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All our prayers and thoughts are with the folks in the Gulf Coast region of our country. This is unquestionable of all Americans - Democrats, Republicans and Independents. And indeed, this is not a time for politics -- not only for moral and ethical reasons, but for political ones as well. That is, politics itself mandates that these days not be political. Hunter below, and Josh Marshall speak a frustration and anger many of us share:

I'm sorry. I know we're supposed to be observing an accountability free moment for the president. But there are just too many examples out there of the ways in which his policies have contributed to and accentuated this crisis: systematic cuts in levee and pump construction around New Orleans (second article here), phasing out FEMA and the apparently the whole concept of national coordination of the response to natural disasters. That's a great idea, isn't it? Similar failings are discussed by Bruce W. Jentleson and Juliette Kayyem at TPMCafe. And, of course, example after example of cronies running critical agencies. Anyone want to give a buzz to Joe Allbaugh over at New Bridge Strategies?

The scene of any natural disaster, especially one of such grave magnitude, will invariably be chaotic. Much won't go according to plan. But a lot of people seem to have been caught unprepared in this mess, a lot of preparedness agencies appear to have missed a few beats in getting on top of it.

Josh is right I believe. More importantly, Josh's critique cuts across partisan lines in my opinion. Yes Bush and his administration have much to answer for. But what of the government of the State of Louisiana? The government of the City of New Orleans? I for one believe all have to answer for this. But not now. Maybe next week. But not today. For the reasons described above.

Interestingly, Matt Yglesias wrote a rather strange post that, I think unintentionally, illustrates a related point about Iraq. I'll discuss it on the flip.

The good news for Democrats is that by 57-42 people disapprove of Bush's handling of the war, and by 53-46 people say the war wasn't worth it. The bad news, however, is this:

By a 51 percent to 38 percent ratio, the public said the United States is winning the war, despite mounting casualties and insurgent attacks. A majority (54 percent) continued to say the United States should keep military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there; 44 percent said U.S. forces should be withdrawn. Six in 10 opposed announcing a timetable for withdrawal.

. . . [C]ontrary to some loose talk I've heard from fellow anti-war liberals, the evidence seems to suggest that the anti-war view remains a minority one on forward-looking issues. The challenge for Pottery Barn Democrats, meanwhile, is not only the mismatch between their views and those of most Democrats, but the need to offer an alternative vision for "handling" the war that's actually credible and compelling. For what it's worth, I'd very much like to support that position, but the ideas I've seen on the table -- with all due respect to our current Table for One guest and others -- don't seem very credible to me. It's natural that the population would like to choose hope over despair, notwithstanding concerns about the current situation, but even as a political stance "do the war but do it better" doesn't work very well in the absence of a sound policy vision.

I think Yglesias completely misunderstands the political ramifications of the poll results. Of course Americans want to believe they are winning. Of course they want the U.S. to "win the war." But in the face of this obvious strong pull, 44% TODAY want withdrawal! That is amazing. In the face of NO opposition by the Democrats, a pliant Media, and the strong "rally round the flag" urge of the American People during any war time, the number who support withdrawal is already nearly half of the population. Where will that number be next July? What Matt misses in this part of his analysis seems simple to me - the election is NEXT year. Not this year. Next year. A little forward looking political thinking is in order.

In a certain sense, the process by which advocating withdrawal becomes the clear majority opinion, one politicians will be able to express without fear of political blowback, is accelerating rapidly. To me that is the noteworthy political news from the WaPo poll cited by Yglesias, not the lesson he takes. Remember, the election is next year.

The other mistake Yglesias makes is his critique of Democratic strategy alternatives for Iraq. He says he doesn't find them compelling. Well guess what? No sane person would. But it doesn't matter - Democrats have no say over Iraq policy. Democratic alternatives for Iraq are simply political statements, they can be nothing else until 2007. Now, the strategies that might be worth discussing in a serious way are related to what we do in the Middle East AFTER the U.S. leaves Iraq. How do we manage the Debacle and ITS Aftermath? This exercise, however, CAN be dangerous politically right now. But my hope is that some smart Democrats are considering that. Because that will be the REAL question for next year and beyond. How can we manage the incalculable damage done by Bush and his Iraq Debacle if and when Democrats DO get power. On policy, that is the only pertinent question now. The rest is politics.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:28 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The tragedy spike (4.00)
    I don't see him getting better poll numbers over this one, this time.

    Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

    by mdhatter on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:27:55 PM PDT

    •  Bush is Getting Slammed... (none)
      In editorial after editorial from the ultra right-wing Manchester Union to the Ny Times.  Man, if he's lost the Union he is burnt toast.

      "We're all working for the Pharoh" - Richard Thompson

      by mayan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:49:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Golly, I hope you're right ... (4.00)
      ...but I've been led to believe that he couldn't possibly gain from situations in the past and was proved wrong. So, I'm not yet persuaded that he and his handlers won't find some way to make him seem ... presidential in this catastrophe and ratchet himself up a few points. At least temporarily.

      "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:49:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remember... (none)
        ...what masters these thugs are at manipulating public opinion.  

        I won't be AT ALL surprised if the Rethugs gain seats in both the House and Senate in 2006.

        --Anne ** ** ** ** ** ** "Hyena crawls on his belly out. The town is safe again tonight." --jms

        by asskicking annie on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:58:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with you. (4.00)
        I think the theme has to be Greed and Incompetence.

        Bush is on vacation.  Pound him on it.  Connect it to "My Pet Goat."

        The situation in New Orleans is just unbelieveable.  What the hell have the FEMA folks been doing for three days?

        I've been watching the WWL-TV live feed off and on today and the fact that there are still thousands of folks stranded on roofs, second floors, in attics three days-post hurricane is mond-boggling.

        We're like a goddamned third world country.  And there has been a clear, underlying tension over the lack of National Guard availability.

        This disaster ties up all the loose ends of this administration's many inane, insane efforts and policies... needed state forces tied up in a needless war; a slow and seemingly unconcerned response dur to the Bush/Cheney lack of empathy for anyone unlike themselves -- rich and white; proce gouging and more political favors for the oil industry, Halliburton, Bechtel, etc.; environmentally destructive policies such as favoring development over wetlands and ignoring/denying global warming... The list goes on and on.

        Greed and Incompetence.  A deadly combination.

        •  Don't forget to add "arrogance." n/t (none)

          "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:13:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No shit.... (4.00)
          These guys couldn't get back to DC fast enough when Terri Schiavo was the "theme du jour"....

          And all for political points!!!

          So this "... let's not get into politics - the nation needs us together" is crass bullshit.  You know the republicans are spinning this as fast as they can, and all they care about is politics, ahem, I mean MONEY and POWER.

          So, yes, let's roll over and show our bellies in a spirit of coming together... just don't twitch when they plunge the knife in... and please don't squeal either - it detracts from the purity of the scene.

          Where's the "Culture of LIfe" NOW, HUH!?!

          "Every day, in every way, I think I'm going to vomit."

          by seronimous on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:52:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Haley Barbour gets his comeuppance (none)
          According to RFKJr., Barbour was instrumental in getting W to renege on his campaign promise to regulate CO2. Looks like Mother Nature decided to smack him down.
        •  Let's not forget Classist and Racist (none)
          If those were blonde, white women down there, the response almost certainly would be much greater.  If they were wealthy, even more so.  The "Lawlessness and Looting" you're seeing is a direct result of the failed response, and it's going to get worse.  I think this might have ramifications in more than just the Southern cities hit by the hurricane, I think we have a Rodney King situation here again.  I hope those people get help and fast, and I also am noticing a serious racist response to this catastrophe.
      •  Check out the main NYT editorial today... (none)
        They say the idiot gave the worst speech of his presidency yesterday:  

        "And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis."

        His pathetic, late response to the crisis along the Gulf Coast, along with the resulting rising gas prices, will not help endear him to the masses. In light of this, I don't see how his pol numbers will improve.

        It's just another example how detatched Dear Leader is from reality. I can imagine that as he safely looked down upon the devastation yesterday from 2000 feet, all he could think of were Tonka toys and train sets.

      •  to get the benefit (none)
        there has to be doubt

        there isn't ANY.

        they failed.

        Direct line, money trail, dead people.

        To quote our president.

        "Fool me twice..... i won't be fooled again"

        Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

        by mdhatter on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 10:46:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  WHO GIVES A FUCK (none)
      about bush's poll numbers!

      The only thing people care about now is trying to help.  In any way they can.

      Ever been through a hurricane? I worried about 4 last year (so much so that I evacuated twice) and lost power for a total of 9 days from the other TWO.

      No one effected gives a damn about which politician was to blame.  

      And I have to say this to this community:  most effected have NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR PEOPLE OF ANY POLITICAL IDEOLOGY WHO TRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE.
      Having been personally involved in efforts to help people from Charlie last year - I have nothing but contempt for someone wondering about Bush's poll numbers, or what the impact is on 2006.

       The last thing you care about in the aftermath is assigning blame.

      I am profoundly disappointed in this board in the aftermath of the tragedy.

      If you give a damn, get out your checkbook.  Offer to house some homeless.  Rent a U-Haul and stock full of groceries and get on the road.

      Of shit the fuck up - because you aren't doing anything but blowing hot air.

      With this post I write my last comment on this board, almost 3 years after I posted my first comment here.

      •  I (4.00)
        I was in three hurricanes last year and I can raise you a week and half without power. And speaking for myself, I'm intensely interested in Bush's poll numbers at all times and particuloarly right now. Because the more they go down the more we can help people out of this mess and avoid the next one down the road. Whereas the more they stay steady or spike the greater damage he can do to the next state or town or family he gambles into the sewer or Iraq and stuffs into his buddies pockets.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:38:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Try to Remember Where You Are (none)
        dKos is not a general purpose on-line community. It is a political one, and one that is primarily concerned with getting Democrats elected.

        We can care about, post about, and contribute to helping, the people who have suffered from this disaster, and still consider the political angle.

        Regarding "No one effected gives a damn about which politician was to blame", I am 100% sure that you are wrong about that. A lot of people affected want to know how the government could be so unprepared for an event that was known to be a potential disaster.

        This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

        by Mr X on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:24:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  $$$ For Levees (none)
        All Politics is local, and arBusto raped FEMA, for a morph into HS, and denied funding to Army Corps of Engineers- http://tinyurl.com/bsttp

        I understand your disgust, but I think you have fear-laden tunnel vision.

        Expose the liars and the cheats, and you just might save future victims, that could include yourself.

