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Nero fiddled while Rome burned.


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As a Category 5 hurricane was roaring up the Gulf of Mexico heading right toward the populated Gulf Coast regions, our esteemed president was safely relaxing in Air Force One on his way to Rancho Cucamonga to speak to selected seniors about his confusing Medicare drug plan, and then over to Coronado to tell World War II veterans how the mess in Iraq equaled their heroic efforts in Europe and the Pacific.

 

He would have been better off continuing to hide out in his ranch house avoiding Cindy Sheehan.

 

He missed an important opportunity to meet with the governors of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi and show how he really cares and is fully engaged in addressing those major emergencies happening right now in our own country.

 

I also have this old-fashioned idea in my old timer's head that the National Guard was supposed to be mainly for homeland defense.

 

Instead, the Guards are in a far-off land trying to force our way of life on people who for many reasons are unable and unwilling to accept these ideas and customs.

 

Now we have a mammoth and tragic disaster on the Gulf Coast, and uncounted numbers of poor people in dire need of help. This is where the Guard should be: in our country, working for our country and helping the people of our country.

 

Protect the homeland, defend the homeland, serve the homeland.

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It does seem it is taking the National Guard and the army a lot of time in getting on the scene in New Orleans. As a result there appears to be a pretty widespread breakdown in law and order, as one would expect. I expect the fact that a lot of the National Guard are tied up in Iraq is not helping the situation, but I understand this represents less than 50 percent in most states and sometimes only 25 percent in big population states. So what gives?

 

Undoubtedly there is going to be a lot of analysis in the days ahead of what went wrong in New Orleans, in particular, where the events subsequent to the storm have caused the most problems. There are early reports that work scheduled to upgrade and even maintain the system of levees has been cut back in the last several years as a result of budget cutbacks. What shortsighted decisions were these and who took them?

 

I also read that under the state constitution, martial law cannot be invoked. This really should be looked at if it means you can't call the army in when conditions warrant, as they appear to in New Orleans.

 

It always seems to take a disaster before people wake up to the dangers around them. You can't anticipate everything but at least when disaster strikes, you hope our political leaders will rise to the occasion. It's not clear yet who will take the lead in the wake of Katrina.

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"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

By Sidney Blumenthal

 

In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

 

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,372455,00.html

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RE: "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

Why can't the U.S. government focus on America's needs and leave other countries alone? Why are American troops in Iraq instead of protecting our own borders from a mass invasion by illegal immigrants? Why are American helicopters blowing up Iraqi homes instead of saving American homes in New Orleans?

 

How can the Bush administration be so incompetent as to expose Americans at home to dire risks by exhausting American resources in foolish foreign adventures? What kind of "homeland security" is this?

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RE: "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

One of the best posts I've seen on dailykos in a while, by Hunter:

 

Category 4 Hurricane Determined to Strike U.S.

 

George W. Bush was once known as the C.E.O. President, a term his handlers eagerly coined in order to convey that the country would from now on be run like a business. That quickly evolved into the less flattering Enron President... then the War President... now it's looking like we can all finally settle on one. George W. Bush: the Disaster President.

 

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

 

He honestly said that. If that brings up more than a passing twinge of familiarity, being a more than remarkable restatement of Condi Rice's now-famous assertion to the Senate panel -- then I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

 

But it does bring up something that we joke about often, but apparently have never taken quite seriously enough: our President is an idiot. I don't mean an average, run-of-the-mill idiot. I mean an idiot who apparently, for the entire duration of his presidency, literally was paying absolutely no attention to even the most life-threateningly critical tasks of government.

 

The administration specifically cut the funds to fix these specific levees, in order to specifically divert that Corps money to Iraq, despite urgent warnings and predictions of catastrophic disaster if the levees were breeched. The administration specifically cancelled the Clinton-backed flood control program to preserve and restore the wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf, instead specifically opening parts of that buffer zone for development.

