Democrats & Liberals Archives

Where It Stops, Nobody Knows

The President has indeed set his sights high for the person he’s got leading the disaster response in the White House. He’s a doctor, though not a member of the medical profession. He’s dealt with many disasters before, though none, he’d probably admit, quite like this. Additionally, he has the presidents unquestioned trust and confidence.

America, meet the new man in charge of managing the disaster response: spin doctor Karl Rove.

No, folks, I am not kidding.

This is from the article:

Mr. McClellan indicated that Mr. Bush would not use the speech to name a "reconstruction czar" to oversee the effort. A number of White House officials have advised the president to name such a czar, with Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of forces in the 2001 war in Afghanistan, being a favorite of Republicans who are pushing the idea.

White House officials also played down the notion that Mr. Bush would offer a "Marshall Plan" for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, as the Senate Republican leadership called for in a letter to the president on Wednesday. "We stand ready to work with you to lay out a comprehensive approach to the coordination of relief and development efforts through a 'Marshall Plan' for the Gulf Coast as soon as possible," said the letter, signed by Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and others.

Instead, administration officials and a Republican close to the White House said Mr. Bush would offer some general principles about "building a better New Orleans" with stricter construction standards to try to avoid a replay of the recent catastrophe. Republicans said Mr. Bush would not mention a price tag, in large part because of budget and political pressures from House Republicans and other supporters angry about administration spending.

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.

Is that so bad? Well...

Try the current attempts to scrounge for evidence that the tree-huggers sunk New Orleans This is the gist of it:

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Try the brief electrification and then quick de-electrification of New Orleans along the president's motorcade route.

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Uncertainties of whether the press is permitted to report about the recovery of bodies. Stories from the disaster area with FEMA still screwing it up. No word from this president about how he wishes to pay for all these wonderful (not to mention needed) initiatives.

There's no question that at the moment that none of us can change who's in the White House. Not even the Republicans and Independents who now regret their choice, in the wake of Bush's response to Katrina, not an old-fashioned Democrat like myself. We're stuck with this president for the next three years and three months. We acknowledge that fact, and because of events like those describe, we worry about that.

This administration has shown a continued tendency to reach for greatness in the realm of the media, but fall far short of it in their substance. Even now, with the knock upside the head that this disaster represents, this administration is not straying from its usual strategy.

And that worries me for reasons that have nothing to do with the next election. That worries me for the same reason events in the Middle East have been worthy of worry: Because we know now how easy it is for the bad policies of our government to touch our lives. More than a century ago, a storm of about Katrina's intensity hit the Texas Gulf Coast, overwhelming the then thriving city of Galveston, and killing thousands.

Then, the city of Houston had 44,633 citizens. Now, the Houston area has about a hundred times more population than that. At that time, Galveston was the city on the rise, and Houston was the secondary community to that. Now, it's the fourth largest city in America.

Already, tropical weather has brought disaster on the city, a little over a century after the great Hurricane of 1900. In summer of 2001, a Tropical Storm called Allison parked over our city and poured down water for an entire day. The city was absolutely flooded. The question of the substance of the government's response to disasters like Katrina is not an abstract issue to people like me on the Gulf Coast. If the Hurricane hadn't struck New Orleans, it might have struck my hometown, bringing the flooding, the industrial destruction, and all the other calamities. Houston wouldn't have been flooded for the long term, but we would have been picking up the pieces of some pretty nasty destructive forces.

When our turn inevitably comes, the response I want is not damage control in Washington D.C., but repair and reconstruction, streamlined, efficient, and paid for now with cheaper tax dollars, rather than more expensive treasury bonds that fund deficits. If my neighborhood gets wiped off the map, the last thing I want to hear from Washington is bureaucratic excuses like my neighbors to the east are getting. The last thing this country deserves is leadership that deceives us or worse deceives itself as well. There's nothing plainer in this world than the power of mother nature, when man gets in the way. That power deserves a plain, honest, effective response, not more smokescreens and spin.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2005 1:52 PM
Comments
Comment #80979

Stephen,

“This administration has shown a continued tendency to reach for greatness in the realm of the media, but fall far short of it in their substance. Even now, with the knock upside the head that this disaster represents, this administration is not straying from its usual strategy.”

I’m starting to believe they’re not capable of changing their strategy.
It’s like they read the first chapter of, “Government fo Dummies”, and then lost the book.
If people were not dying this would almost be funny.
Have you noticed that they’re not even working the media any more? The media, other than the total Republican tools (Limbaugh, S. Fields, Thomas, O’Reily etc.)have jumped ship. They know this president is sinking to depths that most thought he wouldn’t reach for at least 2 more years.
We should prepare for new disaster spin.
“We are not cup half empty people we’re cup half full people.”
Translation: Half of the people who died, did so needlessly due to lack of government response.

“Our actions were based on the information we had and were able to verify about the storm.”
Translation: When I watch the news, I change channels when the weather guy comes on, unless it’s a weather girl and she’s hot.

Alt. Translation: How can I watch weather channel and or news while I’m clearing all this Brush at the ranch.
Thanks for the post, you damn alarmist (Ha Ha)

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 16, 2005 4:58 PM
Comment #80990

And Bush insists the wealthiest Americans tax cuts must be made permanent.

And Bush insists we can still afford the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And Bush still insists we must pour more billions into star wars.

And Bush still insists on huge Medicare/Medicaid cuts while touting the plight of the poor.

And Bush still can’t find his veto pen.

And Bush still wants colonies on Mars

AND OUR DEFICIT THIS YEAR IS APPROACHING 800 Billion DOLLARS! Want your kids to have working future. You may want to consider moving them to Canada where they will be able to afford medical care, actually get something useful back for their taxes, and can look forward to jobs and careers whose wages will continue to mean something throughout their work lives.

I warned years ago we were heading for a 10 Trillion dollar National Debt and beyond. I warned again to not vote Republican in 2004 for this very reason. The only thing I was wrong about was in predicting 10 trillion after the end of this decade. Appears we will hit 10 trillion now well before that. 7.4 million Americans have taken up permanent residence overseas and the number is growing. Talk about a brain drain….

