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Bush's indifference to last week's disaster on the Gulf Coast, centered in New Orleans, was shocking, but hardly surprising. The fictional President Bush created by the Republican spin machine does not exist. The actual George W. Bush is a weak, incompetent, insensitive liar who is concerned only with living the easy life along with his wealthy cronies. It took three days before Bush took any notice of what was happening in New Orleans, playing his guitar at a San Diego fundraiser while thousands of New Orleanians suffered and died in the most desperate and squalid conditions. And then he saw fit to joke about one of Trent Lott's several houses having been ruined, and reminiscing about his no-doubt-drunken episodes in New Orleans, while his aides staged phony recovery operations for the cameras.
Now the despicable Karl Rove has taken over the operation, working overtime to pull the curtain back over the reality of Bush's indifference and incompetence. The current tack is to blame the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana for failing to act quickly. But this is totally false: a state of emergency was declared, at the Governor's request, on August 28th, putting FEMA in charge of the operations. But you don't hear the Fedayeen Bush blaming Haley Barbour, the Republican buffoon governor of Mississippi, whose state suffered horrendous damage in the storm as well. Not only did the August 28th Presidential directive place FEMA in charge of the impending disaster and relief effort, but the National Recovery Plan provides that FEMA and DHS may act unilaterally in an emergency. Demand accountability for this catastrophe.
As with the 9/11 disaster, the right-wing jihadists wasted not a moment to blame homosexuals for the disaster in New Orleans. This from the "Reverend" Bill Shanks, past of the New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans:
"New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."
The Republicans have mastered the art of circular argument when it comes to denigrating the government. It's a simple algorithm:
Gut government services by cutting budgets, undermining missions, and install incompetent cronies to run government agencies.
Watch as the government services deteriorate and ultimately fail to fulfill their core missions.
Third, use this failure as argument to further dismantle the government.
Go to step 1.
Meanwhile, extend sweetheart deals and give deep tax cuts to your cronies. In short, "get on with your life".
Paul Krugman diagnoses the failures of leadership and the contempt for government that underly the catastrophe.
The Sunday Morning talk shows were very unusual this week. An example from Meet the Press with Tim Russert is described here:
Russert (shouting): There was no water! No food! No beds!
Chertoff: Well, uh, everybody was headed for the Superdome!
Russert: (still shouting): And there were no supplies THERE! Now, you said you were 'surprised' by the levy being broken - but in 2002, the New Orleans Times Picayune did story after story predicting that a major hurricane would decimate the region and destroy the levees!
Russert (continuing loudly): That was four years ago! Last summer, FEMA, who reports to YOU, did a hurricane simulation in which the levees broke - and people, thousands, drowned! Your department and the White House has it - and the president and you are now saying 'We were surprised?'
It's very very unusual for Russert -- or any mainstream media personality -- to so aggressively attack a major administration official. No matter how much bullshit they're tossing out.
Thomas Linzey co-founded an organization called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. From their web site: "CELDF was formed to provide free and affordable legal services to grassroots, community-based groups and local governments working to protect their quality of life and natural environment through building sustainable communities."
Linzey has used legal means, and grassroots organizing to slow down the development of huge factory farms in western and central PA. And blocked the use of municipal sewage sludge as "fertilizer". He and his organization has been effective in informing and activating a base of very conservative voters against the obscene corporate abuses that threaten their communities (and ultimately the planet).
Consent of the Governed (Article in Onion)
The Rights of Nature: Building a Real Environmental Movement (speech)
Corporations Versus Democracy (Transcript of Bioneers 2004 Speech)