Friday, September 02, 2005
I never thought I'd see the day that the Deep South was swallowed by the ocean before California - but then I'm seeing a lot of crazy shit I never thought I'd see this week. I thought (like most, I imagine) that after Hurricane Katrina inevitably plowed into the Gulf Coast, a massive and efficient relief effort would rocket into action. I thought countless thousands of medical workers, military police, engineers, contracters, and millions of dollars would descend on Lousiana and Mississippi faster than the storm had. I thought, after the lessons of 9/11 (to which Republicans are so fond of referring), the Department of Homeland Security would prove Rome could have been built in a day. Instead...
::There has been near universal criticism of a slow and inadequate reaction by the federal government.
::Instead of Rudy Giuliani heroically riding into battle, apopleptic New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was reduced to calling WWL radio. When asked if he'd declare martial law, Nagin replied, "I have asked for martial law. I asked for it two days ago!" The fifteen-minute interview also allowed Nagin to vent his rage about the law that apparently prohibits federal disaster relief without a formal request by the state: "Did the tsunami victims ask us for help? Did the Iraqis ask us to come in? Did they have to make a request through formal channels? ...You pull off the doggone ventilator vent, and you look down there, and they're standing there in water up to their fricking neck!"
::Mayor Nagin also warned that many of the "hooligans", armed with looted firearms and taking potshots at both police and passersby, are drug addicts unable to find a fix and are in the maddening depths of withdrawal.
::Despite the fact that the military forces will reach New Orleans before food and water supplies, anyone looting (which of course includes those scavenging for sustenance) will be met by "troops [who] know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so if necessary, and I expect they will."
::A nationwide gas crisis has sent prices saoring well past $3 and already the wells are running dry. A British analyst interviewed on CNN has said that the amount of crude oil lost in the wreckage eliminates the global surplus (which was only a scant 2 million barrels). Now the planet is barely breaking even between its production and consumption of crude oil. The impact of this is not localized: there has already been a ten-pence rise in gas prices in the UK. Bush's advice to his citizens: don't buy oil or gas unless you need it... as opposed to before, when I suppose people where filling and blowing up gas cans just for shits-'n'-giggles.
::It took the collective rage of millions of netizens to convince Condi she should get back to work instead of shopping for shoes.
::Two true signs of the End Times: paleocon Pat Buchanan critiqued the administration's lax initiative on an anti-war website and neocon perv Bill O'Reilly attacked Big Oil for profiting at the expense of America's working class.
::In spite of all of the above, Bush has yet to make plans to set foot in the disaster zone.
My mind is reeling as I watch the world's lone superpower implode into a third world war zone - and I'm sitting in the comfort of a Japanese suburb 9000 miles away. Last month, a friend was describing the recent spike in violent crimes against gas station attendants. "You can lie about the reasons someone's kid is shipped off to get shot in the desert," she said, "but you can't lie about the price of gas. You got out just in time."
This may seem like a horribly inopportune time to say "I told you so", but the utter failure of the American government to provide for and to protect its citizens makes plain what we snarky leftists have known for the past six years: that George W. Bush, his cabinet, and the Project For a New American Century are criminally negligent, self-serving, myopic war pigs who dine on the corpses of the poor. The epitaph that Hunter S. Thompson wrote for the revolutionary spirit of the '60s could just as easily have been written about these delusional fucks in the White House:
"Their loss and failure is ours too: ...the desperate assumption that somebody, or at least some force, is tending the light at the end of the tunnel."
But there is no one waiting at the other end of that tunnel - not in Iraq, and not in Louisiana. We are all blind, but now we all know better than to follow these assholes claiming to have one eye. Whether we make it through this tunnel remains to be seen.
"So sad to say it's over now: here come the Rome plows." ~ Drive Like Jehu
UPDATE:: It's 2:30 in the morning here, so by the time I've woken up, Fearless Leader will have taken his latest tour of the worst natural disaster in his nation's history, not to mention who knows what kind of insane bullshit to cap off the week. There are just a couple of developments upon which I want to comment before I hit the hay, because this shit is more bananas than a hot tub full of macaques...
::By now, mayor Nagin's enraged radio interview is blowing up the blogosphere and even finding some above-the-fold coverage in the mainstream media. Good. This will hopefully impress upon the public how atrocious the conditions in NOLA really are.
::There's been a lot of yelling on TV lately, and amazingly none of it has involved Jon Stewart. Mainstream media defending the public's interest? Challenging authority? Veteran reporters breaking down on camera out of empathy? What the fuck is going on?!?
::Okay, no, really, THIS shit is bananas: the United States is accepting disaster relief aid from Jamaica, Sri Lanka, and the UN. And Canada is deploying troops to the US.
::In spite of all of the above, there are those who remain pathetically preoccupied with bullshit or just fucking out to lunch. Am I surprised that the two examples I've linked here are New Yorkers? No. But that's another kettle of fish entirely.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord more shit not to hit the fan overnight. Take care of each other, folks.
at 7:55 PM