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 16, 2005 5:40 PM
Comment #81002

David,

You’re not for colonies on mars?

The Bush supporters are going to call you un-American and anti-Mars.


Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 16, 2005 6:00 PM
Comment #81005

You tell ‘em David R. Remer.

I see inflation coming.

The government can only get money from 3 places:
[1] taxes
[2] borrowing (bonds, etc.)
[3] print money

What is interest on the National Debt now per day ? $1 billion

What is the federal government borrowing per day ? $1 billion

What happens when government can’t sell enough bonds or borrow enough money to cover the $1 billion per day for interest alone ? print more money

Why would they do that ? Because, defaulting on the loans would be more catastrophic, and inflation shrinks the National Debt (i.e. with high inflation, $8 trillion in debt could become very little in 5 years…but then a cup of coffee may cost $50 too, not to mention what it will do to your pension and savings).

What has happened when a government prints too much money ? inflation

But, inflation also creates some serious problems of its own. Soon, no one will loan the U.S. more money, no one will want to buy more bonds, investors may start pulling out of the U.S., people get nervous as their money becomes more worthless each day.

I just don’t see how the federal government is going to be able to tax, grow the economy, immigrate, or cut waste enough to avoid it.

Can you blame so many people for considering residence overseas ? My wife and I (both engineers) are considering it.

If an economic meltdown occurs, guess who will be the first to flee overseas, and who will be left behind to deal with the mess ?

Posted by: d.a.n at September 16, 2005 6:10 PM
Comment #81008
Not even the Republicans and Independents who now regret their choice,
As an independant voter i do not regret my choice to vote for the lesser/weaker of two evils. i regret the corruption of both main parties who prostitute the people to special interest groups.

The power-mongering arrogance of both main parties are reflected in the faces of Bush and Biden. i would still choose the weaker incompetent Bush over the skillful raw malevolence of Biden.

What messes Bush make are left in the open so we know what needs to be cleaned up…

much preferable than a Democrat covertly hiding his messes in loopholes and backroom deals only subsequent generations will discover after the nation has succombed to their toxicity.

With the voice of traditional faiths unwelcome in either the Democratic or Third Parties, the GOP remains our only choice despite their radical fringe.

Posted by: jo at September 16, 2005 6:23 PM
Comment #81014

Jo-
Skillful raw malevolence.

How do I respond to that? How do you prove good intentions? How do you live on them? Bush may be full of good intentions, but they’re not motivating him to take care of your interests.

Bush does not leave his messes in the open. You should read John Dean’s columns on Bush, on how he exploited a legal trick to keep his gubernatorial papers secret, when they’re normally released to the public. You should read about how he’s so tightly Saran Wrapped your government, that hardly any information about how he runs things gets out.

Or what about the congressional oversight Bush wrecked by going to court to bar people from knowing who attended Cheney’s energy conference?

I think in twenty years, people will be wondering how we ever let the dealings of the Bush presidency take place.

Don’t be looking for your voice among the politicians. Look for the truth. Look for what is good and right. People can tell you what you want to hear, but if you’re committed and open-minded to the evidence around you, you will find you don’t need to hear that. All you’ll need to hear is the honest truth from them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2005 6:46 PM
Comment #81020

Just feeling a bit frustrated with it all. 5 years, and it comes down to screw ups and spending money we don’t have… from the White House, again.

(My name is Forrest. Forrest Bush.)

I guess you can get a warm, cozy feeling in any situation. Guess it just depends where you keep your head.

Posted by: tony at September 16, 2005 7:00 PM
Comment #81037
the GOP remains our only choice

Not at all !
We’ve got other choices.
I’d advocate votin’ out all incumbents, since both main parties just take turns.
But, that won’t happen.
More likely, Democrats will win the Executive Branch and both houses of Congress.
But, it won’t help much. Maybe a little for a short while, because things are so screwed up, there will be no quick fixes.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 16, 2005 7:50 PM
Comment #81046

d.a.n.,

“‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be desired.”

Bush says to pay for all his expensive ventures—
tax giveaways to the rich, Iraq, Katrina—-
he’ll have to cut discretionary spending. I
guess he means medicare and medicaid.

Posted by: Disgusted in GA at September 16, 2005 8:29 PM
Comment #81070

Bush says to pay for all his expensive venturesó
tax giveaways to the rich, Iraq, Katrinaó-
heíll have to cut discretionary spending. I
guess he means medicare and medicaid.
Posted by: Disgusted in GA at September 16, 2005 08:29 PM

Funny, that’s exactly what Chomsky said in his book Hegemony or Survival on GOP spending, that is was intended to stretch America so thinly financially, that Welfare and Medical benefits could no longer be afforded.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 16, 2005 9:53 PM
Comment #81115

jo,

“With the voice of traditional faiths unwelcome in either the Democratic or Third Parties, the GOP remains our only choice despite their radical fringe.”

Have you looked at the Constitution party? How is “the voice of traditional faiths unwelcome” there? As an independent voter, my vote often swings between the GOP and the Constitution Party. Between the two, I find a niche.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 17, 2005 11:42 AM
Comment #81117

I saw where President Bush said he will not raise taxes to fund the estimated $200 billion reconstruction of New Orleans. In fact, he still wants to make the rich folk’s capital gains and estate tax cuts permanent.

Why not, right? We can just go further in debt to China. There’s no immediate political fallout for fiscal irresponsibility. Our children and grandchildren are good to cover the debt through higer taxes and interest rates after Bush is no longer President, right?

Fiscal irresponsibility is a winning strategy for President Bush.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 17, 2005 11:43 AM
Comment #81119

Disgusted in GA,

“…heíll have to cut discretionary spending. I
guess he means medicare and medicaid.”

My Democrat governor is already doing that. So, what makes Democrat politicians better than Republican politicians?

