Saturday, August 12, 2006

Katrina Anniversary

We are quickly coming up on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Have we learned anything from this tragedy? I think the victims of the storm continue to be on a learning curve, especially when it comes to corporate greed and malpractice.

Vice President Cheney has profited from the Hurricane Katrina Tax Relief Act. I suppose Cheney's supporters would argue that his acts show his benevolence and his good business tactics. But from my peon viewpoint, it looks more like the same old corporate ideal of 'profits at any cost' rather than a true concern for his Brothers and Sisters!

A Government Reform Committee has already stated the government has wasted millions of dollars in post Katrina contracts and my guess is we've only seen a small portion of the abuses and the amount of wasted dollars will continue to rise. The Transportation Department inspector general has already said the government had overpaid $32 million for a Katrina evacuation contract. It's also been reported that the Corps of Engineers overpaid Akima Site Operations for portable classrooms in Mississippi.

To add insult to all the injury the gulf coast people have endured, the insurance companies are refusing to pay claims to homeowners who lost so much from the hurricane. Thousands of policyhoders have filed suits against insurers, including Allstate Insurance, Metropolitan Life Insurance, State Farm Insurance and United Services Automobile Association. The first lawsuit began back in July. More good business practices, or is this just an example of rent seeking by these insurance behemoths?

Corpwatch has compiled a very indepth report on the disaster profiteering and atrocities in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The report is entitled BIG, EASY MONEY: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast.

Corpwatch is also conducting a live news conference on the abuses by the "politically wired" corporations who continue to reap huge un-earned profits from the political machine while the residents of the gulf coast continue to suffer injustices and the American tax payers foot the bill!

TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on August 17, 2006 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Ask for the “Katrina Reconstruction and Labor Report" news event.

CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on our site as of 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. ET on August 17, 2006.

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell[at]hastingsgroup.com.

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