        Leaving an open conversant community is not the answer.  

        Stand up, and fight, or tune into NPR and be pacified.

        Your choice; goodwill to you-

        Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people... it is true that most stupid people are conservative -Jon Stuart Mill-

        by RF on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:24:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I give one. (none)
        "Of shit the fuck up - because you aren't doing anything but blowing hot air."

        I really haven't been keeping track, is fladem for real or somebody's talking-point tool?

        OK, I looked up his most recent posts, May 5, December 4, Oct 24. Oct 14, and he writes like a democrat.

        So that implies this really is an emotional issue and not just a thug smokescreen.

        Myself, if I was delivering 1000 meals to a refugee camp that had 5000 people in it, I'd want to mention that we were doing the best we could but the funding got cut and the helicopters are in iraq. It would be worth mentioning, something people would be interested in.

        I can see people getting bothered that there could be a few democrat strategists as heartless as the average republican strategist, who think about how to limit the damage republicans can do to them when they could be spending 100% of their effort helping people. I'm not sure what to do about that.

        Like, we could start a campaign to donate all existing democratic campaign contributions and all paid democratic salaries to disaster relief. We could do our part to make up for the money the republicans cut from the budget. But....

        It looks like a real true issue that I have no idea what to do about. Things like this could turn into important republican talking points. And yet somehow Little Green Footballs doesn't seem to hurt the repubicans at all.

      •  NO! this is a FAILURE! (none)
        This FAILURE is too enormous to strike when the iron has gone cold.

        Rove is already trying to tell the story

        why can't we?

        because YOU are pissed? redirect! not at me!

        For the record, I've given, and I did it BEFORE I opened by YAP.

        aside from that, i'm 2,400 miles from there.

        tell me how to be more useful, oh arbiter of truth.

        check your attitude!

        Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

        by mdhatter on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Only if..... (none)
      I think his poll numbers may spike if he's allowed to play CiC and get away with it.  Democrats need to start getting on his ass...about a lack of national guard troops, about not putting price caps on gasoline right now, about cutting budgets for disaster relief and prevention...

      He will get away with this if Democrats allow him too.....and based on past experience they probably will.

  •  Thank you. (4.00)
    The Democrats must fight now. Nature acted, criminal negligence intervened, horror resulted.
  •  Re: Josh's post (4.00)
    This really is the debut moment of the post-9/11 National Response Plan....

    You're walking, and you don't always realize it, but you're always falling. --- Laurie Anderson

    by baggy on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:32:57 PM PDT

    •  Will try to get hardcopy of this...n/t (none)
      ...all words no action.

      We are a leaderless country...

      by mattes on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:54:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Accoutability-free Moment is Over (none)
      CNN just reported (6:50 AM Thursday, Sept 1) the emergency aid bureaucracy is in gridlock.

      After 72 hours, the lack of planning and coordination is appalling.  It doesn't matter how much money is being raised if the people who need help NOW are being neglected.

      They need hundreds, if not thousands, of rescue helicopters and boats.  They need to get people out before they starve or drown.

      And they need to distinguish between "looting" and taking food that will spoil anyway to feed themselves and their families.

      BushCo's accountability-free moment is over.

      The rhetoric of the right wing is being fixed around the policy of disinformation.

      by MoronMike on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 06:57:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The issue for 2006 will not be Iraq (none)
    It will be gasoline.  It will be interest rates.  It will not be Iraq.  Im sorry to say, but by next July people will be inured to 5 dead Marines a day.  Five dollar a gallon gas will turn heads though.

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

    by calipygian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:33:37 PM PDT

    •  friend (4.00)
      Friend, by next July the US will have declared victory, and the troops will be coming home.  The only ones left in Iraq will be in heavil fortified embassies and military bases that are protected from all but the most deadly attacks.  That's what happens when you have billions to spend on fortfying a few square miles of land.  

      Iraq will be screwed and in a civil war, from which a likely strongman, or cabal, will emerge as a quasi-dictator.  The best we can hope for is a Pakistan like situation where the majority of the country hates America but the ruling elite is fearful of crossing us.

      •  Totally agree. (none)
        n/t

        But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

        by calipygian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:41:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Correct (none)
        The sad thing is, this is exactly what we said would happen when these morons started his war. I think they knew it, too, but did the risk/reward and figured it was worth it. Assholes.

        Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

        by hazzcon on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:43:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  or maybe they're just fine with it that way. (none)
          If we have our bases there, so the thinking may go, we can keep an eye on the oil and be able to launch special ops easily throughout the region.  

          It might even be, I hate to say it, that the Saudis and others would be quite happy to never see Iraq produce a lot of oil in the future, because they can make extra bank that way, and if Iraq's in a civil war then I suppose they won't be bothering their neighbors.  

          I hate to think like this, just trying to figure out what could possibly be going on.  It's hard to believe W and them could be as stupid as they seem to be on the surface.  And I'm not sure which is the right way to think of W.  Is he stupid, like I used to think, or nefarious, which is the way I'm leaning now?

          •  People smatrter than Bush though about it long (4.00)
            before he did.

            Zbigniew Brzezinski in "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" wrote:

            A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania [Australia] geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 percent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.

            That power is us, of course. Dominating central Eurasia is key to dominating the world. These people don't think small.

            Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

            by brenda on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:14:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  everyone (4.00)
          Everyone assumes Bush is an idiot, and his guys didnt do any planning on Iraq.  They also tend to pin Bush as being an oil grabbing tryant.

          I see it like this.  Bush is simple and addled.  He has always thought that Hussein was a world class nemesis instead of a two-bit strongman.  When 9/11 took him by surprise - and I think it really did - he immediately believed Iraq involved because Hussein is a nemsis.  So his guys took all the evidence, and stripped out anything that was contradictory, and accentuated and puffed up everything that was complimentary, and presented it to him.  In his administration no one is ever frowned on for being a yes man, and no one is ever promoted for being a questioner.  He was convinced, and so, it was just a matter of convincing enough others to get onboard.

          As far as planning, the initial operation went according to plan, but then it went to shit.  His original plan was to hand over the reins to Chalibi, who his guys believed to a modern day George Washington in exile.  Turns out everyone knew him to be a fraud and a liar.  I figure Bush and his guys planned 6-weeks from the days the marines hit the proverbial beach.  After that Chalibi would swoop in and take over as President, and institute democracy on Washington's timetable.

          We all know how that turned out.

          Same thing goes with the hurricane.  Bush never figured for the leevee system going tits up.  He figured he'd sign a disaster decleration, do a few photo-ops, get a 5-pt bounce, and ride it a few months into Social Security reform and the Roberts confirmation.

        •  What do they care... (4.00)
          ...if Iraq is a catastrophe?  They've succeeded in dumping half the U.S. treasury into Halliburton's bank account.  Mission fucking accomplished.

          --Anne ** ** ** ** ** ** "Hyena crawls on his belly out. The town is safe again tonight." --jms

          by asskicking annie on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:02:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't agree with your assessment (4.00)
        There are those who argue the US intention on drafting an Iraqi Constitution in its own economic self-interest will backfire.

        There are coalitions being formed and ideas spreading which have nothing in common with our viewpoints or way of life.  Bush has given the word "democracy" a bad image.  

        Like shrub, many here are thinking through a vision of a few years, maybe even 10 or 12. They think that is a long term strategy. It will fail.

        ...the Iraqis wanted a country different from that for which the Americans had come to Iraq. They, or at least those who were involved in drafting the constitution, wanted nothing of the kind of economic and political system that Bremer and other US officials had been attempting to create in Iraq ever since the occupation began. What the occupation authorities wanted was to fulfill "the wish-list of international investors", as The Economist magazine described the economic policies they began imposing in the country in 2003.[2]

        As direct occupiers, the US enacted laws that give foreign investors equal rights with Iraqis in the domestic market; permit the full repatriation of profits; institute the flat tax system; abolish tariffs; enforce a strict intellectual property rights regime; sell off a whole-range of state-owned companies; reduce food and fuel subsidies; and privatize all kinds of social services such as health, education and water delivery.

        [snip]

        Writing Iraq's permanent constitution is the latest step in the political transition process agreed upon by the US administration and the Iraqi political parties that have chosen to cooperate with it since the beginning of the occupation. At every step of that process, the US has attempted to lock in policies that would advance and protect its fundamental interests in the country by championing and strengthening the hand of those Iraqis committed to defending them even after formal occupation ends.[3]

        Even before combat began, the US had assembled Iraqi exile groups who would not only support the invasion but would also defend free-market policies and tolerate the presence of coalition troops. In July 2003, the US handpicked the members of what would become Iraq 's first political entity during the transition, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). American lawyers then worked with the IGC members to draft Iraq 's transitional constitution, ensuring that all the laws enacted under occupation would be carried over by the incoming Iraqi interim government.[4] In June 2004, the US handed "sovereignty" to this interim government, its prime minister and other officials effectively chosen by the US.[5] In the elections for choosing Iraq's transitional parliament last January 2004, the US conducted both overt and covert operations to support former CIA agent Iyad Allawi's party and to reduce the margin of the winning coalition dominated by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Islamic Da'awa party.[6] While the US did not succeed in installing Allawi, SCIRI and Da'awa officials subsequently championed the US preferred agenda on oil, privatization, and the presence of coalition troops.

        As the Iraqis huddled to hammer out their permanent constitution, US officials were once again with them every step of the way. Outside the Green Zone, the negotiations were protected by 160,000 US and other coalition troops. Playing a central role inside was newly appointed US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, a member of the Project for a New American Century who had called for invading Iraq since 1998. Having served as an intermediary for the US government with the Taliban regime, Khalilzad previously worked for Unocal in Afghanistan . After the invasion in 2001, he was subsequently appointed to be the US's first ambassador to Afghanistan . There, he was accused of serving as the "campaign manager" of pro-US candidate Hamid Karzai in that country's presidential elections.[7]

        Behind closed doors where real debates took place, according to the Washington Post, Khalizad was described by Reuters as being a "ubiquitous presence" and by the Financial Times as playing a "big role in the negotiations".[8] One State Department official called Khalilzad's actions "intensive diplomacy".[9] While media spin on the process portrayed US officials as reluctant, impatient intermediaries uninterested in the contents of the constitution ("just as long as it gets it done on time"), at one point, Khalilzad's team of American diplomats offered their own proposed text of the constitution to the Iraqis.[10] Shuttling back and forth from constant meetings with the Iraqi president, the speaker, and other high-ranking officials, Khalilzad was backed up by US embassy officials who, according to the Washington Post, were working from a Kurdish party headquarters to "to help type up the draft and translate changes from English to Arabic for Iraqi lawmakers".[11]


        Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

        by bronte17 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:39:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It will be the new poor (none)
      who believed they were above it all and learned they are not so special after all.