Posted by: Stephanie at September 17, 2005 11:44 AM
Comment #81120
intended to stretch America so thinly financially, that Welfare and Medical benefits could no longer be afforded.

Except that President Bush doesn’t need to cut social programs as long as China is willing to keep handing him the rope he’ll hang America with. As long as he can keep borrowing money, there’s no reason for President Bush to be fiscally responsible. He can have tax cuts that primarily favor the rich AND a bloated prescription drug benefit AND a war AND a shiny new New Orleans.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 17, 2005 11:47 AM
Comment #81140

Stephanie,

The Constitution Party did get my attention at the last presidential election. However Ralph Nader more accurately represented my views. Today it is a toss up for me between the Greens and the Reform Party. Unfortunately, neither got my vote in federal races as i chose to vote againt the Democratic agenda rather than for anyone. Wouldn’t want to throw away my vote ya know.

Posted by: jo at September 17, 2005 12:49 PM
Comment #81156

jo-
The unfortunate thing is, your picture of the Democrat agenda is likely more based on spin than anything else. The unfortunate part is that you’re buying into that spin trying to oppose us, when your interests are better served at least taking your vote to those who really stand for what you believe.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 17, 2005 2:26 PM
Comment #81163

Stephen,

The California Democrats drafting and passing a bill in direct opposition to the recent California referendum on the matter is not spin.. it is action.

It is clear and unmistakable.

The DNC will do the will of special interest groups no matter what they say or what their constituents say.

Posted by: jo at September 17, 2005 3:14 PM
Comment #81201

jo-
Oh it’s action, and there’s no spinning what they’re trying to do. And of course they are doing so in opposition to a referendum. And yes, it is in answer to one of the groups whose interests the Democrats work towards.

But it’s not so simple as elites countering the will of the people. Remember, these are elected officials. They represent the will of the people. It’s still a question for the voters.

But this is a minor social issue at best, one that is less controversial in the place in question than just about anywhere else. Moreover, my entry is about government’s authority where it matters, where it is a thing of life and death. Thousands are likely dead, hundreds might have been saved. Even if you cannot excuse support for gay rights, can you at the very least admit that the negligence of a government in these cases is as religously questionable, if not more than homosexuality is?

All the Washington rhetoric about morals has been about cultural morals, things with a scriptural basis, but not values presented by themselves, nor the major values of the religion in question. The abortion question is an exception, but one with its own level of controversy in and out of the Christian Community, and in situations like these, it’s not the most urgent issue. There are plenty of babies, born and not yet born, who need our help in a time like this, and who aren’t getting it, and plenty of poverty possible to create a corrosive situation to make all the moral problems of that area that much worse.

There’s a point we reach in our lives when we spin ourselves into believing that the little things we value are so damn important. At some point, we got to step back and appreciate that. I’ve had two such wakeup calls in my life. One disaster was manmade, the other was basically the worst natural disaster ever to hit our country. It matters what kind of leadership we have. Agendas are not so important as the people who can forget them when the help is needed.

What bothers me is that this administration is still playing the political games, still looking for the angle on the issues instead of recognizing the altogether too real needs of their populace. Why else put the nation’s number one political consultant in charge?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 17, 2005 10:31 PM
Comment #81204

Stephen,

But it;s not so simple as elites countering the will of the people. Remember, these are elected officials. They represent the will of the people. It;s still a question for the voters.
But this is a minor social issue at best,

As i said, i reject the DNC’s progressive new definition of representation. i reject that the prgressive elitists know better than the people. i reject oligarchal aristocracy in favor of our traditional representative republic. i do not think this is a “small thing

That said. This administration has messed up quite a number of things. Can’t really think of much it has done rightly. Yes they are insular but then i have no reason to think a democratic administration would be any less so. i think all politicians learned through Clinton that it is wise to watch your back and not trust anyone. To me, it is not so much the GOP or the DNC on that front but politics in general has had to change with the new technologies and abilities of media.

Bottom line is that the Bush administration, as inept as it’s been has still left intact the foundation and framework of the representative republic i voted to protect. So i do not regret my vote. We may not have much at the end of his term… like New Orleans, it can be repaired and rebuilt. The DNC would deny us that. They would scrap it all with their progressive elitist oligarcy.

Posted by: jo at September 17, 2005 10:49 PM
Comment #81209

Jo-
Whose people? When you talk about representatives, you talk about folks who have their own constituencies. You give elitism as the motivation, but If these politicians are willing to put their votes to this, they must think or know that their constituents wouldn’t kick them out of office for it. You can talk about elitist, oligarchical aristocracy, but you haven’t demonstrated that elitism, aristocratic ideas or oligarchical notions are at work here. These are words with specific meanings.

The Clinton administration was nowhere near this insular. The president was far better-read, and was given direct briefings to read, rather than simply given a presentation of them. He saw many people at the White House, had far better relations with countries in the rest of the world, and would actually apologize and take responsibility for things.

As for any Democrat administration being this insular, I really doubt it. No administration has been this insular in a long time. Hell, John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon is among the worst critic of this president, and this man is saying, after having served Mr. Watergate that this president has a problem with secrecy.

And leaving intact the foundation and framework of the Representative Republic? You obviously weren’t around for the Texas redistricting nor the California Recall. Besides, that framework means nothing if Bush is not obligating himself to tell the full unvarnished truth of what’s going on.

You’re worried about the DNC. The DNC. Worry about those who have the power at the moment. If the DNC really is cracking down on religion, folks like us can crack back, but I don’t know what it is that should convince me that the DNC is really creating problems here, especially to the extent that it should distract me and folks like me from Katrina and from Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 17, 2005 11:52 PM
Comment #81213

Stephen,

You mentioned elsewhere that California has little problem with gays. i think actually it is, if not the state with the most benefits for gays, it is very close to the top of the list. Yet even with all those benefits the DEMS are not satisfied and must have it their own way. No compromising. No allowing for other voices and opinions. Face it, their constituency is their special interest groups.. not the people with the votes. And it seems California like most of the rest of the country does not want to be ruled by Hollywood.

