(this post from Democratic Underground really sums it up for me. here's their vision. this is your country george F bush. words by NikkiStone1 at DU. images are collected from today's surfing in Katrina's wake -- brook)
The neocon/conservative movement has been spouting the rhetoric of 'self-reliance' and 'local control' for a long time. These sound like positive terms, especially when government seems to interfere in people's personal lives. But these terms mean NOTHING when we are talking about a cataclysm like Katrina. Only a well-funded national government can even begin to handle a disaster like this.
While the working and middle-class Bush supporters heard 'self reliance' and 'local control' and thought it meant that the Feds couldn't dictate speed limits or tolerance education in school, the neocon power brokers REALLY meant 'government will no longer be there to serve your needs.' The power-neocons want to shrink government--or destroy it, as Paul Krugman said on NPR--and in doing so, destroy the functioning necessary for an advanced society.
There are some things only the Public Sector can do on a consistent basis: disaster rescue and rebuilding, monitoring environmental problems, analyzing and approving medications---all public safety functions, in fact--because these things aren't profitable. They are done for the greater good, not the bottom line. The neocon mantra of replacing Public sector structures with Private sector (business, private charities) is just a pretense. Ultimately, private charities without public funding are limited in scope, and business runs purely on the profit motive, not an altruistic one. And even businesses don't have the resources or the interest in the public good that governments do. Wal Mart put up what--a million dollars? The estimates for Katrina are in the 10-13 BILLION dollar range. There is absolutely no comparison. When a government ceases to provide public safety and public works for its people, it can no longer function as an advanced society.
What Bush and the neocons are doing is dissolving the national public sector. Hence the cutting of funds from the Army Corps of Engineers project to plan and build stronger structures to protect the inhabitants of New Orleans. The message is, 'The Federal Government will not help you--you are on your own.'
Local municipalities do not have the funds to handle disasters of this magnitude. Even state coffers are not large enough. To blame the local governments is simply a PR strategy for the neocons in order to combat the media images.
The things that most people didn't realize is that the neocons meant what they said: smaller government--or, more bluntly, no government. This means that in everything from healthcare to engineering to relief from major disasters, Americans are on their own. And if they happen to die in flood waters because levees break, oh well.
Why do you think the neocons hawk religion--or their own particular brand of it? They know that replacement of the public sector is really not possible. So they encourage people to rely on God to deal with all their problems. In the end, if their city gets hit by a hurricane, the godly will blame either themselves (a common biblical behavior if you actually read scripture) or others (another common behavior). In either case, they won't blame the government.
So the long and the short of it is, we are finally seeing the neocon dream come to fruition--and it means that people die instead of live because the government is no longer available to organize and fund large scale human rescue and urban rebuilding operations. Welcome to the neocon nirvana--the rich get richer and the poor (and middle class) are left to fend for themselves."