Sunday, March 30, 2008

Victimized twice.


Yes, Hi, Mrs. Johnson, this is Bob from ICF International.

IC what?

ICF mam, I am calling from ICF.

Bob, what is ICF?

We are a collections agency mam, we are calling about a debt that you owe us.

A debt? I don't owe any debts. I am 65 years old, and am just now getting back on my feet after the Katrina storms wiped out my home and took my husband from me.

Yes, sorry to hear about that mam, but according to our records you owe us $35,000.

$35,000? Oh Lord how do I owe you that much money? I have to sit down, I feel kind of *weak. I have been really sick ever since I have been living in one of them FEMA trailers.

Well mam, did you receive a grant to help rebuild your home?

Yes I did, the government gave me that grant to get back on my feet after the storm wiped out my home.

Yes mam, but you were overpaid by $35,000, so we will need that amount back.

Overpaid? I used every penny you gave me to try and rebuild my home.

Sorry mam, our records indicate that you received too much.

But nobody told me that...

Didn't you read the forms on your "Road Home" grant mam?

Yes I did, I thought the Governor of Louisiana was giving us this money to help us rebuild?

No mam, when you received the money you signed a form that said you must repay it.

Well sorry, I don't see too well.

Yes mam, I am sorry to hear that. So when can we expect a payment?

Okay, that was a fictional exchange between a bill collector and Katrina survivor. But if you read the latest news about how the poor Katrina victims are being screwed again by the A-merry-can government, you wouldn't think it's so fictional.

Now these poor people, after finally trying to rebuild their lives, have to suffer the indignity of having bill collectors call them to repay a loan that should never have been a loan in the first place. The $11 billion that the feds invested into the "Road Home" program represents a few days in Iraq. And the assholes who run the program stand to earn a cool $912 million. I have an idea; how about you assholes cut $175 million from your contract and and forgive the victims who over paid your sorry asses?

Honestly, I think Kanye West might have been right.
*Thanks woozie ;)


A.F. said...

I thank you deeply for this post, Field.

No, none of the money should have been in loans, and it's even a stretch to say that it should have been considered "aid." The money should have been paid in *reparations* for people's very preventable suffering and criminal neglect at the hands of an unbelievably corrupt govt.

Anonymous said...

"Victimized twice?" Twice??

Try countless times, beginning with
a) the failed levee system that led to the flood in New Orleans;
b) the botched evacuation on all levels of government, leaving anywhere from 1,400-1,600 people to die in LA alone;
c) guns and racist/classist NIMBY efforts that met evacuees when they tried to find new places to stay, and the animosity towards the new, permanent residents of cities like Houston, a disproportionate # of whom are very low-income and African-American;
d) contaminated trailers in areas without cars or functional access to public transportation for predominantly extremely low-income black/elderly/disabled folks with kids who can't find work due to hardship and isolation, and are slowly dying, and/or are being evicted by FEMA, and/or are facing slowly rising rents from HUD as they are transferred from FEMA to permanent housing;
e) demolition of viable public housing units in favor of mixed-income developments with fewer subsidized units and no corresponding plan to help former residents find new places to live (a voucher DOES NOT equal a roof and 4 walls);
f) the meager amounts of funds to government funds and incentives to rebuild multi-unit and rental properties versus the disproportionate amount of $$ poured into this debacle of a homeownership reimbursement program;
g) the morbidly slow, trickle-down pace and gross mismanagement of the Road Home program that has forced most homeowners, but especially those with moderate and lower incomes, to rely on their own sweat to rebuild their homes piece-by-piece while they wait for their Road Home checks;
h) the distinction b/w wind and flood damange that screws homeowners out of sufficient insurance proceeds;
i) the lack of availabe insurance in the post-Katrina housing market;
j) the overall shortage of affordable housing in NOLA that is contributing to a stalled recovery effort because folks can't find places to live;
k) the anemic and superficial leadership of Nagin on top of a practicially financially bankrupt government;
l) the loss of political power of black and Creole New Orleanians as the city gets whiter and wealthier;
m) the invisibility of Katrina and Rita survivors and victims across the Gulf Coast outside of New Orleans;
n) the stonewalling by the region's own elected officials Shelby (R-AL) and Vitter (R-LA) to block an affordable housing bill (the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act) introduced by Landrieu (D-LA) that would bring much needed resources to the region;
o) the employer exploitation of predominantly Latino and immmigrant workers in the rebuilding process, as well as growing NIMBY-ism to their presence (bans on taco trucks in Jefferson Parish, for ex);
p) the discriminatory blocked access to rebuilding jobs and affordable housing for African-Americans;
q) the rise in homelessness and mental illness in New Orleans and elsewhere due to the lack of affordable housing and adequate healthcare;
r) the skyrocketing and seemingly random crime in New Orleans due to turf wars among drug dealers in the post-Katrina city...

and if I knew much about education, I'm go on and on about that sector too.