 

Nobody anticipated this disaster? It was identified by FEMA as one of the top three likeliest major disasters to strike America. (That link, one of countless stories, was from 2001, by the way.) It has been a major disaster scenario for years. Everybody anticipated it, which makes this single statement by George W. Bush possibly the most dishonest, lying, craptacularly false thing he has ever said in his presidency -- even surpassing his now-infamous State of the Union Address. Truly, this is President Bush's blue-dress moment.

 

And yet, funneling the money into Iraq was more important. You better bet your crapulent, lying, one-track, drink-addled ass that's a political issue.

 

He also said today:

 

"I hope people don't play politics at this time of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen."

 

Oh, I'm touched. Utterly touched. After 9/11, the entire Republican Party went en masse to get Twin Towers ass tattoos. The Republican convention was a wholesale tribute to crass exploitation, the sets themselves designed to evoke the aftermath of the attack. Every domestic and international policy this administration -- no, this entire Republican government -- has produced has been heaved up before the public while waving the spectre of 9/11 as the catch-all vindication of every administration whim. Every tax cut, every civil rights issue, every budget cut, every budget expansion, no matter how tortured the logic must be, has some Republican senator standing on the Senate floor and proudly raping the corpses of that day as justification for their particular agenda item.

 

Oh, we've seen politicization of disaster. Every Republican campaign for the last four years has revolved around the politicization of disaster.

 

But Lord help us, George W. Bush is going to get the vapors if anyone asks him to explain his administration's active cuts of the very programs designed to keep New Orleans safe.

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RE: "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

While I don't think Bush is doing a great job; I think it is fair to say that the problem of the levees in NO did not begin the day Bush took office. It seems like both state and federal officials for many years have turned their head and crossed their fingers hoping nothing would happen in NO.

 

I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to communicate between city, state and federal agencies without radios and mobile phones and trying to get food, water, generators, troops and other supplies to an area that is so decimated by not only flooding, but with tangled up power lines, trees down, bridges out, and roads closed. That being said I never thought I would see such human suffering on American soil from a natural disaster. I thought we were better prepared. I have donated to the Red Cross and my thoughts and prayers are with the people of LA, MS & AL. Also, hats off to our National Guard. They basically but their lives on hold for America, both here and abroad.

 

We must do better as a country.

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RE: "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

Friday August 24, 1992 Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida and Louisana. Big Daddy Bush was President then. If I remember, it took him five days to have FEMA act and send relief to those poor people. Then he put the blame on then Governor Bob Graham(D). He said, the Governor never asked for any help and he was unable as President to send help till Bob Graham asked him for it. Graham stated he called President Bush the very next day after Andrew hit Florida.:(

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RE: "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

 

In the 3 years since 9-11, billions have been spent since in preparation for a catastrophic event in one of our major cities and this is the best that we can do??? Four days later and thousands of people are still going without food and water, many have seen no sign of authority or even given any word that help is on the way. This is not only not acceptable, it is criminal and heads should roll.

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

I read today that Bush has asked his Daddy and ex-pres. Clinton to go on the road again, just as they did for the tsunami victims of SE Asia, to drum up foreign aid for the people of the Gulf Coast.

 

Foreign Aid??? Foreign aid for citizens of the world's wealthiest, most powerful, most fabulous and God-blessed nation? How can this be?

 

I might add that Hugo Chavez has offered MUCH more aid to the poor of New Orleans than has Pat Robertson. We really should take him out.

 

Trix

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

I read today that Bush has asked his Daddy and ex-pres. Clinton to go on the road again, just as they did for the tsunami victims of SE Asia, to drum up foreign aid for the people of the Gulf Coast.

 

Foreign Aid??? Foreign aid for citizens of the world's wealthiest, most powerful, most fabulous and God-blessed nation? How can this be?

 

I might add that Hugo Chavez has offered MUCH more aid to the poor of New Orleans than has Pat Robertson. We really should take him out.

 

Trix

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

It is being said that Bush is the Marie Antoinette of the 21st century.

