Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tancredo to New Orleans: you aren't worth the money

GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) said Friday it is “time the taxpayer gravy train left the New Orleans station” and urged an end to the federal aid to the region that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina two years ago.

“The amount of money that has been wasted on these so-called ‘recovery’ efforts has been mind-boggling,” said Tancredo, who is running a long-shot presidential campaign. “Enough is enough.”

Citing administration figures, the lawmaker said that $114 billion has been spent on the effort to rebuild a large stretch of the Gulf Coast after the storm hit New Orleans in August 2005 and claimed more than 1,600 lives.

“At some point, state and local officials and individuals have got to step up to the plate and take some initiative,” said Tancredo. “The mentality that people can wait around indefinitely for the federal taxpayer to solve all their worldly problems has got to come to an end.”

The lawmaker criticized in particular the amount that has been wasted through fraud and abuse, estimated at $1 billion.

“This whole fiasco has been a perfect storm of corruption and incompetence at all levels,” he added.

Gee Mr. Tancredo. How very neighborly of you. How very Christian.

You are of course referring to that tiny bit of Federal aid that was actually allotted to New Orleans; and of course, almost none of it has reached the city or the people. And this of course because it has been plundered by your people - your GOP robber barons.

And of course you're just fine with the BILLIONS being wasted by contractors in Iraq; money that comes out of our taxes, and against our will. You see, we'd actually prefer it go to New Orleans.

It's just fine and ducky to you that contractors are leaving trucks by the side of the road abandoned, if they get a flat tire, because they know the United States of Corruption will by them a new truck.

Abandon the American city and continue plundering Iraq and the American treasury. Great campaign platform. Terrific party philosophy. We're supposed to vote for this? No wonder you're trying to fix the election process. Of course we won't vote for this, and you people know it.

So I guess the GOP has already made their financial killing in New Orleans and is ready to move on -- right Mr. Tancredo? NOLA gravy train is over, now the insurance companies are getting nervous that someone might actually expect them to pay...

From Mother Jones:

In those first emotional days after Katrina laid waste to the Gulf Coast, widespread predictions of a political sea change arrived from liberal and even some conservative commentators. "Americans are ready to fix their restless gaze on enduring problems of poverty, race, and class that have escaped their attention," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter wrote in a September 2005 cover story. Some went so far as to forecast the dawn of a new America, one stunned out of both complacency and conservatism by the images of suffering on the Gulf Coast. Katrina, one commentator suggested, would permanently "redefine the political landscape."

But within just a few weeks of the hurricane, something had changed in the press coverage and the public response: As the floodwaters receded, so, too, did the powerful images—the portraits of racially segregated suffering, of death by poverty. America's—even liberal America's—focus appeared to be moving away from the experiences of Katrina victims and the deep, systemic problems they revealed. In the end, the leap from pathos to policy was never made. Instead, a narrower lens was focused on the foibles of the Bush administration—for instance, its hiring of a political crony, Michael Brown, to head FEMA (and, later, Brown's infamous emails about wardrobe choices and dinner plans as New Orleans residents were literally drowning in their homes). Democrats were quick to attack President Bush, but when it came to advancing meaningful policy changes, they came up short on momentum.

It quickly became clear that the public "meaning" of Katrina, which had initially seemed so obvious to so many, was actually up for grabs—and so, too, was its impact on U.S. politics.

In the coming weeks and months, conservatives hit their stride. The Bush administration, with the help of its friends in the Washington establishment and elsewhere, turned the disaster in New Orleans from a crisis into an opportunity—a chance to extend, rather than repeal, the conservative revolution that had begun 25 years earlier. The campaign to accomplish this apparent political paradox would operate on many levels and with astonishing success. While the country was absorbed by watching the president try to stuff an uncooperative political rabbit back into his hat, the real tricks were taking place offstage.

  • The PR campaign. This began with a carefully constructed plan—engineered, to no one's surprise, by Karl Rove—to shift blame away from the White House, accompanied by promises of "investigations," and followed by a highly stage-managed expression of conservative compassion by Bush.
  • The advancement of conservative social policies, including an overhaul of the federal budget. Despite some haggling among conservatives, Bush's pledge to help the victims from Katrina would be used to justify a series of cuts that had always been favored by the right—robbing the poor to give (for a little while) to the poor.
  • The remaking of New Orleans. A variety of carefully planned "rebuilding" strategies, along with a selective apportionment of resources, would effectively clear out many of the city's poor African Americans to make way for a richer, whiter simulacrum of the Big Easy.
  • A free-for-all for corporate contractors. There were billions of dollars to be made on the reconstruction of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, a good share of it awarded to companies with political connections, and a fair portion of that lost to greed, waste, incompetence, and fraud.

Mission Accomplished.

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