Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mississippi's Shame

$600 million from housing program approved for huge port expansion
While thousands of Mississippians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina remain in FEMA trailers, the federal government on Friday approved a state plan to spend $600 million in grants earmarked for housing on a major expansion of the state-owned port — a project that could eventually include casino and resort facilities.

Mississippi, with the highest poverty rate of any state by several measures, already had won HUD waivers of rules that require the funds to benefit low- and moderate-income residents. Critics see the waivers as a product of the unparalleled influence with the Bush administration enjoyed by (Gov.) Barbour, a former Reagan White House political director, Republican National Committee chairman and legendary fixer who continues to receive checks from the Washington lobbying shop that still bears his name. More...

Within hours of Hurricane Katrina's destruction of thousands of Mississippi homes, most in low and medium-income areas, developers were preparing plans to replace these historical communities with upscale resorts and casinos. Southern politicians and their wealthy backers used Katrina as cover to rob citizens of their property for pennies on the dollar. One can only hope that Mississippians remember this GOP supported scam when they enter the voting booth next November.
What has been happening to working people is not the result of Adam Smith's invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious literalism opposed to any civil and human right that threaten its paternalism, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.
Bill Moyers, A Time for Anger (Occidental College speech 2007)


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