 

Last weekend, while all the country was being alerted to the probable impending disaster that Katrina would deliver - Bush was entertaining at his toy ranch, 50 elite members of the national press corp. While everyone filled his gut with Catfish and Potato Salad, supposedly served by none other than Marie himself the rest of the real world was trying to get their mind around what they were being told was about to happen on the Gulf shores.

 

And the price of admission to this shin-dig? Simply this. The reporters had to afirm that they would not divuldge a word of what went on at the party to the American electorate.

 

Such was the "Let them eat catfish" attitude of Marie Antoinette Bush!

 

If ever there was a moment when you should be ashamed to say you are an American, this must be it.

 

There are Crazies at the Helm of you ship - and everyone who helped put them there should hang their head in shame.

 

And you can rest assured that the world will not fail to notice this.

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

It is being said that Bush is the Marie Antoinette of the 21st century.

 

Last weekend, while all the country was being alerted to the probable impending disaster that Katrina would deliver - Bush was entertaining at his toy ranch, 50 elite members of the national press corp. While everyone filled his gut with Catfish and Potato Salad, supposedly served by none other than Marie himself the rest of the real world was trying to get their mind around what they were being told was about to happen on the Gulf shores.

 

And the price of admission to this shin-dig? Simply this. The reporters had to afirm that they would not divuldge a word of what went on at the party to the American electorate.

 

Such was the "Let them eat catfish" attitude of Marie Antoinette Bush!

 

If ever there was a moment when you should be ashamed to say you are an American, this must be it.

 

There are Crazies at the Helm of you ship - and everyone who helped put them there should hang their head in shame.

 

And you can rest assured that the world will not fail to notice this.

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

I am ashamed to be an American--not only because of Iraq and Afghanistan--but because WE cannot care of our own citizens after a natural disaster. The USA is NOT Bangladesh or Northern India where monsoons occur almost yearly and kill thousands and where people are forced to live in danger because of a lack of space and arable land. The USA is NOT a third-world country, whatever that means, where graft and corruption "eat" up much of the aid which is supposed to go to the poor. The USA is NOT a country lacking is resources and infrastructure and brain power.

Who is to blame? ALL of US. Bush and his cronies were elected TWICE, or rather they "stole" two elections and WE did NOT take to the streets, like Filipinos and others have done. The Governors or Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama were elected by the citizens of those three states. It's too late to undo the damage this time. But please, please, please. Remember the anger and outrage you are feeling right now, at the next elections. My answer? I have done this for the last two elections(I live in New York State)-- I vote AGAINST all incumbents, and will continue to do so until the "professional" politicans are gone and maybe, just maybe, those who will serve the public interest will come forward. I'm a registered Democrat, but next year, I shall vote against Sen. H. R. Clinton, and two years from then, I'll vote against Schumer. Locally I vote against all the Republicans who have dominated local politics since the Civil War.

What's all this have to do with the aftermath of Katriina? I honestly believe that our complacency and apathy with politics has allowed the mess that has occured. It's up to us to rescue ourselves from the "idiots."

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

I am ashamed to be an American--not only because of Iraq and Afghanistan--but because WE cannot care of our own citizens after a natural disaster. The USA is NOT Bangladesh or Northern India where monsoons occur almost yearly and kill thousands and where people are forced to live in danger because of a lack of space and arable land. The USA is NOT a third-world country, whatever that means, where graft and corruption "eat" up much of the aid which is supposed to go to the poor. The USA is NOT a country lacking is resources and infrastructure and brain power.

Who is to blame? ALL of US. Bush and his cronies were elected TWICE, or rather they "stole" two elections and WE did NOT take to the streets, like Filipinos and others have done. The Governors or Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama were elected by the citizens of those three states. It's too late to undo the damage this time. But please, please, please. Remember the anger and outrage you are feeling right now, at the next elections. My answer? I have done this for the last two elections(I live in New York State)-- I vote AGAINST all incumbents, and will continue to do so until the "professional" politicans are gone and maybe, just maybe, those who will serve the public interest will come forward. I'm a registered Democrat, but next year, I shall vote against Sen. H. R. Clinton, and two years from then, I'll vote against Schumer. Locally I vote against all the Republicans who have dominated local politics since the Civil War.

