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Thursday, June 28, 2007

When bad things happen to people who aren't Bush cronies
Posted by Jill | 7:33 AM
The Gulf coast residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina are the forgotten citizens of this country -- forgotten by most Americans now, and not just forgotten, but actively screwed over by their leaders.

The GAO has issued a report on what a disaster the Bush Administration's handling of Katrina and its aftermath was, is, and will continue to be. Think Progress distills many of the salient points:

EPA allowed toxic chemicals to harm poor Katrina victims: A GAO report revealed that EPA publicly downplayed the risk of asbestos inhalation, which is often released during home demolition, to city residents and failed to deploy air monitors in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. Furthermore, EPA waited nearly eight months to inform residents that short-term visits could expose them to dangerous levels of asbestos and mold.

FEMA ignored its own hurricane plan: Prior to Katrina, FEMA created a “Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Backup Plan” which forecasted specific consequences and action-plans in the event of a hurricane. But “post-Katrina FEMA documents demonstrate that that the plan was never implemented.” The day before Katrina hit, FEMA Deputy Director Patrick Rhode sent an e-mail to Michael Brown’s assistant with the subject line, “copy of New Orleans cat plan,” stating, “I never got one — I think Brown got my copy — did you get one?”

FEMA guaranteed billions in profits for big companies: Following Katrina, federal agencies “doled out more than $2.4 billion in cost-plus contracts,” which “offer companies no incentive to save money or keep costs from ballooning.” FEMA was responsible for nearly 94 percent of all of the hurricane-related cost-plus contracts, with the remainder being issued primarily by the EPA and U.S. Air Force.

It's been said that Republicans say government doesn't work because they don't know how to make it work. There has never in my lifetime been an Administration and a Republican Party that has proven this adage more than this bunch. In its handling of one of the greatest natural disasters ever to hit this country, just as in its handling of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, this Administration has proven that if you are not one of its cronies and business partners, they don't even regard you as an American citizen. It's government of the cronies, by the cronies, and for the cronies. And if this country ever elects another Republican president, they deserve exactly what they get. Too bad they'll be carrying the rest of us with them.

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