Friday, December 01, 2006

Smile, darn ya, smile!
Filed under: Constructive Criticism — MrBogle @ 8:05 pm
Whenever reality rears its ugly head and snarls at the Bush administration, BushCo. reacts in one of two ways. It ignores reality or, it spins and sugarcoats it into a benign catch phrase.

For instance, did you know that there are no longer Americans suffering from pangs of hunger? According to a report issued by the USDA a few days before Thanksgiving, absolutely no one in this country is hungry.

Of course, the report states that there are 35 million Americans, or 12% of the population, who are plagued by “low food security.” But hungry? The word isn’t mentioned once.

Feel better? We’ve eliminated hunger by eliminating the word from the government’s lexicon.

The report, which usually comes out in October but this year was mysteriously issued after the mid-term elections, is a delight to read as it deftly dances through a minefield of despair without once acknowledging that the “statistics” cited equals our American brothers and sisters.

Under the heading “How Many People Lived in Food-Insecure Households?,” it states: “In 2005, 35 million people lived in food-insecure households, including 12.4 million children. Of these individuals, 7.6 million adults and 3.2 million children lived in households with very low food security.”

Putting all this into Bushspeak? A heckuva’ lotta people can’t afford to put food on their families.

Why the “cleansing” of the words “hunger” and “hungry” from the annual Agriculture Department report? Mark Nord, the lead author, told “The Washington Post” that “hungry” is “not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey. We don’t have a measure of that condition.”

Hint: If a family can’t afford to have three meals a day, cannot afford to buy food for the entire month, has to skip meals and have a breakfast consisting of coffee and a breath mint? That’s the definition of “hunger.”

It’s not a coincidence that Bush’s administration would want to solve this nation’s hunger problem by slapping White Out on the word. In the last five years, the number of the hungriest Americans has risen dramatically.

Nord went on, according to “The Washington Post,” “Hunger is clearly an important issue. But lacking a widespread consensus on what the word ‘hunger’ should refer to, it’s difficult for research to shed meaningful light on it.”

This is the kind of guy who should be heading up FEMA.

Anti-hunger advocates say the new words sugarcoat a national shame. “The proposal to remove the word ‘hunger’ from our official reports is a huge disservice to the millions of Americans who struggle daily to feed themselves and their families,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, an anti-hunger advocacy group. “We . . . cannot hide the reality of hunger among our citizens.”

“We’re very concerned about ‘hunger’ disappearing,” said Ross Fraser of America’s Second Harvest, the country’s largest hunger-relief charity. “How do you talk about hunger if the government isn’t providing you with data about hunger?”

Said Jim Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center, “It’s replacing a phrase which has emotional punch for people with one that’s drained of any power.”

It’s interesting to note that the average for low security folks, in Texas, is 16%. Only New Mexico and Mississippi had higher percentages. In Texas, more than 5 out of every 100 households are in the worst off “very low food security” category.

The reason Texas’ statistics are noteworthy is that, when he was running for president, then-Texas governor Bush dismissed the 1999 report as being sheer fantasy.

“I’m sure there are some people in my state who are hungry,” he declared. “I don’t believe 5% are hungry.”

He attributed the report to dirty politics. “Yeah, I’m surprised a report floats out of Washington when I’m running a presidential campaign,” he smirked.

Well, congrats, Dubya. Texas has gone from 5% to 16% on your presidential watch. Kudos, you compassionate conservative, you.

So, what’s this administration doing about the problem? Well, for one thing, it’s cutting social programs, financially whittling away everything from school lunches to food stamps.

Food stamps, as all Republicans know, are widely abused by those Reagan-era “welfare mothers” who hire limousines with all the cash they’ve squirreled away by bilking the system and go shoot craps. Everyone grudgingly assumes that the poor have a most excellent safety net to stave off “very low food security” status via food stamps.

Yet, in Bush’s America, where billions can be spent on “bridges to nowhere,” a missile defense system that doesn’t work and bureaucratic boondoggles like The Department of Homeland Security, working stiffs are treated like piñatas when it comes to acquiring federal aid.

For instance, many food-strapped households make too much money to qualify for federal assistance. Yet, they have other expenses – rent, medical bills, utilities, clothing, tuition, gas and public transportation – that leave them little money for food.

The average food stamp benefit allows $1 per person, per meal, according to Dottie Rosenbaum, a food assistance expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “They don’t have … other income to purchase food,’’ Rosenbaum said. “Their food stamps may run out two weeks into the month.’’

George Orwell once warned, “if thoughts corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

So, lets all grab the White Out and sanitize all reality. Let’s jump on the smiley-faced Bush bandwagon and stave off all the ugliness.

The Iraqi Civil War? There’s no such thing. How about “family spat?”

And let’s stop counting the deaths of American troops abroad. From now on, they’re officially “life-force challenged.”

The millions of uninsured Americans are now “medically independent.”

Corrupt members of Congress shall be henceforth known as “free thinkers.”

Collapsing U.S. corporations will now be labeled as “small business entrepreneurs.”

Forget about smog. It’s just “floating sunscreen.”

Lying, disgusting, political smear campaigns, from this point onward, will be declared “creative writing.”

Those who have been unemployed for so long that they can no longer collect unemployment benefits will forever be called “non-existent.”

Electronic voting machines can now be labeled “games of chance.”

Delusional leaders will now be called “visionaries.”

Hey, all you elderly folks? Try on your new label: “delightfully discarded.”

All those who are forced to work for minimum wage will, from now on, be tagged: “The seeds of new prosperity.”

And, in terms of all those “food insecure” slackers?

Consider the words of Jesus, who prayed to God, “give us this day our daily food security.”

Actually, he said something along the lines of: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” and “So, in everything, do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

But what the hell does He know?

Just another long-haired, Defeatocrat, liberal freak. Wonder how this anti-government peacenick would stand up in Gitmo?


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