||Issue No. 280||09 September 2005|
The Perfect Storm
Interview: Polar Eclipse
Industrial: Wrong Turn
Unions: Star Support
Workplace: Checked Out
Economics: Sold Out
Politics: Green Banned
History: Potted History
International: Curtain Call
Review: Little Fish
Poetry: Slug A Worker
The Locker Room
What Poor People?
When The Levee Breaks
When George W Bush stands up and says he is proud to be a merkin, we can believe him.
With a Category 5 Republican Administration bearing down on the working poor in the US, it was left to George W. Bush to ensure that no one was left playing the blame game following the pathos and the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.
There was no game to play. The blame was there for all to see.
It may not be fashionable in neo-liberal circles, but the founding basis of the state, any state, has been the ability of the leader(s) to protect the people from harm.
Any leader who wantonly, or by malfeasance, leads a people into harm, or exposes them to tribulation, is seldom considered to have executed this most basic of responsibilities.
While George W's idea of executing his responsibilities has something to do with the electric chair, he and his administration's pathological ineptitude was writ large in a tragedy that eclipsed the cowboy paranoia of the war on terror.
For a week George was home on the range at Crawford while what was patently the biggest storm in a long, long time built up in the Mexican Gulf.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Marie Antoinette told Les Miserables of Paris to "eat cake" if they had no bread; George W. played guitar while the levee broke.
What preparations were made? Officials sent out the George W. doctrine; neo-liberal mantra -"everyone for themselves". This 'run for the hills' solution may have been calming for those prepared to be gouged by market forces at play in the motel sector and at the gasoline pump, but it didn't help those who relied on public transport, the urban poor.
If people couldn't get out then, hey, that was the free market in action.
For those left behind George W Bush had no plan.
As N'Orleans mayor Ray Nagin pointed out, this was a class issue. People, the working poor, were literally left behind to die.
Luckily the war on terror had George W Bush's ever-vigilant Department of Homeland Security off looking in dark rooms for black cats that weren't there.
The resources that should have protected the all important levee, not to mention the business end of the Louisiana National Guard, were off fighting George W's war against the ayrabs getting' their hands on oil owed to the US through Manifest Destiny.
Then, when the stink rose from the place where Daddy Bush was inaugurated as the Republican Party candidate in 1988, the Superdome, Bush emerged to lecture about property rights and to suggest that prevention of insurance fraud was more important than human life.
When this just inflamed tensions, George W responded with a photo opportunity.
In the meantime mothers wept, children screamed, bodies floated through streets and others, inspired by their political masters, took the law into their own hands at the decisive end of a gun.
Over a million bewildered Americans wondered why their country had abandoned them.
The end of the neo-conservative project that started under Reagan occurred on the night of August 28 when Katrina showed that the weather is still a far more important conversation than abstract theories about individual liberty.
George W Bush's criminal maladministration may defend its ideology of all power to the individual, but there are a hell of a lot of individuals who are dead, sick or who will never be the same again through this pursuit of a crass, material liberty for a few, at the expense of any form of life except for a Hobbesian nightmare of all against all; a life that is nasty, brutish and short.
Forget oil prices, geopolitics, clever word games or even the ham buffoonery of a failed Texan Oil Tycoon.
Our Tool Of The Week has murdered his own people.
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