[Marxism] CP: The Crimes Katrina Exposed
mikedf at amnh.org
Wed Aug 30 11:00:13 MDT 2006
August 30, 2006
An Interview with Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Slonsky
The Crimes Katrina Exposed
By ALAN MAASS
LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY are Emergency Medical Services
workers in San Francisco. Last year, after attending a paramedics'
convention in New Orleans, they were trapped--first by Hurricane Katrina
and then by a martial law cordon that prevented them and hundreds of
others from evacuating.
Their account of how they survived, published first in Socialist Worker,
was an electrifying testament to the callousness and incompetence of the
authorities at every level, and the contrasting selflessness of ordinary
people trying to escape the nightmare.
One incident they described--trying to evacuate across a highway bridge
over the Mississippi River and being turned back by police from the city
of Gretna, who fired warning shots over the heads of the survivors--is now
the subject of a federal investigation and at least one class-action
Larry and Lorrie Beth's story shot around the Internet in the days after
Katrina, eventually forcing the mainstream media to report on the
confrontation at the Gretna bridge and other experiences that went untold
in the first days of the disaster. They were joined by other survivors on
CBS's Sixty Minutes in a segment about Gretna.
ROCKEY VACCARELLA, a fast-food restaurant manager in New Orleans, drove
from the Gulf Coast to Washington in a mock FEMA trailer--to thank George
W. Bush for all he's done to help Katrina survivors. What would you have
to say to President Bush if you were to drive to Washington?
LARRY: You mean he went to thank George Bush? Is this a joke?
This is the same George Bush who continued vacationing for four days after
Katrina hit? Who flew to Arizona to eat birthday cake with Republican Sen.
John McCain while thousands were stranded on rooftops and drowning in
Who staffed the top levels of FEMA with political cronies who didn't have
the slightest experience in emergency or disaster work? Who lied when he
said, "I don't think anyone anticipated this breech of levees," and was
later shown on video being warned of just such a breech?
Who cut federal spending for repairs and upgrading the levees by 80
percent against the advice of the Army Corps of Engineers? Who sent 3,000
members of Louisiana National Guard and two-thirds of the Guard's
equipment to Iraq?
Whose energy policy is based exclusively on oil and gas, which leads to
the dredging and canal-cutting of Louisiana's wetlands and contributes to
further global warming? Who fretted over Trent Lott's loss of his house,
while thousands of poor Black, white, Vietnamese and Latino New Orleanians
lost everything? Who cut taxes on the wealthy and offset Gulf relief with
$50 billion in cuts to food stamps, Medicare, energy assistance and
student loans, shifting hurricane relief onto the backs of the poor?
Now what exactly was he thanking George Bush for?
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