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Katrina Revisited

As Bill Moyers discusses with JOURNAL guests Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Mike Tidwell, a recent letter from an activist working with a coalition of individuals in response to the Katrina disaster, now two years ago this week. She writes:

"The problems that confront us down here are immense and immensely complex. And as the road to recovery stretches ever longer before us, I fear we're in danger of losing our grasp on the reality of our potential and falling prey to the illusion of powerlessness."

We invite you to respond to this letter by commenting below.


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Comments

I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

James (Jesus' smarter brother): You seem fixated on the great dictator theory and oblivious to larger shadows moving behind the cowboy pageant. Your eyes may be wide open but they are blinded by identity politics. If you want to survive the "Big Hurricane" that is nearly here I suggest you practice a jazz instrument and really get down like a toe-headed pick-a-ninny. Your harrangue against empathetic people of love only illustrates your bamboozlement. (Balance your portfolio.) An Eastern guru would advise: "Imagine George Bush as a Dutchboy with his middlefinger preserving a dyke. Now my son, imagine your eternal self as that dyke."
OK, Dynamite, time to explode.

You all are such a joke. There wouldn't have been an issue had the democratic leader's not spent the money on non sense items. The city had many, many, many... years to get the levies up to speed, THIS NEVER HAD TO HAPPEN. They have access to money now, but the levies still are not fixed, they are moving very slowly... blame the local government, the guy is a joke.

All of you liberals and democrats want to do is take the opportunity to pin any issue on Bush. I am willing to bet you all are the same people that think that the local market conditions are due to failed Bush policies... Which again, is a democratic process that completely flopped (can we say "Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton"). I am willing to bet you are also the same people that think Barack is a good guy, despite his lies, immoral beliefs, socialist leadership, and questionable relationships. Get a life, if you want to make a change in this world, OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE TRUTH.

You all are such a joke. There wouldn't have been an issue had the democratic leader(s) wouldn't have spent the money on non sense (like, lets say marti-graw). seems like levies are more important than festivals. The city had many, many, many... years to get the levies up to speed, THIS NEVER HAD TO HAPPEN. They have access to money now but are the levies fixed, not yet, they are moving very slowly... blaim the local government, the guy is a joke. All you liberals and democrates want to do is take the opportunity to pin any issue on Bush. I am willing to bet you all are the same people it thinks Barack is a good guy, despite his lies, immoral beliefs, socialist leadership, and questionable relationships.

You all are such a joke. There wouldn't have been an issue had the democratic leader(s) wouldn't have spent the money on non sense (like, lets say marti-graw). seems like levies are more important than festivals. They have access to money now but are the levies fixed, not yet, they are moving very slowly... blaim the local government, the guy is a joke. All you liberals and democrates want to do is take the opportunity to pin any issue on Bush. I am willing to bet you all are the same people it thinks Barack is a good guy, despite his lies, immoral beliefs, socialist leadership, and questionable relationships.

You all are such a joke. There wouldn't have been an issue had the democratic leader(s) wouldn't have spent the money on non sense (like, lets say marti-graw). seems like levies are more important than festivals. They have access to money now but are the levies fixed, not yet, they are moving very slowly... blaim the local government, the guy is a joke. All you liberals and democrates want to do is take the opportunity to pin any issue on Bush. I am willing to bet you all are the same people it thinks Barack is a good guy, despite his lies, immoral beliefs, socialist leadership, and questionable relationships.

Do you think Ohio will get the same kind of help New Orleans got? You can"t expect Bush's gov't to take care of the U.S. He's too busy waging war in twocountries, assisting two others by supplying arms & training,contemplating starting another war, and destroying democracy in this country. How much do you expect his gov't to handle?

Dear Sirs and Madam,

With a little of your help and co-operation the Gulf Coast can very easily be rebuilt and Yes, it can start now and Yes, it will help many Blacks and Yes, it will even help the environment a great deal. I have specific jobs for you Mr. Moyers and you Ms. Harris-Lacewell and you too Mr. Tidwell.
Sincerely Yours,
Tom Canavan
The Benefactor Project.com

There have been numerous insightful comments, but Carol has come the closest to the kernal of Katrina. FEMA was never inept. They could have provided the kind of support that SF received 100 years ago after their devastation. No, FEMA and the City of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and ordinary citizens who tried to help were purposely kept from doing so. Why? The link to Iraq; the oil pipelines that run under New Orleans' wards, the military presence. All of this is spelled out for us in Frank Moralez' book, "Bush Moves Toward Marshall Law."

