Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Real Looters Are In Washington

We know them, the greedy criminal gangs that roam rampant without any order in the halls of the Capitol Dome. They take what is not rightly theirs , using fear, intimidation and the basest human instincts to get what they want, even if they don't need it.

They've looted our national coffers in an unfettered manner for decades, only now, the scars are really starting to show...

They are lawyers & lobbyists, military industrial complex lackeys, corrupt congressmen, oil & energy billionaires, media moguls, bible beaters and gun nuts or mutant combos of all of the above and they are drawn like flies to a rotting corpse of American Democracy in our halls of power. It's weird science of the worst order and the once quiet stirrings and rumors and innuendo have turned ugly, with scenes of unforgivable negligence and worldwide embarassment. When will our country learn it's lesson? Literally last week as New Orlean's was flooding, new documentation surfaced of more collusion to roll back our nation's air standards.

While almost anyone with a 9th grade science education can recognize the effects of global warming, the Bush admin consider such ideas as mere "pablum". Rather than create policies that would mitigate the effects of man's effects on the environment, they work on rolling back clean air standards, and figuring out how to get God listed as the co-author of our Science textbooks.

The Times-Picayune newspaper long ago reported in a Pulizer Prize winning 5 part series the posibilities of a hurricane hitting the gulf coast. They covered the federal budget cuts and detailed the dangers as the Bush admin started hacking at flood control project budgets. A 2004 article in the paper details how emergency management chiefs Walter Maestri in Jefferson Parish and Terry Tullier in New Orleans, hoped somehow to persuade those who control federal spending that protection from major storms and flooding were matters of homeland security.

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay," Maestri said. "Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Tullier said, "There is no magic bullet or single key for us. It takes all the keys that we have, and our system of protection is only as strong as its weakest link.

"For us, this levee is part and parcel of homeland security because it helps protect us 365 days a year."

In addition to those comments, it appears that IRAQ received a 100 million wetlands restoration grant, while LOUISIANA only got 8, a fraction of the amount requested last year.
In April 2004, some of the nation's best minds who were supposed to be finishing a study and improving Lousiana's damaged wetlands instead found themselves in the Persian Gulf -- restoring Iraqi marshes.

I'm flabbergasted at the bureau-cretins in the Bush admin that would trim spending on vital project like southern coastal flood protection projects and punitively fire an Army Corps of Engineer Chief for opposing their retarded and literally life threatening budget cuts.

Only an upside down clown cabal could operate under these conditions. I can't help but think of Mel Brook's as the governer in Blazing Saddles crosseyed and uttering "Harrummph ! Harrumph !" when these governmental idiot moves are announced. Rome is burning, and officially Cheney's still in an "undisclosed location" on his fricking "vacation" !!!!!

"The evacuation of New Orleans in the face of [the] hurricane... looked sinisterly like Strom Thurmond's version of the Rapture. Affluent white people fled the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less -- mainly Black -- were left behind in their below-sea-level shotgun shacks and aging tenements to face the watery wrath." Admittedly a vivid description, and written a year ago September 2004 by Mike Davis, in his article, "Poor, Black, and Left Behind."

Mother Jones has columnist Tom Englehart who rails at FEMA efforts being " led by an incompetent who had been fired from his previous job as one of the leaders of the International Arabian Horse Association, has had "its ties to state emergency programs? weakened, and? has reduced spending on disaster preparation." In the same way, we now know that the Army Corps of Engineers was financially reined in on crucial levee work in New Orleans. Much of this sort of thing was done under the guise of preparing for, or fighting, or funding the war on terror at home and abroad. Many pundits, for instance, have remarked on the obvious fact -- which had previously worried the governors of many states -- that significant chunks of the National Guard and, just as important for disaster relief, its heavy equipment are to be found in Iraq, not here to be called upon in an emergency. (And when the avian flu, or the next health disaster, suddenly hits our country, consider it a guarantee -- the media will again be filled with the same sort of shock about the civilian response to the crisis, because our public health system has also been gutted and de-funded under the guise of the war on terrorism.) Over the last years, just about everything of a helping nature that is governmental, other than the military, has begun to be starved or stripped by the looters of this administration -- set loose in Washington rather than Baghdad or New Orleans."

