Marc Cooper interviews Gore Vidal about an America that is increasingly
controlled by corporations and suggests that the Gulf Coast hurricanes
and the Iraq debacle signal the breakdown of an empire.
As House Republicans use the cost of recovery from Gulf Coast storms as
an excuse to rip last-minute holes in the social safety net, it's not
too late to change priorities.
Delphi's bankruptcy is a marker of a new America in which there is no
collective security, no union to make you strong, no government to give
you shelter, in which workers stand alone.
It's easy to scoff at a rock star like Bono pairing up with
economist Jeffrey Sachs. But their tireless lobbying for debt relief
for the poorest nations could make a real difference for the 1 billion
people who live on less than a dollar a day.
Fitful efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast unfold against a backdrop
of looming economic disaster: rising unemployment and interest rates,
misplaced priorities and a recession that will hurt the weakest most.
As Asian countries grow in economic power, Africa lags behind the developed world. Can it ever catch up? Will corruption, geography and disease continue to hold it back?
Unless the federal government does something now,
rising gas prices have the potential to break the blue-collar backbone
of many American towns.
It takes a hurricane to raise awareness that the
numbers of poor people are growing on George Bush's watch. Will that be
enough for the President to begin to level the playing field?
The affluent mask of the United States has been torn away by the storm, exposing a nation that has become progressively poorer under the leadership of the party of Big Business.
Not since the days of the Dust Bowl has America seen such
a massive migration of refugees. Who becomes one of this tribe
is a matter of race and class.