W’s Voodoo Vision





Mr. Carpenter is working on a book about American demagoguery. He is a columnist for HNN.

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Recall reading of those halcyon days before the feds rudely intervened on the poor's behalf? Aside from serial and safety-netless economic depressions, disinterested state governments, depleted community chests, overburdened charitable church funds, financially strapped benevolent societies, severe malnutrition, untreated disease, merciless industrial-workplace conditions, and overcrowded hovels with overflowing sewage as playground props, the poor always had a gay-'90s time of it. Such pastimes as the challenge of surviving a 300-calorie diet or guessing which offspring would live to the age of 5 kept them vibrant, lighthearted, and blissfully independent. Assuming you had one, there was no place like home, free of federal guarantees.

Should your social history recall be a bit rusty, not to worry, for the Bush administration is doing its damnedest to recreate America in the image of Grover Cleveland. The Boy King hasn't read of, and doesn't understand the lessons of, the past, so he admires it immensely. His 2004 budget plan -- which, with Republican control of both houses, is likely to survive largely intact -- is a reactionary blueprint for the reconstruction of Gilded Age social brutality.

Combined with the effects of 2001's tax cuts, Bush proposes slashing nearly $3 trillion from federal revenues over the next 10 years. Since the mother lode of those lost revenues will wind up in fat-cat bank accounts, tax-free inheritances and gauche consumption, someone else must sacrifice for Croesus's good. According to compassionate conservative doctrine, that someone else is properly the poor -- and anyone else dangling below the plutocratic poverty line -- as the president's budget makes clear.

Naturally as we prosecute the war against terrorism against all foes except actual terrorists, the military and its private contractors are plentifully provided for. What your Social Security and Medicare trust-fund money doesn't cover for Pentagon doo-hickeys, W simply puts on a tab -- courtesy your children and grandchildren. In coming years the interest alone on the national debt will ensure them extortionist taxation and prohibitive mortgage rates -- on top of having to provide for you in your old age -- so they might as well start honing their poverty-coping skills now. The little buggers should be content, however, just knowing it's their contribution to stamping out ever-changing axes of evil and Bush IV's standard of living.

The president's budget does not entirely throw fiscal prudence to the wind. It seeks to keep annual deficits in the "manageable" range of $300 billion over the next couple years. (They more accurately are sure to be in the $400 to $500 billion-dollar range, say many economists. But let us not quibble. The administration itself admits the debut of unprecedented national indebtedness, so what's another $100 billion tossed on the public heap of fiscal liability?) In furtherance of conservative economics, the White House intends to achieve those quite manageable deficits by whacking away at waste. The Bush league's internal translation: whatever benefits the poor.

Medicaid and housing assistance programs, for instance, are slated for state, rather than federal, management. Each of the 50 states would be authorized to set its own eligibility and spending standards, which means the programs would be doomed as far as fair and equitable application. After all, that's why the feds got involved in the first place: state government exercised neither care nor responsibility for the indigent.

Of course there are numerous other villains that threaten comfortable deficits of only a few hundred billion. Among them are literacy programs; job training; the earned income tax credit; and perhaps most unconscionable of all -- yes indeed -- those outrageous school lunch subsidies. So long as there's one reasonably fed tyke out there offensively choking down a 10-cent hot dog at the Yacht Club's expense, rest assured that W's OMB is on the case. And although even many conservatives have described the EITC as the most successful, most effective of all antipovery programs, the White House plans to hire 650 new bureaucrats and spend $100 million to whittle down its takers. The lowest-income crowd might be bilking us for up to $9 billion a year, muses the Treasury Department (in contradistinction to the General Accounting Office) -- and by all accounts it's keeping 43 up at night. That's several billion that could go into tax-free dividends.

Notwithstanding W's simplistic nostalgia, the good old days weren't better, and for many, they were anything but good. America is about to relearn that lesson the hard way.


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MARCEL.O.EHUMADU - 4/16/2003

ST MICHEAL’S CHARITY HOME
B.P 8164 LIBREVILLE GABON
TEL :00241-26-61-26
Motto: God shall provide.


Dear Rev/Sir/Madam,
We the entire members of the
St Micheals charity home are here by calling
on your person towards the horrible situation
in the home. Since the begining of this year
the federal government had abandoned the home
and no good reason was stated uptill this moment,
as a result most of the handicap are no longer
being taking care as before,some are dying, many
are sick others are clothless and a lot of them
do not attend to school again due to lack of school
facilities.Infact , is better to emagine than to
express to some one the present condition of the
home,are these handicaps not the children of the
world or because the are disable ? Mean while, we
have contacted many companies,industries and some
prominent people around us and our proposal to them
were turned down by most of them due to the home is
not profit oriented. St Micheal charity home can
only survive the home through helps from churches,
shools, individuals and voluntry and non vountry
organisatoin.There comes a time when we heal certain
all when the world will come
together as one ,there are people dieying and is time
to lend a
helping hand to the inmates and we believe that
someone
somewhere can make a change,remember that we are the
world
,we are the children of God that makes a brighter day
so let
us start giving ,let us start helping each other
irrespective of the
country, tribe and colour .So send them your heart
for there
life to be stronger and free.The bible says in
2Corinthians 9vs7
that every man according as he purposeth in his heart
so let him
give not grudgingly or of necessity ,for God loveth a
chearful giver.
Sir/madam,we therefore apeal to you with name of God
to come
to our rescue with what ever help one can afford.
(nothing is too small before the home) behold our good
Samarithans
reaches us through this media WESTERN UNION, DHL AND
TNT
COURIER SERVICE through Rev Marcel Ehumadu .
Whoever that cares for shall also recieve in abondance
in Jesus
name Amen, Thanks and God bless you.