I could easily have finished the alphabet here, but I ran out of steam.

Kanye IS right, but there are Latinos, low- and moderate-income whites, undocumented workers, and Southeast Asian communities and populations who are also struggling in the post-Katrina environment. Members of these groups are also working closely together, from AL and MS and LA, to organize and advocate for a voice in the recovery process, as well as sufficient resources to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income communities, especially communities of color.

Check out the KatrinaRitaville Express and the Equity & Inclusion Campaign, among other grassroots efforts (these 2 immediately come to mind), to hear more from survivors, activists and residents of the post-Katrina and Rita Gulf Coast.

Anonymous said...

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is our country's eternal shame. I called out some racist scumbags at a former employer and eventually lost that job as a result of my "politics", but hey, I've never been the Latino equivalent of a house negro so it was inevitable it happened.

It wasn't that big of a loss. That company no longer exists. They went under within six months of my termination. (hooray!)

Kanye West was right all along. I wish more people would give him props for speaking out when he did.

Clifton said...

When they come to my house for the money that they claim to have overpaid me they better have more than a piece of paper. No one understood the process anyway and you almost had to have a DNA sample in hand just to get the process started.

Anonymous said...

Of course Kanye was right.....the treatment of the people of NOLA will forever be a shameful part of our history. I weep every time I think about that beautiful city and am glad that my mother did not live to see what happened to a city she lived in and loved deeply.

focusedpurpose said...

hi there-

when you get a moment you may want to do a little check into genocide by weather or cloud seeding. the powers that be are able to create "natural disasters". they have been able to do this for awhile. the same mad scientists that declared black was inferior can now wipe out in large numbers---black and brown.

new orleans has all the signs of deliberate genocide and "gentrification" as we like to call ethnic cleansing.

for the record, i don't think kanye west likes black people either. i think he rather famously acknowledged he likes his only half black. why would he expect dubya to like black if he doesn't?


Ann Brock said...

Field how much will bear Stearns pay back? Kayna West was right and we all know it.

Hathor said...

When the call came to donate, it should have been to groups that help rebuild or were going to support long term. Too much money went to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I must say that the IRS did suggest on their website other organizations that were doing this such as Second Harvest and a Mennonite organization that physically help rebuild houses. I think we thought that government help would be given and not in terms of a loan; just like they gave aid to the countries effected by the Tsunami.

The right saw the Katrina disaster as an opportunity to put forth their ideas about the poor and blacks people. The waters were still raging and the chatter was all about the victims looking for the government for help. They wouldn't survive because they weren't self sufficient. The ones with the guns protecting private property were lauded and not berated for seeing what they could do to help or have the moral sense to want to help their neighbors. Those that did help, the black church, was not applauded for helping within the community, it was ignored. The victims were allows to flounder, because this was a rigged experiment to prove racist theories.

Anonymous said...

Thanks @ Redstar for detailing this national horror.

The mindset that created the mess in NOLA is the same one that refuses to reach down and help homeowners facing foreclosures in the subprime mortgage debacle.

Government bailouts have met stiff resistance from economists, the congress, and the president.

Yet bailouts are not a new phenomenon--bankruptcy, for one, was designed to rescue individuals and businesses in over their heads.

The government in recent days has shown more interest in bailing out lending intuitions than those that they lent to.

A typical ploy--help those at the top with "at bottom money" (our tax dollars) but not those at the bottom, those from whom they received those tax dollars.

They'll tell you that their way makes more economic sense, and adheres to sounder economic principles.

Maybe that's why the mess in NOLA continues--it makes more economic sense.

What bullsh*t!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, shinola black!!

I just got an email about this WSJ piece, saying that HUD Sec'y Alphonso Jackson is expected to resign tomorrow.

Another Bush crony; HUD has been a disgrace under this administration, and esp. under the GOP Congress in charge when Katrina/Rita (and Wilma) hit.

You need some help getting your $100k oil portrait down off the lobby wall, Alphonso?

Good riddance.

Christopher said...

This fucking country makes me want to puke. I spit on the Bush administration and all they stand for.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA. Here is the ultimate Field Negro. Really, this guy dishes out the concentrated stuff(he resides at the blog "my left wing".) check out his writings:

s. douglas said...

Why do we continue to tolerate this bullshit?

Are Americans really waiting for Obama to save them?

"Hope" is just another way of saying "Wish."

If we don't stand up soon, there won't be shit left.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I don't mean to hijack this thread but I was on Democratic Undergound and found an offensive post by Larry Johnson. You may not know him, but he's the SOB with the bad haircut that appears on CNN every so often to support the Borg Queen.

Anyway, this "typical white person" wrote on his blog yesterday how Barack has a Nigga problem with Jeremiah Wright.

Too bad Technorait's ping server is not working because I want to jack his shit up so other bloggers and the mainstream media gets to see it.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about this over at the Opinion page.
Gotta love A-merry-ca...we got 30 billion to bail out a crappy bank yet can't grant 35k so a person can fix their house.
And people wonder why some preachers say "God Damn America"...

I warned my Louisiana compadres about this, so thanks FN for keeping the fieldies in the 'loop'. I wouldn't want my folks to get stuck with a 30k bill.

field negro said...

"Hope" is just another way of saying "Wish."

I feel you on that one fairlane, and thus I can't swig down the "O" -Aid just yet.

redstar, I echo shinolablack's sentiments, thanks for that outline,that was depressing but so true.

abo gato, I hear you. I love NO too. It has always been one of my favorite A-merry-can cities.

"When they come to my house for the money that they claim to have overpaid me they better have more than a piece of paper. No one understood the process anyway and you almost had to have a DNA sample in hand just to get the process started."

clifton,keep us in the loop on how that is going. And shoot me an e-mail [] if you need any help down there.

Christopher said...

Cali Tejano,

The Democratic Underground is run by a bunch of racist scoundrels who worship the Borg Queen.

The moderators lock down comments on anti-Hillary threads but they let racist, anti-Obama attack threads remain open.

It's pure Klan at the Democratic Underground.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Hello, is this Bob?


Hi bob, this is the Defense Department

Whdda ya want, I served my time.

Do you remember when you were in Iraq?

Yes, all too well. Every night when I wake up screaming.

Well, we need to collect some funds from you from your time served.

WTF are you talking about?

We need reimbursement for room, board and those expensive clothing items you lost in that roadside bomb attack. You know, the ones that were blown off your body along with your left leg? We need you to compensate the gov't for those.

Ae you out of your fucking mind?

No, just running a bit low on cash. We also will be billing you monthly for the healthcare benefits you received after your discharge.

WTF? You mean the surgery on my stump and that was created during that roadside bomb attack when my left left departed my body from the mid thigh down?

Yes sir. The gov't feels you should pay at least 80% of those post discharge expenses.

Anonymous said...

dear field, hoping you will have some commentary on mayor nutter's efforts to revive the wright thing. looks like the clintons have found another house negro.

Anonymous said...

Shameful does not even start to describe this administration.

I do not believe in heaven or hell or even Karma, but these arrogant sons of bitches kind of makes me hope I'm wrong. ;-)

Off topic but why is their a handicapped wheelchair symbol to the right of the Word Verification text entry box? What are they trying to tell us here?

Lola Gets said...

Im not suprised the government is trying to take back their recovery money.

Ok, this is somewhat off-topic, but in 1992 I was in a car accident in the state of Maryland: shattered my pelvis and changed my life forever. It wasnt my fault, and that was proved legally. WHY did someone from the state call to tell me I owed thousands to the state for cleaning up after my accident? And I wasnt at fault??

Folks'll try to squeeze a penny out of you any way they can.


Anonymous said...

One word comes to mind: UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Anonymous said...

Off topic but why is their a handicapped wheelchair symbol to the right of the Word Verification text entry box? What are they trying to tell us here?
I find it a bit funny, too, since it enables sound for the visually impaired. I know it's hard to come up with an all-inclusive handicap symbol, but for this you'd think someone could come up with an eyepatch image or something...

Keith A. Owens said...

Make no doubt about it. Kanye was definitely on the money. Great post, and thanks for the information. I hadn't heard about this.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

May I add that this victimization is aided and abetted by one of Bush's own "House Negroes", aka the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, named Alphonso Jackson.

That's the jackass who has a picture of his head being rubbed on by Bush as "good luck".

The Blacks working for this man aid and abet his continued victimization of people of ethnicity, and should have permanent places on the lawn.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Field and much love to the rest of yall. I am proud that some of us have the nerve to be pissed about this. God Bless you brother Field and I say that from a liberationist perspective.(lol)

I would like to know what folks think about the idea of a rally or march on Washington to protest the plight of our fellow citizens in New Orleans. It may be late I know but I think brother Field can attest to the fact that I have been saying this for awhile. I keep telling Christian folks that we may just go to hell for sitting around watching while New Orleans is left the rot. And imagine Brad Pitt felt strongly enough to move his family there, Kanye West risked his livelyhood and even Sean Penn was down there and we can't muster a large enough contingent to demand that the government fix New Orleans by any means necessary.

And brother Cali Tejano keep standing up it always works out for folks who take a stand. And I feel Fairlane on the wishing and hoping thing. Glad you posted the third party option idea brother Field you know I keep saying that this is the way.

Anyway brother Field sorry for taking up so much of your space. But this coupled with the spending on Iraq (and Afghanistan)the treatment of the soldiers and the bailing out of Bear Stearns rather than homeowners has me so pissed I can't see straight.

And right on brother Christopher but we have to hold our nose and roll up our sleeves and change this thing.

La♥audiobooks said...

You know, I might be an Obamaholic at times, but situations like this reminds me of the Clintons, and I have great respect and appreciation for them.

Back in 1995 when Hurricane Marilyn ravished the USVI, even though the white residents flew back home to the mainland US.... it was B. Clinton that made no hesitation to still send the proper aid and monies to our rescue. The US islands are predominately black. It hurts me to see poor and poor black people on the very US continent get treated like shit, all because of the Bush administration. What if Bush was president in 1995, I might not have been here to blog today. Damn Bush.

Woozie said...

No, Kanye was half-right. They don't care about people, black or white.

And it's "weak" not "week", Grammar Jew. God damn man.

field negro said...

meallaneous, you write as much as you want fam. We all feel your pain.

"dear field, hoping you will have some commentary on mayor nutter's efforts to revive the wright thing. looks like the clintons have found another house negro."

I have been holding out on my man Mike, but at some point I will have to comment on him :)
Let's just say that there are some issues here. are too funny. I didn't know you were a vet.

Damn woozie you got me again :) Hey man, If spell check doesn't get it, I am screwed. Besides, I can just here that poor old lady saying w-e-e-e-k. :)

Global Wire said...

I was just in New Orleans last week on a business trip, and its just awful. There are still parts of town that don't have regular electricity and access to good health care. I went into parts of the Lower 9th where whole street blocks have boarded up houses with water stains. I have a couple of friends down there still waiting for FEMA checks. I have seen better conditions in some countries in the developing world that treat their people than our country...

brotherkomrade said...

Ha Ha,

Damn, SagaciousHillbilly, I'm reminded of why you are my oe of my heroes.

Molly said...

NOLA is my soul's home, if you will. A place that speaks to me like no other. I was there a week before Katrina and have been a few times since. The first visit back, I spent half my time there in tears.

It is not just wrong what has happened there, it is immoral, shameful and a disgrace to our nation. It is incomprehensible to me that one of the wealthiest nations on this planet can not muster up the funds and energy to rebuild one of its most precious cities. We can spend billions and billions on fighting a war we will never win halfway around the world, but we can't commit to our own people. I absolutely believe that if this disaster had happened in a wealthier white city somewhere other than the south, we would be seeing ten times the rebuilding efforts than we have seen in NOLA and we all know that the rescue effort would have gotten underway immediately and not four days later. It is CRIMINAL.

In a way, I am glad this story has broken. I had hoped that the election would refocus the nation's attention on NOLA, but so far it is an issue that has largely been ignored. We need to turn the spotlight back on the problems. I wish Obama would speak more about the situation there.

Mellaneous--I'm with you on the March on Washington. I'd be there in a heartbeat and help organize as many folks as I can.

brotherkomrade said...

My take. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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