In The Bush League With George W. Bush.
Bush And the Republican Controlled Congress.
The Minimalist Government Sociopaths Who Like Big Tax Breaks For The Rich and Pork Barrel Spending Over Necessities Like Flood Control and Energy Regulation.
On the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans we see another failure of the Bush Administration to protect the American public. Weather experts have long known that New Orleans would again have another category five hurricane like Camille in 1969. Last year there was a hurricane
simulation exercise wherein a scenario of a hypothetical storm named Pam with 120 mph winds hit New Orleans. Projected results were very similar to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina. The levees surrounding New Orleans designed for a category three storm failed in the theoretical storm just as they did when Katrina made landfall. Since New Orleans is below sea level it was inevitable that it would be flooded in the event of a storm greater than category three.
Bush Fiddled While New Orleans Submerged.
George Bush was on yet another vacation while Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and weather forecasters knew it was a category five storm in intensity and that it would make landfall somewhere near New Orleans or directly on the city. This catastrophe is another example of the Bush Administration’s failure to plan ahead. The Bush policy is for government not to get involved with local problems even if they have national ramifications. However since the Gulf region refines or produces about twenty percent of the nations oil the interruption to production and refining by Katrina is sending gas prices higher (over $3.00 a gallon in some places). When Bush took office oil was $22 a barrel now it is over $69 dollars a barrel and going higher. This is great for all his Texas and Saudi friends who own oil in the ground some of which was uneconomical to be pumped at $22 a barrel but it is like owning the Homestake Mine at $69 a barrel.
While oil prices are a major concern to all Americans the unnecessary misery and suffering caused by inadequate levees in New Orleans is far more profound. In 2005 the Army Corp of Engineers requested $78 million for flood control projects in and around New Orleans and got $30 million from the Bush Administration, which was ultimately raised, to $36.5 million by Congress. Even if the Corps of Engineers received the full amount requested this year it probably would not have saved New Orleans. Over the years politicians in general have neglected this threat that could have been corrected if adequate planning and funding was provided since Camille, the last category five hurricane to hit the area since 1969. Now the Corps of Engineers is telling us they could not meet this threat for lack of funding and the government is saying there was insufficient revenue to allocate spending for this matter.
Bush was not solely responsible for the lack of
funding over all those years but he has not provided leadership in this area and his policy of giving huge tax breaks to the top 2% of taxpayers certainly did not help.
Bush’s modus operandi seems to be let the catastrophe occur (like 9/11) than we will respond with lots of spending that will benefit big business. There is little forward thinking in this government and this has been acutely demonstrated in Iraq.
Instead Congress passed and Bush signed a massive energy bill (15 billion) that does nothing to make the U.S. energy independent but did provide huge tax breaks for the major oil companies. No new laws requiring greater gas mileage were passed.
Congress also passed massive pork barrel legislation this year that included such appropriations as:
A tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo County, California ($50,000);
The Fort Union Trading Post Bike Trail in North Dakota ($500,000);
The Center on Obesity at West Virginia University ($2 million); and
An effort to combat “goth culture” in Blue Springs, Missouri ($270,000).
Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Apple Valley, California ($150,000);
The recovery of Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse ($500,000); and
Washington State’s dolphin replacement (replace them with what?) project ($4 million).
The list of these projects goes on and on while money for flood control or the development of alternative energy sources is shortchanged. Even legislation mandating higher gas mileage based on existing technology, which would eliminate the need for imported oil and vastly reduce or eliminate the trade deficit, was not passed.
Washington fiddles while this country burns or is flooded and this is a direct consequence of the Republican leadership in the White house, Senate and House. Now we stand by and watch, as the White House cannot marshal a meaningful disaster relief response to the devastation of Katrina. The Jesus freaks in Jesusland got the government they voted for and now the slightly less than fifty percent of the country that didn’t vote for Bush and the majority of the country who did not vote for the controlling party in the
Senate have to suffer the consequences along with their brethren who were more concerned about curtailing stem cell research, gay marriage and a woman’s right to choice than electing a government responsible to the American people instead of the lobbying interests in Washington.
Brazil changned it’s capital to a more central location so the interests of a greater number of people in the country would be served rather than just those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. If we had a new federal District of Columbia in a place like New Orleans for instance this catastrophe would never have happened. Perhaps this would get rid of the Washington mentality that they are so remote from many areas of the country the public doesn’t know the magnitude of their betrayal.