Big Smoke

’cause it’s hard to see from where I’m standin’

Obama’s Katrina

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This article makes little to no sense. The facile side-by-side comparison of the reaction to the Gulf crisis and the response for Hurricane Katrina fails because the nature of the two disasters and their respective government responsibilities are much different. That said, the lead-up to those respective disasters could be compared.

Katrina was a disaster due to two very important factors:
* The gutting of the Army Corp of Engineers (through a spending freeze authorized by Bush)
* The gutting of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (with incompetent leadership appointed by Bush)

The Gulf Oil Disaster was a failure for one reason:
* The gutting of the Minerals Management Service (with a revolving door of Oil industry appointees by Bush)

Bush’s policies were a systemic rot on the whole that reached well into Obama’s first term. Obama may have been unprepared for this sort of disaster to happen, but it was not his actions that created that unpreparedness.

Of course, the nature of the disasters are themselves different: Katrina was a record large hurricane but hurricane season is well known to the region and can and should have been prepared for. Both the preparation for and the aftermath to the hurricane are solely the domain of the US government.

The Oil disaster was a man-made disaster almost entirely created by the corruption of BP and the MMS – the company and the government agency tasked with regulating it. Responsibility for clean-up is therefore different, and such is exactly what’s happening: BP must clean up the oil and the US government is charged with cleaning the environment.

Ironic, then, that “Obama’s Katrina” is predicated upon government cronyism with corporations, when Obama is simultaneously being lambasted for being a “socialist” whose goal is to “nationalize industry.” Never mind, of course, the implicit admission of Bush’s culpability in massive policy disasters in the attempt to find parallels between the two administrations. Never mind the ignorance of more salient criticisms on Obama’s dealings with corporate interests, like the number of ex-Goldman Sachs executives working as White House advisors or Obama’s statement on off-shore drilling 20 days before the disaster – let’s get Obama on something that doesn’t even befit his character and absolutely screams Bush.

This isn’t Obama vs Bush on twin disasters. This isn’t “Obama’s Katrina.” This is Bush’s second Katrina.

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