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Biography - F.A. Baron
Freedom to be Greedy
Farewell & Welcome
DA Response to Grenada
And, We were Misled
Local vs Privy Council
Thank You Dame Eugenia
Big Bad John
Travels and Travails
Trade Gap - USA & DA
In Case You Missed It
".. Your Love to Town"
Mad Men not to be trusted
Politics of Lies & Deception
Wide, Deep Transparency
Petrocaribe $ Bird Island
Nations Shall War No more
My Feeling of Insecurity
China, Admiration & Envy
Capitalism: Wounded ...
© Gordon Moreau
BIG BAD JOHN
September 12, 2005
President George Bush is not a big man like Jimmy Dean’s Big Bad John. Bush is big only in terms of ego, and for wielding power without responsibility.
My first encounter with the badjohn came from listening to some early Sparrow calypsoes. Several years later I heard the song “Big Bad John” and I made a connection between him and the unsavoury calypso character. Earlier this year it was alleged that leading Opposition personalities sounded too much like the badjohn rather than like the peace maker. They cite the perceived reluctance to cooperate with the police authorities on the penultimate day; and the consequent blocking incidents that stressed both blue and red who were listening at home and waiting for their loved ones to return from the motorcades.
This is enough to warn my UWP friends that most Dominicans do not approve of that image. Some say it is poetic justice that they may not have gotten into office – even if it seems they would have won between January and March 2005.
We should not miss any opportunity to remind Labour that they are effectively in office pending the legal challenges. Please disregard the eighteen months delay promised in the manifesto. From the $700m pledged by the international community, reduce 10% of that commitment into money and put people to work. This is not asking too much: people are feeling it out here.
Let us put away all badjohn and bad-George attitudes, whether it be blue or red. Let us all get on and participate in the development process.
The original Big Bad John was a miner, six-foot-six, and weighing two hundred forty five pounds:
“Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip
And everybody knew you didn’t give no lip
To Big John.”
“Somebody said he came from New Orleans
Where he got in a fight over a Cajun Queen
And a crushing blow from a huge right hand
Sent a Louisiana fellow to the Promised Land,
We will return to that same New Orleans, Louisiana.
Unlike Mr. Bush on 9/11, there is no evidence that Big John ever ran away and hid. Neither is there any evidence that Big John was a bully. Indeed, there was a mine incident and he sacrificed his own life to save twenty fellow-miners. Big Bad John was a hero.
“Big” Bad George was credited with heroism and leadership on 9/11 which properly belonged not to Mr. Bush but to Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Of course, when the President came out of hiding he said “those who are not for us are against us”’ and so on – big bad talk that could be supported by shock and awe and killing of many more innocent people than had died on 9/11.
Now Hamid Karzai, Bush’s hand picked Afghan leader, is saying that America must re-think its strategy to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan. It must go to the source where terrorists are trained; and that is not Afghanistan.
This artless, reckless attitude would be worse than duplicated in Iraq. There was a belief that however illegal American acts may be, the U. S. needed no one and no country outside itself. It took Hurricane Katrina to convince many people that there are limits to superpower. But many of us knew that long before.
A small example is the case of the “UNA BOMBER.” That was an American who criminally sent letter-bombs to society people whom he disliked. No amount of state coercion and economic resources succeeded against Theodore Kaczynski. It was the simple, voluntary cooperation of his brother that delivered the UNA-BOMBER to the authorities.
Then came Katrina.
Mr. Bush first said that the US did not need outside help. The following week he said “thank you” to help from France, Britain, Holland, Mexico and even Sri Lanka that was ravaged by tsunami last December. Ironically, Iran offered help; and Mexican soldiers landed in the United States for the first time since 1846. Katrina had exposed the vulnerable though massive bottom of the world’s sole super power.
Katrina showed up the U.S. as a “pitiful, helpless giant”, incapable of protecting its own, despite its many military bases on every continent. The Gulf States and the south, without exception had voted for Mr. Bush.
Thanks to U. S. technology the world knew that badjohn Katrina was coming- when, where and at what speed; and that for New Orleans, a city below sea level, it would be catastrophic. We also knew that some 100, 000 people in the city would not be able on their own to leave, despite orders to evacuate. Some of us knew, or ought to have known that the majority of those would be poor; and that materially the poor would be black.
I myself find it impossible to understand why the U. S. armed forces can fly planes in the eye of the great hurricane but that the U.S., days after the storm, cannot make an aerial survey of the damage, report on the rescue required and organize the logistics. No wonder people shouted “race”.
Howard Dean said that skin colour and economics played a role in who died and who survived. Even Newt Gringrich deplored the fact of bodies lying in the streets several days after the storm. Al Sharpton admitted that “no one caused this”, but said Bush’s policies towards black people range from hostile to indifferent. Colin Powell also criticized the administration.
But there was some encouraging news of self-help: three black men, Brian Kaufman, Errol Brown and Cory Williams made their own rafts and rescued hundreds of people from the waters in New Orleans.
The Former legislators took to reminding Mr. Bush: for fifty years the levees required reinforcement. Instead of assisting, Bush diverted funds from FEMA to Iraq. And instead of appointing professionals to the emergency agency, he appointed his party people who had neither the appropriate experience nor the talent. Such a man was Michael Brown who resigned September 12, 2005. Our own local Labour administration should be mindful of this lesson.
Bush went to Washington to sure up his own defenses. He asked for bipartisan support. Senate minority leader suggested that he fire Michael Brown because “too much did not go right.” “What did not go right?” questioned the President. A week after the catastrophe he was still in denial. Later he asked Congress for an additional US$50 billion. $10 billion had already been approved for the Gulf Coast States.
To boost their damage control authorities in Louisiana decided that television should not show dead bodies. It was offensive to the dignity of the dead. It seems to me that they should better have respected the dignity of the living by saving a lot of people that could have been saved. The media refused the request. The authorities threatened that they would not be allowed to cover the recovery mission(s).
It was another clumsy, Bad George wielding of naked power.
CNN petitioned the courts and asked for an injunction to restrain the authorities from carrying out their threat.
The court granted the injunction.