And yes, i was around for the redistricting fiasco and cheered the DEMS on.. at that point they were fighting FOR the voice of the people, not special interests. As for California governor (i ain’t even gonna try to spell it. lol ) Governors do not have the power to “Reinvent American Government”. i mean, come on.. even their publicized plan is titled unequivocably. They are out to trash our representative republic and set up rule by the “holier than thou’, progressively more evolved than you all, liberal humanists.

***ALARMIST CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT***

What with all the progress we’ve made in genetic engineering, i wouldn’t be at all surprised if my grandchildren saw the day people were ‘modified’ sterile that did not belong to the proper philosophical club… not viable to positivel contribute to the evolution of the species ya know.

***END ALARMIST CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT***

Posted by: jo at September 18, 2005 12:41 AM
Comment #81217

Stephen said:
“They represent the will of the people.”

How exactly do they represent the will of the people, when they are going against the will of the people?

Stephen said:

“Moreover, my entry is about governmentís authority where it matters, where it is a thing of life and death. Thousands are likely dead, hundreds might have been saved.”

Yes. Thousands die of abortion everyday. If you think the Democratic party has a respect for the sactity of life… I mean, come on!

Admittedly, the Republican Party has a long way to go too, but trying to push the Democratic Party as a party for the preservation of life is ludicrous.

Stephen said:

“Even if you cannot excuse support for gay rights, can you at the very least admit that the negligence of a government in these cases is as religously questionable, if not more than homosexuality is?”

Admittedly, which is a good reason to stay away from the two main parties all together. Do you honestly believe the Democratic Party hasn’t neglected their appropriate roll in the government? I can give you some lovely local examples if you do.

“If the DNC really is cracking down on religion, folks like us can crack back, but I donít know what it is that should convince me that the DNC is really creating problems here, especially to the extent that it should distract me and folks like me from Katrina and from Iraq.”

First, folks are cracking back against the DNC. Thus, Bush was elected. Thus, we also got a Republican majority in Congress. I readily admit the results were not what I’d hoped for… For me at least, credibility has been stretched to the breaking point.

However, you should realize this. When you (or other Democrats) suggest that the Democrats could have done it better, you ARE distracting from situations like Katrina and Iraq. The Democrats CANNOT do it better, because they will not have the opportunity to be in control during these crisises as the Republicans are now.

If you want successful resolutions to these situations, then you should work towards that instead of trying to secure future votes for Democratic candidates. The problem you face, when trying to do both, is that the two are almost certainly mutually exclusive. If these problems are resolved, the public doesn’t have the pressing motivation to elect Democrats versus Republicans. If these problems are still in the fore-front of the news, then Democratic candidates can point to the current news and say “This is how I’d do it better…”

For those who want to ensure the Democrats to regain power, resolving these issues before the elections are not in their best interest. The incompetence of the Bush administration will be in the fore-front of people’s minds, getting steady attention, and the Democrats will smear that mess onto all Republicans. That’s the nature of politics today.

If these issues are resolved, if things are calm and peaceful, if the only “pressing” issues are the mundane things the American people are numb to, like crushing debt, deteriorating schools, poverty, environmental hazards and the like…then that will take the heat off the Republicans, because the majority of the American people are so used to getting that stuff no matter which main party is elected that harping about it is meaningless.

Many people, especially here on Watchblog, are smart enough to see this important distinction between being set to solve a problem and being set to regain power for the Democratic Party. If those within the party cannot see this conflict, then they will lose any chance of regaining the voting populace’s trust.

I know the rank hypocrisy has absolved me of any trust I had in the Democratic Party. It has been quite a shock seeing the Republican President versus the Democratic Governor. Watching Doyle do just about everything you accuse Bush of that he can at his level…while y’all call Bush names for doing it…it’s just amazing!

Posted by: Stephanie at September 18, 2005 1:42 AM
Comment #81230
Admittedly, the Republican Party has a long way to go too, but trying to push the Democratic Party as a party for the preservation of life is ludicrous.

Actually, Stephanie, the Democrats stand for effective action to make abortion unnecessary. If you and the Republicans think making abortion illegal is going to stop abortion, you’re dreaming.

From our perspective, you guys are the baby killers because you don’t have an effective answer to the problem.

As for Democrats helping to solve problems, we are. Much of the Katrina assistence is coming at the urging of Democrats in Congress, and Democrats are the only party calling for a non-partisan assessment of the Katrina response and for recommendations to make sure we do better next time.

Improving the response of the agencies which handle natural disasters as well as catastrophic terrorist attacks is vital, and I’m sick of Republicans playing partisan politics when our national security is at stake.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 18, 2005 7:34 AM
Comment #81243

Jo-
Listen, I consider myself a progressive, so my personal experience of what it means to be such makes it very difficult for me to read what you’re writing here and consider your opinion sound. You’re entitled to your opinion, and you have to realize that nobody in this country can take it from you. Lack of agreement and compromise on their part does not equal a lack of voice on your part.

I just think your opinion is too clouded by anger at these folks to really get the story straight. That, however, is my opinion, and you are free to reject it, and convince others to reject it with you.

Stephanie-

How exactly do they represent the will of the people, when they are going against the will of the people?

That is the basic problems of politics. The will of the people takes different forms, and different routes. It’s not monolithic. Different parts of the population have different goals and desires in the political realm.

The GOP argues this will of the people without consistency. They pushed for the reinsertion of the feeding tube, despite the fact that a majority of Americans wanted the government to stay out of it. They would say it was a moral point. Yet, here, they try and portray this vote, which progressives would see as a moral point, as being a contradiction of the will of the people.

I would argue that both are expressions of the will of the people, and that in this case, if you knew the facts, you would know that the Referendum would likely win, so the point is moot. The will of the people, through previous law, has already determined what route the will of the people can take.

This is the amazing thing about Democracy, and the thing that makes me so annoyed about the battering of the separation of powers that this Republican congress has engaged in. The Founding fathers already tried a legislature dominated system. America has evolved over time towards a more centralized, and more progressive nation.

