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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Katrina Culpability

Posted: 09/04/05 21:50

by Paul Bartlett

The Bush Administration is criminally culpable for its negligence in the lead-up and aftermath of Katrina. Consider two facts:

First, climatologists have been warning us since the 1960's that global warming would result in catastrophic weather events. Rather than joining other nations to turn the tide, Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. To this day, he mocks and ridicules environmentalists.

Second, we have pumped billions of dollars into the homeland security boondoggle. While reducing FEMA to a skeletal department, Bush rolled it into his pet big brother agency. For nearly a week before Katrina landed, meteorologists warned that she would hit the gulf coast and would likely be a class five storm.

If his homeland security keystone cops can't prepare for a known event, how could they possibly prevent a terrorist act?

DeFacto Corporate Government

Posted: 09/04/05 20:59

by Paul Bartlett

Since the founding days of the John Birch Society, paranoid right-wingers have fretted about "world government". Their hatred of the United Nations is rooted in their fear that the UN may morph into the planet's sole governing authority (a job that Bush longs for).

With the recent approval of CAFTA, modern day robber barons have
taken us one step closer to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not in the form of civil, secular government, but by the emergence of international behemoth corporations. Look around; Exxon, Halliburton, GM, WalMart ... they portend the future. These corporate monsters are loyal only to themselves and are concerned with only one thing: profit.

Our federal government has ceded much of its authority in the areas of environmental protection, workplace safety, fair wages, decent working conditions, etc. to the biggest bullies on the block. By allowing corporations to export their abusive behavior, in the name of trade, we are all diminished. Every outsourced job and shuttered plant is symbolic of the new world order, and it's not the UN. The "free trade" movement has given rise to mega-corporations, to de facto parallel governments.

The right-wing is correct, we should fear world government. But it's here, now. Just flip through the Wall Street Journal to locate your "representative". You'll quickly realize that real authority now
rests in corporate board rooms, not in legislative chambers. What a sad and tragic irony.

How Many More Levees at Risk Are Out There?

Category: US Politics
Posted: 09/03/05 14:53, Edited: 09/03/05 17:19

by Dave Mindeman

It all depended on the levee.

Listening to the Bush administration's words of "comfort" in the aftermath of this complete debacle, my mind keeps going back to the levees.

A city below sea level has a unique problem when a hurricane approaches, especially when a sizable lake is poised to pour its additional watery contents into the mix. It doesn't take an engineering genius to know that levees become all important in such situations.

But levees weren't protected. Levees weren't shored up. Levees were kept out of budgets and maintained on a shoestring. It was all dependent on some place else getting hit.

Mother Nature didn't smile on New Orleans -- the worst has happened and neglected levees broke. There was some time to do something as the storm approached. But where were the engineers? Where were the disaster teams? Who was watching the levees?

The water came pouring through and washed away lives, careers, and a nation's confidence. Budget cuts keep putting off critical maintenance of our infrastructure. One has to wonder how many more of our citizens are poised on the brink because our government has decided their "levee" can wait.



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