      Will they understand the old poor?

    •  The issues will be abortion, gay marriage and (none)
      whatever else they throw out.  We always seem to fall for the right wing noise machine dictating the issues.

      How do we change that?  Throw down the gauntlet on real issues first.

      Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

      by groggy on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:45:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do (3.66)
    He could come out and state the real reason we are in Iraq: oil is running out. That is a catastrophe far far greater then even Katrina. If Bush said: "We're in Iraq to secure our way of life and guarentee access to oil in a future of dwindling supplies." I think you'd see the public turn on a dime. Especially if he says this after rolling blackouts sweep the nation and crude hits $100 a barrel.

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

    by brenda on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:35:02 PM PDT

  •  oops (none)
    this was meant to be parented to madhatters post

    sorry

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

    by brenda on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:36:00 PM PDT

  •  Opportunity for Bush (4.00)
    Use Katrina as an excuse for bailing on Iraq.
    Don't be surprised.
  •  Yes Armando (none)
    you are (ouch, ouch, this hurts) right.

    Ultimately, Katrina will, I think, bring the Bush Administration to it's knees.  But we need to hold our fire to the appropriate moment.

    When is that?  I'm not sure I know.  Certainly, we need an accounting of the dead, injured, and displaced.  It may be days, it may be a week or two, but it's coming.

    Also, let's try to keep our attacks factual and supportable.  By going of the deep end with unprovable, or unprovable-sounding, theories we will weaken the tidal surge of facts that will, I hope, wash the stain of the Bush Administration from the body politic.

    George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

    by LarryInNYC on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:36:45 PM PDT

    •  your instinct is right (none)
      Your instinct is right.

      Katrina is not going away.  Right now Bush can marshall some resources.  It's late, he should have already done it, he's a liar and a loser.  We all know that.

      But for now he is on top of a huge organization with tons of resources.  In that capacity we should root for him to pull off a turn around of organization and leadership.

      The coming weeks and months will highlight again and again his failures: of stragetgy, of funding, of priorities, of vision, of imagination, of character.

      There is literally nothing to be gained running around saying things that will be misinterruptered as "Bush caused Katrina" or "Bush killed my grandmother".

      A big issue that will emerge is the probable thousands who lost their lives because they improperly believed they could ride out the storm, light some candles, listen to some old records, and hang out for a few days.   Attempting to pin their deaths on Bush is arrogant and bound to be seen a macebre politics at its worse.  

      •  Katrina in Some Degree... (4.00)
        is the ultimate logical outcome of the modern GOP vision.  All those concepts that we've seen play out at large in the Bush regime:  "small government," "local resources," "money for military and homeland security - screw the infrastructure," "tax reductions" "political appointments based on nepotism rather than merit" - In an mind-numbingly tragic way, this is the perfect storm outcome.  No federal leadership, no resources, just a huge sucking vacuum...and we are like deer caught in the headlights.  

        "We're all working for the Pharoh" - Richard Thompson

        by mayan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:56:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And to not highlight (4.00)
          This major philosophical difference at a time where the nation must absolutely ante up to repair a city in a state that lacks the resources to do it alone would be political negligent to our cause and the effort of rebuilding New Orleans and Biloxi.

          DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

          by DWCG on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:04:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  absolutely (none)
            I am not saying don't do it.  Just that now when people are still trapped in houses and on rooftops is probably not a good idea.

            New Orleans is going to be screwed long after the water goes down.  There will be plenty, plenty, plenty of time to nail Bush for his failures.

        •  Nobody is this incompetent (none)
          They completely flat-footed this disaster.  What were they waiting for?  A gov't of any size puts a contingency plan in place to sure up infrastructure and place resources for rescue and relief where it's needed the most.  Yes, NOLA is our Holland, but neglect and inaction will bear some potent fruit for this singularly inept administration.  Watch the GOP's handling of critics turn off a lot of people.  This was/is an epic error.
    •  We can take our cue from Mayor Nagin (4.00)
      who was reported today as saying that funds were diverted from levee reconstruction to Iraq. When he and Landrieu start vocalizing their criticisms we need to have their backs.
      •  Everyone's number one job-reverse global warming (none)
        The effort to silence, to ruin science is not because of Darwin and evolution, it is because of global warming.  Everyone's number one job has to be to reverse global warming in order to stop the methane release in Alaska and Siberia or hurricanes specifically will get ever larger and more numerous. So to save ourselves, our loved ones and our planet, we should and must criticize strongly the lack of attention and problems solving needed to prevent our own extinction.

        Because they do not understand.

        Bush 1 was criticized for his bad job performance during a Florida hurricane (FEMA appointee was not a professional in emergency management which was critical).

        Jeb says no such thing as global warming after Florida got run over by 4 hurricanes last year.

        Below is Michael Moore's collection of Bush 2 blunders.

        from
        http://www.michaelmoore.com/mustread/
        Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

        When the Levee Breaks:

        "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
        -- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

        Here's the Story of a Hurricane:

        The Gulf Coast wetlands form a "natural buffer that helps protect New Orleans from storms," slowing hurricanes down as they approach from sea. When he came into office, President Bush pledged to uphold the "no net loss" wetland policy his father initiated. He didn't keep his word. Bush rolled back tough wetland policies set by the Clinton administration, ordering federal agencies "to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands and an untold number of waterways nationwide." Last year, four environmental groups issued a joint report showing that administration policies had allowed "developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands."

        Flood Control:

        Decades of flood-control efforts to protect New Orleans and other places, combined with the region's huge oil and gas investments, have contributed heavily to the destruction of coastal wetlands that can help tame the fury of storms like Hurricane Katrina, say scientists and government officials.

        Louisiana's governor says everyone must leave New Orleans as Day Two gets worse. The refugees currently in the Superdome will be sent temporarily to Houston's Astrodome.

        President Bush -- who is almost done with his vacation (he'll be back at the White House late this afternoon) -- will release oil from America's strategic reserves.

        The Mayor of New Orleans says there are too many people giving orders. The levee breach that allowed the lake to spill into the city's business district was supposed to be sandbagged yesterday but it never happened:

        According to the mayor, Black Hawk helicopters were scheduled to pick up and drop massive 3,000-pound sandbags in the 17th Street Canal breach, but were diverted on rescue missions. Nagin said neglecting to fix the problem has set the city behind by at least a month.

        many blue, yellow and green dogs are a majority

        by Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:38:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  With all the corporateering (none)
      and War reconstruction corruption going on in the Oval Office since 2001, it wouldn't be a surprise if this "woman" brought the Bush Administration to its knees.
    •  "the appropriate moment" (4.00)
      is now.  Why on Earth would you want to cut Bush any slack . . . cover his ass, as it were?  Every damn thing should have his name on it . . . failed levees, slashed FEMA, no real "Homeland Security", no "energy policy" . . . all of it.

      You sound like the "don't criticize the President while we're at war" crowd . . . like "give him a few more years to sort things out and then you can criticize" (in a history book).

      The meme is simple, direct, and now.  Katrina is not Bush's fault.  Failure to prepare for Katrina, and the unnecessary death and devastation that resulted, is Bush's fault and NO statement about any part of the unfolding tragedy should omit that fact.

      The "appropriate moment" is now and forever.

      •  No. . . (none)
        Why on Earth would you want to cut Bush any slack . . . cover his ass, as it were?  . . . You sound like the "don't criticize the President while we're at war" crowd

        I want to see this bring down the Bush Administration, or at least reduce them to sufficient irrelevancy that they lose control of the policy making appartus.

        To do so, we need to avoid shooting off our ammunition when it won't do any good but rather keep our powder dry until we see the whites of their eyes.  That will be in a matter of days.

        Right now, Bush is doing our work for us.

        (But, notice, that when it does become time to start firing, we need to do so mercilessly.  After 9/11 the first reaction to Bush was extremely negative from both the right and the left.  Then, we gave him time to regroup.  We must not make that mistake this time).

        George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

        by LarryInNYC on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:23:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "giv[ing] him time to regroup" (4.00)
          is exactly what you are proposing.

          People are asking "why did this happen, why is this happining" now . . . and we should be giving the answers now:

          We were unprepared for Katrina because:

          Bush wanted tax cuts for the rich, and

          Bush wanted a war on Iraq (for no reason or benefit except, perhaps, to Israel), and

          Bush wants "small government", not effective and humanitarian government.

          Why would you wait even a minute to say any of that ? ? ?

          •  because (none)
            Because people are trapped on the roof right now.  Bush has the power to marshall resources and support to save lives.  Will that give him some temporary political help?  Yes.  Will you have plenty of time to make him pay for his foolish policies?  Absolutely.  New Orleans is wrecked, and that's not going to change tomorrow, next week, or next month.

            There is no upside for slamming Bush and his agencies and leadershp at a time when we need those agencies and leadership to save real lives.

            In two weeks his failures will be even more evident.  Already pouncing hard is being taken as democrats blaming Bush for the hurricane itself.  That's not a good strategy.

            •  What are you really saying? (none)
              "There is no upside for slamming Bush and his agencies and leadershp at a time when we need those agencies and leadership to save real lives."

              I'm still not quite getting it.

              Are you saying that if we criticise the planning effort at this stage, that the agencies and leadership will stop doing their jobs and people will die?

              There's something about this that I'm just not getting.

              •  close (none)
                I am saying that right now 100% of all energies need to be focused on rescue, mitigation, and immediate needs and as the weeks go on, rebuilding and repair.  

                Starting a big media theme about how this is all Bush's fault, or how Bush could have prevented some of the side effects, etc will be taken as "Bush could have prevented the hurricane".  Right now there are a lot of people who need assistance from the government, and having them thinking that the government is the source of their problem will make things even worse.  Half of the problem right now is that people didn't listen to the government in the fist place.  The last thing we need now is the devaluing of the governments authority and directives.

                •  No, that makes no sense. (none)
                  Preparation for this has been utterly bungled. You're saying pitch in and help recover from the bungling, yes, that's necessary.

                  But the time to start taking actions to replace the bunglers is now.

                  We're going to have people making heroic actions to rescue victims. Those people are heroes. The people who made the heroic actions more necessary than they had to be -- those are bums.

