Saturday, August 26, 2006

I wanted to thank President Bush
for the millions of FEMA trailers

10,700 unused FEMA trailers still in Arkansas Posted by Picasa

"And my mission was very simple. I wanted to thank President Bush for the millions of FEMA trailers that were brought down there. They gave roofs over people’s head. People had the chance to have baths, air condition. We have TV, we have toiletry, we have things that are necessities that we can live upon. But now, I wanted to remind the President that the job’s not done, and he knows that. And I just don’t want the government and President Bush to forget about us. And I just wish the President could have another term in Washington."

-Hurricaine Katrina survivor Rockey Vaccarella, after he drove his FEMA trailer from New Orleans to Washington to demand a meeting with President Bush, which he was, surprisingly, granted.

First, Mr. Vaccarella didn't drive a FEMA trailer to Washington. That would be an act of grand theft that FEMA would likely take a dim view of. I'm curious to know from whom he "borrowed" an "exact replica of a FEMA trailer" as reported by the Times-Picayune. The T-P couldn't muster up the gumption to ask. I woul ask that because, second, Mr. Vaccarella is a former GOP candidate for office in St. Bernard, and the banter at this White House press conference hints that this was a staged event.

Welcome to the Anniversary as orchestrated by the White House that put Karl rove--its chief political hack and hachetman--in charge of Katrina response. This think stinks to high heaven, and the big media fell for it hook, line and sinker.

There is going to be an ugly war of words this weekend. Spike Lee launched the first salvo, and the White House offers up this to show what real (white, Republican) Americans on the Hurricane Coast are like, so that the rest of y'all don't have to get all in a tizzy about that Spike Lee fellow and his movie.

I can say without reservation that Mr. Vaccarella does not speak for the vast majority of people in this area, who harbor tremendous anger and resentment toward the executive branch of the federal government--the President, FEMA, SBA, the Corps of Engineers--and everyone who represents it. The closest analogy that comes to me is one I used to explain to some fool Texan a while back: the resettlement of Indians, and their treatment by Indian agents and the U.S. Army.

Bush needed to have this little staged event because, frankly, he could not put in a personal appearance that wasn't carefully staged and screened. It would burst the safe little bubble he has built for himself in an ugly way. People would tend to be respectful of the office, I imagine, but lurking just beneath the surface would be an ugly mob with tar and feathers on its mind.

Still, Bush is coming anyway for the annivesary, so he can tell us what a swell, caring fellow he is, as he demonstrated for all of us and the entire world last year. It will be a safe, scripted environment, the sort of event I was banned from in Fargo N.D. for having the temerity to write a column in the newspaper suggesting the ten commandments monument in the public park outside city hall and the library be replaced with one listing the Bill of Rights, for serving as a district Democratic Party chair and placing my name on the ballot for the state legislature, for once attending a meeting about Howard Dean. Seditious stuff, that.

This is what I wrote back in January, after the fleeting, self-congrtulatory notice in the State of the Union address of the greatest disaster in the history of the United States. We will not let Bush rewrite our history, to deny his own minor holocausts like Saddam in the dock.
There are hundreds of thousands of us, scattered throughout most of the United States. We are everywhere you and your party will go to campaign: Arkansas and Atlanta and Austin, Dallas and Detroit and Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Baltimore and Boston, Chicago and Charlotte. Many will remain there indefinitely, unable to go home, precisely because you have lied to them and betrayed them.

We will not let you escape from the net of lies you have woven. Wherever you turn, you will find us, ready to call you out. Vicksburg MS fell to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on July 4, 1863. The city did not observe the Fourth of July as a holiday again until 1945. We will not soon forget what you are doing. We will not let you or the American people or the world forget either.

Remember 8-29.

Remember Convention Center Boulevard.

Remember the Industrial and 17th Street and London Avenue Canals.

Remember the St. Claude Avenue and Judge Perez Drive.


amen sir. a peaceful and tranquil 8-29-06 to you and yours. may you spend it quietly with your loved ones recharging your batterys and ready to jump back into the fray on the 30th. rick.
Why should we show respect for the office of the presidency when the man occupying that office does not? I personally wish he'd show his respect by staying the hell away and letting us grieve in peace. Send money, not traffic jams. We plan to attend mass and have a Remembrance Meal at home. After a normal day of school and work and a visit to the orthodontist, that is.
I am not arguing that any individual should show repsect. My own suggestion yesterday to some people at the Rising Tide conference is that the people of New Orleans pack the square, and turn their backs when he comes to speak. But many people would resist that out of (misplaced) respect for the office.
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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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