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It is with almost divine providence that exactly one year to the day after Rudy Giuliani stood before the nation and declared "thank God George Bush is president" we would find ourselves watching in horror as thousands of American citizens fell destitute, first to a natural disaster, then to a federal one.

It was August 30, 2004, the opening night of the Republican convention, when Mr. Giuliani gave the headline speech that would set the theme for the rest of the days to follow: George Bush is a resolute leader. George Bush will keep us safe.

But on the first anniversary of that speech, as the long feared nightmare of a flooded  New Orleans became a reality, it was clear that we are not safe.

Indeed, every night of last summer's convention, as one speaker after another belied the perils of trusting our nation's security to any lesser protector than George Bush, can be marked by it's own anniversial adducation of the contrary.

On Rudy's Tuesday, the day after New Orleans began to flood, and New Orleanians began to drown, we find George Bush flying to Coronado, Ca. to plug the leak in his Iraq war support. As Mayor Ray Nagin tells WWL radio that federal officials "don't have a clue what's going on down here", the president is photographed attempting to play a guitar.

Wednesday was Arnold's night to lay out "why America is safer with George W. Bush as president" and marks the return of the president from his vacation in Crawford, TX. New Orleans, fully flooded and descending into chaos and despair, sees little or no sign of federal intervention. Some did, however, see Air Force One fly over earlier in the day.

Thursday brings us the vitriolic Senator Zell Miller who declares George Bush "the man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family", and Vice President Cheney who informs us that the president "gets up each and every day determined to keep our great nation safe." But on this day, one year later, it has become obvious to even Bush's ardent supporters that something is severely wrong with the federal response. As it becomes clear that people who survived the hurricane are now dying from abandonment, Bush tells Diane Sawyer that no one "anticipated the levees would breach."

Friday, Sep 2.  Final night of the convention: "I am running for President with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America." Five days after the flooding of New Orleans began, National Guard troops begin arriving. The AP reports that a "mix of cheering and swearing has greeted National Guardsman pouring into New Orleans." Stranded victims continue to die waiting for rescue.

Of course, some of us knew all along that the image being projected of George Bush was just as fictitious as his National Guard service. But the fickle media, always a sucker for a good show, declared the convention a "masterpiece".

Perhaps if any good comes out of Katrina, it will be the realization by those in the media that elections are not just about the horse race. Perhaps they'll realize that those we put in positions of power, and the decisions they make, have real effects. Not just in remote, foreign lands, but right here at home. Perhaps next time they'll check that reality bears resemblance to the myth.

But the myth of the right's pre-eminence in all things security related, which was never supported by evidence anyway,  is not the only one found gasping beneath the waves of Lake Pontchartrain. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has exposed the tepid foundation of conservative thought itself: that society as a whole functions better when its participants pursue their own self interest over the interest of society. Of course, the mathematician John Nash disproved this abject fallacy decades ago for which he won a Nobel Prize. But inevitably, the forces of nature, incommensurate to human frailty, speak far more persuasively than some obscure college thesis.

This isn't the first disaster to lay bare the fundamental flaw, even inhumanity of conservatism. Just last year, in the wake of Hurricane Charley, Florida's Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist announced he would "vigorously target" those engaging in "price gouging." And he did, bringing numerous suits against vulturous businesses including Days Inn.

But isn't price gouging just the free market at work? And isn't Mr. Crist's vigorous pursuit  of gougers a blatant admission of the limits of a free market to expedite our higher, moral obligations to our fellow human beings?

Some conservatives must think so. Ideologues to the end, or just sensing the threat to their very existence, they have constructed "arguments" for why gouging is not the vile, unethical exploitation of the destitute, but actually a benefit. They argue that gouging provides the market incentive for outside providers to sweep in and take advantage of the high demand thus flooding the market and ultimately lowering prices.  So disaster consumers get needed supplies and services that they may not otherwise have had and eventually the normalization of prices from the abundance of supply.