                  It's past time to stop giving Bush the benefit of the doubt.

                  •  whats the difference (none)
                    Whats the difference in doing it in 3 weeks instead of today?

                    There is nothing to gain but political ends, and much to lose.

                    •  Nothing to lose (none)
                      Go read LGF or a Freepers site and tell me they aren't already politicising it.
                      •  so (none)
                        They are.  They are wrong.  Are you wrong also?  That's the question here.  Will you be on the wrong side, or the correct side?
                        •  "I'd rather be right than President." (none)
                          Dan, the question is no longer right and wrong. The question is "Does it work?".

                          We've been decent. Through two presidencial elections, decency has failed us.

                          We've been reasonable. Being reasonable failed.

                          The only important issue this country faces is to get rid of enough hack incumbents to impeach Bush.

                          This is the first order of business. Is there something you want the federal government to accomplish? Sorry, Charlie. It isn't going to happen until afterward.

                          If you want to argue that being nice to Bush is the right thing to do, tell me how it speeds up the impeachment process. Persuade me that criticising Bush will delay the impeachment process by one single day and I'll instantly stop.

                          •  stop (none)
                            Dan, the question is no longer right and wrong.
                            Sorry.  That is the only question.  What is RIGHT and what is WRONG.  

                            If you want to argue that being nice to Bush is the right thing to do, tell me how it speeds up the impeachment process.
                            This isn't about Bush, or you, or your political goals.  That's the whole point.  This about people who are actually suffering.

                            When you ignore what is right and wrong you are irrelevant to me.

                            When your party starts doing what is RIGHT people will flock to it.  Driving people from Bush is only half the battle.  

                          •  You have lost reality. (none)
                            If it isn't about Bush, it isn't about the federal government.

                            You want the federal government to do something right? That's a political goal. It won't happen until you get rid of Bush.

                            If you want to discuss the correct way to be a good christian while being persecuted by the imperial government, go ahead. That's valid topic for discussion. But I'm not up for that one. My topic is throw out the incumbent hacks and impeach Bush/Cheney.

                            If you want to say that criticising Bush means he'll allocate less resources to the catastrophe and more people will die, that's a sort of blackmail I can't give in to.

                          •  well fine (none)
                            If you want to say that criticising Bush means he'll allocate less resources to the catastrophe and more people will die, that's a sort of blackmail I can't give in to.
                            Well fine.  I hope you like blood on your hands.

                            Like you can't wait two weeks.  His numbers are tanking and people are realizing organically that he's incompetent.  Running around barfing about him needing to be impeached makes you look foolish.

                            People are smart.  They'll know.  You just don't want to miss your golden opportunity.  Because you put your political goals above all else.

                            The fact is and remains that right now Bush is the only way to get anything done in NO.  Instead of helping you are personally hurting the effort to save lives and prevent more death.  

                            The world obviously revolves around you and your goals in your head.  Far be it from me or anyone else to suggest that it may be better to keep it under your hat until all the bodies are buried.  

                          •  I keep thinking you might make your point (none)
                            "The fact is and remains that right now Bush is the only way to get anything done in NO.  Instead of helping you are personally hurting the effort to save lives and prevent more death."

                            You keep sort of circling around it without saying it.

                            Are you telling me that if I criticise Bush, he'll withhold aid to NO to punish democrats?

                            See, Bush isn't actually in the loop. It isn't like what he does has any direct effect on rescue operations, unless he tells people not to do things.

                            The people who're doing the work really ought to be ignoring any criticism of their actions, they need to be busy doing the best they can, and look at the post mortems later.

                            So how is it that criticising Bush for the mismanagement and misbudgeting that put us where we are now, how is that going to hurt the effort?

                            Unless it persuades Bush to punish the innocent?

                          •  no (none)
                            See, Bush isn't actually in the loop. It isn't like what he does has any direct effect on rescue operations, unless he tells people not to do things.
                            Wait.  The whole two-disaster concept relies on the fact that the second disaster is bushes fault for poor leadership.  You can't go back on that now!

                            So how is it that criticising Bush for the mismanagement and misbudgeting that put us where we are now, how is that going to hurt the effort?
                            Good question, let me try one more time.

                            I am all for nailing him for his failures, as I've said before.  Go for it.  Get the jugular.  I am just saying that doing now hampers his ability to lead, and does so for a number of reasons.

                            For one, he needs all hands.  He's an idiot.  He can't do more than one thing. His political wing is the only wing.

                            Second, he is in charge of a massive appartus.  His ability to act as head of that appartus comes only from a position of apparent power.  If he is apparently weakened he cannot control the appartus.  One thing that was always great about Clinton was the he always appeared to be in control.  He was smooth and collected.  Bush can't the stress of the vicious criticism he deserves.  Clinton could.  He could recognize mistakes, learn, change tactics as needed, and go forward stronger than before.  That makes Bush the worst president in history.  

                            Finally, most people on dkos can understand the "two disasters" theory, but already the talk is that the democrats are saying that the "hurrican is Bush's fault".  That's how it's going to sound at this point.  Obviously this is not the argument, but that's how it sounds.  And that perception is damamging to people who are now homelesses, jobless, and hungry.  

                            November rolls around, pound the shit of the idiot.  Get in gear and let it rip for 12 straight months.  Take out ads, do letters to the editors, etc.  

                            But for now - although it's to late the damage on this issue is done - it would be better just to wait.  His fuckup isn't going away.  It's not going to be done with.  NO isn't going to be better in a few days.  It's just going to get worse.

                          •  You seem to be heavy on the symbolism. (none)
                            "The whole two-disaster concept relies on the fact that the second disaster is bushes fault for poor leadership.  You can't go back on that now!"

                            What? He cut funding. He chose incompetent hirelings to gut FEMA etc. He sent the experienced disaster-relief guys to iraq. And now you want him to do some mystical "leadership" that's supposed to make a difference?

                            "If he is apparently weakened he cannot control the appartus."

                            Ah.... Do you think the massive apparatus of disaster relief will work better with Bush leading it than it would on auto-pilot? Have you seen something that gives you that idea?

                            "His political wing is the only wing."

                            Yes, you understand that. There's no way to keep it from being political with him. So your advice makes no sense whatsoever.

                            "... already the talk is that the democrats are saying that the "hurrican is Bush's fault".  That's how it's going to sound at this point."

                            Of course. That's republican spin control. Do you think if we just politely give them a few months head start that they'll be polite back? You think they won't use their headstart to the ultimate? Give them time, and if you say anything about the hurricane that isn't praising Bush even normal people will tend to hear you saying the hurricane was Bush's fault. These guys are good that way. They aren't good at anything but spin, but they're real good at that.

                            Your stand makes no sense. It's like you're going into a boxing ring, and somebody gives you the advice, "Don't hit back the first few rounds, the audience wouldn't like it. Just stand there with your arms down and let him hit you for four rounds and then in the fifth round you can hit back as hard as you like."

                          •  it;s not a game (none)
                            It's like you're going into a boxing ring, and somebody gives you the advice, "Don't hit back the first few rounds, the audience wouldn't like it. Just stand there with your arms down and let him hit you for four rounds and then in the fifth round you can hit back as hard as you like."
                            It's not a game!  It's not a contest!  It's human lives!  Real people!

                            Real people!

                            So what - bush gets a pass for 5 weeks.  SO WHAT.  So his machine goes on the offensive for a few weeks.

                            SO WHAT.

                            If it was your life, would it be worth it?  Because that's what at stake here.

                            Politics, or life.  Bush will choose Politics, because that's who he is.

                            The question is not what would Bush do, but what will WE do.

                            My opinion is that I support the President's efforts to provide relief and shelter for those in need.

                          •  That's a nonsequitur. (none)
                            Of COURSE we want Bush to approve further relief efforts. What possible justification could he have for not doing that?

                            How can he possibly justify the inaction so far?

                            "Oh, we aren't allowed to help because the governor hasn't gotten around to giving us permission."

                            Look -- when the tsumani hit, Bush made a token donation. And after he got a lot of criticism, he scrounged up some more aid.

                            Do you think he'll do less if he gets criticised this time, or more?
                            Look -- people's lives are at stake. And the only thing that can get Bush to give the federal government permission to help is massive criticism.

                            And you want to play nice-nice until after the crisis is over because you don't want to accept a political advantage. It's people like you who're responsible for Bush being president in the first place.

                          •  and it's (none)
                            It's people like you who're responsible for Bush being president in the first place.
                            It's people like yourself who have caused the DNC to shed voters that would have always gone traditionally the democrat candidate.  

                            It's absurd.  It's shooting yourself in the foot.  Bush is falling on his face, and the only thing slowing him down is people like yourself shouting about impeachment.  

                            It's a crisis and all you can talk about is politics.  

                          •  You're almost there (none)
                            So, tell me, why would otherwise-sensible voters listen to the Swiftboaters and it gets them to vote for Bush, but they listen to me and it gets them to vote for Bush?

                            What are the scummy republicans doing right that I'm doing wrong?

                          •  You're almost there (none)
                            So, tell me, why would otherwise-sensible voters listen to the Swiftboaters and it gets them to vote for Bush, but they listen to me and it gets them to vote for Bush?

                            What are the scummy republicans doing right that I'm doing wrong?

                          •  what? (none)
                            What are the scummy republicans doing right that I'm doing wrong?
                            It's mostly just demographics.  The democrat base has been shrinking unionized households have dropped, blacks a % of the population has dropped, self-identified catholics have dropped, etc.  
                          •  So why does it hurt you and doesn't hurt them? (none)
                            They politicise everything, and lie about it.

                            I want to point out political implications on this one thing while it's still news, and you say it will hurt democrats.

                            Do you have an argument why it would hurt democrats?

                          •  yes absolutely (none)
                            Do you have an argument why it would hurt democrats?
                            Many people around assume that because Bush's numbers are falling Democrats numbers are rising.

                            This is not automatically true.  Sometimes it is, but often, well, very often, it is not.  

                            This disaster is obviously worsened by Bush; and time will show that.  Going on TV and bitching about what a loser Bush only causes people to be defensive about the man.  Every democrat worth his/her salt in the country hate GWB already; the point is that the Republicans have to start to hate him as well to make any progress whatsoever, in anyway.

                          •  I still don't get it. (none)
                            It sounds like you're saying if we actually point out what Bush has done wrong, it will make "people" be "defensive".

                            But if we don't point out the problems, people will eventually notice the problems for themselves.

                            Why would you expect people would notice Bush's idiocy quicker with nobody replying to the spinmasters?

