For all those of you who are naive enough to think that last month’s elections are going to have any impact on the blockheads in the Bush Administration during their last two lame-duck years in office, here are a couple of reality checks:
1) I – along with a lot of other folks – made the point after Hurricane Katrina that the Bush Administration seemed to be envisioning re-building New Orleans as a mostly-white urban theme park. Not surprisingly, evidence that that view is accurate has been building ever since: for instance, the effort to re-build what had been lively black neighborhoods is glacial when it isn’t at a complete standstill while money pours into the downtown area and predominantly white neighborhoods. Well, now comes more evidence. New Orleans housing officials have decided to simply demolish the public housing that was home to thousands of black residents.
Public housing officials decided Thursday to proceed with the demolition of more than 4,500 government apartments here, brushing aside an outcry from residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina who said the move was intended to reduce the ability of poor black people to repopulate the city.Residents and their advocates made emotional, legal and what they called common-sense arguments against demolition at the housing authority meeting. “The day you decide to destroy our homes, you will break a lot of hearts,” said Sharon Pierce Jackson, who lived in one of the now-closed projects slated to be razed. “We are people. We are not animals.”
She and others questioned why the Department of Housing and Urban Development would destroy affordable housing in New Orleans, saying it is essential to the city’s recovery.
C. Donald Babers, the federally appointed administrator running the Housing Authority of New Orleans, did not respond to that question in tersely approving the demolitions. (emphasis added)
I bet he didn’t.Of course, they’re not razing those buildings with no plans to replace them at all, are they? Well, sort of….
Previously, HUD officials have said the old projects should be cleared out to make way for less dense, modern housing. But those new developments, to be constructed in partnership with private investors, would probably include far fewer apartments for low-income residents and would take years to complete. An unresolved lawsuit on behalf of residents charges that the demolition plan is racially discriminatory.
No shit, Sherlock. Here we go again, as a famous Alzheimer’s patient once put it. The Bush Admin is grabbing the opportunity to rid the country of a vibrant black community and replace it with a posh, deadly dull, playground for the rich and the pale-faced after a token attempt to promise it wouldn’t do any such thing, very much as it grabbed the opportunity of 9/11 to try to control the Iraqi oil fields after a token effort – quickly abandoned – in Afghanistan. A party run by corporations and the rich has little interest in revitalizing a city of colorized poor but very much interest in a new vacation destination designed expressly for them.
“This is a government-sanctioned diaspora of New Orleans’s poorest African American citizens,” said Bill Quigley of Loyola University’s law school, who is representing the displaced. “They are destroying perfectly habitable apartments when they are more rare than any time since the Civil War.”
That about covers it.
2. In a development only the brain-dead couldn’t see coming a mile off, the Shrub is stubbornly refusing to allow the new Iraq Commission report to change anything whatsoever about his approach to the debacle.
President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with “a new strategy” in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region.
IOW, “stay the course”. All those fine words about how “the country has spoken” after the election? Piffle. Out the window like so much mouldy meat. If he has anything to say about it, nothing’s going to change except the press releases.And so it goes. Chief neocon Condi Rice remains Sec of State, Cheney’s still calling most of the shots (expect Gates to be frozen out of the loop), torture-loving Alberto Gonzales is still Attorney General, and corporate flacks are still running the govt agencies that are supposed to be protecting us from the depredations of the corporations said flacks and hacks used to work for. La plus ca change….
Don’t expect miracles.