Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Right Wing Email Blames "Welfare State" For Katrina Aftermath

There is an email going around from the Washington Times, at least that was what it said in one of the ones I received, blaming the botched response in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina on the welfare state.
That article couldn't be more off the mark.
That was a right wing, racist analysis and fails to consider many facets of the disaster.
In one sense, one thing the article said is correct. The seeds of the disaster were sown for years in advance. Thousands of people have been living in poverty, with inadequate schools, health care and little job opportunity and have been mostly ignored. The article blames that situation on the welfare state, with no further explanation, as if that was enough to support such a warped thesis. The roots of poverty are more complex than that, but are fairly obvious to anyone who will really look closely at society. Simplistic, right wing or any other wing slogans and mantras don't serve as realistic causes or provide solutions.
Most of what we have seen on TV are people who could not leave because of infirmity or no car or no money.
There has been violence but in no way can it be said that it is more than a small percentage of the population doing that. Looting occurred after other hurricanes. In Galveston, after hurricane Carla in 1961, looters were hung with signs proclaiming "shot for looting."
In New Orleans most of this "looting" has been by people that take food and water for themselves and their families.
To say that people haven't risen to the occasion demonstrates a blind eye to what's been going on. There are hundreds of stories of heroic actions by folks of all walks of life, police, military and even some government officials performing magnificently. And countless stories of people helping in other states and cities.
One federal branch, the U.S. Coast Guard, went into action immediately and performed heroically putting in long, arduous days of search and rescue operations.
Texas cities, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and others have opened shelters and raised money, food, clothes and other supplies to help.
There is blame to go around and you can bet it will come out soon. One culprit are policies pursued for decades in Louisiana, and this state isn't alone in this, which have destroyed much of the environment, depleted wetlands and barrier islands and polluted waterways with industrial and residential wastes.
The diversion of the Mississippi and the creation of the levee system is a big culprit and has been known for years as a disaster in the making.
It is going to take a tremendous amount of money and will to recover from this but it will be done in one way or another.
Will it be done intelligently, with an eye to preventing future disaster or will it be, once again, left to greedy developers, industrialists and politicians?
If such a storm hit here(I live in Corpus Christi, Texas) with similar flooding we would be totally unprepared to deal with that. Many, are disabled and poor and could not leave.
It could happen. The worst storm I have been through, by far, was Celia, in 1970. It was totally destructive but we were spared the flooding because of factors to do with the size and strength of the storm, it wasn't that big or strong till it came ashore when it exploded. It didn't push a big storm surge. It only rained about 5 inches. It blew the water out of Corpus Christi Bay and down the Laguna Madre.
Torrential rains and a storm from another direction could flood the Nueces River and Nueces Bay, a big storm surge could submerge downtown Corpus Christ, Padre Island, Flour Bluff and other low lying areas.
Development on the barrier islands, loss of wetlands and a rising sea water level seriously threaten my city and other coastal areas. Unfortunately local, state and federal governments allow unchecked, unplanned development to run amok and they fail to recognize the problem. Future planning is dominated by the god of local politicians, more growth! This is a short term formula for huge profits for a few and a long term recipe for massive losses looming for the many.


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