                            When somebody starts a chain letter and a lot of idiots think they can each make hundreds of thousands of dollars from it, do you think the'd figure it out quicker if nobody told them?

                            Would people understand about Scientology quicker if nobody exposed it?

                          •  reponse (none)
                            It sounds like you're saying if we actually point out what Bush has done wrong, it will make "people" be "defensive".
                            Yes.

                            But if we don't point out the problems, people will eventually notice the problems for themselves.
                            Yes.

                            Why would you expect people would notice Bush's idiocy quicker with nobody replying to the spinmasters?
                            Why quicker?  Because when partisan hacks start yammering people shutdown.  The same cast of clowns protest everything Bush does, at all times, regardless of merit.  When these people are yammering people shutdown and become dogmatic.

                            It's already happened.  It's too lote, this conversation is already over.  People choose your approach, and now, as predicted, people have shutdown.  Most people do not associate this disaster with Bush.  

                            Partisnship is infectious.  Once the same old cast of clowns starts yelping it's over - the battle is lost.

                          •  Partisanship doesn't have to be infectious. (none)
                            "Partisnship is infectious.  Once the same old cast of clowns starts yelping it's over - the battle is lost."

                            Suppose you're right. And suppose by some wondrous chance everybody on your side understood and agreed and stayed quiet while people listened to the propaganda and figured it out for themselves.

                            If you're right, all the propagandists have to do is play both sides themselves. Some of them can pose as Bush supporters and others can pose as stupid Bush opponents, and that's enough to get regular people to shut down and ignore all the problems.

                            So your solution was never a workable solution.

                            Any other ideas? We need something that can work even when fanatics are yammering on two sides.

                          •  no (none)
                            If you're right, all the propagandists have to do is play both sides themselves. Some of them can pose as Bush supporters and others can pose as stupid Bush opponents, and that's enough to get regular people to shut down and ignore all the problems.
                            Except that if the liberal/progressive voices shut down, and let bush pretend to be a leader, and hey, even get a bounce for some short period of time, Bush wont want to stick his puppets all over the place yammering.

                            It was workable, it happened after 9/11 to great effect.

                            Bush was an idiot to failed to prevent 9/11.  Fool.  Moron.  Yet criticism was bit for a few weeks, and it was for the greater good of the country.

                          •  You cllaim that what happened after 9/11 was good? (none)
                            What would have been worse?
                          •  it was! (none)
                            it was better than Katrina!

                            worse would have been nothing.

  •  thanks I agree that now is not the time to play (none)
    politics with this...Their are many people in many places in a few states that have answers to come up with for the future. The democratic party should be using this to show what peoples tax dollars pay for. Highlight the value of government and the need for reform...

    Reforum Dems.....

    As to the war just remember that many people do not still at this late time even think about the war... I am still in holding mode. criticize in individual races but not as a national democratic party message. It might be time in the next few months but for the time being wait and see is safer... (I mean we can still hope for a good outcome.) The problem is the spin of pullout, or wishing for failure for political reasons... something to be used against dems... So lets try and not be to hard on them ...

    DA...

    Lots of people see the world in Black and White. It is mostly just shades of grey.

    by Davinci on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:36:55 PM PDT

  •  Saving Face (none)
    It's clear at this point that Bush administration doesn't feel politically like it can leave Iraq even if it wants to.  Just like after refusing to meet Cindy Sheehan right away in Crawford, Bush could never meet her later.

    Does Katrina give Bush the opportunity to leave Iraq now?  He can claim (rightly) that he needs the manpower, money and equipment to fight a national disaster.  He can ask for assistance from the international community without admitting he was wrong about Iraq.

    I know I'm giving him too much credit.  My feeling is that the neocons want to stay there forever -- that that was the point.  Do you think there's any chance Bush can or will withdraw?  Is this a pipe dream?

    •  it could be (none)
      It could well be.  Bush can declare victory in Iraq, leave the heavil fortified bases, and bring most of the guard and non-regular forces home.  
    •  Do you really think Bush (none)
      could pry Cheney's cold dead fingers from Iraq?
    •  Why would he withdraw the troops now? (4.00)
      They needed to be in their home bases 5 days ago not 5 weeks or 5 months from now.

      The rebuilding effort will draw carpetbaggers, scalawags and Halliburton to the feeding trough.

      This administration is like the reckless youngster who is admonished to not drive fast, not drive drunk, check the oil in the car --be responsible and trustworthy.  Well, we know shrub drove too fast into the war, is drunk on power, and never checks the adequate level of fluid for our economy.  

      Responsibility for building those levees was crucial to the lives, health, and economy of millions in the New Orleans area.  The consequences will also spread up the Mississippi and out to the rest of the country.  Symbiotic relationships.  That touchy-feely lib word there.

      Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

      by bronte17 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:22:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not saying it would help (none)
        But Bush is know for doing things for the wrong reasons... I guess I'm just hoping that this time he'll do the right thing (bring the troops home) for the wrong reason (political expediency).

        Your "youngster" metaphor is perfect, by the way.

  •  I believe it IS a time for politics (4.00)
    as I wrote on another thread, the turds were blaming Clinton for 9/11, THE DAY IT HAPPENED. This admin has very real culpability and it needs to get publicized.
    •  Definitely agree (none)
      That is why I wrote this diary re:  BBC report stating that the monthly costs of the war in Iraq are higher than Vietnam!  (Costs adjsuted for inflation)

      "I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in." George Mc Govern.

      by Street Kid on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Greed kills - accountability's a nonpartisan issue (4.00)
      Forget pre-emptive hatemongering: it's not politicking or partisan nitpicking to demand answers from ANY sitting government.

      This administration's incompetence, corruption and greed are killing people at an appalling rate. If people demand answers when a story is fresh, they dodge accountability by calling it partisan politics. When things cool down, they dodge accountability by saying it's "old news".

      Jesus. Who cares what some sqwawking points hatemonger spews to his/her shriveling audience.

      When death and suffering are preventable, it's a crime NOT TO ask hard questions. Anyone who backs away from engaging the worst administration in history cause some hatebot might call them a name should be ashamed of themselves.

    •  It's definitely time (none)
      With Bush's poll numbers where they are, and the MSM waking up and fumbling toward journalism, it should be relatively safe for even our brave Dem leaders to start jumping in the pool.

      The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

      by Alien Abductee on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 12:08:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Don't Need to Fear Emboldening an Enemy (4.00)
    It's not an enemy attack he's bungling here, it's one of the much more frequently-needed core missions of government.

    The President is fair game.

    He's screwed up everything and millions of people are paying the price. They need real leaders to stand up and point to the man and the movement that fattened themselves by exposing us to the thoroughly predicted wrath of nature.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:40:18 PM PDT

  •  I don't know... (4.00)
    I think Bush used up his "accountability-free moment" sometime on September 11 2001.


    Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by Abou Ben Adhem on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:41:27 PM PDT

  •  Not to hijack your diary, Armando but... (4.00)
    I'm going to be off the boards for the forseeable future.  All expenses paid trip to the Big Easy.  I always wanted to go there, but I wasn't desperate.

    Keep donating what you can to the Red Cross and other organizations.  Don't worry about me, I'll be doing a traditional Guard mission, and that's a good thing.

    I don't know where exactly we're going, and I doubt there will be much in the way of phones or internet available, so I won't be checking in for a while.

    Take it easy, and keep up the good fight.

    I'll catch you all on the flipside.

    Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

    by soonergrunt on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:41:36 PM PDT

    •  called up? (none)
      You must be Guard or Reserve.  I thought you were AD.  Not that it matters these days...

      But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

      by calipygian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:44:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Take care (none)
      and thanks from all of us.

      Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

      by hazzcon on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:44:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, take care (none)
      and thank you for whatever it is you will do.  God knows everybody there needs all the help they can get.  Be safe.

      We Need REGIME CHANGE

    •  Ideas (none)
      If you go there, here are some ideas. I don't know if any of them are practical, but I was just trying to think of what I would try to do if I could go to New Orleans and help with the relief effort. I made a donation to the relief effort today, but I don't know of any good place to go to offer ideas.

      • Use planes to drop food, water, simple clothes, shoes and baby supplies in rafts all over the city, so that people no longer have a desperate reason to loot.

      • Call up companies that sell solar battery chargers and solar-powered radios and beg them to send you as many of these things as possible for free. Or call up your local chamber of commerce and ask it to help you pay for the solar-powered chargers and radios. Then put as many as you can in your backpack, and ask any friends going later to do the same, and give these out to as many people as you can. Even if there's one working radio per 30 people, that's probably a huge improvement over the current situation, and the solar-powered radios and battery chargers probably will be almost as helpful once people are evacuated or housed in tent cities near New Orleans as they would be today.

      • Is there a place that stores airplane life rafts that are somehow obsolete? If so, why not send a bunch of them to New Orleans?
    •  Mister, you're a better (person) than I... (none)
      (extra brownie points to the people who got the Yardbirds reference)

      Seriously, Soonergrunt. You are a better person than I because you are on the way to serve your fellow Americans in a real, genuine way.

      You're definitely my hero. It's good to hear that the National Guard are being called up for what they were designed to do.

      Goddess bless you, and Goddess bless all the men and women on their way to NOLA.

      Spread the memes: USA is a Failed State. We have no President.

      by MamasGun on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:13:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Every Dem has their own line in the sand (4.00)
    Where they let the bastards off the hook.

    It's sad to see, but there it is.

    Politicize this now.  The President did a terrible job of trying to save face and he can be hammered and he should.

    Where the hell is Rove.  He hasn't been fired, but he's been fucking up for a month.  I wonder if he's been knocked down a notch and isn't running things.

    The wheels are off.  Hit hard.  The dead in New Orleans and Iraq and worldwide will not have hurt feelings by our taking the opportunity.

    ---- Take a pill or talk?----

    by apotropaic on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:44:06 PM PDT

  •  New Orleans Pays the Death Tax (4.00)
    Now should not be the time, as Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly has noted, for the politics of blame.  In the wake of Katrina's devastation along the Gulf Coast, Americans should be united in providing relief, resources and support to all in need.

    But sadly, that massive relief effort will take place during a time of divisive and fundamental debate about the very meaning of national unity in the United States.  As New Orleans struggles for survival, the President and his amen corner are waging a full scale assault on the Estate Tax, what they derisively (and effectively )term the "Death Tax." They will continue to pursue this massive transfer of the U.S. treasury to America's wealthiest, even as a mountain of evidence shows that successive Bush budget cuts devastated New Orleans' disaster preparedness and levee maintenance...

