Katrina & where the buck Never Stops.
But Bush, as troubled as he is by
the above mentioned rigidity, seems at the same time to have possessed an
uncanny ability to slip paper-thin from underneath the weight of his
mistake. How? He simply had Homeland Security chief Chertoff ask him,
Bush, for permission to fire Michael Brown; to which Bush said in
effect: You have my confidence. Whatever you think is best.
You have to admire the guy, don’t you? No? Okay.
But this was all before democratic
congress woman Nancy Pelosi claimed Bush was oblivious, in denial, and
dangerous; because when she had urged him to fire Michael Brown, the
president replied, “Why would I do that?” And when she pointed out the
obvious, that Bush had appointed a man whose main qualification was having
run The International Arabian Horse Association (which is no doubt
impressive if you’re a horse, or if you are a human who owns one) our
president asked Pelosi, “What didn’t go right?”
Let me count the ways. But
fear not, readers, I won’t because I have neither the time nor space to
engage in the scope of that math.. Yet…yet…on the other hand, when
the Corp Of Engineers asked for 105 million dollars to work on the levees,
the White House cut it to 40 million. And we all know that greed in the
form of “pork” has dominated political decisions across the decades,
spanning both political parties, which has been most brilliantly
demonstrated with the recent so called Highway Bill for which the
Republican congress provided 286 billion dollars.
Now while our law makers believe
themselves to be very politically savvy in spreading this monetary joy
around their states--creating debt for which we taxpayers will ultimately
be responsible-- their greed exposes them as mindless as hurricanes,
tsunamis, earthquakes and
tornados. That this money has been donated to pork in this time of excess
boggles the mind. This time of tax breaks for the richest among us, this
time of war into which we were led by the most cynical, deceptive
administration seeking control of oil and costing the lives of thousands
of brave young Americans, and straining the economy to the tune of
one billion dollars per day. This war which primarily benefit’s
the private contractors who are the corporate friends of Bush/Cheney; not
to mention the benefit to thousands of American-hating insurgents provided
with one more excuse to hate and attack us. And I ask you to add up the
above figure: thirty billion per month. Or three
hundred and sixty-five billion per year.
Thirty percent of our National
guard are in Iraq with half of its equipment. How nice it would be if our
young military people were safe at home defending our borders, if our
money were used more sensibly, if our national debt was not the largest
ever, if we were not so obligated to the Chinese who help keep us afloat
by purchasing our bonds and selling us products that are less costly than
we can make them, which they produce so readily by employing cheap labor.
And how nice it would be if our corporate and administration leadership
would stop outsourcing jobs and torture. Dream on.
Bush doesn’t want us to “Play the
blame game,” yet it’s clear to all that no one stepped forward to take
control; not from the city, the state, the military, FEMA,
Homeland Security, nor from where the buck never stops: President
Tom Delay says that blame should
work from the bottom up. Clever. Then why not blame the people who are
really at the bottom, who drowned because they were too ill or elderly or
too poor to own a car, who lived in the deepest most vulnerable part of
the New Orleans bowl, as opposed to the lucky affluent who lived on the
high ground and owned the cars in which to make their escape from what has
become a major toxic waste dump that will cost what has already been
roughly estimated to be 200 billion, to clean up, for which lawmakers have
already authorized ten billion and then added 52 billion.
I know that hindsight is easy,
but back in 1948 I was sitting on a bar stool in a jazz place, I guess on
Bourbon Street. I’m not a big music person but I was sitting there
mesmerized by this group featuring a remarkably talented trumpet player,
when suddenly there was lightening and thunder followed by a flash flood.
In minutes there was about 18 inches of water in the place, (everyone
simply raised feet to the highest rungs while the band played on) and
giant, yucky cockroaches flew in and landed on the bar and surrounding
Seeing my amazed expression, the
bartender laughed and said to me, “Bugs don‘t like the rain,” followed by:
“Some day this whole town is gonna be swamped and blown away by one of
them friggin’ hurricanes and disappear forever, ‘cause nobody really gives
a shit except us.” Or words to that effect. The point of this true story,
of course, beyond the fatalism of the people who lived in, and loved, New
Orleans, the risky inefficiency of the levees is an old, old problem,
never solved. The blame for this does not fall on Bush alone.
The blame that does apply to Bush
is for his apparent indifference while on vacation in Texas, and for some
other inherent inability, which was to grasp the need for him to jump in
immediately, to take charge; or at the very least to have in place the
kind of knowledgeable, hardnosed people who could and would, people who
would impose the security will of the fed on the state when the state is
obviously faltering. This should be apparent, especially considering the
time elapsed since 9/11, an event which should have instilled in this
administration the necessity of having all its disaster ducks in a row and
ready to go. God only knows what will happen to us if we respond in this
same delayed time frame during or following a major terrorist attack.
You can be certain of one thing,
and it’s already in motion: the Bush team and conservative talking heads,
will do all that they can to place blame as far from our buck-ducking
president as possible; and don’t be surprised if it gets vicious, folks.
Shame on our government.
Interesting to note: Wall Street
hoped the Fed Reserve would pause in further rate hikes. But now with the
costs of Katrina today, and more looming on the horizon, the
storm’s effect will probably cause price increases throughout the economy
and put even more pressure on the Fed for further hikes. Therefore
overvalued housing could be hit hard as the result of higher mortgages,
retarding new construction, which in turn would make for fewer
construction jobs, and reduce the price value of existing homes that for
most people are primary investments. We’ll see.
Also interesting: Read:
Bush Losing Support From His Base. (WP)
And this too:
Read: If The
guard had Been Home And Not In Iraq (AP)