As for sanctity of life… I believe in that. I believe abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.

The thing I would say though, is that the abortion clinics are going nowhere, and the effort to end it will be a gradual event rather than an immediate one. Right now, the Gulf Coast lies in ruins, major American cities are out of commission, and there are many people already born, from the babies to the elderly who need the help.

But you guys are getting distracted by politics again, and that’s the shame. I don’t make the mistake of thinking that my work here is politically neutral, but I think that the drives and concerns that motivate me are not unknown to the other side, and Bush’s sinking numbers indicate that.

I make my appeals personally, not on my party’s behalf, and hope that others take them into account. I am a Democrat and a Liberal because I believe they take the responsibilities of government more seriously. I don’t care whether my government is big or small. I just want it to be effective at what we ask it to do.

I think the real distraction here is this concerted effort by some in the GOP to paint any complaint by Democrats about the quality of Bush’s response as merely political and partisan in nature.

It’s insulting to hear this kind of criticism coming from Republicans to us. Yes, we can make political inroads on this issue, but only because of the vacuum of leadership that Bush has left behind.

You think I wish for the worst? I have no reason to want the worst to happen. If you’ve read my posts long enough, you would know that I am a resident of the Houston area. Being such, I have an enlightened self-interest in disaster recovery policy, because one day those I love and myself may be in the bulls-eye.

Republican politics right now is divorced from reality. It’s all about telling us that we are excessively partisan for complaining about the real problems of the policies, because we’re not in the right party when we do so. I shouldn’t have to be in the Republican party for my concerns to be considered without such disrespect.

The fact of the matter is, Bush has not been the leader he’s advertised himself to be. That matters, whatever column you’re on, because we don’t have an alternative at the moment.

How long do we have to wait for leadership here? How long do I have to wait until results replace excuses, and these problems are taken care of?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 18, 2005 11:46 AM
Comment #81259
When our turn inevitably comes, the response I want is not damage control in Washington D.C., but repair and reconstruction, streamlined, efficient, and paid for now with cheaper tax dollars, rather than more expensive treasury bonds that fund deficits.

So, you agree they take turns ?
Is one really better than the other ?
Don’t get your hopes up about things getting much better, because government is still for sale, regardless of which party has the majority.
5% of the population was 59% of all weatlh.
Nothing wrong with being wealthy, as long as you don’t abuse it, which some do.
Thus, the remaining 95% of the population don’t have an equal voice in government, since 90% of all elections are won by the candidate that spends the most, which is why neither party wants election/campaign reform, or term limits. No mystery there.

But, some Democrats will be happy, since it’s likely the Democrats will win back both houses and the executive branch, but only for a while. But, after Democrats have 4 to 8 years to look bad after their turn at being irresponsible and unaccountable, still growing the debt larger (even if slower), the Republicans will win it back, and it will all start all over again. It’s really no surprise we are where we are.

Especially, when we keep empowering the two main-parties to continue it, keep being seduced into the distracting partisan squabbling, and keep hoping one party, or the other will fix everything the other party broke. Especially, when they both broke it together, as one entity, and we watched and allowed it. It’s interesting watching members of a party explain screw-ups by their party, and place blame elsewhere. Both do it. And, to add to the dysfunction, both sabotage each other every step of the way, to ensure the other looks bad, and ensure they get their turn to be irresponsible and accountable, all the while with no adequate concern for laws, fairness, and justice.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 18, 2005 1:27 PM
Comment #81283

d.a.n.-
Look, you can have two parties or ten, term limits or none, redistributed wealth or the cookie as it crumbles, but if people don’t have their eyes on the ball, it won’t matter. I think the GOP has the wrong angle on this, and that’s why this discussion has a political edge to it, however, I will be more pissed off if four years from now, our response is just as lily-livered and cowardly as the response of the GOP run government here.

I don’t want Doctors mopping floors, weeping, while patients die around them, because some idiot in FEMA decided it was more important to avoid a lawsuit. I don’t want… Well, you know what I don’t want- what I’m seeing right now. There is no political quick fix here. There is only hard work and effort.

If my Democratic leaders in Washington think they can call the Kettle black and turn around and do the same horseshit themselves, they’ve got another thing coming. I will not cast shame on the GOP only to have my party shame itself the same way.

The Object lesson of this current administration will be that all the spin doctoring in the world cannot change the stark realities of our lives one bit. Me and my fellow Democrats should not let ourselves fall victim to the tragedy of low expectations that now plagues our governmen with such lousy leadership.

The first step to confronting corruption and incompetence is being willing to call it what it is, and having done so, not tolerate it, or excuse it away. That includes excusing it away as a product of the system. The system can provide such temptations, but it cannot make the politician’s choices for them. It’s time we stop saying that bureaucracy is naturally corrupt and inefficient, time we stop giving deference to private companies who have obviously demonstrated how equally imperfect they are at being morally pure.

It’s time we stop letting the market do all our policing for us, because obviously it’s not getting in the way of all that.

The politicians need to know that they are responsible for what they do, so each needs to be confronted with their own misdeeds. This is about making it clear what the conditions for political survival are, and making sure there are too many people bringing it up for them to try and punish those people on the matter.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 18, 2005 4:20 PM
Comment #81305

AP,

“Actually, Stephanie, the Democrats stand for effective action to make abortion unnecessary.”

And exactly how does the DNC represent that? They are fighting to make abortions more accessible and more secret. How does that make them unnecessary?

“If you and the Republicans think making abortion illegal is going to stop abortion, youíre dreaming.”

No, it won’t stop it completely. It’ll make this form of murder a crime, and thus those who commit this form of murder will face legal consequences. Do you support making crack cocaine legal? In my mind, it’s the same sort of thing, except abortion does more damage.

“From our perspective, you guys are the baby killers because you donít have an effective answer to the problem.”

