Friday, August 28, 2015

They Just Washed Away 
Katrina a Man-made Disaster: Before, During, and After
(See Laura Flanders GRITv , Democracy Now!, and Brother Lefty Videos below)

Hurricane Katrina Takes Aim on the Gulf Coast
It still breaks my heart to cast my mind's eye on the Horror that swept through New Orleans in August of 2005.

Sometimes I still come to tears as I attempt to sing "Washed Away." The song wrote me ten years ago as I was apartment sitting for a friend in Queens, NY.   Choked with pain and anger, appalled at what was I was seeing on TV and the web, it was, and still is, difficult to accept that what transpired in New Orleans could happen in the wealthiest nation on earth.

Made in the U.S.A.

Although Hurricane Katrina, the ferocious vortex that was born over the Atlantic Ocean during the sultry days of late August that year was a "natural" phenomenon, what happened a decade ago was not. It was, from beginning to end, a man-made disaster, a glaring example of the continued institutional racism of the neo-liberal era.

In line for evacuation buses at the Superdome
The catastrophic series of events that decimated New Orleans, killing 1836 people (nearly a 1000 of them in the City itself), and displacing a million and a half others in the region, had been predicted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Officials at FEMA knew that the 100 year old system of levees and flood control protecting the half a million residents of the City, nearly 70% of whom were Black, couldn't withstand the force of a hurricane of that magnitude.  They had reported repeatedly that there was no adequate system in place to evacuate the people at risk.

Then, the buck was passed -- or the bucks, rather.  In a glaring example of Crony Capitalism at it's worst, FEMA privatized New Orlean's Disaster Planning in 2004!

This is all a matter of public record.  It's there in black and white. 

Those in charge knew.  Many of the career government service professionals were on record, trying to address the problem.

In fact, just three months before Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Agency responsible for flood control, had issued another warning to the Bush Administration which had not yet acted to implement a flood control plan involving extensive construction they had proposed years earlier.

My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)

As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*