increase in the numbers of people unable to read or write and a dwindling percentage of the population that can live safely and comfortably on their incomes? And finally, why is it that war is courted as a boon to the economy rather than innovative technology that can benefit all the people of the United States and the world? The claim that the economy is on the upswing due to a rise in manufacturing orders and jobs is actually reflective of the increase in military spending to build and replace tanks, humvees, helicopters and the like that have been damaged or destroyed in Iraq.

Mr. Bush you need to sit back, engage your mind and contemplate why the US is hated when it has so much to offer. I hope that your god will forgive you for your criminal acts of negligence and aggression for profit.

America—a land of plenty but truly poor.

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/18/2006
thought provoking article
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