Republican Retirement Plan for Americans: The Enron Model 2003. Acrylic on canvas, 36x48"
The Republican party receives the largest financial support from corporations. Republicans pride themselves on being the biggest supporter of business and capitalism. The party and its supporters preach the idea that government should be small and business, or as they refer to it, the "private sector" should operate with little or no regulation from government. Republicans believe that unregulated business will provide financial security, healthcare, and retirement benefits for the American people. They believe business can do it better than government. The Enron corporation based in Houston, Texas was the Republican model for the way business should be allowed to operate to provide financial security for all America. In the fall of 2001, the Enron Corporation collapsed from sham accounting practices, hidden debt, illegal transfers of capital, bogus subsidiary companies, market manipulation and a Darwinian business culture. While top executives walked away with millions of dollars from selling Enron stock before the collapse, company employees, after the fall of Enron, were fired on the spot and escorted out of the offices with only their chair and a box of their belongings. Is that financial security or a sound retirement plan?
Bush Administrations 2002. Acrylic on canvas, 48x60"
Even before September 11, George W. Bush's belief was that the purpose of the military was to fight and win wars. Did he plan to get us in a war? Was this also his father's simplistic opinion? Do they see the world from an early 20th century perspective? Is the belief that to maintain a powerful military, it must have combat-experienced soldiers; therefore it must always be engaged in military conflict to achieve that goal? The result of which is a steady flow of headstones into military cemeteries. Today, the President's father sits on the board of the Carlyle Group, a $12-billion private equity firm that invests in United Defense Industries, a company that makes profits from weapon systems, destruction, and in a word, war.
Bush To The International Community Before 9/11 2002. Acrylic on canvas, 24x30"
As a basic, almost universal symbol of defiance, isn't this what President Bush expressed to the international community in regard to participation in treaties and agreements? Did not President Bush say that his main responsibility was to America first? Were all of his over-riding concerns mainly for the benefit of American multi-national corporations that reap huge profits from operating in foreign countries?
Bush On 9/11 (After Hopping Around the Country) 2002. Acrylic on canvas, 24x30"
Why did Bush hop around the country on 9/11 while other leaders stepped forward to reassure an anxious nation? While the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York were at ground zero, the President of the United States was on the run, to a hiding place. Why is that? When he was approached by his security detail about the attacks, it was his decision to run. He was the commander-in-chief. The security detail outlined the options for him and he was the final decision maker. Did he hop around the country because he did not comprehend his role as the leader of a democracy? Was his place not at the White House to reassure the world that the democracy would stand? Senators were in the open at the Capitol taking a stand. The Secretary of Defense was loading bodies into ambulances. Was the President hopping around due to the possible fact that he became a follower to his security detail rather than the leader of a democratic society? Was he a frightened rabbit?
Bush To The International Community After 9/11; Help Us 2002. Acrylic on canvas, 24x30"
After the tragic events of 9/11, and after already snubbing the international community, did not President Bush suddenly have his hand out for help, in an almost hypocritical, opportunistic manner? Was the United States now forced into the embarrassing position of having to turn to the rest of the world for help and, once again, our own self-interest? How can we be taken seriously by allies, and the international community as a whole, when there are such contradictory signals and expressions? Are these the signs and symbols of amateur diplomacy, amateur leadership?
Remnants Of A People 2002. Acrylic on canvas, 36x48"
Is the struggle of the Palestinians the same as it was for the Native Americans? Is not the Israeli government taking land from the Palestinians and allowing Israeli citizens to build homes and settlements on Palestinian lands? Are not Palestinians treated as second-class citizens? Is not the water rationed, the electricity rationed? Have they not been relocated to camps and their homes taken over by Israelis? Have they not been dehumanized, much in the same way as the Native American nations? Like Native Americans, Palestinians have fought their powerful aggressor and have attempted peace. Will the Palestinian flag become the remnants of a people?
Thank you for visiting the gallery
Martin Ostrye lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.