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Real State of Union After Katrina

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The flooding and flattening of New Orleans and its exposure of this government”s abject failure in preparedness are a shock to the collective psyche of Americans. The human cost of this breakdown in response reveals the stark reality of life for millions in the richest country in the world. News coverage on the BBC truly showed how appalling the human conditions are in New Orleans, presenting us as an embarrassment to the world. Who would have ever thought that conditions normally seen in Sudan or Calcutta would surface here? Even the conservative news networks are exclaiming how inexplicable it is that so much that so much
misery could have been avoided through proper attention and planning. Although
the Army Corp of Engineers had begged for the funding to complete the levees
that would protect New Orleans in the event of a serious hurricane, it was
denied. Now we learn that even FEMA was subjected to budget cut backs under the
new Homeland Security regime. So where is the $40 billion that was appropriated
to secure our country in the event of a terrorist attack? How does that juicy
tax cut during time of war that Dick Cheney thought his wealthy friends were
entitled to look now?

Here we are fighting wars for oil in the mideast, proposing legislation that
would allow oil drilling in the delicate eco-system of Anwar, however,
protecting the infrastructure of the Gulf states where a high percentage of our
gasoline gets refined and processed somehow wasn’t important at a time when so
many studies have been released predicting the end of cheap oil as we enter the
stage called Hubbert’s Peak – or Peak Oil.

But what about the failure of our think tanks and intellectual institutions
that should have known the inevitable and done all it could to pre-empt this
catastrophe? What about the American people, especially the liberals? How could
it be that in the presence of amazing futuristic technologies that are employed
in space, in the decoding of DNA, in computing, in the manufacturing of hi-tech
instruments of death and destruction, that we have accepted automobiles with the
fuel efficiency averaging 22 miles per gallon? Would we be building 14 bases in
Iraq if this were not the case? Yet we attend endless protest marches and shout
“troops out now”. We go to progressive conferences and listen to high
profile liberals denounce the neocons who have infiltrated our political system
through a stealthy coup by stolen elections.

The Republicans vote in party line which is more important than making
legislative decisions based on truth and justice. They obviously have very
little idea what acting in the national interest means as they are majority
party in an ultra-secretive government which has violated its own constitution
and legal standard. They are supposedly the “family values” people,
although the family unit is struggling more than ever in our history. The
Democratic Party can’t figure out how this criminal syndicate occupying our
executive branch can commit treason for 9/11 and the lies of the Iraq war and
continue to get an easy pass from the media and millions of Americans. They’ve
been totally inept in mounting a serious opposition despite the fact that all
our lives depend on it. Nobody has been able to come up with an effective and
powerful idea that will enact serious change. All we’re left with is breakdown
while the majority of people are starving for solutions that will better their
lives and end the state of political, economic and social tyranny.

So what can be done? There is an obvious idea, for starters. We must end the
stranglehold of forced dependence on fossil fuels now. Let’s publicize the fact
that the Patent Office has thousands of patents on energy devices that have been
classified. Let’s not purchase one more new vehicle until every car in this
country is retrofitted with fuel injector technology that quadruples gas
efficiency. Enough of the illusion of powerlessness. The awakening of the
sleeping giant is way overdue. Will the real thought leaders out there please
stand up?

Les Jamieson

Sept. 2, 2005