We all ask, what can we do to fix this? Anything we can do is one answer, but the most courageous thing is to hold the leaders of this current regime accountable for their inaction and the press (what few souls out there who dare) can risk all and make public their investigative reporting, as does Bill Moyers.

As for the next elections, the only candidate I can even consider is Kucinich and I'm tempted to say that only if he considers running independently. My confidence in the democratic party has bottomed out with Nancy Pelosi's pandering. It is past time to stand up to the thugs in and out (Rove) of washington.

I have some advice for the people who lived in New Orleans:
Things will come back later I can't say when but it will. In the meantime, focus on what you have right now and I'm sorry for your loss. Pray for hope.

As a New Orleanian, I'm appreciative of the segment on New Orleans. However, while I agreed with much of what she said, some Melissa Harris-Lacewell's statements were incorrect. Most of the housing projects were not on "high ground," as she claimed. Even Iberville (just ouside the French Quarter) had flooding on the first floor. Her statement that most of the people who stayed in the city did so because they had to report to work at the hotels and restaurants is also incorrect, as were other generalizations. She could have made her arguments just as well without basing them on anecdotal evidence, empirically false statements, and the fallacy of authority (the viewer should believe her because she's a professor at Princeton). Ms. Harris-Lacewell seems to have forsaken her commitment to be factual while aspiring to become a celebrity pundit.

I live in Warsaw, Poland so I am not able to watch the shows as they are broadcast. Every so often, I go on a binge and watch several stories in row from different shows. Today, it was impeachment, Iraq, and lastly this one about Katrina. Very informative, but depressing. Thus I found the closing exchange most interesting but also disappointing:

MIKE TIDWELL: What about you, Bill? I mean, how do you maintain a sense of hope?

BILL MOYERS: By listening to people like you.

I know time for the interview was running out, and it had to be wrapped up, still Mr. Moyers I'd like to hear a longer answer to that question. How DO you maintain hope?

I am at a disadvantage in this conversation, as I have not had the opportunity to see this episode. I certainly would like to. Our local PBS station has seen fit to put Bill Moyer's program at 2am, if at all! I think there is a local corporate conspiracy against viewing the truth.

That said, I find the comments written so far very intriguing and thought provoking. As someone who watched the Storm, the Flood and aftermath unfold during our e-vacation (evacuation) of 5 weeks, then return and slog through the past 2 years of watching the city struggle back to its feet, it has been with a mixture of anger, frustration, hope beyond hope, fragile optimism, stubborn pragmatism, all bundled together. What has been apparent from the beginning is that New Orleans was failed on all levels of government: our mayor, our governor, our president. None was the person for the Event. And the event was not Katrina, it was the breaking of the levees and the Flood that resulted. The inequities that are talked about did not begin with the Flood. They were rampant long before, and what the Flood did was to shine a very bright light on the underbelly of disparity in this city. Access to quality public education for all of our children (not available), access to affordable, quality housing (very limited - absent and negligent landlords), corruption and greed that persists, etc, etc. Our hope is that in the re-building, these disparities can remain in the forefront and be corrected as much as possible. Our concern is that the nation and world are growing weary of our hand being out. But we also know that re-building from such widespread devastation will take upwards of 10 years.

Encouraging signs are out there: an influx of 20 and 30-somethings who want to make a difference, a growing grassroots involvement in local government, a growing intolerance to the "good ole boy, that's how its done" sense of governing, tall cranes popping up on the cityscape, schools exposed for their poor conditions and high school students demanding better (now that they have spent time in other cities' schools), and so much more.

New Orleans will remain a vibrant city. Its importance to the nation's economy as a port city continues.

The poor response to the Katrina disaster is proof enough that we don't hold our leaders accountable. We need to move on to another level of government, perhaps a states person or someone who feels connected to their community and the human race as a whole. A wise man once said "Much of the suffering we experience is not due to the actual characteristics of the situation, but to how we percieve the situation. That perspective colors everything.

During the worst days after Katrina hit, I remember the news and public opinion was divided between two different sides that, I believe, reflect the core of the overall division of American politics. Thankfully, the overwhelming portrayal by the media and the public was one of outrage over the government's incompetency. The overall tone was one of sympathy and anger on behalf of the victims. However, I also recall very mean-spirited analysis (usually from FOX and FOX viewers) that wanted to depict the residents who stayed behind as "stupid," "lazy" and so "dependent on the government" that they couldn't make an effort to leave without state help. I remember thinking that many of these people were likely working and did not have the means to uproot their lives for even temporary shelter, and it would be horrible to fault anyone for this. It was good to hear Ms. Lacewell-Harris affirm that their staying was not a reflection of ignorance, but based on their strong communities and their inability to risk missing work.

