Monday, September 19, 2005

The great divide(r)

The president who said he would be a “uniter” continues to sow discord and division across our land. Rather than bringing people together, he causes enmity and strife between long-time friends, family members, all to accomplish what?

Once again, anti-war protestors are mobilizing for another march to protest our involvement in Iraq, this one organized by United for Peace and Justice. This one will take place this weekend in Washington, DC and is expected to attract upwards of 100,000 people. I don’t mean to burst any bubbles of hope, but significantly larger anti-war events have had little effect on Mr. Bush, who prides himself in his ability to ignore the will of the people.

I read in my local daily that an Army veteran and retiree from Poland, Bob Chapman, is planning to march against the war. He’s also calling for the impeachment of the president, because of the blatant lies used to justify going to war.

The article in the Lewiston Sun Journal mentioned a counterdemonstration, sponsored by a group called Move America Forward—apparently unnecessary carnage under the guise of lies and obfuscation means progress for these folks. The photos on their website show people amazingly white (and probably privileged). Per usual, those willing to support this administration regardless of the horrible acts and death that they sponsor, continues to maintain a core constituency.

For me, it defies logic, but then again, many in Nazi Germany were able to bury their heads in the sand and maintain denial of the holocaust taking place right before their eyes. I’m not sure why it's so important to ignore the obvious in order to maintain an ideology, but then again, I’ve been burned enough by those purporting to have the corner on truth, to know better at this stage of the game.

Post-Katrina clean-up riddled with corruption and cronyism-

Keeping with the theme of the Bush administration's absolute lack of concern for the wishes and well-being of all but their richest friends and cronies, we have this:

Sept. 14—Some of the first large-scale Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery contracts awarded by the Bush administration were awarded on a no-bid basis to corporations with strong ties to the administration and the Republican Party, according to news stories in The Wall Street Journal and other media. At the same time, the administration is using the catastrophe to push a reactionary anti-worker agenda, gutting federal regulations that protect worker safety and ensure quality work and living wages.

The no-bid deals include $100 million contracts to the Fluor Corp., a major donor to the GOP, and the Shaw Group, which is client of Joe M. Allbaugh, President George W. Bush’s campaign manager in 2000 and the former director the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Meanwhile Halliburton Co., subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root Services received a $29.8 million clean-up contract, while Halliburton, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, is doing repair work at three Navy facilities in Mississippi under an existing contract. The company also has been awarded billions of dollars of federal contracts for work in Iraq and that work and the Bush administration’s Iraq procurement policies have been heavily criticized in recent years.

Amazing, but only if you haven't been paying attention the last six years. What I find unconcionable is the fact that people who've literally had everything ripped from them, must now face the impossible specter of rebuilding their lives, while this administration strips them of their livelihoods and jobs paying a living wage.

The Bush administration also is using the disaster to attack federal standards ensuring quality work and worker safety. Last week, the administration announced it was eliminating the high-quality work standards set by the federal Davis-Bacon law for hurricane reconstruction contracts work, allowing contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers in the affected areas, and the administration also is lifting many affirmative action rules for reconstruction contracts.

Bush now wants to suspend wage supports for service workers in the hurricane zone as it did for construction workers on federal contracts last week, according to
The Washington Post.

The administration also has suspended regulations limiting the number of hours truckers can drive when transporting fuel. In addition, Bush has weakened restrictions giving contracting preferences to small and minority-owned businesses and has suspended the Jones Act, which requires transport of petroleum, gasoline and other petroleum products on U.S.-flagged ships while operating in U.S. coastal waters.

The no-bid contracts “guarantee profits regardless of how much those companies spend or waste,” says
AFT President Edward J. McElroy. “This is happening at the same time that the local hires of these firms will, in many cases, not earn a living wage. It is unconscionable that our national government would act to hurt those most in need while delivering a windfall to wealthy contractors. These decisions must be reversed.”

This is a blatent declaration of war on the working class and poor by an administration that received votes from many of these same people. There is no representation any longer for anyone but those on the top runs of the socio-economic ladder. Everyone else is being pissed on below!


jamie said...

Don't know if you've yet seen the story about the $1 bliion that has gone missing from the Iraqi Defence Ministry that was supposed to be used to prepare the Iraqis to be able to defend their country. Something tells me this is going to get bigger in the coming days:

Anonymous said...

You want to blame Bush for everything even the hurricane. The democrats do plenty of dividing too. Why don't you ever atttack them and blame them. It always just Bush with you!

weasel said...

Anonymous- Bush is in charge. As that great Democrat Harry Truman once said, that means "the buck stops here". Or don't you Republicans believe in taking responsibility any more? The "Oh yeah? Well you do the same thing" is not the response one expects from a supporter of the party that vowed to change politics as usual. Engage your brain, and stop spouting the GOP line.

Jim said...

Actually, I blame Democrats too, unless, of course, you haven't been keeping track.

Back to Bush, however; he is the man "in charge" at the moment and he seems to be doing his damned-well-best to dismantle the country that I grew up in (and actually have some fond memories of).

Forgive me if that makes me a bit cranky at times.

ChefDunn said...

Regardless of party lines, the handling of the disaster relief just plain sucks. Its sad when Sean Penn, sloshing around the streets with a dingy, is more effective than all the "chicken with its head cut off" approaches that our "leaders" were displaying.

Anon, if you don't have the ballz to include a name or e-mail with your post, no matter how valid or articulate, your credability falls short. Even with those of us on the "conservative" line.