A poster at The Daily Kos details just some of the truly frustrating behind the scenes b.s going down as FEMA asserts itself in New Orleans:

If you suspected that we had jackasses in charge, it appears you were right:

I just read a disturbing account posted by two Paramedics who were stranded in New Orleans but also not allowed to leave . Armed Sheriffs pointed guns and prevented a group of beleaugured refugeees they were with from crossing over a bridge on the Mississippi and forced them to return to the nasty conditions in the flooded city. Refugees literally held off at gunpoint while a sheriff is screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway!!!". Helicopters being used to blow away flimsy temporary structures and sheriffs loading up their vehicles with food and water confiscated from trapped survivors.

See a harrowing video clip of singer Charmaine Neville a Bywater resident and daughter of Charles Neville who tearfully recounts breaking into a an RTA bus to save herself and others after days of horrific conditions, systemic neglect, wading through alligator infested waters steeped with bodies, and the eventual rapes and murders as the days wore on.

Charmaine Neville - Lights

Louis Prima - Basin St Blues

Mahalia Jackson - Thru The Storm

Sir Douglas Quintet - The Rains Came

more links:

With the evacuations process stabilizing, flooding now receding, obviously there's many much longer and more arduous processes at stake. That of relocating, rebuilding and other community focused activities starting now. Instead of donating just to the Red Cross, you can now help a real local New Orleans community organization that already has experience organizing in the same wards that were evacuated. A People's Hurricane Fund has begun to be administered by a coalition of community groups that for nine years has worked in what are now the hardest-hit neighborhoods of New Orleans. To give, just click this link:

On the ground and help centers it's reported that evacuees have a great need for long distance calling cards, wrist watches, battery powered clocks, ethnic hair care products, school supplies, backpacks and other luggage.

other relief links:

What People are Saying:

Chuck D of Public Enemy has a radio show on Air America, and here's a recent edition in which at 1:45 or so, he reads a poem about the New Orleans situation

.MP3: Air America's "On The Real" Sept 4th edition


New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell NO, we Aint Allright

Now all these press conferences
breakin news alerts
this just in
while your government looks
for a war to win
flames from the blame game, names?
where do i begin?
walls closin in
get some help to my kin
Who cares?
while the rest of the bushnation stares
as the drama unfolds
as we the people under the stares
50% of this son of a bush nation
is like hatin on haiti
an settin up assasinations
ask Pat Robertson- quiz him.....
...smells like terrorism.
racism in the news
still one sided news
saying whites find food
prey for the national guard ready to shoot
cause them blacks loot

New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell NO, we Aint Allright

Fires , earthquakes, tsunamis
i dont mean to scare
wasnt this written somewhere?
disgraces all i see is black faces
moved out to all these places
emergency state
corpses, alligators and snakes
big difference
between this haze
and them diamonds on the VMAs
we better look
whats really important
under this sun
especially if you over 21
this aint no tv show
this aint no video
this is really real
beyond them same ol 'keep it real'
quotes from them Tv stars drivin big rim cars
'streets be floodin, 'b'
no matter where you at, no gas
driving is a luxury
state of emergency
shows somebodys government
is far from reality....

New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night
Hell NO, we Aint Allright

I see here we be the new faces of refugees
who aint even overseas but here on our knees
forget the plasma TV-aint no electricity
new worlds upside down-and out of order
shelter? food? wsssup, wheres the water?
no answers from disaster them masses hurtin
so who the fk we call?--Halliburton?
son of a bush, how you gonna trust that cat?
to fix sht
when help is stuck in Iraq?
makin war plans takin more stands
in Afganistan
2000 soldiers dyin in the sand
but thats over there, right?
now what's over here
is a noise so loud
that some cant hear
but on TV i can see
bunches of people
lookin just like me..

Chuck D/ Public Enemy September 2 2005
Terrordome Music Publishing, LLC. (BMI), administered by Reach Global, In

Democracy Now recently broadcast an interview with Algiers resident Malik Rahim who is a Black Panther Party veteran and former mayoral candidate. He had few kind words for Mayor Nagin, and the handling of resources made available to help folks weather the storm and it's aftermath.

.MP3: Malik Rahim on "Democracy Now"

What Other People are Saying:

Broadcasting & Cable

Weathering the Storm
Amid one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history, getting the news out to viewers last week was critical. It was also harder than ever.

A Massive Rebuild for Television
Local TV broadcasters and cable operators in the Gulf Coast area say rebuilding their stations and plant could take several months.

Mike Davis' Prescient Article from 2004 :
Poor, Black & Left Behind

1 comment:

Malatron said...

thanks man. i love your blog. I will link it momentarilly