There are too many flaws in this reasoning to address here, so I will just point out the most glaring: disaster victims don't have time for the market to work itself out, they need food, housing and medical supplies now. It's just one of the pitfalls of being a disaster victim.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people don't need to labor over such ideological fixations. They just know that charging a family who has just lost everything to a hurricane $50 for water is nothing less than monstrous. This is why the overwhelmingly Republican, Florida legislature has still not repealed the 1992 anti-gouging law. They wouldn't dare.

So this begs the larger question: If it is wrong to gouge the victims of a hurricane, why is it okay to gouge the sick and elderly? Is not over a million people with terminal cancer or AIDS a national disaster? Or is their only difference the political influence of the gougers?

The sudden onslaught of a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina evokes our humanity and compels us to respond. But  Katrina also exposed a hidden disaster which has been playing out in slow motion for many years: poverty. This disaster kills far more people than Katrina ever could. Indeed, without it, Katrina would have killed far fewer than it did.

But poverty is a hidden disaster. Hidden from television, hidden from our gated communities, stashed away in prison cells. The press has just had an epiphany,  "Where did all those poor people come from?" But they've always been there. Living out the disaster that is our two-class system. All across America, our two Americas.

And this exposes the most glaring flaw: to sustain itself, conservativism relies on the invisibility of weakest among us. The other America, always conveniently out of sight.

Katrina has proven that most people, when confronted with tragedy, will respond with compassion and humanity. They will open their homes and their hearts to those in need and even support government funded reconstruction and "socialist" price controls. Decency trumps ideology every time.

So why do we allow so many to perish every day at the hands of poverty? If the millions of Americans, destitute, sick, homeless had met their fate suddenly, in real time as have the victims of Katrina, would we not be just as appalled at the government's failure to respond? To keep them safe? Beneath all of this lies a deeper truth: George Bush's apathetic response to the people of New Orleans is merely an extension of his, and his party's apathy to the plight of millions of Americans who were already suffering.

Encapsulating that apathy perfectly was the recent statement by Barbara Bush: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

Hopefully this disaster in the Gulf will compel us to revisit what kind of America we want to live in and the role that democratic government has in shaping it. Conservativism professes that man only achieves by striving for profit. That without greed, there can be no good. But we have seen, in the story of Hurricane Katrina, a thousand contraventions to that lie. When we look in the mirror, do we really want to see the face of Barbara Bush, or do we want to see the faces of those many compassionate Americans who selflessly acted to relieve the suffering of others while expecting nothing in return?

Originally posted to TocqueDeville on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 02:16 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I made the mistake (4.00)
    of posting this during the 6 days of hell when every hour brought some new breaking news. Not a time for deep reflection. So I deleted it and am posting it now because I think this is important.
    •  Thanks for reposting Tocque (none)
      I've always liked your writing.

      - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"

      by Hoya90 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:43:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  excellent diary (none)
      one small proofreading nitpick

      "nobel" prize, not noble prize.

      Now fix that and send it off to newspapers all over the country, forthwith.

      The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

      by JLongs on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spot On! (none)
      I was on a rather rabid email chain with some libertarian acolytes when I wrote the following:

      Maybe it's not exactly racist, maybe it's not exactly classicist, maybe it's a puerile electorate with an actuary's heart driven by a rightwing ideology that is simply not suited--intellectually or ethically-- to handling indispensable government services. But why do we keep pushing this route when the evidence of  capitalism's failure in government services is now so obvious?

      This is not partisan, at all, really. This is simply rational, and it's about our survival. When did we become such sheep, such weak willed and weak-minded creatures? Republicans weren't always this way, were they? Certainly not under Lincoln, nor Eisenhower, no. I'm guessing right around Reagan: when that "we" turned to "me", when, in a fit of partisan zeal, Reagan ripped down a set of solar panels that would have supplied the White House with free energy, instead of energy purchased through his oil industry pals. Why? I guess because Reagan, like many so Republicans, disliked the cautions of environmentalists, thought of them as the 'enemy', thought of them as the precursors to an overbearing 'nanny' state. Certainly he did not believe, as Carter did, in allowing government to plan for a future oil shortage by slowly working toward alternatives. Apparently, he preferred to not think about that future at all. Much like Bush, I must say. Carter had placed those solar panels there not only as reminder to people that there were energy alternatives, but there were alternatives to the way things had always been done in the past. He placed them there as a reminder that governance is about public concerns, not private enrichment.

