But apparently to the GOP, at least to its leaders, the term "vulnerability" is a Pavlovian signal to drool at the prospect of a weakness to be exploited. Like jackals descending upon a wounded wildebeest, the Right is poised to ravage the Gulf Coast, as savagely as did the merciless Katrina, before they attack the economy as a whole.
Rapacious greed knows no conscience.
Just consider the "help" that the GOP is offering the reconstruction efforts.
The Administration has suspended the Davis-Bacon rule, thus allowing federal contractors to pay workers less than the prevailing wage, while not requiring the savings to be passed on to the taxpayers -- not satisfied just with profits from no-bid contracts, the Halliburtons of this country stand to make untold billions on years of reconstruction...not even counting the huge tax breaks they will receive, as will their multi-million-dollar executives, from the tax cuts Bush refuses to rescind, and as will the dynasties of their heirs, from the estate tax the Congress intends to eliminate.
The Administration has suspended affirmative action requirements for first-time federal contractors in the reconstruction zone -- regulations that help minorities, women, veterans, and the disabled -- despite the President's prime-time assurance that he would do everything in his power to remedy racism and discrimination, past, present, and future, as even he admitted exacerbated the disaster.
The Administration has suspended the requirement that employers hire only documented workers. The American victims displaced from their jobs and their homes by Katrina are now being displaced from the reconstruction efforts by big businesses' hiring undocumented workers laboring for little and living in trailers without running water and with no real power...and not just electrical hook-ups, my friends.
I swear if they thought they could get away with it, the Administration would repeal the 13th Amendment and bring back slavery -- the ultimate "ownership society".
The Administration is suspending rules right and left to protect the environment -- the very environment whose rape left the city of New Orleans so vulnerable to destruction, the wetlands that act as barrier to storm surge but a shadow of their former, natural self.
The Administration is funneling public school money into private school vouchers (as they've been trying to do for years), while hiding behind children and parents displaced and traumatized by the storm.
And others on the Right are snarling for even more vicious attacks on our systems of social justice, the very conscience of our nation.
The Cato Institute is clamoring again for privatizing Social Security, because "asset accumulation plays a vital role in escaping poverty." As if "every man for himself" had not been discredited by the deaths of the masses stranded in the sewage.
Newt Gingrich calls for more cuts in federal taxes -- driving us deeper in debt, as to banks overseas, and requiring more cuts in programs helping the poor -- as well as for wholesale cuts in "red tape" for big business -- read, fewer protections for workers, consumers, and the environment.
The Wall Street Journal calls not only for big tax cuts for big business but also for a flat tax on personal income -- much more of a benefit for those at the top than for those at the bottom. "Why not allow the Gulf [Coast] to operate as a laboratory for a flat tax," asks the WSJ. Why?! Because those at the top have much more than they need, while those at the bottom can barely survive!
Republican Senators James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, and David Vitter, of Louisiana, are pushing to allow the Administration to suspend any environmental law for up to a year and a half; and Inhofe goes further, wanting to prohibit any citizens from filing any lawsuits against federal contractors who despoil the environment -- as if it is worthless, as if we are not living within the environment, as if we were gods.
And never to be outdone, the Heritage Foundation not only calls for eliminating all capital gains taxes in the region -- as if the prospect of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts, and who knows how much more money from the private sector, weren't incentive enough to draw business to the largest construction project in the history of the nation -- they also want the infrastructure -- the very roads, rail lines, and other lifelines of civilization -- turned over to private companies "under contract" with the government, the same government that the Right wants to never interfere with business.
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