I believe the nasty reaction to Katrina victims is a classic symptom of the overall ideological myths of neocons: that if somebody is not wealthy enough to protect themselves from disaster, it is their fault. It is easy for them to take this attitude because it evades any critical thought about all the things we have a collective responsibility for. I.e., taking the right environmental measures that won't exacerbate tropical storms. Stronger levees. Better emergency planning. Putting qualified leadership in FEMA. Having a workforce where people can afford to miss their work to evacuate. Instead of thinking about how they ignored these issues and how they contributed to perpetrating this tragedy, they had the audacity to blame the victims for what they inflicted on them. They went back to their tired old arguments of casting everybody in New Orleans as a welfare-dependent. As Ms. Harris pointed out, the fact that these were working people would have refuted the neocon lie that if you work in America, you will be rewarded with a stable life. Thus, efforts were made to spin the victims as unemployed (which, in my book, is also no reason to dehumanize and deny help). I remember the final straw, for me, was an interview where former First Lady Barbara Bush claimed that the poor were better off living in the Houston Astrodome than they were living in their homes pre-Katrina. This incredibly wealthy woman suggesting that people would rather live in a public stadium than in the privacy of their own homes showed a level of brazen callousness and cluelessness that proved W. is his mother's son.

Whenever I hear the presidential candidates from both camps, it's amazing to me how disconnected they are from the real issues affecting everyone from the working poor to the upper middle class--anyone who is not super-rich! Their remarks try to address problems, but their comments give little suggestion that they have real knowledge of the complexities of what people go through. Or, if they do know, they are trying very hard to minimize honest discussion so as to not offend corporate campaign contributors and the conservative media. And frankly, I belive it also has much to do with the fact that most of the candidates are millionaires. It kills me when "personality journalism" does adoring pieces extolling how "down to earth" a politician with 30 million assets is. That is all well and nice, but when push comes to shove, that candidate will not have to worry about medical coverage or where they will live if their home is destroyed by a natural disaster. Often, I have noticed that the smaller the candidates' net worth (i.e., Kucinich), the more accurate their take is on issues. And conversely, the wealthier they are (i.e., Romney with his 250 million net worth), the more unrealistic the policy is in regard to the average person's life.

Katrina offered an opportunity to really talk about race and class. Unfortunately, it was never explored as it could have been.

As a final note, I consider the Journal appointment-tv. I am twenty-five and have given up a lot of my hope in America (which I once thought had potential to reform itself), but you revive my faith in people, Bill. Watching your program makes me feel my hopes for government still have a chance.

Having articulate, thoughtful guests like Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Mike Tidwell is so uplifting, so inspiring, so reassuring.
There are still more than four hundred days, at least, in the regime of this psychopath, but to see optimistic young people like these gives hope for a renaissance.

I real enjoy this show.

My question is: Why US media do not pay more attention on this sad and shamful human mistakes?

Maybe it too shamful to report the poor and dark side of reality. Need some soul search???!!!

I nearly always enjoy the guests Mr. Moyers has on his program, even when I don't agree. Prof. Harris-Lacewell was a bit too optimistic in her declaration that "who is she to give up?" in referrng to her ethnic past and the hurdles that were vanquished by her ancestors.

Has this country ever experienced until now depradations as severe as we now see from the Bu$h Junta?

The good ole boy syndrome and the fox guarding the hen house style of appointment has never been greater.

The apathy and intertia of my fellow citizens in the face of naked agression both at home and abroad leaves me very anxious for the future.

Free, fair elections, the ONLY way we have of peacefully expressing our pleasure or distaste, are not only in doubt but have become a thing of the past. We have never lived with a Junta until now. Can we survive even as a nominal democracy until 1-22-09?

Bill

The government says they have learned from Katrina and that things will be different in future disasters. However, the bureaucrats continue to bungle, put more red tape etc. in the way of helping those still in need in New Orleans. I hope that some democrats were listening to your show and that they will take up the challenge to DO SOMETHING for the people. THis is their opportunity to show that they are different/better than the Republicans.

