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Saturday, September 10, 2005

The last paragraph from an article in the Telegraph:

'Republican strategists hope, however, that as the region starts to recover Mr Bush will regain his reputation and that Democrat leaders will help share the political blame.' [Source]

" share the political blame"? No. Bush owns this, as the Republicans run our government from top to bottom. That's some serious wishful thinking. Maybe Al Gore will apologize for upstaging the president by chartering flights using his own money to fly hospital patients out of the region... Or, rather, that act will be turned into some sort of political liability, in the same way that John Kerry was "swift-boated." But aside from the fact that some of the local folks responding to the disaster were Democrats, all of the major decisionmaking was in the hands of the President. After all, the Republicans have worked very hard to ensure that Bush's authority is unquestioned. If Bush can override the Geneva Conventions by declaring that people are enemy combatants, why couldn't he make sure a few hundred buses showed up in New Orleans on Saturday or Sunday before the storm?

Andrew 10:48 PM : |

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Garbage Out

As we stand amongst the disasters of New Orleans and Iraq, it is important to ask how we got here. I'm not at my verbal best this evening, but I've had a few thoughts about our current situation and would like to point out a pattern that I've noticed in many areas of life and politics and, especially, in this administration.

The pattern is this -- bad policy leads to bad outcomes. Garbage in equals garbage out, and it's high time we took out the trash. I've seen over the last few years the resurgence (now, though, I'm not really sure it was ever gone) of once en-vogue ideas, resurrected as part of the defense of the Bush administration. I've noted on these pages before how many of these resemble the twisted mess that was the justification for Apartheid in South Africa and Colonialism generally in the rest of Africa and elsewhere. These ideas include the necessity to needlessly restrict freedom in order to guarantee safety, that our way of life (meaning what we have here in the U.S.) is the best way of life and worth exporting by force, that fighting those who vaguely appear to be our enemy is just as good as fighting the real enemy. All of these assumptions and a million more form the house of cards that is the Bush administration. That house has fallen down.

Or, more specifically, been bombed out and sunk under water as proof that these ideas will inevitably lead to sloppy execution and ultimately the whole affair will fail. Let us consider some of the basic facts leading up to the disaster in New Orleans. President Bush weakened FEMA by following some standard near-sighted ideas; appointing people to high positions who support your views, even if they aren't qualified to do the job, and gambling on Mother Nature being less threatening to our national security than Iraq. Both of these stem from the basic premise that all a President does is political; such rotten logic could only spring from the mind of Karl Rove. The horrible thing about it is he's right about the political side of the equation -- if you run everything as if it were a campaign, you'll generally win. However, it's the stuff that gets thrown overboard (Iraq and New Orleans being two examples) that's actually important to the average American. The suspension of reality in the name of political gain is one of the saddest developments to strike this country in years, and it's made us infinitely weaker. This weakness is manifest every day in the myriad of poor decisions made as a direct result of the focus on politics. Sure, Mr. President, you might win elections. However, if you keep it up you won't have a country to govern.

I'm heartened by the poll numbers as folks wake up to what has happened to America, but I fear it won't be enough to save us -- what happens if another hurricane hits New Orleans in the next month? What if another Andrew hits Florida? Can we deal with multiple terrible natural disasters? If you think the weaknesses of FEMA and the executive branch are bad now, wait until they undergo some real strain. It's funny, but you'd think an administration that puts so much emphasis on a Biblically-based Judeo-Christianity would be prepared when events of Biblical proportion happen. Instead, it seems the Bush administration said "oh well, it was going to happen anyway" or "that's way too much to deal with; we'll just have to give up". No one cared enough about the hurricane to respond until days afterwards; we all know this, despite the attempts to cover it up. Quite frankly, it makes me wonder if they're secretly trying to hasten the apocalypse.

If Bill Clinton can be impeached for lying to a grand jury, the Bush administration dserves it for ruining our nation. The very existence of the Bush administration, at this point, is a crime. And it will happen over and over again until they are removed from office.

As Americans, we deserve so much better than garbage in, garbage out.

Andrew 10:58 PM : |


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