    For the full story, see:

    "New Orleans Pays the Death Tax."

    •  But that's what we did after 9/11. (none)
      We didn't want to hold Bush accountable because we had to be perfect little angels and not play the politics of blame after 9/11. But the problem is, Bush exploited 9/11 for his own political gain. Right after it happened, he was already thinking of ways to frame Iraq for it.

      And right when we needed the Democratic Party to provide a voice of reason opposing the Bush administration, they backed off for fear of being called unpatriotic.

    •  Unite. (none)
      "Now should not be the time, as Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly has noted, for the politics of blame.  In the wake of Katrina's devastation along the Gulf Coast, Americans should be united in providing relief, resources and support to all in need."

      We need to unite in providing relief to make up for Bush's utter failure.

      If Bush says he doesn't need our help because he isn't an utter failure, that's on his head.

  •  The bigger question... (none)
    ...is when does all this mess help Americans to agree en masse that, whatever sense of false security 25 years of relative prosperity half of us have enjoyed, the price to be paid for Republican errors of the the past three decades will ruin the lives of those those that live long enough see it. America is much more fucked up now than it was in the 60s and 70s. Ipso facto.

    Do the disasters that 25, 30, 35 years of Republican madness have given bring a new majority together, really together on environmental, economic, and global cultural issues that truly threaten us, now and in the future? The first Democrat with the guts to speak out on this, forcefully, without apology, does more than give voice to what the other half of America believes, she begins to end it now. Gore did this on a monthly basis during 2003. No other presidential contender, save Dean, has done it since then. Why don't any of the others step up?

  •  Winning (none)
    Also a high percentage of Americans believe we can't lose a war. This also skews their responses because they are so conditioned to believe that we are invincible
  •  The narrative will be written now (4.00)
    Armando, do I really need to paint a picture for you?  This all happened already just four years ago!

    He'll have his staged moment and every Republican will rush to the cameras claiming that we should rally around the president.  This will give the White House and Republican Party the necessary leverage to oppose popular measures by Democratic Congressmen to temporarily raise taxes on the country's richest to pay for the reconstruction of this treasure of American culture.

    The blogosphere must cede no ground in its criticism of the president, and it should begin now!  Let the politicians do all the posturing, that's what they do.  Our job is to highlight the criminal failures of this administration and to channel our outrage into action.  We must shame the politicians - Democratic and Republican into asking the tough questions that lead to substantial responses and measures.

    I've been glued to the TV/radio all day and everyone is asking why.  Everyone affected - black and white in rural and urban areas are asking where the hell is Uncle Sam.  The news media is begging for a big bat like Al Naomi to come out of the destruction to level a Richard Clarke-like criticism of the lack of planning of this foreseeable catastrophe.  They're begging for a Washingtonian like the former FEMA director to come out and criticize the president's gutting of the agency.  None other than the Manchester Union-Leader used their editorial page to call the president aloof.  We cannot allow this opportunity to pass.

    Don't let 9-11 happen again.  Most people didn't learn about "My Pet Goat" or the August 6th PDB for 3 years.  Most people still don't know that NYC never got the $20 billion they were promised.  This isn't 9-11.  Its economic and humanitarian impact is far more widespread.  We can't wait to rebuild.  Our economy can't afford it.  And it's clear from the president's action he just ain't in no real hurry.

    And let me tell you something.  If you think a few hundred thousand displaced African-American refugees are going to hold their tongue about the lack of preparedness to rally around this president you don't know the New Orleans African-American community.  I think part of the reason he looked at the damage from 20,000 feet above the ground is because he would have for the first time in his failed presidency been confronted by people not in awe of his phony presidency and not afraid of calling him out for his negligence.  You might think that we should and can wait a few weeks before calling the bastard out, but they sure as hell won't.  Just watch the interviews.

    It's going to take him until Friday or Saturday to round up enough people in the Big Easy for another staged photo-op.

    DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

    by DWCG on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:58:54 PM PDT

    •  I frequently agree with Armando, (none)
      but not this time, and thank you DWCG for so eloquently stating the reasons why this criminal administration must not begiven a reprieve on its moment of accountability.

      --Anne ** ** ** ** ** ** "Hyena crawls on his belly out. The town is safe again tonight." --jms

      by asskicking annie on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:14:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (none)
      Everyone who comes out of there has the same thing to say:

      We need help. Why isn't anyone here? Where is the help? It has been days and nobody has come to our aid - what is happening?

      And that is for exactly one reason - a failure of leadership at every level of government from the top down. There is no excuse for not having had a plan in motion because we KNEW THIS WAS COMING. We had DAYS to prepare people for what was going to happen - this storm sat motionless in the gulf for several days while it gained strength - and the people who should have been marshalling resources beforehand in order to respond as quickly as possible did nothing.

      A total failure of leadership.

    •  Spot on (4.00)
      The deaths and the lack of resources that could have greatly mitigated the damage and saved fucking human lives made it political before the damn storm hit.

      This "now is not he time for politics" is bullshit frankly. and the Dems have bought it hook line and sinker.

      People are fucking dying because of the political machinations of this administration and the GOP controlled Congress.

      End of fucking story.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:32:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree (4.00)
    We should not the government off the hook for a minute. First, it is urgent right now to be screaming about the delays in basic aid and rescue for the people still trapped in NO and the coast.

    Second, we must begin in the days and weeks to come to draw the connections between the breakdown in emergency preparedness and the drain of resources to Iraq. At stake are fundamental questions of how we envision our society, indeed whether we are to have a functioning society, capable of providing basic protection in times of emergency.

    I will grant you that now is not the time for partisan hatred (except perhaps for raging at Bush for his utter incmpetence and for eating cake while NO drowned). The idea that this is 'not a time for politics,' however, is disingenuous. Natural disasaters are always political events; as many posters have argued, politics determines what sort of public response there will be and what sort of life and death effects will ensue.

  •  The prez is fair game (4.00)
    he hasn't earned the respect to be given a free ride in the face of such a disaster.  Certainly we all need to do whatever we can do for all those people around the Gulf Coast and contribute to the sense of unity and repair for that area.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't or can't try to pin some of the blame where it belongs - Bushco.  They intentionally took money away from work that perhaps could have prevented some of this disaster.  And to add to that, they sent the National Guard over to Iraq and now they are not there to help.  And as others have pointed out in the numberous diaries, where is our fucking military?  Why haven't they descended on that area like flies to honey?  No, I'm not willing to not make this political.  It's time to start putting the blame for everything that's wrong with this country where it belongs - BushCo.

    I'm done ranting.

    We Need REGIME CHANGE

  •  a minor, but extremely cogent point (4.00)
    ...Democrats have no say over Iraq policy. Democratic alternatives for Iraq are simply political statements...

    REPEAT:  Dems have no power!  I hear these pundits continually saying, "Well, would the Dems really be doing anything differently?"  And then I read about Paul Hackett's ideas and Wesley Clark's ideas and they sound logical and do-able.  But do these statments really matter?  A fraction of the US population is even exposed to these ideas and the ones who do read them forget them in two days because, guess what?  DEMS HAVE NO POWER!!!!  Our side can throw out suggestion after suggestion after suggestion, but do you really think that any of these ideas will be used?  I certainly don't...  

    We need to emulate the Republicans and just keep hammering away without throwing any alternatives out there like they did with the bombing of Milosevic.  Hammer and hammer and hammer away some more.  Analysis and suggestions will get us nowhere, because WE HAVE NO/NADA/ZERO/ZILCH POWER.  Calling a grub a fucking grub is what we need to do to get the power necessary to try and salvage something from this fucking mess.

  •  I really disagree, but how can we know? (4.00)
    Armando, I don't think Bush should get even one minute of respite. As someone else pointed out, the Republicans never gave Clinton even ten seconds rest between sucker punches.

    Right now we're in the odd situation of having no criteria with which to decide such quandaries. Should we give W a free political pass just for the sake of politics?

    How is anyone supposed to know the answer to that question?

    When in doubt, I say, tell the truth. And the truth is that Bush cut the funds for the levee repairs for the sake of his botched war, he sent the National Guard to Iraq for the same reason, he cut funding for "first responders," he downgraded FEMA, he studiously ignored global warming, and he put in place policies which encouraged people to consume more, not less, gasoline.

    I say we should be spending half our time raising money for the victims of this hurricane, and the other half to stridently but accurately explaining how the President could have prevented this disaster entirely, and exactly how he failed to do so.

  •  The USA's Energy Price Levee has Breached (none)

    With the Gulf oil pumping and refining capacity off-line, US Prices will continue to rise until they reach equilibrium with world price levels.

    In political terms, this is the most toxic aspect of the slowly unfolding catastrophe. Outside NYC, pump price has gone up thirty cents a gallon in one week, and more and more stations say "no regular, only super." Super starts at 3.09.

    For Democrats, there is a real political danger here. There will be a natural tendency (because it resonates with people who have to fill the gas tanks of their cars and the oil tanks for their furnaces) to connect the suffering in New Orleans with everyone else's suffering at the fuel pump.

    But the truth is that NEITHER party can do much about energy prices given tight supplies and rising global demand, so an unrealizable expectation will be created.

    But saying nothing leaves the problem in Bush's hands. And his approval rating levee had already breached before this. So it is best to work the other issues, watch the water continue to rise around him, and maintain an armed guard to prevent his boys from any more looting in this period of chaos.

  •  You're giving the left way too much credit (4.00)
    You speak as if the left can even be heard in this country.

    If every Democratic politician in the country went on the warpath against Bush, attempting to politicize the hurricane - collectively, they wouldn't get 5 minutes on any of the current cable news networks.

    Anyways, you're too late -- the right has already decided that the left is exploiting the Hurricane:

    http://www.techcentralstation.com/083105JKG.html

    •  They are being heard. (none)
      The media was covering Cindy Sheehan like crazy before the hurricane swamped New Orleans. And Senators Feingold and Wyden have each presented excellent level-headed cases for withdrawal from Iraq each of the last two Sundays.

      There was a long time when we weren't heard, but things are getting better these last few months.

    •  Katrina is the perfect storm. (none)
      It stands for almost everything that is wrong with the GOP
      and Bush administration. Some fingers can and should be pointed at the GOP.
       And frankly this is one of the few times that the GOP does not have control of the media.
      It is a time to tell the truth.
  •  You assume a lack of original thinking (4.00)
    Suppose the Dems say, We need to get rid of the tax break for gas guzzling SUVs? That is the truth.