One more thing, it is my understanding that in order for the municipalites in the New Orleans area to recieve aid, they have to be able to put up 10% of the money themselves. Pres. Bush has refused to forego this requirement, thus the municipalities cannot get access to the $ they need even to rebuild basic infrastructure such as fire stations, police stations etc.. And yet, when the same thing happened in Florida, Bush allowed the $ to be used with out the 10% matching requirement. This is another area where the democrats could make a stand and hopefully get the money flowing.

Bill- Keep up the great work and reporting. You are a rare commodity, saying it as you see it! We support you all the way!
Don't ever retire again!

It seems as if the discussion about Katrina and its aftermath always turns to one about race and Republicans. Shouldnt the real discussion be about building a city below sea level and the incompetence of the local officials that failed to plan for the inevitable flood?
Mr. Moyers far left agenda is built into any story he creates and just today I saw a PBS self promotion about its fair and balanced views. Maybe PBS execs should actually view what they spew or just admit to there socialist agenda.

During the worst days after Katrina hit, I remember the news and public opinion was divided between two different sides that, I believe, reflect the core of the overall division of American politics. Thankfully, the overwhelming portrayal by the media and the public was one of outrage over the government's incompetency. The overall tone was one of sympathy and anger on behalf of the victims. However, I also recall very mean-spirited analysis (usually from FOX and FOX viewers) that wanted to depict the residents who stayed behind as "stupid," "lazy" and so "dependent on the government" that they couldn't make an effort to leave without state help. I remember thinking that many of these people were likely working and did not have the means to uproot their lives for even temporary shelter, and it would be horrible to fault anyone for this. It was good to hear Ms. Lacewell-Harris affirm that their staying was not a reflection of ignorance, but based on their strong communities and their inability to risk missing work.

I believe the nasty reaction to Katrina victims is a classic symptom of the overall ideological myths of neocons: that if somebody is not wealthy enough to protect themselves from disaster, it is their fault. It is easy for them to take this attitude because it evades any critical thought about all the things we have a collective responsibility for. I.e., taking the right environmental measures that won't exacerbate tropical storms. Stronger levees. Better emergency planning. Putting qualified leadership in FEMA. Having a workforce where people can afford to miss their work to evacuate. Instead of thinking about how they ignored these issues and how they contributed to perpetrating this tragedy, they had the audacity to blame the victims for what they inflicted on them. They went back to their tired old arguments of casting everybody in New Orleans as a welfare-dependent. As Ms. Harris pointed out, the fact that these were working people would have refuted the neocon lie that if you work in America, you will be rewarded with a stable life. Thus, efforts were made to spin the victims as unemployed (which, in my book, is also no reason to dehumanize and deny help). I remember the final straw, for me, was an interview where former First Lady Barbara Bush claimed that the poor were better off living in the Houston Astrodome than they were living in their homes pre-Katrina. This incredibly wealthy woman suggesting that people would rather live in a public stadium than in the privacy of their own homes showed a level of brazen callousness and cluelessness that proved W. is his mother's son.

Whenever I hear the presidential candidates from both camps, it's amazing to me how disconnected they are from the real issues affecting everyone from the working poor to the upper middle class--anyone who is not super-rich! Their remarks try to address problems, but their comments give little suggestion that they have real knowledge of the complexities of what people go through. Or, if they do know, they are trying very hard to minimize honest discussion so as to not offend corporate campaign contributors and the conservative media. And frankly, I belive it also has much to do with the fact that most of the candidates are millionaires. It kills me when "personality journalism" does adoring pieces extolling how "down to earth" a politician with 30 million assets is. That is all well and nice, but when push comes to shove, that candidate will not have to worry about medical coverage or where they will live if their home is destroyed by a natural disaster. Often, I have noticed that the smaller the candidates' net worth (i.e., Kucinich), the more accurate their take is on issues. And conversely, the wealthier they are (i.e., Romney with his 250 million net worth), the more unrealistic the policy is in regard to the average person's life.

Katrina offered an opportunity to really talk about race and class. Unfortunately, it was never explored as it could have been.

As a final note, I consider the Journal appointment-tv. I am twenty-five and have given up a lot of my hope in America (which I once thought had potential to reform itself), but you revive my faith in people, Bill. Watching your program makes me feel my hopes for government still have a chance.

This was a good discussion, with sobering insight from both guests. However, the discussion was unfortunately sidetracked by the extraneous comments about "enslavement" and Melissa Harris-Lacewell's grandstanding about being a black woman who has made it.

Although the grotesque level of incompetence and corruption around the Katrina disaster has been well documented, it is interesting to contrast it with how the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.

