“Who’s in Charge Here?”

Mayor Nagin has pulled in his horns for the time being and postponed his planned re-opening of parts of the city of New Orleans until it is clear if Rita is going to swamp the place again.  smart move.

Nevertheless, there remains the interesting issue of whether or not he, or Vice Admiral Allen USCG is in charge in the Crescent City.  The mayor wants people back in his city.  He correctly sees that as long as the city is empty it can be treated as a "project" in social experimentation by the same sort of people who gave us the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.  "CPA2" is a term now whispered about in the Gulf region.  The Finance Minister of Iraq complains about all the money that is missing from their treasury.  What an opportunity this new campaign for freedom can become for "social uplift" and "constructive thinking."  You can do a lot of constructive thinking when 200 billion dollars are involved.  There are fears of a "disnification" of the city, a loss of its character as poor people are replaced with golf courses and five star hotels.  New Orleans is a special place.  Culturally it is not really an American city.  It is Latin and African and very free of the Calvinism which so marks the Republic.  We need New Orleans for many reasons, among them a reminder that life is more than rules and work.

Rove’s name is being whispered in Washington as the man likely to rule as Czar of "Reconstruction" (an unfortunate choice of word in the South).  The Democrats have spotted the conjunction of the Rove/Cheney/Chertoff axis of operation with the media "woof woofing" about "the corruption of state and local government," and the need for a "planned Reconstruction," (ah, there it is again).  In reaction, the Democrats are beginning to mount a counter-offensive which will inevitably rest on the federal nature of the American republic.

Last time I checked Louisiana and Mississippi, having ratified the 13Th, 14Th and 15Th Amendments to the Constitution were re-admitted to the Union (federal occupation troops being withdrawn at the same time).  Since then they have functioned as full and sovereign member states of the Union.  They participate fully with the federal government and the citizenry in the scheme of shared sovereignty so brilliantly worked out at Philadelphia long ago.

It is difficult to carry off any scheme for centralized planning of reconstruction within member states of the Union without state cooperation.  I hope that will not be attempted.  The states have an automatic recourse to the Supreme Court on issues of federal expansiveness at their expense.  The Supreme Court which Bush is busily constructing will be even more responsive to state arguments than the Rehnquist Court.

If forced to bet on the answer to my question "Who is in Charge?"  I would bet that Barbour, Blanco and Nagin will be in charge.

Pat Lang


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7 Responses to “Who’s in Charge Here?”

  1. wtofd says:

    Colonel, astounding how little history this admin. understands. If Bush can call our operation in Iraq a “crusade” it makes sense he’d call the effort in NO “reconstruction.”
    They might not be smart or effective but at least they’re consistent.

  2. BostonGemini says:

    That’s the first thing I thought when I saw news reports of Nagin wanting to let folks back into the city — he’s trying to restore normalcy and prevent the city from being erased and replaced with whatever the Jacobins have in mind. It is too soon, but he is right to worry.

  3. J says:

    the admiral admitted in a video interview today, that the n.o. mayor is in charge of calling the shots as far as n.o. is concerned.

  4. Pat Lang says:

    Yup. Wait till they try Barbour.

  5. Mr.Murder says:

    Barbour is going to take more than a third of Katrina rebuild money in the “Bash-Clinton relief fund” and help steer it to people who helped with their campaigns and the gambling and oil lobbies so big a part of their Missisippi and Louisiana Machines.
    Atrios has a piece up on the fact that Abramoff/DeLay’s buddies are running the oversight and ethics reviews.
    Of course he compiled those pieces from other bloggers but it is a nice connection of the corruption dots.
    My original note on a blog post at huffpo about the rebuild is that the fourteenth Amendment(Forbids the Federal Government and States from paying any debts owed by the Confederacy) can apply for districts within the States involved in regards to debt. Instead any monies owed until then be waived in the form of carte blanche bankrupcty amnesty to broke Katrina households and persons.
    It would be a window of exclusion from the current bankruptcy exclusion laws that only allow the wealthy and businesses to declare.
    Finally that in itself is grounds for suit on Equal protection in Amendment 14 as well and constitutes a double standard for people so affected in this specific instance. It’s why Reps will not let bankruptcy relief be allowed for Katrina victims(fiscal/civil amnesty, not criminal amnesty, no harm to other persons in action or intent is ever justified by such mitigating circumstance as witnessed there).
    Fourteen is already being violated by the bankruptcy law change, but to codify it in real terms would make it even more so an issue. Hold the neoconfederates’ feet to the fire on this and see these people get a new start.
    The next Huey Long, the next Marsalis, the next Connick, the next Fats Domino, the next superstar actor or actress, athlete(Pistol Pete), writer(Anne Rice) may be the person whose family is helped to renew their dreams in life with this.
    New Orleans in particular, and the Gulf as a whole.
    The Fourteenth is being ignored several times over but Section 5 was in regards to debt in Confederate states, many of the poorest left behind have ties to that legacy, such forbade payments only lead to the logical conclusion of carte blanche amnesty regarding bankruptcy of persons and small business.

  6. Curious says:

    The whole head of procurement debacle is about to reveal the larger web. (abramof, safavian wife… yes sir….corrupt cronyism galore. This also involved manual for New Orleans reconstruction funding)
    Three days later, Safavian forwarded Abramoff an e-mail describing how an employee at OMB was resisting Abramoff’s plan to lease space at the post office. “I suspect we’ll end up having to bring some Hill pressure to bear on OMB,” Safavian messaged Abramoff.
    On the same day Safavian discussed the golf trip with the ethics office, he sent an e-mail to Abramoff from his home computer, advising him how to “lay out a case for this lease.” Abramoff subsequently wrote in an e-mail to his wife and two officials of the school that Safavian had shown him a map of the property at his GSA office but had cautioned that Abramoff should not visit again “given my high profile politically.”
    Safavian nonetheless arranged a meeting for Abramoff’s wife and business partner with officials at GSA on the day before he departed for Scotland aboard Abramoff’s chartered jet. The trip cost more than $120,000 and was paid for mostly by a charity founded and run by Abramoff, the Capital Athletic Foundation.

  7. Curious says:

    …Mr. Safavian had recently been working on developing contracting policies for the multibillion-dollar relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. The Justice Department did not reveal details of Mr. Safavian’s arrest, including where it occurred. The department also did not say why the criminal charges were brought directly by prosecutors, rather than by the Washington grand jury investigating Mr. Abramoff. The Justice Department often bypasses a grand jury when a criminal case is brought together hurriedly or when there is fear that a defendant may try to flee.

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