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Was it deliberate malevolence or just criminal incompetence?

i began this blog a while ago, hoping to find something constructive to do with the anger, frustration and sense of helplessness i felt during and after katrina. i had some ideas and thoughts that i wanted to write out in long form, but due to events in my life i laid it all down for a while. i've been wanting to begin again but with the torrent of criminal behavior from this administration and its allies it's been difficult to decide where exactly to begin. then i saw a clip of historian doug brinkley on msnbc's scarborough country talking about bush's failure in leadership in leaving the gulf coast essentially a wasteland. people are expressing surprise at this apparent failure instead of realizing that failure is the man's middle name (the w is silent).

the title of this entry comes from a chris floyd post about the federal declaration of emergency in louisiana prior to the hurricane and how it failed to cover the coastal counties (illustrated here). the basic question has been bouncing around the left for a while: is he evil or just stupid? a blogger today said it's time to stop asking that. i can't remember who wrote that but i completely agree, because the obvious answer is yes. the underlying thread for every bad decision, every inaction, the far-reaching corruption is ideology. i can't really explain this thing called the neo-con ideology, i don't fully understand it. it makes no practical sense to me. it is essentially to put in place a set of governing beliefs that assert america's will through the commander in chief's imperialistic strength, you know, the military, if threats are not enough. it is predicated on doing whatever is necessary to protect america's security. because of their financial and social standings for most of the neo-cons protecting america's security means protecting the security of its corporations, thus the boom in corporate wealth and stagnation in wages. there are those who i know who would give me shit for this oversimplification, if they were to actually read this far, but the actions of the administration support it. the reason i began writing about the katrina aftermath is because it is a very stark and difficult to spin snapshot of who this administration is.

there is an obvious question that i have not seen asked. while the president was able to find it in his heart to end his vacation early to come back to dc to sign legislation to "save the life" of a single brain-dead woman, how could he possibly be so completely unaware of the thousands needing their lives saved during his next vacation? how is it possible that it took that long to end his vacation, and still so much longer for aid to reach all of the people in need? it is impossible to be that incompetent. i don't know why people are so afraid to call it deliberate. put simply, a competent govt. response would have been anathema to the neo-con philosophy of a smaller government; a government, to paraphrase grover norquist, small enough to drown in a bathtub or a backyard in the ninth ward. this presidency is built on the idea of the people helping the people, because government is too ineffective to depend on, unless it's for corporate welfare.

so that's it: the gulf coast lies in ruin because of ideology. ask yourself why they would depend on cruise ships, motel vouchers, and tent cities when they could have used the much more effective section 8 program to house people quicker and at lower costs; or why instead of worrying about the collapsing levees on august 29th, as pointed out in the chris floyd post, bush was worried about illegal aliens. this of course comes from the white house transcript of his arizona speech that day. there is no faith-based group that can repair new orleans and there is no market based solution. throwing money at halliburton certainly won't work. the only thing that will work is effective federal leadership from an administration that doesn't believe in anything except the federal power, or rather the presidential power to make war. that being the case why is anyone actually surprised that the gulf coast still lies in ruin?

lastly, i read someone earlier this week, can't remember who, explaining why kanye was wrong about bush not liking black people. i'd have to say i agree, but not because of his convoluted logic (which amounted to saying just because bush doesn't care about the black vote doesn't mean he doesn't like black people). i don't think kanye went far enough, bush doesn't like the vast majority of americans, doesn't care about our rights, our needs, or our constitution.

Conspiracy theory bonus question:

In light of what we now know about the FBI's illegal spying , the president's illegal NSA wiretapping, and general assertions of executive power, and the controversy surrounding voting machine manufacturer diebold, whose recently resigned ceo had promised to deliver ohio to bush in the last election; do you believe these people ever intend to lose the presidency again?

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