The Bush flooding of New Orleans: an unnatural disaster.
To the Editor:
"We don't care, we don't care" was the chant of pro-war, pro-Bush hecklers across the street from the Camp Casey peace vigil in Crawford, Texas in late August, 2005. This "we don't care" chant pretty much sums up the attitude of the Bush Syndicate (B. S.) towards the rest of us in America. Actually, Bush, Cheney and the rest of this idiotic neoconical government believes that the only true function of the federal government is to create private money-making opportunities for themselves, their friends, and their corporate contributors. Any activity other than waging aggressive war to steal and colonize other countries' natural resources falls into the category of "we don't care."
The Bush flood of New Orleans happened after the massive Hurricane Katrina had passed the city. It was both predictable and preventable. The Bush flood and the slow-as-molasses-in-January Bush response to it has ripped off the facade of the inept Bush Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its subsidiary, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The upper echelons of both of these massive federal bureaucracies have been staffed by incompetent and uncaring Bush buddies, cronies, hacks, frat brothers, former roommates, horse attorneys, contributors and other miscellaneous nincompoops. In making his appointments to the executive management of DHS and FEMA, Bush gave little if any thought to their actual qualifications in the field of emergency management.
Over the last several years, Bush and the GOP-controlled House and Senate have poured over one hundred billion tax dollars into "Homeland Security." What did we get as the federal response to Hurricane Katrina? We got homeland stupidity. After the massive flooding of New Orleans, which initially covered about eighty percent of the city, thousands of residents were herded to the Superdome where they denied water, food, medicine, bedding, toilet facilities and police protection for several long days, meanwhile the Bush gang partied and carried on with their "business as usual" and "let them eat cake" imperial attitudes. George strummed his guitar, raised campaign funds, cut cake with Senator McCain, while Connie Rice did her Imelda Marcos imitation, shopping for expensive shoes in New York City before going to a Broadway play, while Cheney went on vacation, first fishing in Wyoming and then mansion shopping in Maryland, and Rumsfeld went to a professional ball game.
In the first several days of the flooding of New Orleans cable news reporters had to point out the severity of the suffering of thousands of people in the Superdome to the heads of FEMA and DHS. These two had apparently followed the lead of the ever-clueless Bush by not watching the unfolding disaster being revealed on television.
The searing images of human suffering that were shown on television in the first several days after the flooding of New Orleans showed thousands of poor people herded into the Louisiana Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center without any water, any food, any medicines, any toilet facilities, any bedding or any police protection.
The conduct of the inept corrupt Bush regime in this unnatural disaster (the Bush flood and the slow spastic Bush response of flood relief) is nothing short of criminal. Since the illegitimate Bush regime came to power in January 2001, they have allowed and encouraged massive developments in the natural low-lying wetlands around New Orleans. The presence of these wetlands traditionally helped to protect New Orleans from the storm surges which accompany hurricanes.
The first actions of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina and Flood Bush struck New Orleans was to try to stop almost all of the volunteer, state and federal help from coming into the disaster area. FEMA blocked volunteer help from WalMart, the Coast Guard, the Red Cross, AMTRAK, hundreds of airboats from Florida, the City of Chicago emergency teams, Loudoun County (Virginia) sheriffs, the Nevada police, the New Mexico National Guard, fire-fighting planes from the U. S. Forest Service and even the U. S. Bataan, a hospital ship stationed in the Gulf of Mexico. FEMA also stopped or ignored offers of help from foreign countries including Canada, Cuba and Venezuela, over twenty European counties and Asian countries including Iran and India.
One supposes that volunteer help and aid undercuts the Bush Syndicates system of private corporations making bags of money off of the Bush war on Iraq and the Bush expedited flooding of New Orleans.
It is troubling to see many no-bid federal contracts being given to large corporations for reconstruction along the Gulf Coast. The terms of "no-bid contracts" mean that the corporations get to charge their profits as a percentage of costs incurred, so there is no incentive to be thrifty; in fact, it is the opposite, the more money that the corporate contractor spends on construction, the higher their corporate profits. Add to this the fact that Bush just signed an executive order that suspended the traditional requirement that federal contractors must pay labor the prevailing wages, instead the federal contractors can now pay workers as little as minimum wage. So the folks who are the poorest, get kicked again by Bush. He kicks 'em again when they're down.
New Orleans should be rebuilt on a cooperative local basis. Habitat for Humanity should be the model used for the reconstruction of the many flood-damaged homes in New Orleans. As many physically-able local residents as possible should be quickly trained and employed in the reconstruction of their neighborhoods. All of the poor renters in New Orleans whose houses suffered flooding should be given title to their new homes and the land beneath them, after the landlords have been properly compensated for the pre-flood fair-market value of their properties. We owe these people a lot as some compensation for the years of neglect that they have suffered at our hands.
James K. Sayre
11 September 2005
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