Friday, September 23, 2005

Avoiding Rita

I can only handle one catastrophe at a time. And I am very fortunate to be able to so decree, as I don't live on the Gulf Coast. So I'm just going to talk about Katrina right now.

Katrina is going to cost us $200 billion. Such a big number to bandy about. Can't quite grasp it, really. Thank goodness the Republicans are handy with figures, and have even come up with a way for us to pay for it all. We're going to take it from the poor, students, and the environment.

Hey, that seems fair, doesn't it? We've all got to sacrifice in this difficult time for our nation. Why not ask the sacrifice from those who are least able to shoulder it? Salon's War Room suggests something simple yet totally unfair: ask the richest 1% to carry the burden for all by rolling back their last two tax cuts. If we did that, we'd completely pay for Katrina. Bingo, bango. But how can we ask the rich to suffer like that?

Sarcasm off.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that "(t)he annual cost of the Bush tax cuts exceeds the projected total cost of relief and rebuilding efforts related to Hurricane Katrina." Amazing, after a few weeks of seeing presented in stark relief the incredible divide in America between the rich and the poor that the Republicans have the gall to make their suggestions.

But the Republicans are going to keep on trying to screw the poor and protect Bush, with their ridiculous attempts at establishing a congressional "probe" (we should use that term loosely, give that Republicans would be running it). The latest call for an independent investigator comes from Southerner Reps of the destroyed areas. We'll see if anyone answers the call. Why is there no truly organized effort by the Dems to push this through?

And why has there been no organized response to Bush naming Rove as his Katrina Czar? And, why is no one besides Kos noting that Rove is busy fundraising in North Dakota while Rita already causes havoc in NOLA? Might as well be playing guitar in Texas while Katrina blows.

If the Democrats can't get their collective acts together to criticize right now, it is downright amazing that a Republican can. Yet Newt Gingrich did so as he discussed the latest ridiculous Bush administration plan to "help" the homeless evacuees. FEMA plans to build trailer parks to ghetto-ize, I mean house, the evacuees in.

Gingrich's response? "The idea that — in a community where we could place people in the private housing market to reintegrate them into society — we would put them in [trailer] ghettos with no jobs, no community, no future, strikes me as extraordinarily bad public policy, and violates every conservative principle that I'm aware of."

Well, imagine that. I agree with Newt. The Nation has a not scathing enough article "Purging the Poor" that likens some of the other administrative approaches to housing the evacuees to a kind of ethnic cleansing. Let's clear out these poor black people and remake the city in a more pleasing image. Without them, preferably.

The capitalist and Bushies aren't interested in the option of putting the homeless into the thousands of already empty apartments with Section 8 vouchers. Bush wants to pretend to make the poor into homeowners by parceling out plots of federal land (of which there are no where near enough) to people who can't even pretend to afford to hold a mortgage. And the capitalists are rubbing their hands with glee over the opportunity to make a land grab and build condos that no one poor will ever hope to live in.

The sense of impotent frustration I feel must be small compared to those who are actually living this nightmare. But I still feel it.

I feel it when I read a back and forth between the press and Scott McClellan, where we can't get a single straight answer out of the White House. Obfuscation is this guy's middle name. Does it always have to always be about spin, about making this administrationon look good?

And I felt it reading today of the levees letting water back into parts of New Orleans all over again. Two steps forward and five backward. Have you heard that LSU's Hurricane Center research claims that Katrina didn't flood NOLA through storm surges that road over the top of the levees, but rather that the levees didn't hold due to "catastrophical structural failure"? The Army Corp of Engineers has stated that the levees let water through because the system wasn't designed for Cat 4 hurricanes and the water simply surged over the top.


Tomorrow I'll have to face Rita, just like the rest of the world. For now, I'm going to sip a glass of Riesling, hide in a mystery, thank God I live in the Midwest, and pray for those who don't.



Post a Comment

<< Home