    Suppose they say, Bush has encouraged massive consumption of gasoline, while we desparately need to cut down our usage. That is the truth.

    Suppose they say, Bush has ignored global warming. This hurricane, which intensified because the Gulf of Mexico was at least 2 degrees warmer than usual, makes clear just how dangerous global warming is. That is the truth.

    I think cowering under a rock is the last thing Democrats should be doing right now. Don't make stupid, false claims ("I will lower energy prices"). But continue to tell the truth, as loudly as possible.

    If the Right Wing Slug Squad comes out in force to critique some comment, let them come. Then criticize them strongly, from strength, with the TRUTH. Because one of these days we have to get back to it.

  •  Katrina is a Natural Disaster (4.00)
    New Orleans is a Bush/government disaster - it didn't have to happen....
  •  Keeping Our Political Powder Dry (3.00)
    I'm all for holding off on the political blame game for now.  Dems. need to show we can work with Repubs for the common good in the face of a true tragedy.  I also agree that any attempt to inject politics into this mess right now will only backfire on the party that trys it.

    However, I'm waiting for the Repubs. to say something like, "In times like these we must come together and unit behind our Commander and Chief."  And Bush do some sort of grand stand act like the 911 NYC megaphone deal, or the surprise Turkey Day appearence in Iraq, to try to make some political capital out of this tragedy.  I bet Rove is working on something right now.  He can't resist using this in some way to elevate Bush and get his poll ratings out of the flooded basement.

    Granted we should let them be the ones to be the first to try to interject politics into this human tragedy, but we better be ready to fight back after they do.  We need to fight back to make sure all Americans know that the failure to properly maintain the levees and failure in the aftermath to provide for victims needs and maintain order is at least partly due to the money and manpower which Bush and the Repubs have diverted to to Iraq.

    We can't let these guys try to paint themselves as  the New Orleans Saints when they were the ones who contributed to selling the city down river.

    •  But that's what we did after 9/11. (4.00)
      It didn't work.
    •  Sorry but the GOP rightly earned the wrath (4.00)
      and the pinning of the deaths and destruction their policy has not allowed to occur, but actually caused as well.

      We as a nation and party bent over backwards to rally around this administration after 9/11, and we have both as a nation and as a part been fucked in the ass (and not in the nice way either) repeatedly.

      This administration has the deaths of thousands on it hands, and their fucking the nation and the Dems when we sincerely tried to work with the GOP after 9/11 is a very real reason we are seeing the death and destruction in New Orleans right now.

      Help do what needs to be done to alleviate and mitigate the disaster?

      You bet.

      Let them pull any shit and try to escape the blame for this fucking disaster?

      No fucking way

      These freaks in power caused the deaths in New Orleans, and exacerbated the cost and destruction. I will say it loud as I can right fucking now and every day moving forward. We can walk and chew gum (do what we can to actually help the victims of this administration while we rightly lay blame where it belongs).

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:42:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  New Orleans 'aints (none)
      Rove is already trying to tell this story.

      WE MUST TOO.

      Screw proprietry, they're against the wall on this failure, and the best help we could offer is better future leadership.

      yes, i've given. (meta-sad that I feel I have to disclose that)

      Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

      by mdhatter on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 09:59:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush to appoint cabinet level relief head (none)
    The obvious choice is former Sen. John Breaux - a well-like Democrat from Louisiana who is beloved by the GOP business class. But Breaux is a pharmaceutical lobbyist already sitting on the President's tax reform committee. Will he drop those things?

    Let's see who Bush picks. Bush (and Breaux) will need to come through.

    I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. - Major Paul Hackett

    by joejoejoe on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:24:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm in the "define the narrative now (4.00)
    before they do" camp.  I just sent off an LTE:

    An aspect of the disaster in New Orleans that I have not seen sufficiently stressed in news coverage is the crucial role of government negligence in disaster preparedness.  This tragedy has been foretold many times, and the city had a plan, the federally funded Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, to deal with the problem, starting in 1995.  The city's main paper, the Times Picayune, has documented many times the sharp cuts over the last three years in federal funding for this essential program due to fiscal pressures of the Iraq war. This year, funding for the strengthening of defenses against Lake Pontchartrain were cut from $5.7 million to $2.9 million -- despite an increase in hurricane activity in the region. Work on shoring up defenses came to a standstill, including a project to strengthen the levee on the 17 th street canal.  This was fateful, as that is the levee whose failure has now destroyed the city.

    This is a quintessential example of a policy that is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Three million dollars were cut from the budget, and the subsequent levee failure has caused anywhere from $25 to $100 billion in damage. Inevitably, a large portion of that will be shouldered by US taxpayers.

    Many are already calling the fetid pond that has swallowed this beloved city 'Lake Dubya.' There is a reason for that -- and ample reason for anger at what our government allowed to happen.

    If Bush were President when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he would have invaded Mexico.-- Cervantes

    by jem6x on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:34:54 PM PDT

  •  When Bill Clinton was in (none)
    And the Murrah Building was bombed, Clinton's poll numbers went up.  Some say it saved his presidency.  I was here in OKC and I appreciated his actions.

    Wonder, just wonder, what will Bush's "Actions" on Katrina do for his poll ratings??????

    "How low can you go?"

    Of course, the yakking mouthy rightwing idiots are saying that the Democrats are trying to politicize this disaster.  I admit, this is not the time to blame, not the time to look for accountability, but in Bush's case ... is it EVER the time for accountability???

  •  The government failed to do its job. (4.00)
    And the common people must hold it accountable.  Moments of crisis are not an exception to that.

    It is not partisan to take public officials to task for failing to do their jobs, and I don't think the public will see it that way.  There's already a lot of anger out there.

    If Bush were President when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he would have invaded Mexico.-- Cervantes

    by jem6x on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:44:58 PM PDT

  •  Iraq war costs more per month than Vietnam (none)
    August 31st, 2005 1:58 pm
    Iraq war costs more per month than Vietnam - report

    By Alan Elsner / Reuters

    The U.S. war in Iraq now costs more per month than the average monthly cost of military operations in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a report issued on Wednesday.

    The report, entitled "The Iraq Quagmire" from the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, both liberal, anti-war organizations, put the cost of current operations in Iraq at $5.6 billion per month. This breaks down to almost $186 million a day.

    "By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation," it said.

    As a proportion of gross domestic product, the Vietnam War was more significant, costing 12 percent of annual GDP, compared to 2 percent for the Iraq War. However, economists said the Iraq war is being financed with deficit spending and may nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next 10 years.

    The U.S. Congress has approved four spending bills for Iraq so far with funds totaling $204.4 billion and is expected soon to authorize a further $45.3 billion.

    "Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the past 60 years," wrote authors Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver.

    As public support for the war drops, more politicians, including some Republicans, have begun to compare it to Vietnam.

    The latest was Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam. He said earlier this month that the United States was "locked into a bogged-down problem, not dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."

    The total cost of the Vietnam War in current dollars was around $600 billion and there are some experts who believe the Iraq War will eventually surpass that total.

    For instance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this year that if the United States managed to reduce its troop deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan to 50,000 by 2010, the cost over the next decade would be an additional $393 billion, which when added to the dollars already spent would exceed the Vietnam total.

    While there are far fewer troops in Iraq than there were in Vietnam at the height of that conflict, the weapons they use are more expensive and they are paid more.

    The report also highlighted the human costs of the war: the deaths of an estimated 23,000-27,000 Iraqi civilians and more than 2,000 U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors; the social costs of domestic programs slashed to meet the budget shortfall; the loss of income to reservists and National Guard troops who spend long periods away from their careers and businesses as well as the anticipated costs of treating returning troops for mental health conditions as a result of their service.

  •  Friends... (3.80)
    As a somewhat objective (and certainly non-partisan, though a committed liberal (meaning pro-individual rights, pro-personal accountability, pro-privacy, but not pro-pedophilia, nor pro-corruption and degradation, nor pro-fiscal irresponsibility (these seem naturally to be the province of the "conservatives" at the moment anyway--why does the press associate them with liberalism?))) observer of American politics it astonishes me at this point that there is any doubt about what the winning electoral issue ought to be.

    Catastrophic leadership failure at all levels beginning with the President and Vice-President. Sanctioned incompetence and arrogance. Corruption in the name of electoral success. Indifference to the plight of the country, the citizens, the world.

    It may be "politically unwise" to state the truth now, but it ought to be abundantly clear what it says about the character of a man that he can jovially strum a guitar for the cameras while his citizens, who he swore to defend and protect, are dying in thousands in the worst calamity to hit the nation in a century. The facts actually being much worse than the perception (as diaried elsewhere to great effect) simply underscores that the current misery (not to mention the misery of those in Iraq, of those who lost loved ones in Iraq, of those still looking for work after more than 3 years of "economic recovery", etc.) and the future misery, brought about by this administration's absolute venality, incompetence, indifference and contempt for those with whom they differ, would be powerful political weapons for any party actually interested in righting all these wrongs.

    Sad to say, the problem is not with Bush but ourselves. As long as there is still more willingness for the Bidens and Liebermans et al to attack Howard Dean for speaking an uncomfortable truth, rather than attacking the President for lying to them, misleading them, abdicating his responsibility, rank incompetence and worse, what is likely to change?

    But can there really be any other issue than the worst President in history destroying much of the country, it's history and it's future?

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:52:31 PM PDT

  •  I Finally Heard It On MSM (4.00)
    Aaron Brown (CNN) was interviewing a local in Jefferson Parish.  Don't know who this person was but he was well spoken and seemed to be very aware of what was going on around him as he sat holed up in his apt. afraid to leave.  He said it was utter kaos on the outside with shooting and looting going on everywhere.  He said the National Guard had arrived quickly, but only with humanitarian aid, they had no guns.  He said we need Guardsmen with guns to restore order and there no where around.  Then he said on MSM what we have all been waiting for someone to say.  He said all the Guardsment with guns are over in Iraq instead of here where we need them right now.  Aaron was speechless.  Then he said that he thought that would likely be a subject of future debate.  I certainly hope so!
  •  Armando, you are right...and wrong... (none)
    Armando,
    You are right.  This is a time for COMMUNITY.  That is something we liberals (yes, I'm not afraid to be called a liberal as opposed to progressive or any other post-1994 watered-down term) strongly believe in.  This nation must unite in these moments.  It is embarrasing though that you say that we must unite for political reasons as well as moral ones.  I guess you are being honest--, but if we really believe in community we will rally around our leaders (even the ones some of us loathe the rest of the time).