      I have yet to hear back from any of them...

      •  Republicans (4.00)
        Yes, with a couple of exceptions,Republicans have ALWAYS been this way.  They like money and they like people who have money.  



        The Republicans who referred to FDR as "that man" and wouldn't allow his name to be spoken in their homes, and the Republican congrssmen (thank God, a small minority in those days) who fought the New Deal tooth and nail.

        I could go on, all the way back to Hamilton (who, if he were alive today, would be a Republican)but for the life of me, I don't understand why so many modern liberals persist with this myth that Republicans used to be compassionate people.

        That's not what the Republican Party is about.

      •  Excellent post (4.00)
        We've heard a lot lately the Churchill quote about the purpose of government being to protect its citizens. I disagree.

        In a democracy of, by and for the people, the purpose of government is to provide a means by which the people can protect themselves and their interests. It is the means by which we make collective decisions and solve collective problems. And it is the means by which we protect the commonwealth and exact justice.

        The Republican war on all things government, if you think about it, is really a war on democratic self rule. When Reagan proclaimed that "government is the problem", he was effectively saying we Americans are the problem.

        What I want to see is Democrats defending government again. The founders gave a gift to humanity when they wrote the US constitution. The gift of self-governance is the preeminent American ideal.

        Republicans have delared themselves the enemy of that ideal. Theyve even managed to turn a percentage of the population against their own empowerment. Empowerment that is derived directly from that ideal. For this they must be abolished. It is the truly American thing to do.

        •  Preamble to US Constitution (none)
          "...To promote the general welfare, TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE..."
        •  yes, Yes, YES! (none)
          Think about how Republicans (and a few Democrats) have recently been campaigning on how often they 'voted with the President'.  How can people vote with the President or the Party and represent the will of the people?  We need to call politicians out on this.

          "Help us to save free conscience from the paw -- Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw." --John Milton

          by ohiolibrarian on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:16:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm so glad you reposted! (none)
      One of the most beautifully written diaries I've ever read.
    •  Beautifully Written (none)
      The best diary I have read.
    •  I don't understand the system. (none)
      72 times a 4 makes a 1.00?  Didn't I get it?

      Bushfire? - No! - fire Bush!

      by juergendopp on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:59:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Better luck with it this time (none)
    Lot of good diaries swam off the list too quickly in the midst of the Katrina debacle.

    It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

    by Steven D on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 02:40:17 PM PDT

  •  Highly Recommended (none)
    This is a brilliant essay Tocque. Juxtaposing the hype of the convention with the reality of New Orleans is extremely effective.

    Unfortunately, this will probably scroll out of existence due to the signal to noise ratio. You should consider pulishing this somewhere else.

  •  This should be front paged. (4.00)
    It goes to who we are and what kind of civilization we want to live in. And it especially goes to what the Democratic party stands for. After Katrina, the truth that "we're all in this together" couldn't have gotten any clearer.


  •  Nash vs von Hayek? (none)
    "Of course, the mathematician John Nash disproved this abject fallacy decades ago for which he won a Noble Prize."

    I would like to see this argument developed.  I hope those who have the background to do so will take this and run with it.  

    Grover Norquist's agenda is drowning in New Orleans.

    by ignorant bystander on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 02:59:35 PM PDT

    •  A brief stab at it... (none)
      I'm not an Econ expert, but my understanding is that Nash's Nobel work was in game theory.

      His work used scenarios similar to the Prisoner's dilemma:
      Two suspects A, B are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and having separated both prisoners, visit each of them and offer the same deal: if one testifies for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent, the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence and the betrayer goes free. If both stay silent, the police can only give both prisoners 6 months for a minor charge. If both betray each other, they receive a 2-year sentence each.

