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Repugs: remaking NOLA in their own perverted image

It’s worse than you can imagine. Shakes Sis has the goods on the master plan to create a social experiment of the worst kind in post Katrina NOLA., as she says, Grand Old Party Experiment (GOPE).

The Wall Street Journal (subscription only; no link available—Sept. 15 edition, page B1) reports:

Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond.

Some new measures are already taking shape. In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices. Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.

Waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region?! So, basically, Halliburton (you know, just as a random example, ahem) gets a no-bid reconstruction contract, doesn’t have to pay a prevailing wage, and can hire whomever they bloody well please without being constrained by affirmative-action requirements. Mm-hmm. All the rightwingers who howl about illegal immigration from Mexico are intractably stupid if they don’t see that this is exactly the kind of shit designed to allow corporate friends of the administration to exploit cheap labor.

Now, Republicans are working on legislation that would limit victims’ right to sue, offer vouchers for displaced school children, lift some environment restrictions on new refineries and create tax-advantaged enterprise zones to maximize private-sector participation in recovery and reconstruction. Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would offer sweeping protection against lawsuits to any person or organization that helps Katrina victims without compensation.

The list of good ideas for the Grand Old Party Experiment just goes on and on and on, doesn’t it?

Go read her post for much more. I think I’m going to be sick.

Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse, we have the news that Karl Rove is in charge over message AND reconstruction. Dan Froomkin in the WaPo:

All you really need to know about the White House’s post-Katrina strategy — and Bush’s carefully choreographed address on national television tonight — is this little tidbit from the ninth paragraph of Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson‘s story in the New York Times this morning:

“Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort.”

Rove’s leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration. More specifically: With an eye toward increasing the likelihood of Republican political victories in the future, pursuing long-cherished conservative goals, and bolstering Bush’s image.

That is Rove’s hallmark.

Rove, Bush’s long-time political adviser and the “architect” of Bush’s ascendancy, was rewarded after the 2004 election with a position at the White House with overt policy responsibilities. But whereas in some previous White Houses, governance took precedence over campaigning once the election was safely over, Rove has shown no sign of ever putting policy goals above political ones.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding