Wednesday, August 31, 2005

President Bush and Katrina

Articles like this one from Editor & Publisher, which blames the war in Iraq for the magnitude of the calamity down in the Big Easy, are bound to pop up in the wake of a disaster like the one being dealt with on the Gulf Coast this week. But this soon? The fact that significant money was siphoned from New Orleans' Army Corps of Engineers funding to pay for the war is, indeed, a fact. But turn on the television! There are tens of thousands of the city's poorest, most ill people stuck inside a football dome with gaping holes in its roof, no electricity, and nonfunctional bathroom facilities. There are people who spent last night on highway underpasses. I saw on the news a mother in Alabama whose seven-month-old son, born premature and kept alive by oxygen tanks and heart monitors that run on electricity, is clinging to life as the batteries powering the devices quickly run out. I think the war was a mistake, too, but can we please help these devastated people before we help our own political agendas?

On a lighter note, a funny line from a column by Howard Fineman of MSNBC speculating on the political atmosphere (Katrina, oil, Iraq, 9/11 anniversary) to which President Bush is returning:
"Andy Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans. Will George Bush?"


At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Sia Zheng O'conner said...

That is the political tricky part...Those who are culpable (W for redirecting the Louisiana levee money to his pet project in Iraq) will now turn and say "there is no time for blame." But we need to point fingers right away otherwise the fickle dumbdowned public will simply forget.

More apalling is that at this time those who are culpable (W for overextending our military, thus making it more difficult to address a crisis on the homefront) is using this tragedy to benefit his pet interest -- big oil


"The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a nationwide waiver for fuel blends to make more gasoline and diesel fuel available throughout the country.
This will help take some pressure off of gas price, but our citizens must understand this storm has disrupted the capacity to make gasoline and distribute gasoline."

This most likely will offer little help to our wallets...Maybe instead of giving the oil companies another break we could ask them to only make 99 gazillion dollars this week instead of 100 gazillion dollars and take on some of the cost burden themselves.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sia zheng o'connor, you forget the real reason this catastrophe happened. And the decision was made, long ago, before "W" (as you refer to him, are you friends??). It was the decision to make New Orleans levees able to withstand the direct impact of a category three hurricane. That's it.

Based on the data and evidence at the time, along with cost measures or cost effective measures at the time the levees were built... the decision was made to make levees that would sustain a category three hurricane.

Way before "W" and Bill (i'm sure you're friends with him as well). It was a design decision made by the Army Corp of Engineers, many many years ago because a category 5 in the Gulf was considered a rarity.

But when in doubt, blame "W"... I blame "W" for the Red Sox win over the Yankees last year.... I blame him for this planter's wart on my left foot.... and oh yeah, I blame him for having people like you turn a catastrophe into your own personal Anti-W mission....

Btw, The Red Cross takes donations... how many of your personal dollars have you donated? Your buddy, "W", gave 10 million to the tsunami and will probably give a lot more of his personal wealth to New Orleans.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous sia zheng o'connor said...

he gave 10 million! he should have given 100 million. Do the rich become noble when they offer a pittance from their sacks of money?

That's the same argument that "people like you" give when you argue that the rich should be given tax breaks because overall they pay for the rest of us, But in reality $1 is more important to the man who eats bread from the garbage than $10 million is to the man who throws the bread away.

but you are right, many of us who have become disgruntled with Herr Bush do blame him for a lot, But the same can be said to the many Bush followers who eat up the propaganda and never question his policies.

And, Bush policy is at fault when considering the problems in New Orleans now, because he took away money that was allocated to fix the levees and redirected it toward his war effort. Last year, Gov. Blanco sent him several personal correspondence begging him to help with Louisiana's erosion problems. his administration responded by stating that it was not a "top priority."

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the "people like you" comment... What type of person am I?

Did I defend his policies? Did I argue that we should give tax breaks to the rich and screw the poor?

1) $10 million is pittance. Charity is a gift. It is an act of one's giving of their resources. But he should have given $100 million. Why? Because he has it?

2) Did I say I was a Bush supporter? Did I defend his policies? NO! I think I stated a fact; the decision to make subpar levees in New Orleans was made a long time ago by the Army Corp of Engineers. But thank you for taking the time to paint me as "one of them people" who "Eat up the propaganda and never question his policies." Whew... I am so glad that I made those bold statements above.

3) He took away money?! Nope... I think not! See, in your ignorance you fail to realize that the White House can make appropriations but it is the Congress who decides where the money goes. I am sorry you find fault with a President who makes sure every resource possible gets to our troops in the field. I do not. I have family over there fighting this war so you can sit on your ass and complain about the world. You want to do something... volunteer, go to New Orleans and make a difference as part of the recovery effort, or join the rest of us who work to make the lives of the poor better... because I do every day. I am not rich and I never will be but I do make a difference...

But then again "I am just one of those people."

Ignorant statements like that have lead to the loss of countless lives in this country. You want to call me out for saying the levees were improperly made years ago... Good! You want to call me out for saying the Army Corp of Engineers made a mistake years ago... Good!

You want to be an ignorant individual who doesn't know their anal orifice from their elbow then go For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge yourself....

So stay out of politics, sia zheng o'connor, and get back on the couch with your bon bons and stick to something you know about... Jerry Springer!

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous sia zheng o'connor said...

Believe it or not I am also concerned about your family members who are over there so when i hear Rumsfeld make statements like "You have to go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” I question it.

But for some reason you feel that "Mr. Bush is a President who makes sure every resource possible gets to our troops in the field." But in reality...Your family members ride arond with no protection while Halliburton's security forces are eating lobster inside their heavily armored vehicles.

So remember...Just because you have a yellow ribbon on your car doesn't make you a better patriot. Nor does it give you the right to proselytize people who view that ribbon as a guise over the truth.

A real patriot would recognize that this war is futile and with an agenda and that Mr. Bush and his Lacky Rep Congress (lackies because they will approve anything he puts forward) view your family members as expendable to their agenda.

A real patriot would get them back home so that they could nobily help our own people instead trying to forcefeed "democracy" to a bunch of people who stampede each other off of a bridge...

now back to my bon bons

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous jaharris said...

You are both wrong and both right... starting at the top post:

First post:

1) There is no time for blame because everyone, and I mean everyone, Republican, Democrat and other is responsible... and they all know.

2) To use this issue to attack the war is just semantic. The two are completely unrelated. Resources are here in this country to address the issues. The real question is: Should the FEMA heirarchy be politically appointed or should we make them career crisis management people? In a post 9/11 society... I think we might all have to agree to focus on the latter.

3) You make a huge leap in your claims... Before you claim he is helping his friends in big oil, you should have some sort of proof to back it up. You might be right but without corroboration, it doesn't hold water.

4) Laying blame on one administration is a huge mistake. LA has been asking for money for years and it wasn't a top priority for any of the administrations, congress, the senate, etc. It is easy to lay blame at the hands and feet of the current administration when the 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance actually happens. The devastation goes from theoretical to actual lives, property, and GDP lost. It forces the hands of those in power to do something after the fact, which is never the way you want anything done.

Second post:

1) You are right that the decision was made long ago. It does not mean that mistakes cannot be corrected. Is it Bush's fault it wasn't corrected? Yes. Was it Clinton's? Yes. Was it congresses? Yes. The Senate's? Yes. The reality is that after the past couple of years that 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance really became more like a 1 in 1,000,000 or 1, in 1,000 chance. You do not play Russian Roulette with two bullets in the gun. The Bush administration and the Republican Congress knew this. something could've have been done... but then again, it could have been done years ago. Mom always said, "do it right the first time and you never have to do it again."

2) Cost effective measures are a horrible mistake when playing with people's lives. The data may have said one thing but if anyone knows anything about odds and playing the lottery; sooner or later, you run out of chances and what seemed statistically impossible becomes possible.

3) "W" and "Bill" are both wrong. It is President --- or Mr. President. If you want to have a true debate politically, at least show some respect for the office of the Presidency, even if you despise the individual who holds the office.

4) His personal donations mean nothing here. Donations made in public are a public relations moment. That's all it was... a public relations opportunity.

Third post:

1) I agree with the fourth post, you and I should never expect someone to give because they can. But, if you make a public relations moment out of your donation, you better make it big. $10 million to aid the tsunami is fine. I would like to see more out of all our millionaires with New Orleans but with MLB and the NFL who make billions only offering the same amount as the Yankees... I wouldn't count on it.

2) You both eat up your parties rhetoric and spit it out very well. I can tell who the democrat and the Republican is just by your comments. Before you throw stones at each other, you both should learn to think for yourselves. And I would caution both of you against making personal attacks on one another. It is juvenile.

3) Everyone is to blame for New Orleans. That's why they are releasing money on a voice vote. To play politics with this one will be wrong and detrimental to anyone who does it. New Orleans and Louisiana have been sending those letters for years (and rightfully so). Before the war, it was something else. Remember this... everyone is to blame and for one brief moment, they all seem to be working together to do the right thing.-- Guilt will do that, you know.

Fourth post:

You bit; hook, line, and sinker. Dude, she got under your skin and you sound like an angry adolescent.

Side note: Our thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones overseas. I pray they come home safely.

Fifth post:

He got you back. He made you expose yourself as an anti-war protestor who will take every opportunity to blame the war for what happens around the Globe.

Word of advice: Never go after someone who has a family member in harm's way. You can never know the fear, trepidation, and anguish that goes into waiting for them to come home. You cannot empathize.

And to talk about "real patriots" in the same vein. If someone wears the uniform, he or she is a true patriot. They defend you and I. Arguing with a family member about the horrors of war or this war is futile but to question their patriotism, that is a very low blow.

To both of you:

I would suggest dropping your argument. You will never agree. You both make good cases but neither of those cases mean anything now.

There is one fact: We have countrymen who have been devastated by a horrible event, let's go save their lives.

As Jerry would say, "be good to yourself and each other."

Now pass me the bon bons!

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous sia zheng o'connor said...

I love the fact that this guy/gal (jaharris)puts in his two cents and tells us to drop the argument.

and I love the fact that i "exposed" myself as anti-war protestor as if it were a bad thing to want to stop needless bloodshed.

And...(excuse me while i eat a bon a bon) I also laugh at the idea that equating Katrina with Iraq is just semantics (btw...isn't blogging just about semantics anyway) There are no helicopters to help out in New Orleans because they are in Iraq!!!!!! hello mcfly!!!

Now, i'm really gonna get in trouble. (let me get one more bon bon before the warmongers take me out) A uniform does NOT ensure that you are a hero. I think Hitler had a shnazzy little outfit on at one time as did the players at Abu Gharib(Sp?) And the life lost by the immigrant kitchen worker who busted his ass for 4 cents an hour to feed his starving family is just as much as HEROIC as the uniformed NYC firefighter who tried to save him. However, there will never be a CNN special about that immigrants family, as if (their fear, trepidation, and anguish that goes into waiting for them to come home) doesn't count as much. But I agree there is a degree of honor to the uniform. Unfortunately, today the uniform is much more farcical (like the yellow ribbon) than it was during previous wars. Because soundbytes like "support the troops" are repeated over and over again w/o meaning thus watering down such a statement.

But before you label me as a "uniform hater" my real point is that the country's policies should not only be made by those in charge, those with guns and those related to those with guns. In other words, my opinion matters just as much as anyone's who has connections to the military. So when my friend made this statement (post 4)

"I have family over there fighting this war so you can sit on your ass and complain about the world. You want to do something... volunteer,"

It sounds like i'm being dictated to and that i should listen cause he/she has family in the military and i should just shut up and wave my yellow ribbon.

Now, this is where you insert the statement "if it werent' for soldiers in Iraq, you wouldn't have the freedom to say those bad things about the uniform." My response would be "If it weren't for people like me curbing the notion that violence creates freedom, all the relatives of our troops overseas would have left would be a empty uniform.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous jaharris said...

You missed my point, altogether.

1) absolutely, you are allowed to have your opinion. But there is a time and a place.

The Katrina catastrophe is neither the time nor the place.

Now is the time for action, later is the time talk; so that we make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

That was my point.

2) I told you both to drop the argument because neither was going to convince the other.

3) Now, here's the really important part, I never said I was for or against this war. What I said was you are never going to be able to win your argument with someone who has a family member in the theater.

If you want to hate the war, that is your stance. I am all for your right to free speech as long as you are aware that your actions may draw the ire of the other side.

Sam was 100% right... do not politicize Katrina. Do not make a mockery of what these people have and ultimately will go through.

Now is not the time to talk; now is the time to act. Let's save some lives, rebuild hope and prosperity, and when everything is done and said and we have built a stronger and more fortified New Orleans... then sit down and fix all the other problems just waiting to happen.

Yes, you are right, there are evil men and women in uniform. And there are many evil migrant workers who work for 4 cents an hour. Evil comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

And for the record, I never called you a "uniform hater." Just don't be so quick to blame every man and woman in a uniform, most of them are average joe's doing their job.

Have a nice weekend.

PS- it's not nice to assume what someone is going to say because well you know what happens when one assumes.

Hey Sam and Jack... keep up the good work!


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