Monday, September 12, 2005

Floodgate

A category 5 hurricane was rumbling across the Caribbean and the government swung into action. Radio and TV stations broadcast reports of the impending storm. Meteorologists informed the population of the possible devastation it could bring. The leader of the country also spoke telling his people that evacuations for those in the path of the storm were underway.

Busses, trucks and military vehicles moved in before the bad weather struck moving people as well as their valuables to high ground. Animals were also moved and veterinarians were on hand to take care of them. The people were moved to shelters prepared with food water and medical care. In all 1.5 million people were evacuated and though 20,000 homes were destroyed, not a single life was lost.

Does the above sound like an impossible scenario? Well, it actually happened in 2004 when hurricane Ivan hit Cuba. This is what it looks like when there is a government in place that makes the safety of it's people a priority.

We, here in the U.S. have been told for years that Big Government is a Bad thing. What that has meant in real terms is that tax money goes for an inflated defense department (over half of our budget, now close to $500 billion) so we can stockpile over 10,000 nuclear warheads, but not for social programs such as stockpiling food and water and making sure our infrastructure is the best it can be.

The Federal government bails out corporate (profit making) businesses on a regular basis but has little or no money for a national health plan, schools, a national transportation system or levees for New Orleans.

Under the Republican administrations of Regan and Bush, who keep crying for the elimination of Big Government, our national debt has increased while the services to the society have decreased. Our national parks, have been privatized, our national resources such as timber, mineral rights and land have been sold or leased at rock bottom prices to corporate interests and our environment has been polluted as environmental safeguards have been removed from governmental control and turned over to be monitored by the very companies who actively pollute! Even FEMA had paid a private company to come up with emergency hurricane relief plans for Louisiana.

Government Research and development has resulted in medical discoveries which are then patented by private companies who keep the profits. Our tax dollars are used to subsidize private companies and to send our military off to destroy other countries to secure more resources for private investors while the needs of our society are left to decline.

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has been made worse due to Incompetence and Corruption at the highest levels in our government. Corruption allowed inept, inexperienced 'cronies' of the President to take positions in FEMA and Homeland Security.

Corruption allowed the draining and development of the wetlands along the coast which act to reduce storm surge. Corruption and Incompetence allowed New Orleans without protection of the levees when the funding was cut to finance the Iraq war.

Corruption and Incompetence were part of the equation in the increased global warming which has led to the warming of the sea water which fueled the storm. Scientists tell us that we should expect more ravaging storms because of this phenomena.

If ever a government should be held accountable, it is now. We need our own blue ribbon investigation away from the spin cycle of Washington. We need a panel of scientists, experts, and humanitarians to examine what went wrong, recommend criminal prosecution for those in government who have violated their oath of office and begin a process of debate to reshape government to serve it's people.

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