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Not surprisingly, the regular apologist set is bombing the blogosphere with rationalizations for the US federal government’s poor respose to Hurricane Katrina. First, they tried to slough off responsibility to the states and municipalities. But, as I showed yesterday, Bush’s own codified response plan makes him responsible for disaster response. The new tack is to argue that the quagmire was unavoidable, as in this post from Ezra Levant’s Shitgun. For these people, if George Bush tackled them to the ground and shat a steaming turd onto their foreheads, they’d find a way to argue he was sharing the benefits of trickle-down economics.
Their argument is complete bullshit, of course. Here’s why. A typhoon this weekend in China forced the evacuation of one million people when levees and dams burst and flooding occurred. Damage is in the hundreds of millions, yet only 45 people were killed. the Chinese, endlessly mocked by some Americans for their poor infrastructure and lack of respect for life, managed to save their people, despite much fewer resources and a very vulnerable population. Do you really believe for a second that the Americans, who export disaster response strategies and expertise, are unable to do the same?
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, individual citizens have been able to get to affected areas in New Orleans and are helping at the grassroots level. Why is FEMA unable? If a dirty bomb were to be “detonated” in American city, there would be a similar explosion of refugees. Surely, Homeland Security has modelled that response plan? And anyone who knows anything about refugee camps –which is what the collections of people in various sports stadiums are– knows that hygiene and security are the immediate priorities. The cynical among us would argue that the US federal government seems to know a lot about creating refugees but nothing about caring for them.
Could it be, as has been voiced by such public figures as Kanye West (watch this video, and check out Mike Myers completely caught in the headlights), that there is a racist element at play? I’m loathe to think so, but again the troglodytes on the extreme Right are fanning this flame. Check out this discussion on DailyKos, and pay particular attention to the quotations from widely cited supremacists, such as Steve Sailer, who said:
“It also should have been expected that a large fraction of New Orleans’s lower class blacks would not evacuate before a disaster. Many are too poor to own a car, or too untrustworthy to get a ride with neighbors, or too shortsighted to worry…”
Map that against Barbara Bush’s comment about refugees in the sports stadium, that “…so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” She may not be Steve Sailer, but her complete lack of understanding of pain and privilege lends some insight into the mindset of her devil spawn.
Meanwhile, even the lowlifes at Faux News are coming around to see their demon masters as the incompetent amoral fucks they really are. This video shows field reporters Geraldo Rivera and Shepherd Smith daring to refuse to fellate the President, while the blowhard Sean Hannity weakly tries to get them back on track. Now, I’ve known some Faux News reporters. They’ve all told me that they’re sick of having their reports politicized, but had given up trying to fight back. The reporters tend to be reasonable and apolitical, at least in my experience; it’s the talking heads, the pundits, who are the partisan hacks. So it looks like the reporters have finally had enough.
But, Smith and Rivera, there’s a lot more blood on your hands for years of partisan reporting. This one breakthrough in honesty does not forgive years of misdeeds. Besides, as this article reports, Geraldo is still busy disgustingly manufacturing photo ops for himself among the suffering in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the world is responding. It seems odd that poor nations like Bangladesh, who has donated $1 million to Katrina relief, would be able to give so much, considering that that money could be used to stave off the next installment of Bangladesh’s annual devastating floods. But it’s the gesture that counts. Major style points to Sri lanka for giving a symbolic $25,000, and to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, who couldn’t resist adding a slight political spin to their donation by giving it to the Red Cross, that charitable entity so hated by the American Right.