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Carl Pope: The REAL Looting Has Just Begun

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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:02 PM
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Carl Pope: The REAL Looting Has Just Begun

Rita has shed her last rainfall over the Mississippi Valley. But the looting of America has only just begun. And we're not talking about plasma television sets here, much less loaves of bread. We're talking about putting the whole American dream up at a fire sale. It appears that our leaders want to show the apparatchiks who presided over the "privatization" scandals of the Soviet bloc what real greed looks like.

They began before the floodwaters had even stopped roaring into New Orleans. Bidding rules were suspended, as always, for Halliburton (I wonder if Halliburton even has a department that can prepare bids for contracts!) and for other companies well-connected to the politicians who, ostrich-like, had let every community asset in the Gulf Coast be pounded to splinters. (The latest, and apparently biggest, is AshBritt, a firm based in Pompano Beach, Florida, that is closely connected to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and that got $568 million to remove debris at a rate of $15/cubic yard -- a price widely dismissed as outrageous by local officials.)

After bidding rules were dumped, on the grounds that in an emergency you couldn't expect contractors to do work for normal prices (it costs more, after all, in a crisis), fair wages went overboard. Apparently, in an emergency, while contractors are understandably greedy, employees are desperate and should be grateful for anything -- except, it turns out, African-American and Hispanic workers, because non-discrimination standards also were junked. Even while the EPA and the head of the federal relief effort were warning residents not to return home because of the risk of toxic contamination, Governor Barbour simply suspended all environmental standards in Mississippi for the duration. The nation's homebuilders suggested that we could really get the job of rebuilding done faster if we canceled all energy-efficiency standards and allowed substandard materials that have been sitting in warehouses to be dumped on the Gulf Coast -- never mind whether substandard building is really what the devastated residents who will return really need or can afford.

But, sadly, the Gulf Coast is accustomed to this kind of exploitation by its leaders. This is a region that would not score well in Transparency International's Global Corruption Report. But while there is a good $200 billion to be made on reconstruction, not everyone in America is a good buddy of Haley Barbour's or has wired the contract procedures with the Army Corps of Engineers (whose failed levees created a good bit of the debris that needs to be removed). With a lot of very well-connected people still left out of the opportunity to make a fortune off the taxpayers on the Gulf Coast, the leadership in Congress and the Administration rapidly got creative.
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:44 AM
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1. KICK!
and tell people around you about the Haliburton/Bechtel/SCI HUGH SCAM AND RIP-OFF OF THE MIDDLE AND LOWER-MIDDLE CLASS TAX PAYER!
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