Within minutes of the earthquake, a hundred years earlier, local military and civil authority responded decisively and effectively. By the next morning a trainload of supplies arrived from Los Angeles and every tent in the army was on the way to shelter people. The local postmaster declared that all mail from the city would be free and the army was put at the disposal of the mayor. Surrounding communities took in survivors and everyone was fed. (see Simon Winchester's engaging book: A Crack in the Edge of the World)

One essential thing that has been missing it the discussion about Katrina, and other such disasters, is what appropriate and effective responses would look like.

It was Katrina who pointed out how isolated "we the people" are from the "ins" of D.C. I felt sure that the human spirit of vounteerism could address this problem and I tried to find someone with a microphone to organize a concerted effort. Is there a way? As Walmart's main warehouse is just a straight shot down Hwy 40 to Boluxie, I was sure that survival supplies could be arriving near the affected area within hours.

And, I guess I was right about the volunteer spirit. Many people tried to respond, but were turned away by the feds. "We can mishandle this ourselves, thank you" The paranoia of "this post 9/11 world" has created a deep chasm between government and those governed--and democracy is the first causualty!

Mr. Moyers,

Thank you for the piece on New Orleans. There is much to comment on, but the hour is late. One thing on Mike Tidwell's comments. So much that he said is right on but....

The real story, the more elaborate story is that Katrina wasn't Katrina. Katrina the natural disaster was not the thing that destroyed so much of New Orleans. The Federal Flood caused by the poorly designed and built federal levees which failed below the criteria for which they were designed destroyed so very much of our great city. This truth cannot be lost as the second anniversary of Katrina and the Federal Flood approaches.

In asking and demanding help from the federal government in the rebuilding of this almost 300 year old American city we are not on bended knee asking for help following a natural disaster. We are stating clearly that the federal government through negligently built levees by the federal organization The Corps of Engineers are culpable and responsible. Please do not mistake our civility for lack of strength, determination and will.

Thank you,

Richard Paul Hebert
New Orleans, Louisiana - USA

Bill,
I have followed the debacle of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina since its beginning with one gnawing thought that keeps revisiting my conscience. This is that a significant result of the catastrophe was the displacement of several hundred thousand people ranging from trailer slums in central Mississippi to scattered all over the country. A large number of these folks are probably not settled enough to register to vote, much less actually get to the precinct and vote. Because of the many other "choices" and pseudo friends Carl has made to further the Republican take-over, I do not rule out the abject refusal to properly handle that disaster as a way to remove a large, historically Democratic, voting block before the elections. Indeed, many other opportunities to rob from the poor and give to the rich evolved from this problem as well, and indeed all of these opportunities have been fully exploited, but I am not sure just how to measure the damage to the election balance that may have been derived from this event. Further yet, this group has been well enough distributed that their impact on a congressional seat is very thoroughly diluted if they did succeed in voting.

A few days after hurricane Katrina struck, National Public Radio ran an interview with a college student who had talked a few buddies into gathering some water and supplies and driving to New Orleans. At first, officials turned the students back, but they “borrowed” somebody’s press pass and, to their astonishment, drove right up to the Superdome.
For at least five days, tens of thousands of people went without adequate food or water in a building that could be reached by ordinary buses, trucks, and even this student’s car. Was this just bungling?

I appreciated Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s insight that Democrats used Katrina as a wedge to criticize the administration on Iraq, but I am curious whether other people have noticed a more direct relationship between Iraq and Katrina—that the government response to Katrina came straight out of Iraq?

As the Katrina calamity was still unfolding, I heard Condoleezza Rice say about Iraq: "Our strategy is to clear, hold, and build.” Couldn’t she have said the same about New Orleans? News coverage from New Orleans described frustration that it took so long for the National Guard troops to get into New Orleans. But clearly there was at least a militarized response around the city. Establish the perimeter, control ingress and egress. Then move in. That’s how we did it in Falluja. That’s how it we seemed to be doing it in New Orleans.

The militarism of the response, which seemed to do so much to hamper relief and raise the level of tension, was about approaching a potential enemy. Whether it is just a matter of poverty and wealth or of blacks and whites, there was obviously a sense of “us” and “them.” Later in tonight’s show, Mr. Moyers said, “history is us.” Especially after watching (on public television) the story of the 1927 flood in Greenville, Mississippi, during which plantation elites intentionally left blacks isolated on the tops of remaining levees longer than necessary, I have to wonder about the lag time of aid this time around.

