Speaking of the Bush administration’s lackadaisical response to Hurricane Katrina and the misery inflicted on the people of the Gulf Coast, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) recently commented, “The system devalues human lives.”

We now know just how little value is placed on human life by the regime now in power: So far, 964 bodies have been recovered from the muck of New Orleans. They are so decomposed that most have not been identified. Yet certainly these human beings were African American and poor by a large majority, lives that could have been saved if this administration valued human lives above crony corporate profits and tax cuts for its wealthy patrons.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson predicted that New Orleans will never again be a “majority Black city,” as if the hurricanes were an opportunity for massive urban removal. In this scenario, the Big Easy would be gentrified into a majority white, affluent city. Its half million residents scattered in a vast diaspora, New Orleans’ voters would no longer stand as the bulwark against a Republican right-wing takeover of Louisiana.

As the body count in New Orleans began to rival the total of dead GIs in Iraq, former Reagan and Bush I cabinet member William Bennett let slip his Nazi-like beliefs. “If you want to reduce crime … you could abort every Black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down,” he told a listener on his radio call-in show. The White House was forced to disavow Bennett’s comment. But Bush-Cheney and company cannot so easily distance themselves from Bennett, a leading Republican ideologue who played a big role in building the machine that put Bush in the White House.

Bennett revealed what Karl Rove and other White House spinmeisters try to keep under wraps: This is one of the most racist, genocidal administrations in our history. It was carrying out Bennett’s final solution when it cut funding for levee repair in New Orleans. When those levees failed, Bush stalled for six days while the city’s Black, poor and elderly people died.

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