Education is the effective solution to the problem. Educate people on what abortion is, preferably using ultrasounds. Educate people on responsible behavior. Educate people on how to care for a baby, what their non-lethal options are and what programs are available to help them be successful whichever non-lethal option they choose.

Abortion does NOT eliminate the problem of unwanted babies, because the irresponsible bahavior that is necessary to conceive such children is NOT dealt with by the majority of our current practices!

“Much of the Katrina assistence is coming at the urging of Democrats in Congress…”

Much of the Katrina assistance is coming at the urging of Republicans in Congress as well. Much of the Katrina assistance is coming from the corporate sector. Much of the Katrina assistance is coming from not-for-profit organizations. The Democratic Party is a far-cry from having a corner on this particular market.

There are examples of Democrats asking for donations to the DNC while asking for donations for the Katrina refugees, as if they were synonymous. At least there were until it was pointed out what a faux pas that was. It’s rather telling of the DNC’s priorities.

“Improving the response of the agencies which handle natural disasters as well as catastrophic terrorist attacks is vital, and Iím sick of Republicans playing partisan politics when our national security is at stake.”

Oh, I agree completely. I’m just as sick with the Democrats doing the same damned thing! Actually, I find the Democrats even more sickening because they do it more often and more shrilly, if not more effectively. And it seems to me the more often and more shrilly, is because they are less effective and less believable.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 18, 2005 7:46 PM
Comment #81311

Stephen,

“That is the basic problems of politics. The will of the people takes different forms, and different routes. Itís not monolithic. Different parts of the population have different goals and desires in the political realm.”

Um, I’m not an idiot Stephen, please don’t try to patronize me.

The thing is, when the majority of the people in a state want something, and their representatives do the exact opposite, then they aren’t representing their constituents. It’s pretty simple.

“The GOP argues this will of the people without consistency.”

You’ll get no argument from me on that one. That’s one of the reasons why I’m an independent.

“…which progressives would see as a moral point…”

And so, there it is. It’s your morality versus ours, and yet you argue that we’re wrong for putting our morality in the equation. Nope, no hypocrisy there!

“…and more progressive nation.”

Yeah, we’re progressing right into the dumpster. Let’s celebrate!

“As for sanctity of lifeÖ I believe in that. I believe abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.”

You believe in sanctity of life, but taking a stand against abortion is merely politics? All I can do is sigh and shake my head here. You have the right to see it that way, but I disagree. I believe legalized murder is an atrocious crime that our nation is guilty of, and I do not believe that holding this belief takes away my concern for those involved in our wars or our national disasters. I’m capable of emotional and logical multi-tasking. A vote for me is always about weighing the pros and cons of the candidate and for me the lives of those not yet born usually have more weight than the lives of those people whose choices have put them where they are.

As for the rape, incest and medical necessity clauses, it really depends on how they are handled. If qualified doctors and psychologists are involved, that’s one thing, but if the qualifications are so loose that just about anything can slip through, then I must disagree.

Rape: I have a friend who has conceived a child due to rape and she loves her child very much and raises him well. I conceived a child, while I was still a child myself, due to rape and I wish I was able to keep the child, but I miscarried. Afterall, why does a child deserve to be murdered because his or her father was a rapist? Now, the morning-after pill that prevents conception, that’s something I would recommend.

Incest: This decision would be one that would definitely require both an obstetrician and a specialized psychologist to determine. In cases of incest there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Medical necessity: It really depends on if this is determined by actual danger, or risk, or inconvenience. During all three of my pregnancies I faced health risks, some of them were pretty scary, but that didn’t justify abortion in the least. Imminent danger, sure…but if it’s just risk, that’s a different matter altogether.

Now, if a more appropriate punishment for rape and incest were imposed, this would be much less of an issue. Many offenders are repeats. Many offenders believe the risk of getting caught and punished are slim (unfortunately, they are usually correct in this belief). Many offenders believe that the punishment they face is an acceptable risk for what they get out of committing the crime. My personal opinion, for which I’m sure to get heaps of criticism over, is castration. For women that’s more difficult, but taking away the ovaries might have the same effect as taking away the testicles on a male, but I don’t know. I think this would make the frequence of these types of crimes go down dramatically, as well as motivate people to become more responsible of their behavior.

“Right now, the Gulf Coast lies in ruins, major American cities are out of commission, and there are many people already born, from the babies to the elderly who need the help.”

What does concern over abortion have to do with them? It is possible to be concerned for both simultaneously.

“But you guys are getting distracted by politics again, and thatís the shame.”

Yes, I find your assumption and assertion that the DNC can do it all better very distracting because it is so very irrelevant.

“You think I wish for the worst?”

You personally? No. I’ve read enough of your posts to know that that isn’t the case. Do I think the DNC wishes for the worst? Yes, I definitely do. Their actions demonstrate that.

“… I have an enlightened self-interest in disaster recovery policy…”

Admittedly. If you compare Mississippi’s reaction to this natural disaster to Louisiana’s reaction, then you might just want to focus more of your attention on how this sort of thing is handled in your state, versus how it’s handled by the federal government.

“Republican politics right now is divorced from reality. Itís all about telling us that we are excessively partisan for complaining about the real problems of the policies, because weíre not in the right party when we do so. I shouldnít have to be in the Republican party for my concerns to be considered without such disrespect.”

And see, this is where the difficulty lies. For some Republicans, your statements apply. But not for all Republicans and certainly not for me. However, if you talk about Republicans as one body, one mind, then I have no reason not to associate you directly with your Democratic brethern.

“The fact of the matter is, Bush has not been the leader heís advertised himself to be. That matters, whatever column youíre on, because we donít have an alternative at the moment.”

I have no disagreement with your statement. As you might recall, I’ve frequently sought active ways to address this issue with folks here on Watchblog, including yourself. The thing I mind…and I mean really mind…is the suggestion that Democrats could have done it better. There’s is absolutely no merit to this statement. You cannot prove it, nor could I disprove it. It’s merely conjecture.