What's all this have to do with the aftermath of Katriina? I honestly believe that our complacency and apathy with politics has allowed the mess that has occured. It's up to us to rescue ourselves from the "idiots."

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

The assumption of so much of the writing here and elsewhere is that when there are problems, the federal government should be johnny on the spot with a perfect answer that is satisfying to everyone.

 

The levee problems have been known for years. Clinton cut the asking just about as much as Bush did. In an ideal world the engineering reports would have been digested in Baton Rouge and Washington and the work would have been done. $100 million or so is not all that much, and frankly, the people of Louisiana could have paid for the work themselves, but chose not to.

 

But the real culprits are elsewhere. They are in Congress, state legislatures, in the bureaucracies and in an insane federal system designed for another age that layers three, and sometimes four, bureaucracies one on top of the other -- city, county (sometimes), state and federal. The smallest problem now requires years of "study" and negotiation between people and agencies whose real interest is turf. And now we see what happens when someone has to be able to make decisions and can't or doesn't know how to. The Mayor of New Orleans looks like a little lost waif. The Governor of Louisiana is way, way out of her depth (sorry about the pun). There seem to be no really capable and sensible officials on the ground down there. And so, of course, all the fingers are pointed at Bush, as if he can do much in the short run except open the floodgates of federal resources, which he has done.

 

The real problem is that the Mayor and the Governor and the people who are supposed to work for them on behalf of the public did not understand that civic order and the basic welfare of the people is their first duty. They were not proactive in getting poor people out when it was still possible. There was no plan in place to shelter and provide for those who can't easily do it for themselves. They were not ready with a plan to use police and then the National Guard when they could be mobilized to control the "human" animals who were ready to loot, pillage and rape on the first pretext.

 

In my book, The Big Easy's reputation for laid back living and corruption has finally caught up with it. A political system which exists to enrich itself has discovered that it forgot to read the preparedness manuals, and abandoned its own people.

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RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

The assumption of so much of the writing here and elsewhere is that when there are problems, the federal government should be johnny on the spot with a perfect answer that is satisfying to everyone.

 

The levee problems have been known for years. Clinton cut the asking just about as much as Bush did. In an ideal world the engineering reports would have been digested in Baton Rouge and Washington and the work would have been done. $100 million or so is not all that much, and frankly, the people of Louisiana could have paid for the work themselves, but chose not to.

 

But the real culprits are elsewhere. They are in Congress, state legislatures, in the bureaucracies and in an insane federal system designed for another age that layers three, and sometimes four, bureaucracies one on top of the other -- city, county (sometimes), state and federal. The smallest problem now requires years of "study" and negotiation between people and agencies whose real interest is turf. And now we see what happens when someone has to be able to make decisions and can't or doesn't know how to. The Mayor of New Orleans looks like a little lost waif. The Governor of Louisiana is way, way out of her depth (sorry about the pun). There seem to be no really capable and sensible officials on the ground down there. And so, of course, all the fingers are pointed at Bush, as if he can do much in the short run except open the floodgates of federal resources, which he has done.

 

The real problem is that the Mayor and the Governor and the people who are supposed to work for them on behalf of the public did not understand that civic order and the basic welfare of the people is their first duty. They were not proactive in getting poor people out when it was still possible. There was no plan in place to shelter and provide for those who can't easily do it for themselves. They were not ready with a plan to use police and then the National Guard when they could be mobilized to control the "human" animals who were ready to loot, pillage and rape on the first pretext.

 

In my book, The Big Easy's reputation for laid back living and corruption has finally caught up with it. A political system which exists to enrich itself has discovered that it forgot to read the preparedness manuals, and abandoned its own people.

