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10The Alienist

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Claire,
First of all, you have made a good case for where you stand, and have done so eloquently. I even find myself agreeing that our government is massive, and that no one person has an accurate picture at any given time. But I do believe that we can have a foreign policy that is less antagonistic, and that it does matter who is president and part of that administration. If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The current president started his tough talk the day he entered office, and now we reap the benefits of it.

I know people in public schools. Between the state budget crunches and the NCLB act, schools are worse off today than ever before. Our present foreign policy has led to war with Iraq; which has resulted in a huge deficit. Try to step into a liberal mindset for one second and imagine spending that same cash (I’ve lost track, is it 400 billion now?) on public education. What would the results be? How can we ever know?

We have the most powerful military force on the planet. Our capacity for destruction and death is unrivaled. In terms of foreign policy, that is one reason we are so thoroughly hated. But there is more. While reading the NY Times September 8, I came across an article that underscores a large part of the worldwide resentment we have incurred. It is about a company called Newmont Mining Company. They specialize in gold mining, and after facing stiff opposition to their horrid environmental practices in Telluride, Colorado—and elsewhere in the U.S.—they did what any environmental criminal would do, and went out into the world. The story deals with their practice of dumping arsenic and mercury into the ocean off the coast of an island in Indonesia. First, the fish population declined, and now the islanders are getting tumors and are having birth defects. I could go on for centuries about what makes any of us think that another human being deserves to endure such treatment from a corporate giant, but lets skirt that issue. Newmont Mining is an American company, and someone within our government can damn sure do something about the way American companies conduct themselves abroad, from the slave wages they pay to oppressed people, right down to the systematic environmental degradation they practice.

Instead, our military is used as a club for private corporations to wield any time the natives become restless. We have been conditioned to believe that people beyond our borders are ignorant, simple-minded, and undeserving of the least of benefits that we take for granted every day. Why would they want our democracy? In fact it is generally agreed that we have a republic, but in reality we have an oligarchy in its purest form. We witness the abuse going on out there under the banner of the stars and stripes, but what can be done about it? All we have is the vote.

As one cynical American, I am convinced of what you say, Claire—foreign policy will not change significantly, no matter who is in office. You are right about that. It should change, though—there should be a lot of changes, if we as a nation can claim our ideals of truth, liberty, and justice in fact rather than theory.

I won’t blame Bush, rather than to say he is a part of the problem. In some ways, we all are. I will say, however, that some things aren’t facts just because he said they were. Our populace is far too gullible. Further, there are some smooth operators who like to make people feel unpatriotic for having the temerity to question the practices and motives of our president and his administration. If those practices can bear up to scrutiny, that is just great: but not to question at all is folly, and describes the line between liberty and slavery.

One final issue you brought up is the idea of entitlement programs. Again, I agree with you completely. There are probably millions of people scamming our system, from Medicare to school districts, and from food stamps to government grants. Let me point out that there will always people who will take a free ride wherever they can get it. These would be the unscrupulous vermin that are found in any society. The real problem is mindless bureaucracy at its maddening height. When administrators concern themselves with the letter of the law, rather than the true spirit, fraud creeps its way in. We need to have diligent administrators. Private companies also contend with frauds. They even have losses, but they take measures to assure that the losses are minimal. It may behoove someone to study what those companies are doing right. Let me volunteer a guess—they are being diligent, which is what we should expect from our own civil servants at any given time.

In general, there is not enough public funding for education, medical care, and retirement. To say that we should do no more because of the losses to fraud is ignoring the original intent of social benefit. Wherever large amounts of cash are available, unscrupulous persons will gather like filings to a magnet. I wonder how things are with the military right now? Anyone might ask when we are ever going to fund the social programs enough. Perhaps when everyone has a safe home, enough food to eat, and a decent standard of health.

Meanwhile, the money makes all the decisions on the hill. Common Americans should be fed up with millionaire presidential contenders by now, but they’re not—either that, or they have simply given up, treating the beltway as a world beyond borders, one with no significance in everyday living. Again, we are conditioned to believe that it takes a LOT of money to make the presidential pitch. Says who? The media? I have to liken this situation to someone making the rules, and then declaring that those are the rules, and they can’t be changed. What nonsense!

As a nation, we have to choose our own destiny, to decide what we really stand for, and what we really believe in. As is evident, if we don’t, others will choose for us, and we may not like those choices at all.


------
"We sit here stranded though we're all doing our best to deny it." (Visions of Johanna) Bob Dylan


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Comments

The following comments are for "The Cynical American-A Partial response to Claire"
by brickhouse

amen
Why is it that american voters are so trustworthy, they lie to get into office, they lie when thier there, and then they lie to remain there, and we believe them each and everytime. You make the best statement by saying we as people must do it together and stop letting someone else make all the choices, that is so true and I always wonder why so many of us have sat back and just given up, and accepted the way things are done. It's beyond me, and thank you for this post, so much truth and sad choices that were made lie within....Bob:)

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

Fine laying down of facts
You laid down the smack! :)

Of course you're not as acridic as I am, but you're also not an anarchist. But that's ok. Not everyone sees things the same way.