      The best case scenario for both is to cooperate and take the 6 month sentance rather than to try and be greedy. However, people being people, it's hard to maintain unity

      Nash's work found that in all sorts of situations, including business, cooperation means more profit for all. That's pretty much the antithesis of the current conservative line on economics from the likes of the Cato Institute.

  •  Katrina has exposed the Wizard of Oz (none)
    style myth making of this administration. Great diary, it's time to take down the bullshit lies.
  •  Bring me your tired, your poor, (4.00)
    you huddled masses.

    Image hosted by

    Well here they are.  So now what??

  •  Do conservatives really believe their own BS? (none)
    Do they really have a coherent ideology?

    Or do they merely mouth selected bits and pieces of it in a lame justification for exploitation and profiteering?

    It's always seemed to me like the only ones who could exposit the stuff about the invisible hand and all that were frat boys reveling in the cruelty of youth. (Of course some of them go to work for the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute, where they never have to grow up.)

    Most "conservatives" -- be they rednecks or Rotarians -- really seem to wear that badge as cover for their underlying prejudices and self-interest.

    •  The "invisible hand"? Read again! (none)
      Go read Adam Smith in the original ( instead of relying on the digests peddled by the free-market propagandists and you'll be surprised. Here are a few tidbits:
      The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit, their combinations, while it prohibits those of workmen.
      People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
      Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.
      Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respect a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments; of the most free, as well as of the most despotical.
      Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill were not only superior analytical intellects and excellent writers, but also had common sense and empathy, something that neoclassical economists and the Chicago School totally lack, for all their mathematical sleight-of-hand (and, if you're a mathematician like me, the economists' tricks look really clumsy and inelegant in any case, Samuelson be damned --- oh, what an ordeal it is to try to read _him_).
  •  Perfect timing, TocqueDeville (4.00)
    as our useless President clears his throat for delivery of another windy, platitudinous speech, full of phoney resolve, insincere pledges and his new wrinkle, false penance.

    Great post.

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

    by bumblebums on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:18:25 PM PDT

  •  During or after the speach tonight (none)
    we should write in some of these views. Now that the polls are against him and the media knows how angry Americans felt we should keep it going just so they don't think we've forgotten. They may want to go into coma stage but we don't. This is well written Tocque. Thanks.
  •  The problem is... (4.00)
    if Democrats and Progressives don't have a myth to offer to replace the myths Republicans offer, people will cling to the old one, virtually no matter how false it is, even consciously and obviously untrue.

    Without a vision the people perish...I'm not saying we need to lie, we do need a better way of offering people a way to feel good about being an American by being a Democrat.

    And don't get pissed at me please, I'm not saying our side is bankrupt of vision or good ideas...but we have a problem getting that message across in the current hostile media environment. Also, the Republicans have been building their own myths for 40 years or like a giant ship or long train, Bush et al are riding the momentum that cannot be stopped quickly, even with the truth. It is their myth that is carrying them along...what do we offer as a substitute? People need a reason to feel good about themselves. Republicans offer a way to be selfish and greedy and yet absolves of moral blame-morally superior even. They are obvioulsy resistant to admitting they have been wrong.

    It is time Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ. -William Penn

    by chicagochristianleft on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:25:37 PM PDT

    •  Progressivism offers a daunting task (4.00)
      Care for the sick, the poor, the elderly, and the outcast in our own society and in the world at large. Care for the world at large - protecting the climate, the ecosystems, and species galore. It is a grand and daunting vision that is often at odds with itself on the particulars. So much to do and it could involve so much sacrifice! Better to keep my head in the sand.

      You're right that we need a way to take that vision and make it digestible and appealing - let people know that by working together we'll all be taken care of.

      - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"

      by Hoya90 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:43:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hostile Environment (none)
      The MSM buried this story last May.

      Thus they promulgate the lie that Democrats have nothing to offer.

      Democratic Reform Agenda

      My favorite part is where Reid decries the soaring cost of gasoline (over $2 a gallon!!)

