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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 30th, 2007 - 02:17:55

Big tears for the Big Easy
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Aug 30, 2007, 02:16

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On Monday, August 29, 2005, at 7 a.m., Katrina hit New Orleans and the world cried big tears for the Big Easy. Except in the White House and on the Crawford Ranch and a few other racist holes, where some folks didn't and still don�t give a damn.

As Jamiah Adams and Paris Marron of Brave New report, �There are still tens of thousands of families without homes. 30,000 families are scattered across the country in FEMA apartments, 13,000 are in trailers, and hardly any of the 77,000 rental units destroyed in New Orleans have been rebuilt.� You can catch their deep-heart video by clicking on their group�s name and listen to the people tell you about what hasn�t been done after two years.

Or you catch President Bush on bowing his suckering head in prayer Tuesday to remember the hundreds who were washed away along with the president and his administration�s credibility. While Bush and his wife Laura lit candles, and slid their sorry butts into the front pew of the triple-spire St. Louis Cathedral, miraculously untouched by the mad winds and high waters, thousands upon thousands were still up and down the river without a paddle.

In fact, the First Couple had the temerity to bow their heads at 9:38 a.m. Central time and kneel for a moment of silence to note the first breaching of the levees, which were supposed to protect the city from the massive storm flooding, but didn�t because the Army Corps of Engineers built them shabbily and on the cheap, thanks to this same president, who was again on that day of tragedy, inept, inactive, and nowhere to be seen, shades of 9/11.

Nevertheless, the newly found homeboy Bush declared: �This city will rise again.� Hallelujah, from his mouth to god�s ear. This as some misguided pastor began the service in which he actually thanked Bush for his �steadfast support in our recovery.� Listen you all. If they could clean away the remains and evidence of the 9/11 explosions in a matter of eight months, they could have got the Big Easy standing tall again in two years.

Instead, the bald-faced liar Bush began his �national day of remembrance� for Katrina as if any sane, decent, human being could forget. AP reported a New Orleans waitress jokingly asked, �Mr. President, are you going to turn your back on me?� And bright eyes turned and said, �No ma�am not again.� That�s cause he�s born again, once again, the president with nine political lives who somehow has managed to dodge the responsibility for more disaster, death, misery, squandering of public funds, corruption, spying, and disregard for constitutional values than any president ever. Mr. Hindsight is back in town. Watch your back and watch your pocketbook.

But there he was, as AP tells it, walking the streets, meeting and greeting people with Mayor Ray "which-side-is-he-on" Nagin in a neighborhood with high-water marks still stuck to the walls and roofs of houses. The day before in Biloxi, Mississippi, Bush man was full of generosity, saying, �Money is beginning to go out the door [more like out the window into someone�s deep pockets] so people can rebuild their lives. In Louisiana, it�s been a little slower,� Bush added, with his legendary flare for understatement.

But then he told us all, he was there for rebuilding not to highlight disaster, meaning his own and his Department of Homeland Security and FEMA�s disastrous culpability. Speaking in Biloxi in tongues he said, �My message to the people down here is that we understand there�s more work to be done,� duh yeah, �and just because a year has passed (no two have passed), the federal government will remember the people.� Like you did the last two years, right bunky?

He went on, �This is an anniversary, but that doesn�t mean it ends.� And what the hell does that mean? Well, �It�s the beginning of what is going to be a long recovery.� What like in Iraq and Afghanistan? But George said he was �amazed by the hope I feel down here.� Maybe he should take a look at the Brave New Foundation Report and stop playing cheerleader like he did at Yale. He might not be so amazed.

But then Mrs. Cheerleader said, �It takes more than just money. It really takes the efforts of everyone who lived here, who wants to come back, of all public officials, local, state and federal, of other neighbors, other people can figure out a way to help.� She said this on ABC�s Good Morning, America, which is generally fast asleep at the deceit of these neocon Neanderthals, what with all those cheery smiling announcer-ettes and announcer-boys in color-coordinated outfits.

But who are the �other people� who �can figure out a way to help,� Mrs. Bush? Your old man�s the Commander in Chief, the Decider, the War President, even though he was fraudulently elected two times and all his crooked honchos are disappearing in the woodwork to avoid Congress and jail-time. Let�s get real. Your spiel doesn�t cut it: �Was the federal government slow? Sure, probably (which is it). Was every government slow, state and local? Sure. But have they responded in a very, very helpful way? I think they have.�

Well that�s great, Mrs. B. But go take a walk through the Lower Ninth Ward and see how they responded. Send your kids down there, like my son and his church group went, to patch some houses together, sleep in a drowned church and walk through a city of despair.

This is the town Cheney finally visited. And as he was rapping inanities, some everyday guy who�d lost his house shouted out a number of times, �Go fuck yourself, Dick Cheney.� People don�t do that out of love. And crap like this gem from Laura gets them nuts: �I think we�ll look back on it and we�ll see it for what it was,� duh, �the largest disaster that our country has ever faced and a huge disaster.� Err, isn�t that redundant, or has the wool been pulled over my eyes?

The truth is, nearly 70 percent of America thinks Bush bungled Katrina, and frustration and fed-up-ness with fed, local, and state response runs deep as the old Miss, as the poverty created by flood-waters sweeping thousands from their homes. Of three proposals Bush offered to fight that poverty, one idea, The Gulf Opportunity Zone, has given tax breaks of $8.7 billion to �developers� of low-income housing, small businesses and individuals. Tax breaks, developers, right.

But worker recovery accounts, those meant to help the hit-hard find work, by paying for schooling, job training, child care, didn�t show. And that goes for the Urban Homesteading Act. It would have provided poor people sites to build homes they could finance themselves or receive help through programs like Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy Carter�s fine organization.

Bottom line, half of the Big Easy has electric. Half the hospitals are shut. Crime, the violent kind, is up. Less than half the old residents have returned. I wonder why. Then there are those tens of thousands of people mentioned earlier still living in trailers and mobile homes with no estimated time of arrival at a permanent address. And even though a lot of debris has been cleared, a lot remains �as if the clock stopped when the storm struck.�

And I remember that morning that the storm struck. I was sitting with my family in our cabin in the Berkshires as rain pounded that area as well and we watch the flickering Direct TV with our friends and neighbors from New York. They were worried about their son who had arrived at Tulane in time to turn around again in his friend�s father�s car, among the lucky with wheels, spending hours and hours to get out of town to a Texas airport, where they finally flew home. Oliver, the brave young man, spent the next year at Columbia in New York, while Tulane put itself back together, and then returned. He�s got a thing for New Orleans; bless him for it.

Meanwhile even though Congress has thrown $110 billion in hurricane aid at New Orleans, Bush released only $77 billion to the states, holding back the rest for �future needs.� Not a penny of that $33 billion has yet to be parted with. And thanks to this vast ongoing bungle, I�m still waiting for the headline that reads �Bush/Cheney Impeached.� I�ll even settle for �Bush/Cheney resign.� What the hell, all the other rats on their ship have jumped or are about to. Why not the head rats, who are single-handedly attempting to scuttle the world as they scuttled New Orleans and the World Trade Towers? So it�s time to go, boys, one way or the other. �Hurry up please it�s time/ Hurry up please it�s time,� as T.S. Eliot intoned in his masterpiece poem, The Wasteland, an apt title for what these two and their goons have made of New Orleans, of America, of the Mid-East, and will make of the world if we give them the chance. So, let�s not.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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