New Orleans one year later: still drowning in the toxic stew of indifference

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This and a host of other jarring images sicken and enrage me.  I can’t shake them and they are the fuel for my rage against the political establishments of Washington, Louisiana, and New Orleans. 

Municipal officials performed Hurricane exercises and conducted studies with federal money which told them that more than 100,000 people, a quarter of New Orleans would not evacuate because of a lack of resources with which to do so. 

Photo of Ray Nagin.Ray Nagin, the corporate-cable-executive-turned-politician, had the frontline responsiblity for coming up with a plan to save his city’s indigent.  His solution: DVD’s of Hurricane planning tips. 

I didn’t notice during the 24/7 media coverage anybody riding on those DVD’s through floodwaters to safety.  The only meaningful advice I heard from the city was for people to purchase an Axe so they could cut their way through their rooftops to safety after the city abandons them to drown when the levies fail.

Adolph Reed, a professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania writes that “the fetish of “efficient” government-code for public policy that is designed to serve the narrow interests of business and the affluent-is the ultimate cause of the city’s devastation…the notion that government services are wasteful and unnecessary-the neoliberal idolatry that the market can take care of everything that needs to be taken care of-got exposed for the flim-flam that it is.”

The city of New Orleans and surrounding parishes had no plan for the orderly and safe evacuation of area jails, hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. These indigent human beings were last on the list or completely forgotten. 

Apparently, there was no plan in place for the operation of vital emergency services of any kind.  The police, fire, sewer, sanitation, parks, and levy boards all were working on an ad-hoc basis at cross purposes unable to effectively communicate, coordinate or plan anything with any degree of efficiency.

This is all bad enough until the realization dawns on you that federal, state, and municipal officials knew that a catastrophic event of epic proportions in the gulf coast was going to happen sooner or later and that they were totally unprepared for it.

Then, of course, there was the State and the Feds whose slow, uncoordinated, and underwhelming response made the fall of Saigon look like an orderly, democratic transfer of power.

If the aforementioned photo was any relative of mine I have every confidence that I would have lost any remaining sanity and commenced to killing those persons I felt responsible.  There are just no words or excuses that explain this to me in a manner I find acceptable.

Again, Ray Nagin, the corporate executive and establishment servant is at the vortex of this morass and was construed to be a black savior for promising to rebuild and maintain a “chocolate city.”  I guess he meant white chocolate because he had no concern for the dark chocolate that was left to drown in their own homes and decompose in a putrid, toxic stew of water, chemicals, and raw sewage.

Again, Professor Reed writes that, ” Nagin speaks emphatically of his support for all displaced New Orleanians’ right to return, but that support is hollow in a context in which only property owners are seen as stakeholders…The developers are winning, and renters have no effective voice…with each passing day, a crucially significant political distinction in New Orleans gets clearer and clearer:property owners are able to assert their interests in the polity, while non owners are nearly invisible in civic life now as in the early eighteenth century. Among other things, the travesty in New Orleans reminds us that capitalism enshrines the perogatives of property owners-and the bigger the holdings, the more substantial the voice.”

Professor Reed also makes clear that the new order in New Orleans will include people of color, but only those with means. The rest, the “soap opera watchers”as desribed by Black City Council President Oliver Thomas, shouldn’t be allowed to return.

In my estimation, because of his manifold sins against the black working class, Nagin, like Bush, doesn’t care about (poor)black people.

 

 

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George Allen: Compassionless Confederate

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Photo of VA Gov George Allen with group.

The Nation magazine is reporting today that Virginia Senator George Allen cozied up to the racists behind the Council of Conservative Citizens.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the CCC is ” a reincarnation of the White Citizens Councils that sprang up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s to oppose school desegregation. Like the League of the South, a neo-confederate group to which it has many links, the 15,000-member Council has tried without success to mask its white supremacist ideology to better promote a right-wing political agenda.”

This 1996 photo was taken of then Governor Allen with two officials of the organization and Charlton Heston, then an official of the National Rifle Association of Gunnuts, Wingnuts, and Militia crazies.  The CCC members publicized this photo to promote the organization and give it legitmacy.  The only thing missing is a confederate flag.

I personally need no more evidence of Allen’s closet confederate sympathies. He is a racist, plain and simple.

 

George Allen: Insincere bigot

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 U.S. Senator George Allen

Senator Allen finally picked up a phone and apologized to the boy the opposing Webb campaign sent to film Allen’s public events.

I am curious about what Senator Allen is apologizing for?  He knew when he called the boy a Macaca what it meant. It is a racial slur against people of color commonly used in the area of North Africa the Senator’s Mother is from. The use of the slur was deliberate and malicious.

Open and unapologetic racial bigotry, the last time I checked, was not a virtue likely to win friends and influence people to be in your corner for a Presidential run.

He knew damn well that he was on tape but he went forward anyway as if this boy wouldn’t know or care that he had been called out and maligned in a room full of white republicans. 

At best, Senator Allen is a stupid bastard trying to pass himself off as Reagan reincarnated. At worst, he is an insincere, hateful bastard trying to pass himself off as Reagan reincarnated. I choose the latter.

 

George Allen’s down low racism

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George Allen’s cavalier use of a racial slur commonly used in French, Spanish, and Portuguese to describe a Webb campaign volunteer recently tore the cover off the Senator’s down low racial prejudices. His campaign’s various and sundry explanations for the slur macaque, which according to some means “monkey” is unconvincing and insulting to people of color everywhere, especially to the Indian young man to whom the bile was directed. It was a gratuitous and hateful insult directed at a hapless college student by someone who covets the Oval Office. Ryan Lizza, a staff writer for The New Republic has written extensively on the topic of Allen’s racial attitudes and his affinity for all things confederate. The record of Allen is clear, despite his disingenuous nods to honor racial diversity or apologize for extra legal lynching visited on persons of African descent.

Despite the effort at faux diversity within his Administration as Virginia’s Governor by placing African American conservatives in his cabinet. The general thrust of Allen’s positions is to err on the side of reaction, which diametrically opposes the interests and well-being of people of color. He has been unflinching in support of an unnecessary war of aggression in Iraq and its corresponding collateral damage. He supports unconstitutional domestic spying, the patriot act, and Guantanamo bay.          His nonchalance at the Israeli aggression in Lebanon, and his votes for both Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court, as well as his opposition to abortion rights, and opposition to same-sex marriage are all evidence of a closed and deeply prejudiced mind.