Saturday :: Feb 12, 2005

The New Du$t Bowl

by pessimist
For eight years dust blew on the southern plains. It came in a yellowish-brown haze from the South and in rolling walls of black from the North. The simplest acts of life — breathing, eating a meal, taking a walk — were no longer simple. Children wore dust masks to and from school, women hung wet sheets over windows in a futile attempt to stop the dirt, farmers watched helplessly as their crops blew away. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted about a decade. Its primary area of impact was on the southern Plains. The northern Plains were not so badly effected, but nonetheless, the drought, windblown dust and agricultural decline were no strangers to the north.

As John Steinbeck wrote in his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath: "And then the dispossessed were drawn west - from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless - restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do - to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food.

The kids are hungry. We got no place to live.

- from About The Dust Bowl

Thanks to King George Warmonger and his Electric Oil Budget, farmers all over the nation are facing a similar fate - just not due solely to the weather and poor farming practices. They made some poor political choices, and now they will pay the price:

Farmers Shaken by Bush's Subsidy Plan

In many farm states that helped re-elect Bush in November after never hearing any campaign talk about cutting their payments, there is a sense of betrayal. "I'm not happy. I voted for George Bush," said cotton grower John Rife of Ferriday, La.

You should have thought about listening to us progressives a little bit sooner - like before last November.

Rice grower Frank Rehermann contemplates his 33rd spring planting while worrying about the lowest crop prices he has ever seen. And not only that, he is hearing troubling things from the federal government, his silent partner on 900 acres about 60 miles north of Sacramento. "I expect when it's all said and done the rice industry will sustain cuts. The question is how much?" said Rehermann, who along with 5,300 other rice growers in Northern California received $260 million in federal crop subsidies in 2003.

All 5,300 of you can expect that King George Warmonger will make a deal with China to suppply us with rice. Therefore, you can count on all of your subsidies to go away long before your debts do:

Among farmers, who make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, many say such payments are critical to their businesses, where production costs often outstrip commodity prices and the profit margin is perilously small and can easily be wiped out by heat, by cold, by rain or by drought. Terry Wanzek, a fourth-generation wheat farmer in Jamestown, N.D., said: "My payment goes right into the checkbook and back out to pay local taxes and farm equipment. It's not money that goes into my Swiss bank account or goes on vacation."

You mean that you aren't a part of the Topper$ either? Then why did you vote against your economic interests?

"In a town of 15,000 or 20,000 people, you can tell the difference when the farms are doing good and farmers are more optimistic about things," said Cruger, Miss., cotton grower Rob Farmer. "Everybody does better. All the businesses do better."

Funny thing you farmers seem to have overlooked with your Republican votes for 'moral values' - this same economic observation applies to those poor slobs who have seen their manufacturing jobs go away to India (with Bu$hCo assistance - scroll down), whether they are in relatively rural North Carolina or urban Seattle, Washington. But that didn't matter to you 'good' Christians, did it? 'Moral values' was the glue trap that caught your brains.

"What do they want from us? Do they really want us to succeed out here and support our local communities? Or do they want us to quietly go away and sell out to an investor?" asked Eunice Biel, a dairy farmer with 860 acres near Harmony, Minn.

You farmers obviously haven't been paying attention while Bu$hCo raped and pillaged American jobs in every other sector of the economy. You farmers got a pass, because King George Warmonger needed your votes to cover the theft of votes in other places, like Ohio. Now that he no longer requires your services, you get to be treated like everyone else already has. Have you all forgotten your Martin Niemoller?

Since I know you have, I'll remind you:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Mister Grainger Stranger

Farmers plan to fight Bush's proposal, and Congress has traditionally backed crop subsidies. Harry Zeeve of the Concord Coalition, a balanced-budget organization that welcomed the Bush proposal, acknowledged: "Given the resistance that the administration may face from both Democrats and Republicans who would be affected by that, we're certainly not confident that these cuts will survive."

"There's going to be a battle royale," promised Rehermann, who also heads the California Rice Commission.

You guys are dreaming! Do you really think that bluff and bluster are going to disuade a past-master of both? You didn't hear what I said above, so let me repeat it a little louder, so you can hear me over the sound of your combine self-destructing:


The Rust Belt is now joined by the Dust Belt.

You made your political beds, now you get to sleep in them.

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pessimist :: 4:43 PM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!