    Of course I am not surprized in these polarized times that there are those who will immediately find fault; his is a byproduct of their hate.  I guess you are right in that it makes liberals look bad.  I just wish that we didn't have the "bad" element in us at all.  

    I will never forget listening to Rush Limbaugh's show in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. It was outrageous.  People were ready to level blame on Muslims before knowing that it was a homegrown terrorist act and were ready to blame Pres. Clinton for not reacting militarily and the smoke hadn't even cleared!!  Some of our left-winging hate-mongers seem to react the same way.  They can not view any event--even a natural disaster--unless it is through the prism of tearing down President Bush.  Personally, inspite of being a political junkie, I had not thought of politics in all this time until I visited this blog. I am surprized to see some of the comments on this blog and others.  Folks, this is NOT a political issue.  And while I am loathe to say it--Armando is right--WE MAKE IT ONE AT OUR OWN PERIL [that last dig is for those whom the scruples argument holds no weight].

    565
    "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and doing good is my religion."

    PS...global warming is a SUPER long-term problem.  Had Democratic Congresses and Presidents been in exclusive power the last 50 years and Kyoto ratified (which I strongly supported), this Hurricane would have still happened.

    •  global warming (none)
      Had Democratic Congresses and Presidents been in exclusive power the last 50 years and Kyoto ratified... the sea surface temperature would not have been so high throghout the Caribbean, and Katrina would not have been enforced so enormously after crossing Florida .
  •  Typo Correction (none)
    "this is a byproduct of their hate" NOT "his is a..."
  •  Excellent Post (none)
    I agree entirely.  The one saving grace of the Democrats not being in power now is that the ultimate failure in Iraq and everything in its wake will be laid squarely at the feet of the bush-cheney-rumsfeld-rice-feith-perle-wolfowitz-etc administration.  The Democrats can either handle the mop-up with true leadership or with sound-bite bandaids.  Only a few have showed their will to stand against the retarted behaviour of the right.

    Let's not forget that political participation begins at the most local level, on municipal and bureau councils and committees.  As we have seen in Louisiana and Mississippi today, as well as in New York on Sept 11, thinking at the local-level is of utmost importance (I only cite those two dates because they are the biggest examples of mass local confusion in recent history in the US - the LA riots didn't come anywhere close to this, I think, for ex).  If the Democratic party does not step forth with a unified strategy to right all of the wrongs that have been committed in the past 6 years alone,  I think it will be safe to say that the US lacks any leadership at all (good or bad), and that its system of governance will collapse entirely.

    •  Lay the blame, trowel it on and pile bricks on it. (none)
      "he one saving grace of the Democrats not being in power now is that the ultimate failure in Iraq and everything in its wake will be laid squarely at the feet of the bush-cheney-rumsfeld-rice-feith-perle-wolfowitz-etc administration."

      That failure will only be laid on them if democrats succeed in laying it on them.

      If democrats aren't competent enough at that, the republicans will figure out a way to lay the blame on democrats.

      It doesn't make sense, but it's true.

  •  Since Katrina hit... (none)
    Rummy's been trying to figure out how to pin it on Iran so they can justify bombing them.

    You know, there are no good targets in New Orleans.</snark>

  •  Expect blame to fall on Mayor, excusing Bushco (none)
    Whats the highest rank of those in trouble for Abu Ghraib?

    Likewise expect blame to be diverted to mayor of New Orleans. And he does have some questions to answer. Why did he wait so long to make evacuation mandatory? Did he really consult his lawyer first? Why did he not use school buses?

    SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

    by mollyd on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 04:02:41 AM PDT

  •  Our Greatest Disaster (4.00)
    I believe that George Bush is the greatest disaster this country has suffered in my lifetime, and I'm not playing with words.  Gutting FEMA, cutting off funds for NO levee repair,  and sending 40% of the LA National Guard to Iraq constitute depraved indifference to human life and we're seeing the consequences this week.

    1,000 people were killed in a panic yesterday in Baghdad that George Bush created.  His elective war, and its consequences, have battered that poor country for going on 3 years.  

    These 2 events are directly related - caused by the forced imposition of a rigid ideology upon this country and (by extension) much of the rest of the world by George Bush and his cronies.

    Gas is up to $3-5 a gallon now in the United States.  Heating oil will shoot up 30% this winter.  How many people can afford that?

    He has launched a war on ordinary people, both here and in Iraq, and we have to speak out.  There's no grace period anymore.  Sorry, but this isn't about politics anymore.  This is about survival, and sanity.  We need to speak out NOW.

    •  Exhaulted Egos (none)
      I agree with this post.

      Play Politics?  It is not a game.  Get it?  It is a process, a process where by the people exercise their will, thought government or otherwise.  In New Orleans a lot of people, in desperation, are opting for otherwise.

      The Blogging Elite, while by slight degrees are better than the MSM, but their exalted view if themselves is showing.  They wait for the "right time" because they have that luxury; they are not dying in Iraq or Southern Louisiana.  

      The time is now.  First in mobilizing relief anyway they can to aid the devastated South - not by telethons or Poker Tournaments or other elitist crap like that, but by rolling up their sleeves and giving of themselves.  Time if you are in the area, money if you have it.  Concerts cost money.  Poker Tournaments cost money.  Every cent needs to go to the relief.  These Rock stars and ex-actors can afford to get a little grubby and work at the relief effort.  

      In Houston, food is being gathered and distributed to the many "refugees" here.  I prefer to call them "neighbors".  

      When I was growing up, a community took care of its own.  A house destroyed was met with rebuilding.  A death and people comforted and brought food.  

      America has lost that sense of community, and now is a time to relearn that.  The Hell with Bush.  Time will take care of his arrogance and indifference.  

      We have become a people who throw money at our problems.  It is time we throw ourselves at them.  Some one said up-thread that we needed to sacrifice.  WE do.  WE did in WWII that Bush wants to compare to Iraq.  Well Mr. Bush here is a good use of your sophistic comparison.  Use less gas, turn of the AC for a while, send food and eat a bit less yourself.  Get out of your house and join in with your community to find ways to help and to motivate the needed leaders to provide the help they need.  

      This is a crisis that is not going to be over for months.  We can't forget it in the next news cycle.  We can't let the Propaganda Machine of the Neo-cons divert us or build straw dogs to blame for their arrogance and neglect of the American People in their Quest for a New American Empire.  

      The New American Empire must be the same as the old one - the good American People working as a community to take care of their own and sometimes our international neighbors.  

      Politics is the real process of the People exerting their will.  Today that will can be exerted to give aid and support to the Gulf Coast, and to pressure our inert leaders to lead, and support our leaders who out in front on this.  Tomorrow, some tomorrow soon, we can exert our will upon those who have failed us here and abroad.

  •  Red ink chickenhawk Republicans (none)
    endanger Americans at home and abroad.

    Our oldest is a Petty Officer in the Navy. His ship is EXACTLY suited to kind of mission that is needed RIGHT NOW.

    It is available?

    No.

    Guess where?

    Oh, they're in the "Gulf" all right.

    On the wrong side of the world.

    A) I'm pissed

    B) Yes, it is political.

  •  Late to this discussion (4.00)
    but Armando, you're wrong. It is well past time to paste Bush and the rest to the wall. He and the whole Republican party with their pathetic, incompetent governance are culpable.

    No mercy, no punches pulled, metaphorical heads on stakes.

    The notion that we should speak in hushed tones in deference to discretion is lunacy. Others here have expressed this better than I could, but I agree that BushCo is fair game.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 08:19:21 AM PDT

  •  I don't care WHO is in charge... (none)
    ... if the government can't or won't help people in the face of a disaster like this, then America is BROKEN. Period.

    If Clinton, or Nixon, or FDR, or Washington, or ANY president had done what Shrub has over the past week, it would be WRONG and I'd be just as pissed off. Doing photo-ops and being on vacation while people are dying, shooting each other, looting, drowning, suffering and losing everything they ever owned including family members is EVIL. Just plain EVIL.

    Homeland security is not allowing Canada through with relief supplies as people are dying. "Nobody could have forseen the levy breaks" -- BULLSHIT. Not only were they forseen, the flooding of New Orleans was one of the top 3 potential disasters as of 2001.

    Bush is fucking EVIL. He has NO SOUL. There, I said it. Come take me away, men in black... he is a fucking EVIL SOULLESS BASTARD.

    No tinfoil hat needed. Facts is facts. And the fact is, Bush has not just failed America, he has caused the deaths of everyone in the floods, all the soldiers in Iraq, and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. That is just fucking EVIL.

    Who Would Jesus Ignore?

  •  SILENCE = DEATH (none)
    Anyone who says we should fear of "politicizing" this is a fool.  The government has failed to do its job.  People are DEAD as a result.  Thousands and thousands are dead.  New Orleans is a fucking third world nation tonight.  I don't know how to make the complete breakdown of organized government NOT a political issue.  

    The richest nation on earth responded to this  disaster like a goddam banana republic.  This failure is INEXCUSABLE.  

    If this had happened under Clinton, I'd have voted Republican in the next election.  I'm not kidding.  We're sending in the fucking army becuase law and order has totally fallen apart.  That's insane.  

    They have done NOTHING for the past 4 years.  Everyone knew a hurricane like this could come at any time in New Orleans.  Everyone knew that tens of thousands of poor people would be trapped in the city (along with thousands of fools who would freely choose not to leave).  Multiple scenarios predicted a refugee crisis of disastrous size.  

    It's been FIVE DAYS since the hurricane hit, and there is no water in New Orleans.  There are 25,000 people at the Superdome with no food, no water, nothing.  People are still trapped in their homes.  

    This isn't "gotcha" politics.  This is the REAL consequences of decisions, decisions which the president should have foreseen would have disastrous consequences.

    Decisions have consequences.  

    •  Right on!! (none)
      You are 150% right on the money. I don't care who is in office... Repub, Dem, Indie, Green... whoever allowed this to happen should have his or her head on a silver platter. Or maybe turned into Soylent Green so someone could be prevented from starving.

      Anyone willing to bet on how long before the Shrub Twins put on their work gloves and help  reconstruct NOLA?

      snort

      Yeah, I know... hahaha... Maybe we can tell them it's Mardi Gras and the booze is free. I wonder how long before they figure out why nobody's throwing beads to them?

      Okay, I'm done. I feel better... LOL 8-) Geez, sometimes ya just gotta laugh to avoid crying...

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