This statement is even more meaningless then for me to say, “Hail is going to destroy the planet 1,000 years in the future.” At least you can record my statement, and I can be proved wrong 1,000 years in the future. I’d be dead so I wouldn’t care, but at least there’s a way to verify my statement. Democrats could have done it better…there’s no way to prove that, because the situation has never been the same and will never be the same.

“How long do we have to wait for leadership here? How long do I have to wait until results replace excuses, and these problems are taken care of?”

How long do I have to wait before someone is willing to help me devise an effective way to make this demand of our current president? How long do we have to wait before partisan politics can be set aside by both the Republicans AND the Democrats so real change can be accomplished?

Posted by: Stephanie at September 18, 2005 8:47 PM
Comment #81350

Stephanie-
I’m sorry if I come across as patronizing, but you’re forgetting that we don’t live in a direct Democracy. You’re obviously forgetting the fact that the people have all sorts of ways of yanking these folks back in line, if they wish to do so.

Namely, electing somebody else. If they don’t do that, it’s a tacit expression of the will of the people, which not being expressed by a distinct, monolithic group or entity is never quite as specific as politicians on either side would have it be.

I believe abortion, with the soft political support for repeal has basically been made into a moral wedge issue. I’d just as soon compromise my way down to getting abortion out of the picture, and in the meantime, deal with some moral issues that truly impact us all.

On the subject of the exceptions, I understand those rape victims who want to bring something positive out of the negative experience. But having been on the other side of the argument for the first twenty years of my life, I understand the other side, too. I understand the difference that taking the secular angle on this issue makes.

If you don’t believe a child is developed enough to qualify as a separate person before a certain period in the pregnancy, the option of getting rid of an unwanted result of a nonconsensual sex act will be strongly compelling.

Incest? First, there’s the claim itself, and then there’s the genetics of the baby itself.

as for Danger to the mother, I agree with you.

All in all though, this wasn’t the thread I wanted to discuss this subject in. I was going for discussion on Katrina, and am just a bit annoyed that the subject gets shifted to abortion and other things that are strongly unrelated. It’s poetically ironic, given the purpose of the post.

I don’t think my fellow Democrats wish for the worst, anymore than I do. The fact of the matter is, we’re tired of all this chaos and crisis.

If you’re not a Republican, why do you buy the whole line about our motives as they present it? That’s not us. That’s not how we think, and it’s high time y’all start being independent enough to recognize our loyalty to this country’s well being.

As for State vs. Federal, I think state has its limits in terms of responses, especially when you involve the kind of catastrophic, multi-state disaster we have here.

In fact, the reason I object to that approach, is that it is the one that we just took. What you are advocating has been what FEMA’s been advocating under the Republican leadership of congress and the White House. It was their decision to make FEMA more passive, more support than salvation.

We did do disasters like this better in the past, so it stands to reason that America could have benefited from putting a Dem int he White House. We are more purpose driven, more results oriented on issues of government policy. We’re not expecting the government to fail us, so we actually do what it takes to have it not do so.

The way I figure it, the only way to get these guys to wake up, and to perhaps do some good, is to upset the balance of power away from the Republicans. If that never happens, it will simply be business as usual.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 19, 2005 12:27 AM
Comment #81361

Stephen,

“Youíre obviously forgetting the fact that the people have all sorts of ways of yanking these folks back in line, if they wish to do so.”

Not at all. You seem to be forgetting that our fellow citizens have been doing that very thing.

Namely recalling their elected officials who haven’t been doing their job.

“I believe abortion, with the soft political support for repeal has basically been made into a moral wedge issue. Iíd just as soon compromise my way down to getting abortion out of the picture, and in the meantime, deal with some moral issues that truly impact us all.”

While you’re calling for compromise, elected Democratic politicians are trying to make it more accessible and more secret. That’s hardly compromise.

Besides, I personally consider abortion a more issue that truly impacts us all.

“I understand the difference that taking the secular angle on this issue makes.”

Religion isn’t a part of either of the examples I used to describe women wanting to keep their babies. I believe if the physical and psychological impact of carrying the child would be severely damaging to the victim, then abortion is justified. I’m not suggesting we make it difficult for victims to rid themselves of an unwanted child. I’m merely suggesting we don’t assume that it is a first choice or a best choice in all cases.

“If you donít believe a child is developed enough to qualify as a separate person before a certain period in the pregnancy, the option of getting rid of an unwanted result of a nonconsensual sex act will be strongly compelling.”

My belief that a child is a separate person throughout the pregnancy is a result of having been pregnant four times, not because of any religious teachings. I was pro-choice until I saw the ultrasound of my first live-birth child. He was only 6 weeks along and he was a baby, a real live human being. That experience happened before I’d settled into any specific religion.

“Incest? First, thereís the claim itself, and then thereís the genetics of the baby itself.”

In a case of legal incest the man (or woman) does not have to be genetically related to the victim. If a step-father molests and rapes his wife’s child, he’s not genetically related, but legally it is defined as incest, at least in some states, and it does come with a higher penalty.

My concern with typical incest cases is not the genetics of the unborn baby, it’s the very real physical risk to the mother-to-be. Say a ten year old girl gets pregnant with her step-father’s baby by way of legal incest…for medical and psychological reasons it is probably best for all concerned for the baby to be aborted.

“I was going for discussion on Katrina, and am just a bit annoyed that the subject gets shifted to abortion and other things that are strongly unrelated.”

That’s the result of trying to claim Democrats are life-savers and Republicans are killers.

“I donít think my fellow Democrats wish for the worst, anymore than I do. The fact of the matter is, weíre tired of all this chaos and crisis.”

Perhaps that would ring more true if Democrats hadn’t been so adamantly antagonistic before Bush even got elected, but considering all the mud-slinging that occurred on both sides…this claim just doesn’t fit as a justification for Bush-bashing. It all started before Bush even had the chance to do anything wrong and it never really seemed to stop.

“If youíre not a Republican, why do you buy the whole line about our motives as they present it? Thatís not us.”