My point has been that loyalty to a government, especially a government that swings its bat around so brutally for no good reason, is a compromise against God. However you bring it closer to earth for some peoples' minds, and that's important.

( Posted by: The Alienist [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

A Cynical sensation
Fabulously done. It's calm, clear, concise, and utterly convincing. They only part I disagreed with was the stuff on social programs. The republicans blame the poor, because the poor do not have a voice. They don't own media companies and cannot defend themselves.

Besides, the wealthy receive 300 times the "welfare" that the poor recieve. I believe Microsoft, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, took 60 million plus in corporate welfare in 2003. Bush gave Enron $250 million in funds trying to prop up the giant that was raping Californians. It goes on and on...

Great stuff about how corporations have used our military and flag to poison other people. Heck, great stuff all of it.

Pythagoras

( Posted by: Pythagoras [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

some refinement
Lilia and Pythagorus,
I apologize ifI implied that poor people scam the system. I didn't mean that at all. There are all sorts of scams out there, including the ones that get played on Social Security and Medicare. I've been all over the economic spectrum personally, and will be the first to agree that most people prefer to earn their way, and will, if given the chance.
Alienist,
I love your raw power and the gravity of your words. I agree with much of what you say, but will always disagree with anarchy or violent overthrow. Contention and strife--yes--V.O.--no. It simply throws unpredictability into the mix. There are many, many other ways to achieve the desired results.
Claire,
I am quite surprised that you find so much agreement in this, but thrilled nevertheless. Your comment on poor people having access to voting booths is true, and I would be surprised if the majority of them don't vote. Ultimately, though, the political power lies with the wealth. Those with money are the ones who hire lobbyists and insiders to effect their agenda; it isn't going to be your average working stiff. Most of us have to hope the politicians don't make life any harder on us than it already is.

Thank you all for your comments.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

Brick and Claire
Brick, looking back, I shouldn't have spent so much of my comment on corporate welfare...Your piece certainly deserved more praise than I gave it. Its one of the best written and reasoned pieces I've read here. It gives me a bar to try to jump over. :)

Claire, I believe you mean well and you seem to have a good heart. However, you worry about a flea bite, but ignore the pitbull that has already eaten your leg and is moving onto your face. Some one scamming welfare takes what---a few thousand dollars a year. Compare that to corporate welfare which is in the millions per company---include tax evasion and tax loopholes and you're talking billions.

Personally, I feel you should worry about that which is most dangerous to you.

Pythagoras

( Posted by: Pythagoras [Member] On: September 12, 2004 )

Claire, piffle my butt
Hi claire...I missed this piffle comment...

The poor do not have a voice. Tell me which poor person owns a newspaper, a radio station or a television company? Blaming the poor is like fighting a man with no arms...they can't hit you back. What, is Rush limbaugh going to spend 15 hours a week defending them...I don't think so. His time is spent kicking them, while other media outlets ignore them.

As to having a vote, I assume you mean in places other than florida.

As to taxes, corporations don't pay any thing close to 300 times the taxes. Hell, many don't pay any at all. As to the wealthy, you're confused between the wealth they report and the wealth that they have. Here's a few tax cheating a examples.

Wealthy people can defer their paycheck, this way they don't pay taxes on it, but it grows tax free on their companies ledger. This deferred income can be invested in stocks, bonds or insurances and it all grows tax free to the high-paid employee. However, the company picks up the tab, which is then passed onto its low level stock holders in reduced dividends or lower stock prices. yee-haw.

Many CEO's have perks worked into their contracts were the company pays for their apartments, their cars, their maids, their planes, their food, their fresh flowers etc., etc. All of it is tax free--its non-reported income.

Don't even get me started on off-shore tax havens and hedge accounts.

And thanks to Bush cutting the IRS's budget, they can't afford to investigate or prosecute the wealthy or corporations who commit tax fraud. As a result, we're losing billions in tax revenue.

But you're right, a poor person taking a few thousand to feed her children...that's just down right evil. Maybe we should start working on a population reduction plan---will it include rocks or bullets? Sheez!

Pythagoras

Ps. My weekend is lovely, how's yours? :)

( Posted by: Pythagoras [Member] On: September 12, 2004 )

comment
You make valid points, and yes the poor do scam the system, because they feel scammed.
The government rapes the pockets of the middle class to toss the poor a bone. Only the chosen few ever really benefit. Welcome to the newer, wiser, more concealed slavery.

( Posted by: jade [Member] On: September 12, 2004 )

jade
Welcome to the newer, wiser, more concealed slavery.


wow I thought only I felt this way

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 12, 2004 )





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