Rgards
Rev Sister
Christy Nguema
For the
Home..










Marcel .O. Ehumadu - 4/16/2003

ST MICHEAL’S CHARITY HOME
B.P 8164 LIBREVILLE GABON
TEL :00241-26-61-26
Motto: God shall provide.


Dear Rev/Sir/Madam,
We the entire members of the
St Micheals charity home are here by calling
on your person towards the horrible situation
in the home. Since the begining of this year
the federal government had abandoned the home
and no good reason was stated uptill this moment,
as a result most of the handicap are no longer
being taking care as before,some are dying, many
are sick others are clothless and a lot of them
do not attend to school again due to lack of school
facilities.Infact , is better to emagine than to
express to some one the present condition of the
home,are these handicaps not the children of the
world or because the are disable ? Mean while, we
have contacted many companies,industries and some
prominent people around us and our proposal to them
were turned down by most of them due to the home is
not profit oriented. St Micheal charity home can
only survive the home through helps from churches,
shools, individuals and voluntry and non vountry
organisatoin.There comes a time when we heal certain
all when the world will come
together as one ,there are people dieying and is time
to lend a
helping hand to the inmates and we believe that
someone
somewhere can make a change,remember that we are the
world
,we are the children of God that makes a brighter day
so let
us start giving ,let us start helping each other
irrespective of the
country, tribe and colour .So send them your heart
for there
life to be stronger and free.The bible says in
2Corinthians 9vs7
that every man according as he purposeth in his heart
so let him
give not grudgingly or of necessity ,for God loveth a
chearful giver.
Sir/madam,we therefore apeal to you with name of God
to come
to our rescue with what ever help one can afford.
(nothing is too small before the home) behold our good
Samarithans
reaches us through this media WESTERN UNION, DHL AND
TNT
COURIER SERVICE through Rev Marcel Ehumadu .
Whoever that cares for shall also recieve in abondance
in Jesus
name Amen, Thanks and God bless you.

Rgards
Rev Sister
Christy Nguema
For the
Home..










celtcahill - 2/17/2003

True words


Gus Moner - 2/17/2003

I remain fascinated at the nation’s passivity when facing such political hypocrisy, all political parties included. We are willing to go out and defend a peaceful process in sorting out Iraq. Yet, we are passively under whelmed by the cruelty and poverty inflicted on so many for lack of health care, proper nutrition and shelter. We are told there’s no money for medical programmes, social responsibility ought to be in private hands and that the nation’s ills are due to terrorists. And we buy into it! Why not protest these cruel policies? How can so many other nations provide medical care, a social services network for all and we cannot, when we are infinitely richer than they are? Because the rich would have to be a little bit less rich.

Yet, incredibly large sums of money have turned up from nowhere to pay for all sorts of adventures. We have costly new bases in a dozen (mostly new) nations, where we dispense money freely to their tin pot dictators to stay in power and keep our bases. We spend enormous sums lining up coalition partners through cancelled debt, additional aid, etc. When the money ran out, we entered deficit spending and tax cuts that are mostly for the rich. The efforts of the entire nation to get into surplus have gone up in the smoke of Bush’s wars. Unsurprisingly, most senators and congress people are rather rich themselves when not outright millionaires, while many are attorneys. Don’t think these elements have nothing to do with it.

Astoundingly large military expenditures and all sorts of costly new homeland security costs that will turn out to be worthless if and when the terrorists strike again are being passed in the best pork barrel tradition. We spend incredible sums militarising space through NASA and now the Ballistic Missile Shield. Has anyone asked how much we have spent so far in the build-up to invading Iraq? Does anyone know, or worse, care?

Meanwhile, between 40 and 60 million US citizens go without basic dental and health care, or proper nutrition, raising another generation of poverty stricken families with poor child health and nutrition, leading to poor classroom skills thus furthering the cycle of poverty. It’s too costly to insure us all, we are told. However, do people realise that the single biggest reason for personal bankruptcy is due to medical disasters that ruin families?

Meanwhile, farming corporations get huge dollops of welfare, aircraft and military corporations get vast research funds that are mere subsidies whilst our elderly are saddled with mammoth medical prescription bills to subsidise their manufacturer’s colossal corporate profits. We are told this provides the world’s best medical care, available only to the well-off, they cleverly forget to add. In local communities throughout the Kingdom of Bush, basic services and needed programmes, the ones that affect people’s daily lives the most, are being sheared for dramatic lack of funds.

Within three past years we have gone from fiscal prudence, surpluses and general well-being to an economic disaster that has yet to fully rear its ugly head. Your article is cleverly allegorical and well focused, so it was fun to read. Thank you.


Tom Kellum - 2/15/2003

You hit the nails on their heads, Mr. Carpenter.

I'm sure that lots of people could fashion a clever response to what you have to say here; and that is very sad.

Life is short, and how in the world some people are able to rationalize away our obligation to do what we can to make it a little easier for all of those traveling the dark journey with us...is beyond my understanding.

I guess the only way they can do that is by denying the truth of what you said. And that, too, is very sad.

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