First of all, most of the news I get is either from Yahoo or stems from discussions on here, so you’re suggestion of me buying into the DNC’s motives “as they present it” doesn’t really wash. Second of all, I’m judging those statements on what I see locally, and the news as it is filtered through Watchblog.

For you specifically, I grant you more as being “smarter than your average bear,” so to speak. Also, I’m assuming you are not currently running for political office under the DNC, nor are you a bigwig in the DNC. It makes a difference. The majority of Republicans do not share the personal motivation that Bush does. The majority of Democrats do not share the personal motivation that Kerry does. The bigwigs in the DNC want to win elections, that’s how they get their money, that’s how they get their power, and yes I honestly believe they will do just about anything to accomplish that goal. If it’s any consolation, I believe the same for the Republicans. I just feel less personally threatened by the Republicans, because on the state level it is a Democrat who seems to be doing everything in his power to make my life more difficult, be that cutting my kids off from necessary therapeutic treatments, to making college too costly for me to go, to under-funding our local schools while still implimenting costly pet projects. My Democrat governor is flubbing just as badly as Bush is, and thus your claim that Dems could do it better seems nothing more than hogwash to me.

“…itís high time yíall start being independent enough to recognize our loyalty to this countryís well being.”

Yours? Yes. Bush’s or Clinton’s or Kerry’s? Not a chance. They’ve all demonstrated the abuse of their power.

“As for State vs. Federal…”

Should FEMA have done a better? Yes, certainly, most definitely. Did Mississippi do a better job than Lousiana? Yes, certainly, most definitely. If the state is unwilling to pick up the slack, then the problem with the state has to be addressed as well.

“It was their decision to make FEMA more passive, more support than salvation.”

Rely on the federal government for salvation? Even ignoring the religious implications of that word… I mean, wow! That never really occurred to me. The idea is…

Okay, stepping back for a moment I have to ask. Has the figurative beauracratic red tape never interferred in your life?

“We did do disasters like this better in the past…”

Name a disaster “like this.” Please, I’d like the history lesson. This catastrophic, this many people, this big of a swath of effected people and land. The only thing close that I can think of is the Great Depression that, if my memory serves, started or was at least significantly worsened, by severe drought. Nothing else I’m aware of even compares. And, as that drought and the depression being handled well…I don’t think we even have an accurate count of how many people died because of it.

As for the rest of that paragraph… The sad thing is you probably believe it.

“The way I figure it, the only way to get these guys to wake up, and to perhaps do some good, is to upset the balance of power away from the Republicans. If that never happens, it will simply be business as usual.”

So, you want to wait it out and then hand the power back to the Dems so they can abuse it… and that’s why we don’t make any progress.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 19, 2005 2:20 AM
Comment #81410
Abortion does NOT eliminate the problem of unwanted babies, because the irresponsible bahavior that is necessary to conceive such children is NOT dealt with by the majority of our current practices!

Duh, Stephanie. That’s what I’m talking about. Senate Bill S.20, the “Putting Prevention First” bill expands teen pregnancy prevention programs and access to family planning services.

Also, Senators Clinton and Boxer just introduced the Family Planning Services Act to reduce unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care.

Do you support making crack cocaine legal?

Of course not, but making it illegal hasn’t stopped its spread and use. You have to get to the root of the problem. Democrats are doing that with abortion, Republicans aren’t addressing it at all.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 19, 2005 10:55 AM
Comment #81431

Stephanie,

Did you notice a lack of response to your suggestion of castration? It would appear that at least the men on this blog wish to avoid that as a solution. Perhaps, because I am a woman who experienced incest repeatly as a child, I feel more stongly about this matter, than others. And as you stated, my abuserS, captial S, were not only my immediate family,(however that occurred as well) but friends of my immediate family. The caretaker type. I truly believe that castration is being way to nice to theses types of abusers. I know the horror of incest, and the trauma I experienced, not only then but also as an adult in my own life.

I am however in favor of the RIGHT to CHOOSE! My mother died as the result of one of the ‘backroom ’ abortions, and her death affected not only myself, but that of my father, other family members, work and church members, etc. When one is left alive after a death in the family, many things change - just as a new baby causes change. I pray that my adult girls never have to face the impact of having to decide whether to have an abortion, but regardless of what they might choose, I hope that they HAVE a choice, and know that they are supported my myself and their family.

Linda H.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 19, 2005 12:54 PM
Comment #81433

I forgot to add, that this issue is extremely close to home, and as long as some people believe they have the moral right to decide how I should live, and what I can or can’t do with my body, I feel there is no way I can honestly support the so called “Christian” stance, which appears to make up a large number of the Republican Party.

If there were an Indepentant candidate who was not an alarmist or extremist, I could see myself voting in that direction.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 19, 2005 1:00 PM
Comment #81557

AP,

Harry Reid doesn’t seem too bad, he’s probably trustworthy on this issue. But Clinton and Boxer will never have my support on this issue. I do NOT agree that we have the right to choose to commit murder.

“You have to get to the root of the problem. Democrats are doing that with abortion, Republicans arenít addressing it at all.”

Republican politicians, perhaps not, but people who typically vote for Republican candidates most certainly are. Dr. James Dobson is making ultrasound technology more accessible in free clinics, because actually seeing the baby reduces the likelihood that the woman would choose abortion.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 20, 2005 10:27 AM
Comment #81561

Linda H.,

“Did you notice a lack of response to your suggestion of castration?”

Yes, I did. That’s the usual response I get, so I’m not surprised. If I get a response other than silence, then it’s usually claims of “cruel and unusual punishment.” However, seeing how ineffective our current methods are, I don’t see us having much choice (other than choosing to kill them outright) if we actually want to end the crimes. Since people are not willing to use effective punishments, I’m forced to assume that the crimes are not very important to them. Which is why the people who usually agree with me are those who’ve been personally effected by this type of crime.

As for the abortion issue, we’ve been through it together and not so very long ago. ;-) I remember your stance and your reasons. Last time we came to an understanding, though not agreement.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 20, 2005 10:39 AM
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