NO tidings of comfort & joy: It's still Hell out in Rockaway
While our government still happily continues to peel big bucks off its wad and shower it down on Wall Street, big business and the "war" machine like it was Christmas for banksters and war-mongers all year long whether they need it or not, all too many hard-working tax-paying victims of Hurricane Sandy out in Staten Island and Rockaway are still getting no help at all. Zero. Ziltch. Nada.
Nothing is currently being peeled off our government's endless roll of big bucks for them.
Last week I was riding in a Muni bus over in San Francisco (on my way back from an audition to play a bored office worker in a student film) and on the bus was a very delightful older couple who seemed to have absolutely no cares.
"Where are you from?" I asked them.
"Rockaway," they replied hesitantly. Rockaway? OMG! Not THAT Rockaway? "Yeah, that's the one. And, yes, we did live through Hurricane Sandy and, yes, our home was badly damaged and almost destroyed." http://www.phillipvan.com/filter/PHOTO/BREEZY-POINT
"So what the freak are you doing out here?"
"Having fun! After having survived a personal visit from Sandy, we realized that life is just too short not to enjoy it. So we came out here to have fun."
"But did you at least get any help from FEMA?" I asked, figuring that after our government has spent trillions on bailing out Wall Street (where no one hardly ever pays taxes and pretty much lives on Welfare for the Wealthy), then the least that our government could do is send a measly few billion bucks off to bail out afflicted taxpayers in Rockaway. http://www.phillipvan.com/filter/PHOTO/ROCKAWAY-BEACH
"Have we received any help from FEMA? In a word? No."
"Not even anything?" No.
"It's been a whole month after Sandy and parts of Rockaway still don't even have electricity now. Or places for people to go."
"But did FEMA give you any money to help you out?" No.
"We got nothing but an avalanche of paperwork." They didn't even get bottled water. "A relative in Wisconsin finally ended up bringing us some." And they can't go back to their home because the wife has asthma and their house is a hell-hole of black mold right now. Ah, black mold, the bane of asthma sufferers' existence.
"We just took out a 60-day insurance policy from Lloyd's of London on our stuff and left."
I tried to grill the happy couple for more information on what is happening in Rockaway right now -- and right in the middle of the Christmas and Hanukkah season too -- but they weren't interested in being reminded. All they wanted to do was forget their worst nightmare and celebrate that they, unlike some of their neighbors, were still alive and had survived one of the fiercest mega-storms ever.
And as our bus drove on past Chinatown, the happy couple soon had all us passengers singing "Merry Christmas" -- in Chinese. Brave souls. I almost cried.
PS: And in the spirit of Christmas, what would Jesus have done after Sandy? He woulda given government money to the happy couple instead of lavishing it all on Wall Street and war. And I bet He would have also levied a transaction tax on every stock and bond that was bought and sold at the N.Y.S.E and used that money to keep seniors, hurricane victims and the middle class from falling off our RepubliDem-created "fiscal cliff" -- and would have kicked the moneychangers out of the temple too.
And them Jesus would have removed that tax-exempt status from every single church in America that supported bigotry, the NRA, corporate welfare and war. "Go Jesus!" Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Merry Christmas.
(Photos are by Leah Meyerhoff and Phillip Van, two of many New Yorkers who have volunteered their time to help out victims of this horrible mega-death storm)
EXTRA: I just figured out why the Mayans were right about December 21, 2012! It's the exact day that climate change becomes irreversible. Duh.
We now only have a few shopping days left to do something about this.
Perhaps if we camped out all night in front of Best Buy or Target or WalMart the night before?
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