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Edge of the West

After 9/11 & Katrina, What Next?
Posted by Ron Scott Smith on Sep 25, 2005 - 7:49:00 PM

"Bush: 'Worst natural disaster to ever hit the U.S.'"

WASHINGTON D.C.That, in fact, is a front-page headline that ran in a small town, east coast newspaper a few days ago. They were quoting the president, I think, but read between the quotation marks and it takes on a whole new meaning.


They say bad things happen in threes. After 9/11 and Katrina, America holds its breath and covers its eyes, wondering what could possibly complete this particular triumvirate, because, bless his heart, love him or hate him, George W. seems to be a magnet for epic disaster. God help us all, we've got over three more years of it to get through.


Exactly the wrong man at exactly the wrong time in exactly the wrong place, and that has to be about the fifth time I've been reduced to using that thing in print, starting when the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election. The guy is a Category 5 waiting to happen. You thought Gerald Ford tripping down airplane stairs was bad? Reagan falling asleep at summits? Clinton hiding nubile things under his desk? The Bush gaffes are slightly more monumental, as lives have been laid to waste under his watch in the 10s if not 100s of thousands. Wading through filthy water trying to get anywhere dry, the surviving citizens of what used to be New Orleans appeared on TV as if unwilling extras, caught in the middle of some sort of gruesome hybrid production of "Armageddon- Again" and "National Lampoon's Presidential Vacation," where Bush out-blunders even Clark Griswald.  


You know this already if you're not living in a cave or in a sports arena somewhere in Texas or southeastern Louisiana, but it bears repeating: While the great American city of New Orleans was turning into Lake New Orleans leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, hungry and/or dying, the "big four" who rule America and thus the world, sat on top of it, chilling.

Hurricane Katrina exploded into the Gulf Coast at 6:10 am Monday, Aug. 29. Bush was in Arizona eating birthday cake with John McCain later that afternoon. The next day he flew to California where he strummed a guitar given to him by a redneck singer-buddy while the birthplace of the blues, the "Crescent City," was looking more like a giant teardrop.

Meanwhile Dick Cheney was in Wyoming fly-fishing. Rumsfeld was at a San Diego Padres game later that night eating cotton candy, hoping to catch a foul ball while Condie was shopping for $300 pumps at Ferragamo�s in New York City. You want to talk about gall? Bush actually stopped back at the ranch in Crawford on Tuesday night, refusing to sacrifice one last night of vacation before heading back to the office Wednesday to deal with the Katrina nuisance. By this time Biloxi was gone, and New Orleans was good as gone. Meanwhile Dick Cheney was in Wyoming fly-fishing.

The George W. Bush response to Hurricane Katrina will go down in history, along with his reading of that book about goats to kids for a full seven minutes after he was informed in no uncertain terms that the United States of America was under attack four years ago.

Condie played tennis with Monica Seles on Wednesday, then went back to the shoe store for more goodies on Thursday. Girl's going to have some styling feet. Dead bodies were floating in 20 feet of water down Canal Street, but the Secretary of State was walking on air down Broadway in the new Halstons. Meanwhile Dick Cheney was in Wyoming fly-fishing. 

Cheney finally kicked off the wading boots when it was confirmed that his good buddies, Halliburton, were awarded a huge government contract on Friday to clean up the mess. That was all it took to get the old blood flowing again, he was in New Orleans in a flash on Saturday, checking out the destruction: dollar signs floating up from piles of rubble? Halliburton: Rebuilding for fun and profit. Sound familiar?


Speaking of profit, that randy bunch of old horn-dog American oil barons were hitting on Katrina before she ever so much as got to the dance. The silver-tongued devils must have been drooling in anticipation, because in the midst of a season of record profits, they nonetheless raised the prices at the gas pumps in Kansas City, for instance, by 40 cents a gallon while the lady was still getting dressed somewhere out over an overheated Gulf of Mexico.

But before anybody goes ballistic over laying out the $100 or so to fill her up at the local Chevron, please refer to your Capitalism for Dummies manual, where it tells you in black ink on white paper these fundamental truths: (a) Expense incurred to corporation by natural or man-made disaster shall always be passed along to consumer. Always. (b) Corporation shall always maintain comfortable profit margin, disaster or no disaster. Always. (c) Consumer shall always bend over, touch toes and be grateful. Always.

(Read past columns at  Click on "Edge of the West" under "Point of View" on left.) 


Cliffside Malibu




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