Saturday, September 21, 2013

Republican Nation “Sick, Malnourished, Undereducated, And Unemployed”

When World War II brought industrialized nations into combat on an unprecedented scale, it was important to keep a steady supply of food and munitions coming to its soldiers.  Morale and efficiency of troops were directly related to good food and nutrition.  For that reason, food rations provided to American soldiers were monitored by the Army Medical Corps to ensure superiority of the supplies to American troops over that of German or Japanese troops.

There was significant cost and difficulty in supplying a fresh supply of food and beverages to the front line.  According to the US Army, American soldiers consumed about nine million pounds of food daily.  Large amounts of food had to be brought to the battlefront which would be nutrient rich, in eatable condition, and available quickly.

The American soldier's ration was made up of easily mass produced, canned, and shipped goods such as beans, packaged meats and vegetables, soluble fruit drinks, chewing gum, and cigarettes.  American soldier’s rations were processed and not freshly made but the availability of genuine vitamin-rich foods was taken seriously as a matter of national security.

The Germans and Italians had trouble supporting their troops and munitions workers with food in the same way.  The Germans were largely dependent on domestic food resources which, while enough to survive on, could not provide both soldiers and munitions workers with enough nutrients to remain at full efficiency.  

As a result, the Germans suffered a loss in the supply of food and munitions due to worker malnourishment while the Americans were able to provide for the Allies.  Well-fed and nourished soldiers and workers had a distinct advantage over their malnourished counterparts; this was the clear advantage that the United States brought to the Allies.

The school lunch program was started in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman.  A study revealed that many young men had been rejected from service in World War II due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. After its inception in 1946, the school lunches served more than 180 million lunches to American children attending public school or private non-profit schools.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson expanded the nutritional program to include breakfast for school children.  Many children had to skip breakfast because the poorer families could not afford to feed their children breakfast.  Educators realized that hunger was linked to poor performance in school and by 1975 breakfast was offered to children in public or non-profit private schools.

In 1968, a summer meals programs was offered to low income children.  The Summer Food Service Program operates in low-income areas where half or more of the children are from households with income at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty guideline. Residential and non residential camps also may get reimbursement for eligible children through the SFSP.

In 1972 the Congregate Nutrition Services was established and in 1978 the Home-Delivered Nutrition Services was established to provide nutrition services to the elderly.  Services were provided to facilities such as senior centers or by home-delivery to older individuals who are homebound due to illness, disability or geographic isolation.  The elderly nutrition programs ensured people could remain in their homes and saved the government money.

While the school lunch program was placed under the Department of Agriculture to ensure a market for surplus food, it really should have been under the Department of Health and Human Services. 
So the United States has a long history of recognizing the importance of nutrition for its entire people as a matter of strength and national security, not to mention compassion for its citizens.

Now fast forward to 2013.  From The Atlantic Wire:

House Republicans Vote to Cut $39 Billion From Food Stamps

The House passed a bill on Thursday that would cut as many as 3.8 million Americans from food stamps, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The cuts would come from a combination of ending state waivers for able-bodied, unemployed adults, and from tightened eligibility requirements. Currently, experts estimate that 48 million Americans will participate in the program in 2014. 
The vote was close, at 217-210, with 15 Republicans siding with every Democrat in the House against the bill. Using 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we calculated how many households in each member's district received food stamp assistance last year comparing that to how they voted.

It should be noted that Eric Cantor's wife, Diana Cantor works for a private bank subsidiary that bills itself as a "haven for wealthy individuals and families."  
That’s right folks, Republicans are too stupid to understand the dangers of a sick, malnourished populace.  The Republicans stripped the nutrition funds from the Farm Bill, but kept their personal farm subsidies in tact.   

So while Republicans are cutting food stamps at a time when real unemployment is around 18-20% they are rolling in farm subsidies.  Examples:

Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN) wants to cut food stamps, a lot. He quotes the Bible from the House floor saying the poor deserve to starve, and said the government should not steal “other people’s money.”  As a wealthy Tennessee farmer, he personally collected $3.5 million in federal farm subsidies over the past decade.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) LaMalfa's family rice farm has received more than $5 million in commodity subsidies since 1995.  He said helping the poor should be the job of individuals or the church because then "it comes from the heart, not from a badge or from a mandate." Farm subsidies? Apparently that's different.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), an Oklahoma Republican, benefited indirectly through payments to his wife, Lynda, who received $14,584 in disaster payments last year, the group found. He sits on the House Agriculture Committee.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) , a Texas Republican and one-third owner of Thornberry Brothers farm, received $9,181 in 2012 in direct and disaster aid payments.
And there are many, many more congressional members with their “snouts in the taxpayer trough” as Americans die of illness and starvation to balance the budget. 
Remember the lesson Truman learned from World War II:  Morale and efficiency of troops were directly related to good food and nutrition.

Thanks for the M.R.E.'s by Paul Krugman 

A few days ago I talked to a soldier just back from
Iraq. He'd been in a relatively calm area; his main complaint was about food. Four months after the fall of Baghdad, his unit was still eating the dreaded M.R.E.'s: meals ready to eat. When Italian troops moved into the area, their food was "way more realistic" — and American troops were soon trading whatever they could for some of that Italian food.

Other stories are far worse. Letters published in Stars and Stripes and e-mail published on the Website of Col. David Hackworth (a decorated veteran and Pentagon critic) describe shortages of water. One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why U.S. troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths? 

So, the Republicans continue their war on the American people.  What is it they hope to win?  A sick, malnourished, under educated, unemployed nation is not a nation of strength.  America is worth the investment in its people.

By Patricia Baeten

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