To me, sitting in New England, it looked less like mere bungling and more as though Homeland Security’s militaristic response slowed humanitarian aide. The hurricane seemed to have triggered fear of a human storm. When the water controls broke this time, the official response was to control the human tide. To be blunt, I can’t imagine that happening in a whiter city, but maybe my imagination is out of date.

As I said, that’s how it looked to me from far away. I would appreciate hearing more from people with more direct involvement whether I’m plain wrong. I hope so.

I've yet to see the Moyers' program on Katrina, but I know I will find the conditions of those still homeless, in need, displaced to be a disgrace. I'll watch tonight, and post again, but I recently heard a story on NPR wherein residents in a particular FEMA trailer park [I do not recall the name/location of the park] were being interviewed because the suicide rate in their "community" had risen so high. I felt as if I had been slapped in the face and asked to REMEMBER! I am moved to DO SOMETHING for the people in that particular story, as well as all the remaining Katrina victims still ignored, who are suffering.

I ask, not rhetorically, what I can do? What action can I, as a private and concerned citizen, take in order to change the inhumane and unacceptable conditions of Katrina victims who've truly been "forgotten"?

I look forward to learning more, so that I, as well as others who wish to, will be empowered to make a change.

It's horrible...the human suffering regardless of race. We need to get a grip on ourselves and focus on recovery, smart recovery. Yes, money matters too... investment, productivity, profit.

I'm ashamed that people still suffer on such a scale from this. The Bush Administration has all but destroyed our sense of hope and confidence in government. This was a man-made disaster - I remember reading an article over a decade ago about the potential damage that could result from neglecting the levies there. The people in power KNEW what could happen, and I'm beginning to think that they didn't just wait for it, but actually hoped it would happen. The soul of New Orleans is gone forever, but all of that prime real estate is at the mercy of the big money that's going to keep control of it. They didn't care how many people died, anymore than they care how many die in Iraq. People don't matter to them, only profits do.

That sounds harsh and cynical to the average ear, but I don't believe I am exaggerating at all. They say that decisions are made by those who show up, but that isn't true. Decisions are made by the people with the most money. We have a system that can't elect a poor person, and the sanest people know better than to get involved in politics. That leaves the field open to the robber barons with great means and no humanity. It takes a serious level of sociopathy to cut taxes for the richest 1% while we have homeless children in America and thousands of us die every year from lack of simple things like health insurance. It takes a stone reptile to say "Bring 'em on" when our troops are in harm's way, then turn around and reduce their benefits to the point that their kids need food stamps and the injured pay for the care that they need out of their own pockets.

They don't care for the kids getting sick in formadehyde fumes of FEMA-provided trailers any more than the Iraqi babies that die from American bombs and bullets.

We shouldn't just have done better, we must do better right now. Somebody has to wake people up. There's only one person running for president who has any grasp of the scope of the problems in this country and the corporate press does everything they can to marginalize him because he (Kucinich) isn't "macho" enough. Forget that he has been right about everything for the last decade or so - just ignore him because of his looks. Of course, the real objection to him is that he isn't a tool of the corporate fascists that created, and make money from, this mess. Americans haven't figured out yet that it doesn't matter whether we win or lose - insurgents shoot down one of our helicopters, Bell Helicopter makes another sale, and business goes on. We're selling arms to both sides and we never had any business being there in the first place.

I know I've strayed from the subject, but the fate of New Orleans and the fate of Iraq are inseparable. Until our leaders no longer make money from the misery of our people, nothing will change, and short of starting a new government, I don't know how anything can get better.

There's no cavalry to ride to our rescue. The Joint Chiefs aren't going to pull a military coup and oust the Bushistas. Our Bully in Chief will nuke anybody who looks at him funny. Our elections are a global joke now, and rest assued Rove's now free time will insure another theft in 2008.

Someday, history will look back at us and say "they thought they were free." Again. In the mean time, babies are dying and it is our fault, but millions of people find the time to call in and PAY to vote on American Idol.

As a nation-a people-we have little heart left. Somehow I imagined, in a perfect world, that WE, you and me, Bill, would rise to the occasion and deliver whatever it took to remediate the effects of Katrina. I donated some stuff & even volunteered to go there; you mention it now & then on your news. We should have done more, done better. This wasn't some far away, abstract event: these were our people in need. We knew that the Bushies wouldn't take care of biz, ala "Hecka'v job, Brownie! We should have done better.

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