Friday, November 04, 2005

The Richest Nation on Earth Today

What’s it like to live in the richest nation on earth, the United States of America? If you are a foreigner the answers may surprise you. If you are an American, you already have a pretty good idea:

Employment: NINE million Americans are out of work;

Wages: US wages & salaries are down, universally across the board;

Energy costs: Up over 75% in the past year, and crude oil prices are above $60 per barrel, with the highest profits in history for energy companies, who are also receiving a huge tax break from this administration;

Inflation: Since this administration took office in 2000, US inflation has been approx. 18% - and that’s in the face of 9/11 & aftermath. In practical terms this means a dollar today buys only 82 cents worth in 2000 values.

Poverty: In 2004, another 1.7 million Americans dropped below the income poverty line. More than TWELVE million American children live in poverty (the worst rate by far of any industrialized country!);

Healthcare: Costs are inflating at double digit rates, and roughly 40% of the citizens of the richest nation on Earth are completely without health insurance coverage;

Retirement: Pensions of many millions of Americans have disappeared wholly or in part, i.e., the funds having been raped and/or confiscated by big business;

Investments: The largest corporate bankruptcies in history by far, wiping out many billions in personal wealth have been authored by supporters of this President, on this President's "watch". The stock market is below the level it was when this administration took office over five years ago. On 1/21/2000: DJIA = 11,253; At close on 11/4/05: DJIA = 10,530) = 7% DECLINE;

Food & nutrition: THIRTY-THREE million Americans are now ‘food insecure’ - literally not knowing where their next meal is coming from (that's roughly 110% of our population!);

Nature & the environment: The environment is under attack across a broad front in favor of huge international resource extraction corporations, by an administration which values it only for it's potential for exploitation;

Personal Freedoms: Americans have lost fundamental personal freedoms across the board under the excuse of "national security". Individuals and individual rights are under attack across a broad front in favor of ‘business’ and we citizens are actually more insecure than almost ever in history;

Religious Freedom: Fundamentalist Christian legislators believe they have the right and duty to define and dictate all values and standards for everyone else, and unfortunately are in a good position to do so. This is in a nation that which was originally founded in part on the principles of freedom of religion;

Ethics in government: There appears to be none in a secretive administration now being rocked by one smarmy scandal after another scandal;

BUT, the good news is . . . oops, sorry. THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS!

In Afghanistan:
Terrorists attacks are increasing and compounding daily; with ever higher levels of death and destruction;

Control of the government is largely in the hands of mujahedeen warlords, whom this administration prefers to define as ‘governors,” “ministers” or “presidential candidates” in keeping with their policies of lying and distortion;

BUT, the good news is that the opium poppy fields are now multiplied many times over and have delivered a bumper crop in 2005 which should really help the CIA!

In Iraq:
Terrorist attacks are increasing and compounding daily with ever higher levels of death and destruction;

American military deaths headed for the 'thousands' - casualties are increasing daily. Over 15,000 American military personnel have been wounded;

Iraqi casualties are largely uncounted with estimates as high as 100,000 dead or more and 350,000 or more wounded;

Nearly $200 billion American taxpayer dollars are acknowledged to have been spent on the war so far, with another almost $200 billion earmarked a the war with no end in sight;

Bechtel Corporation has an $1.8 billion contract to rebuild Iraq’s water sewage and electrical systems. Locals say next to nothing has been done and some of Baghdad’s streets are often flooded for blocks with ankle-deep green algae sewage;

Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corporation is the recipient of many billions of dollars in no-bid US federal contracts, and has eagerly managed to overcharge the American government on many fronts, from furnishing soldiers' meals to fuel;

Several international human rights organizations condemn the US for blatant abuses and say that our country is now running the “gulags of our time”;

This administration has redefined - literally - what is and is not ‘torture’ to justify their abuse of basic humanity and unconscionable treatment of helpless prisoners held for years without trial under harsh and inhumane conditions where torture is common. No comprehensive investigation has been made nor has any high level person been called to account;

Consequently, the reputation of the US is at it’s lowest point in history;

The entire nation of Iraq is now in grave danger of slipping into a civil war between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds - which has the potential to spread wholesale across the entire region;

The stability of the entire Middle East is at one of the lowest and most precarious points in history;

BUT, the good news is . . . oops, sorry. THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS!

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