While we ride our moral hobby horses — wondering if we’re getting anywhere — the Michael Browns of the world gallop ingloriously on:
Here’s what the CNN link says: “Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.”
Uh. Let’s see. If we had a more activist populace — with the activist sophistication of groups in Europe, the UK, and Japan — I’d say we dig and find out who hires Brown’s new company, and put inordinate pressure on them to drop him. And that we threaten to boycott products, if that’s feasible.
But — this gets to me — what in the hell is going on with us, and with this country, that Michael Browns get to succeed while others starve and go homeless, and that Jack Abramoff and his ilk get to operate as successfully as they do? That the Glengarry Glen Roves motor on, getting promotions, makin’ money, travelin’ the world, spreadin’ American goodwiill? And that we let it happen. Oh, there’ll be lots of posts like this about Michael Brown. But he’s been torn to pieces in blog after blog and newspaper after newspaper. But he just keeps truckin’ along. I need someone to explain this to me.
There’s another thing: Brown isn’t going to be selling his wisdom to the government. Brown, reports CNN, is selling his FEMA knowhow (who to call, etc.) to private companies. Since when are private companies in charge of avoiding the mistakes of Katrina?
My favorite — and I say proven — conspiracy theory is that Bush et al. did not mind one bit that FEMA was a failure and let countless people die or suffer needlessly. Bush et al. want every government program to be a failure. That way, private companies can take over and reap billions off a shrinking government bureaucracy. I refer you to my piece from last April, “Dead By Sunset: Kill it, and make it look like an accident.”
Think about it. Think about everything in the government that’s failing and the privatization process that’s seeping in.
They succeed by failing.
We check their falling poll numbers.
But they’re several steps ahead of us.
They’re checking their fattening wallets.
It’s time to review Smedley Butler again. And what he wrote applies to the Katrina disaster as much as it applies to Iraq as much as it applies to outsourcing and the rest …
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
But that’s all just cannon fodder to the elites and to the poor fools who believe the claptrap of patriotism that the elites sell them on.