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Katrina: Have Republicans Meet Their Match


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Right may have met its match in hurricane crisis

Its imprint is clearly visible in the Katrina saga. Despite the well-documented danger of a major hurricane hitting low-lying New Orleans, the White House slashed federal funding for preventative flood control and lifted a ban on developers destroying the wetlands protecting city. It also downsized and privatized the federal disaster management agency, FEMA, handing it over to inexperienced cronies who cut funding for a nationwide program aimed at reducing the impact of disasters by properly preparing for them.

So minimal was FEMA's preparation for Katrina that, despite two days warning, the agency had developed no real plan for helping those trapped in New Orleans. As CNN's Anderson Cooper reported, 15,000 desperate people who fled to the convention centre were cared for for days by a single doctor who showed up on his own, equipped only with a stethoscope and some medicine he'd looted from a pharmacy on his way over. Who needs planning?

This could be a turning point — just as the Walkerton tragedy finally alerted the people of Ontario to the dangers of the program-slashing, right-wing ideology of the Mike Harris government.

In Katrina and its awesome horrors, the right may have finally met its match.Its imprint is clearly visible in the Katrina saga. Despite the well-documented danger of a major hurricane hitting low-lying New Orleans, the White House slashed federal funding for preventative flood control and lifted a ban on developers destroying the wetlands protecting city. It also downsized and privatized the federal disaster management agency, FEMA, handing it over to inexperienced cronies who cut funding for a nationwide program aimed at reducing the impact of disasters by properly preparing for them.

So minimal was FEMA's preparation for Katrina that, despite two days warning, the agency had developed no real plan for helping those trapped in New Orleans. As CNN's Anderson Cooper reported, 15,000 desperate people who fled to the convention centre were cared for for days by a single doctor who showed up on his own, equipped only with a stethoscope and some medicine he'd looted from a pharmacy on his way over. Who needs planning?

This could be a turning point — just as the Walkerton tragedy finally alerted the people of Ontario to the dangers of the program-slashing, right-wing ideology of the Mike Harris government.

In Katrina and its awesome horrors, the right may have finally met its match.

What is most disturbing is that if the scientists had been listened to, a large part of NO is suffering could have been avoided. Hopefully we will be able to turn things around in the US administration so that these kind of scenarios do not keep on repeating themselves. If you think the US psyche is damaged now, imagine what it would be like if they rebuild NO where it was, and the same thing happens again.

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