  •  It is Vitally Important (4.00)
      I don't want anyone to forget the Cavilier attitude this President displayed while small black children were dying.

      Make it an Ad! Contrast it with the response to Terri Shaivo!

    Thanks for posting.

    With America's penchant for amensia, we must keep this story alive.

    If anyone had a chance to see our read Nancy Pelosi's statement today, it was totally awesome and inspiring. I am not sure we are giving this little lady her due. She is a powerhouse.

      "It is a source of sorrow to our nation that so many were left behind as the waters rose. We must now commit that none will be left behind as the waters recede."
                                                          .......Nancy Pelosi

    Compassion and ACTION

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:39:30 PM PDT

    •  That is an interesting comparison (none)
      I had not thought of this.  All of those fuckers made haste back to DC to vote on a special bill on a goddamned SUNDAY, during a holiday. How much comparative effort went into getting food, water, and medical assistance--all the shit they said was so important to prevent the suffering of a brain-dead white woman--in this instance?

      Less that fucking zero!  that's how much effort went to relieving the hunger and thirst of tens of thousands of poor, mostly Black, Americans.

      Culture of Life?!!  God forgive me for the hatred I feel for this government.  Help us all to prevail in the face of this assault on all that is right and good. . .

      "It's been headed this way since the World began, when a vicious creature made the jump from Monkey to Man."--Elvis Costello

      by BigOkie on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 08:25:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A possible Democrat mythos. (none)
    The British in 1812,  The German empire  WW1 and the nazis and Japanese in WW2 we helped to win those fights for freedom. We built the dams etc...go to the civic history and tradition of the Demcratic party?
  •  Holy shit (4.00)
    Now that is what I call a diary - you didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but you said it better than I have ever thought it.  Thank you.

    As a Canadian, somehow the second America was always more visible to me than it is to most Americans.  I know that there is still a large part of the American populace who could give a toss about the disenfranchised living amongst them, but they can no longer easily ignore them.  

    I'm about to watch the President try to rebuild his myth - but can he?  Once Icarus flew to close to the sun, his myth was written - Bush, while not exactly flying too close to the sun, has extended himself too far, and now he lies exposed as a fraud.  It's too late for him to do anything about his own mythology, or defend the myths that his party defends so vigorously.  If anything good has come from Katrina, that is it.  Maybe America will withdraw from fiction, and return to reality, joining the rest of the world.

  •  I know alot of people who should be held down (none)
    and forced to read this.

    And I'm really getting sick of those who claim that Katrina was "God's Wrath."  Either god's aim really sucks, or what he really can't stand is bible belt states.  Why else would the French Quarter be intact?

    Clearly, god is punishing us for our electoral choices.  

  •  Thanks for posting this (none)
    I'm glad you put it up now.  It is simply excellent writing and way too important to be overlooked.

    So, Bush says 'democracy is on the March in Iraq'--well it's not wearing pumps! ~ Stephanie Miller

    by 3goldens on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:48:31 PM PDT

  •  I think poverty is a HUGE issue (4.00)
    Not only in the monetary sense, but in other ways as well: poverty in education, poverty in opportunity, poverty in spirit.

    Katrina has exposed the underbelly of America and -- for a moment at least -- ripped tha mask of compassion from the face of this administration.

    I truly believe John Edwards was right when he talked of two Americas, but there were no faces, no people, to coalesce the image. Now we have one and its time to address the ruthless indifference of the present administration and his party's policies.

    Thank you for your eloquent plea.

