Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, September 29, 2017


Mitigating disaster

by Tom Sullivan

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) flies from Chicago to San Juan this morning to survey the damage and hurricane relief efforts.

"I won’t sit back and watch TV as another crisis like Katrina in New Orleans unfolds," he said in a press release. "These are our people and they need our help right now.”

Disaster relief for Puerto Rico has been, shall we say, slow. So, it's fair to ask why:

"I think it’s a fair ask why we’re not seeing a similar command and response,” said retired Lt. Gen. P.K. “Ken” Keen, the three-star general who commanded the U.S. military effort in Haiti, where 200,000 people died by some estimates. “The morning after, the president said we were going to respond in Port-au-Prince ... robustly and immediately, and that gave the whole government clarity of purpose.”
Clarity is not exactly the sitting president's métier. But since the lieutenant general asked, perhaps it is because disaster capitalists hot to snap up devalued Caribbean real estate for a song from desperate Americans who've lost everything simply don't want them helped.

Does having no evidence to support that allegation make me sound presidential?

But consider: The sitting president suggested his reluctance to lift the Jones Act in support of Puerto Rican relief efforts was because shipping magnates opposed doing it. (It has since been lifted.) His first public response to the disaster wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricanes Irma and Maria was to wring his hands over "billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks." It is the lens through which he views the world. He has friends in that. The kind who will drop $35,000 to $250,000 to hear him babble about catapults and car seats.

Paul Krugman doubts there is cynical calculation behind the tepid relief for Puerto Rico. The reality-show president is simply a "massively self-centered individual who can’t bring himself to focus on other people’s needs, even when that’s the core of his job." Others' suffering is simply not his concern. Perhaps.

The same is true, Krugman writes, with the administration's sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. They're not even being coy about their efforts to undermine it.

Krugman writes:
Why are the Trumpists doing this? Is it a cynical calculation — make the A.C.A. fail, then claim that it was already doomed? I doubt it. For one thing, we’re not talking about people known for deep strategic calculations. For another, the A.C.A. won’t actually collapse; it will just become a program more focused on sicker, poorer Americans — and the political opposition to repeal won’t go away. Finally, when the bad news comes in, everyone will know whom to blame.
That's wrong. For one, the sitting president clearly means to undo everything his pedecessor, the Kenyan Pretender, accomplished.

But as I frequently observe, conservatives in power, even this crew in the White House, never do anything that is not at least a twofer. If there's a disaster, they smell profit. If their opponents achieve something, it must be destroyed ... at a profit. Not-for-profit public expenditures are a crime against capitalism, unless they profit the right people and strengthen one's grip on power. Power is the lens through which the president and his allies view the world. Money is its proxy. "Freedom" is its guise.

Assaults on labor both profit the business class and erode the political base for Democrats. Privatization of public assets in red states profits the business class and politically weaken cities (where the largest blocks of blue votes are). When the financial crises comes for blue cities, conservative legislators are counting on the public not remembering whom to blame, and that they'll accept it was "Democrat" mismanagement.

Profiting politically and financially from natural disasters and victims' suffering? Waste not, want not.

It is one way of looking at the world. The scavenger's way. The predator's way. There are plenty of animals that are successful at it in evolutionary terms. But it is not the only way and, I'd argue, not the American way.

Oddly enough, an insurance company has begun pointing to interdependence as a more human and humane alternative:
"But there's another way to live -- a way that sees the only path to fulfillment is through others, that our time here can be deep beyond measure ... What the world taught as weakness, is in fact, our greatest virtue."

I wonder do they really believe it, or just think it's good marketing?

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.