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

>And so, of course, all the fingers are pointed at

>Bush, as if he can do much in the short run except open the

>floodgates of federal resources, which he has done.

 

Well one think he could have done is stop throwing cocktail catfish dinners, stop dancing across the country to give useless speaches in California and begin to get his priorities straight.

 

If you give him a passing grade on this one then you too are part of the problem.

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Bush fiddled while Rome drowned

 

>And so, of course, all the fingers are pointed at

>Bush, as if he can do much in the short run except open the

>floodgates of federal resources, which he has done.

 

Well one think he could have done is stop throwing cocktail catfish dinners, stop dancing across the country to give useless speaches in California and begin to get his priorities straight.

 

If you give him a passing grade on this one then you too are part of the problem.

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The buck stops here

 

Oh, if he were only alive today (Truman)

I, like most everyone else, have read endless stories and background on this disaster.

 

There are a few things that stand out to me:

 

1 There seemed to be plenty of warning of the possible and likely after effects of this kind of disaster. Yet nothing was done.

 

2 Even without repairing the levee system, there was at least four days advance notice of the impending peril, yet surprisingly no real plans were put in place before the massive storm hit. Surely FEMA, National Guard (what's left of them) and medical aid could have already been alerted and moved into place.

 

3 Similar storms in Florida during a pivotal election year seemed to get help right quick. Course those in need were mostly wealthy and middle class white people. Yeah race is a part of this mess.

 

4 If the government is not focused on protecting the citizens from within, then what do we need a government for? I am not advocating anarchy, but in absence of effective government action, anarchy is what we get.

 

5 I live in the wealthiest and most powerful country ever known to man, and I am watching thousands of citizens without ANY aid what so ever at the convention center. What is up with that?

 

6 All great civilizations in history who have been responsible for any advances in culture, human rights, health,law, economy and social order, have been corrupted from within. Are we facing this now?

 

There are so many other aspects of this disaster that offend me as an American that it's hard to list them all.

 

Regardless of who you voted for, this man BUSH is everyones President, and as such needs to get his act together. There are some of my fellow citizens who need extremely urgent help. I want to see him dance on the head of a pin if it will make their life a little easier in the short term.

 

The only one who is suggesting that there is a political side to this is the administration who should be putting politics aside and making some progress in solving the immediate needs of my fellow citizens.

 

Hey W dude, FOCUS!!!!!

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The buck stops here

 

Oh, if he were only alive today (Truman)

I, like most everyone else, have read endless stories and background on this disaster.

 

There are a few things that stand out to me:

 

1 There seemed to be plenty of warning of the possible and likely after effects of this kind of disaster. Yet nothing was done.

 

2 Even without repairing the levee system, there was at least four days advance notice of the impending peril, yet surprisingly no real plans were put in place before the massive storm hit. Surely FEMA, National Guard (what's left of them) and medical aid could have already been alerted and moved into place.

 

3 Similar storms in Florida during a pivotal election year seemed to get help right quick. Course those in need were mostly wealthy and middle class white people. Yeah race is a part of this mess.

 

4 If the government is not focused on protecting the citizens from within, then what do we need a government for? I am not advocating anarchy, but in absence of effective government action, anarchy is what we get.

 

5 I live in the wealthiest and most powerful country ever known to man, and I am watching thousands of citizens without ANY aid what so ever at the convention center. What is up with that?

 

6 All great civilizations in history who have been responsible for any advances in culture, human rights, health,law, economy and social order, have been corrupted from within. Are we facing this now?

 

There are so many other aspects of this disaster that offend me as an American that it's hard to list them all.

 

Regardless of who you voted for, this man BUSH is everyones President, and as such needs to get his act together. There are some of my fellow citizens who need extremely urgent help. I want to see him dance on the head of a pin if it will make their life a little easier in the short term.

 

The only one who is suggesting that there is a political side to this is the administration who should be putting politics aside and making some progress in solving the immediate needs of my fellow citizens.

 

Hey W dude, FOCUS!!!!!

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