    •  Yes, poverty is huge. (4.00)
       And as issues go, poverty is our most shamefull  issue, because I believe it is deliberate. I believe that poverty creats a petri dish of a climate that allows the right to work it's evil magic.
       Too many people working too many hours just trying to stay afloat. No time to look at what's going on, no time to assess blame. Just gotta keep that shoulder to the wheel. Too many children recieving below average educations. Higher education reserved for the rich. Keep 'em busy, keep 'em stupid, keep 'em hungry. And then feed them false hope, nonexistant compassion, a reward in the after-life. Give 'em a scapegoat. Blacks, gays, immigrants, gang members, what-ever. Just give 'em someone to hate and feed that hate. Then wave the flag, pass out the yellow ribbons, don't forget God, and there you go. Republican America.
       Damn, we can be better than this. We deserve better than this. Fuck the heartless bastards.
  •  Beautiful, just beautiful n/t (none)

    It's all the same fucking day, man. -- Janis Joplin

    by TracieLynn on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:08:30 PM PDT

  •  When Reagan was developing his (none)
    "government is the problem" meme, it always struck me as odd that no one ever stood up and asked is it government Of the people, BY the people or FOR the people that you oppose?

    The answer is obvious.  Katrina is Reagan's bastard.

    If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:17:29 PM PDT

    •  Good point! (none)
      I think we could run with that. What part of "by the people, for the people, and of the people" is the problem?

      I think Reagan was working off an unspoken assumption that government had diverged from its true purpose -- an easy sell, as most people feel oppressed by aspects of the government at least some of the time.

      But the original Ameican revolutionaries didn't throw off the King in order to have Anarchy! Wheee!

      Probably because they were smart guys who knew that anarchy quickly becomes tyranny. Human nature abhors a leadership vacuum.

      Democracy is not the default state. It has to be protected and nurtured.

      •  He got government off the backs (none)
        of Ken Lay, Halliburton, union busters, charlatan TV preachers, gay bashers, greedmongers, nun killers, arms for hostages negotiators, and haters of every variety.  Never got around to getting government off my back, however.

        If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

        by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:19:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a great diary (4.00)
    and I would like you to know that I think ToqueDeville is the absolute coolest nick ever.  It is cool on so many levels.  It is the Cadillac of nicks.

    If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:19:47 PM PDT

  •  this is great! (none)
    please send it to your newspapers. But I think the diary here needs a more descriptive title .... something like: drowning the myths of the republican convention? The republican myths under water one year later? Nope, I'm not a good title-writer, that's for sure.

    But I opened the diary half expecting Joseph Campbell references. :)

    "There are no shortcuts to accomplishing constructive social change ... struggle is called 'struggle' for a reason." Ward Churchill

    by CAuniongirl on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:07:30 AM PDT

  •  Excellent essay, Toque (none)
    Katrina laid bare the Conservative ideology.

    Ownership society = You're on your own.

    You can't run a country that's supposed to be the Leader of the Free World like that.  It's a Banana Republican paradigm.

    Modern Conservatism Has Failed.

    Neocon Ideology is a Fantasy.

    Theocon Republicanism is a Failure.

    Jesus was a Liberal.

    The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

    by x on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:05:25 AM PDT

  •  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (none)
    Liberal views and conservative views may have varying merit in different circumstances. Historically, these opposing ideologies have served to reign in one another from extremism. But when you have the wholesale purchase of a political party, elected officials become the foot soldiers of a monarch, the Almighty Dollar. Unchecked, like a virus or a cancer, it invades, weakens and ultimately destroys nearly every aspect of government. The Founding Fathers were not guilty of a failure of imagination. They anticipated many pitfalls including the need for revision. Our task now, if we are ever able to clean up this mess, is to fix the vulnerability of the system and protect it from hackers.
  •  "What you do to the least of these ...." (none)
     By obsessively focusing on sexual behavior in the tribal style of the Old Testament, the religious right effectively cloaks their complete amorality in applying the social justice teachings of the Being they claim to worship.  Utter hypocrisy. They provide a convenient smokescreen for the Robber Barons of the current age to hide behind.  All they have to do is claim they are followers of Jesus.  No proof in the form of compassionate action is required.
     In certain societies, (North Coast Haida, ancient Ireland) the worthiness of the ruler was measured by what he GAVE AWAY.  Until Americans realize that the strength of the society is in the well being of all and not the rugged individual, we will be on shakey ground both morally and in terms of the survival of the society itself.  The creation of oppression using the mechanism of poverty will inevitably lead to a violent response sooner or later. America needs to shed the Frontier myth and look to the common good.
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