Third Party & Independents Archives

September 26, 2005

Going Wrong in America

The President is looking to Congress to grant the Pentagon the authority to determine if it should move in on natural disasters taking over from the beginning on their own authority if warranted. This is reported by CBS News:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters on Air Force One Sunday that Bush talked about whether “there is a trigger that comes into play in the event of a catastrophic event where the Department of Defense would need to come in and help really to help stabilize the situation.”

That trigger, he said, would only be considered in a catastrophic event.

There is no immediate danger should Congress usurp State's Rights under the Constitution by removing the power of the state's governor's as sole decision maker of whether federal authorities and forces should enter the state with the power to commandeer the state's national guard and invoke federal martial law. However, such a law would not be passed as a temporary law.

This sets a future stage in which the option of a President to use a natural catastrophe as predicate to other plans to place whole regions or the entire U.S. under martial law and one person rule for wholly other purposes. This is not as far fetched as it first appears. Our current President used 9/11 as predicate and justification for invading Iraq despite the fact that the bulk of the justifications used to convince the American people and the Congress of the necessity were false or fabricated.

It is not too far fetched for a President to one-day use a disaster event to cloak and cover the carrying out of plans in another direction which the people would never have authorized on its own merits. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to our democracy if Congress grants the executive branch the authority to override state's rights under the condition of a natural disaster. Such power is not likely to be abused in the next couple of years, but, as we have seen, America is changing at a very fast rate. We have already seen Presidents like FDR and Nixon initiate extra-legal and even illegal actions in the name of power and federal responsibility, not to mention cover-up.

Cover-up by our government is becoming commonplace and truth-telling is getting harder to come by. Collusion between the Courts and the Executive Branch to exercise gag authority is a newfound protection for the abusive and incompetent in government, as well as politician's illegal exercise of power. (e.g. Documents: Frist knew contents of blind trust. and Texas grand jury indicts DeLay committee.)

In a very disturbing case ongoing since 2002, Edmonds v DOJ, (PDF)a former FBI employee, Sibel Edmonds, tried to blow the whistle on incompetence, cover-up, and failure of the FBI to protect and defend Americans. As a result, the following information was deemed TOP SECRET by our government: Her education, date of birth, languages spoken, place of birth, and resume. Thus our government declared her driver's license, her passport, her job history, and a host of other documents containing such information Top Secret, in what appears to be an attempt to halt her life in America despite the fact she became a naturalized citizen in 1988. She took her oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the US and the laws of our land upon hiring into the FBI too seriously for the authorities.

When she took her case to Congressional overseers, they were hit with a gag order which they complied with, eliminating public hearings and media attention to Edmond's allegations. She got her day in court, but during the proceedings, the media was shut out and ultimately the trial became closed to the plaintiff and her attorneys so the DOJ attorneys could present their case to the Judge. Shortly after leaving the courtroom, the Edmonds and her attorneys were told the case was over and they were escorted out of the building. The ruling was that unspecified secrets justified that the gag order against her be upheld.

What was her claim? While a FBI interpreter she learned authorities were dictating to the FBI to not investigate certain terrorist suspects, and a swapping of forensic evidence which would allow the guilty to go free and implicate innocent persons for crimes they did not commit. All in the name of covering up for negligence, incompetence, and illegal behavior by enforcement authorities. While the Dept. of Justice relented in the face of the Edmond's suit, to some extent, the amount of resources, time and money to get the government to halt such abuse is going to prove prohibitive in keeping government compliant with Constitutional design for open and transparent government.

As Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) of Arkansas discussed before the National Press Club on Sept. 23, 2005, Government can do anything it wants, Constitution be damned, if they can gradually alter the atmosphere and tolerance level of the people over time. Gov. Huckabee pointed to the fact that if the government attempted to ban smoking in whole towns and city public places in the 1960's, the public would have viewed such moves as both abusive and unconstitutional. Similarly, he discussed how government authority to fine, or even arrest those who choose not to buckle their seat belt would have met with near revolution back in the 1970's. Yet, today, the majority of states have established the authority to halt a vehicle, search it's contents and occupants, and fine the vehicle's occupants, all Constitutionally as a result of a personal choice to not buckle up.

In these times of domestic and foreign terrorists threatening America, and in this time of increasing frequency of natural disasters resulting from global warming, what we viewed as unconstitutional and against the interests of citizen's rights just a few years ago, are now becoming Constitutional and acceptable by a majority of Americans. The Patriot Act is the most obvious example. The most sinister however, of these changes is in the area of governmental transparency and accountability, and most especially in the very specific area of the government's increasing capacity to gag whistle-blowers either formally through the courts, or through intimidation and threat toward whistle-blower's jobs and livelihoods; whistle-blowers whose oath to protect and defend the Constitution is what motivated their whistle-blowing in the first place.

Americans are allowing them selves to become tolerant and accepting of losses of freedoms and rights, and giving America's government a free pass in its march toward an ever more powerful federal government with ever-greater authoritarian and even dictatorial powers vested in the occupant of the Whitehouse. These are dangerous times we live in; but if left unchecked, the future may contain horrors for our children's generation which George Orwell and Aldous Huxley tried to warn us against.

Posted by David R. Remer at September 26, 2005 09:24 PM
Comments
Comment #82058

David,
I’m glad to see you made it through Rita ok. And I agree that President Bush is overreacting to his on stupidity that was shown over the federal governments handling of Katrina. Hopefuly this wil wakeup the News Media to the fact that they have been hoodwinked by the Republican Party.

Although I do believe this gives the Democrats and Third Party Canididates pure ammo going into the 2006 Elections. Because why do “We the People” want to change our entire government just over the fact that President Bush can’t find the “Remote” to his TV set? No, what happened in Louisiana over Katrina was “Pure Politics” caused by Mr. Brown and Company. And President Bush is doing his best to cover it up. I just hope our Congressional People like their job better than their party loyality otherwise Americans are going to rebel.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 27, 2005 12:03 AM
Comment #82082

David,

This is EXACTLY the states’ rights argument I gave you ALL the way through the Katrina debacle. The “fault” of the federal govt not moving in “quickly enough” falls directly on the governor for not declaring the state of emergency to allow federal funds to be opened up to the state. The states of Mississippi (which was hit MUCH worse by Katrina than Louisiana) and Alabama (which also sustained more damaget from the hurricane that LA) both declared the states of emergency BEFORE the hurricane hit…so the recovery/rescue mission was started as soon as the storm passed. What caused the problem in NO was that they thought they’d dodged the bullet…and that they were gonna be fine…well they didn’t know that the levees would break (on the LAKE side not the ocean side so that wouldn’t be caused by the hurricane that would be caused by the rain runoff). By Blanco dragging her feet instead of just opening up the money “floodgates” (no pun intended), she sat around and waited. Then the “show” began. Whether or not you believe that it’s a federal problem…when the Red Cross was sitting a mile away from the Superdome and the convention center with food and water and were turned away by state officials…is up to you. Does that stop the flood water…no, but neither can Bush. Why? b/c he doesn’t hold the “purse-strings”, and how much money was wasted in LA instead of put into the levees? Sounds like a beauracracy problem of epic proportions…but then…who controls the state and local govt’s in LA and NO, much less the senate seats? Seems the old cliche of “when you point your finger you have three pointing back at you” comes to mind.

Simply stated though…to allow the federal govt free reign on the fact of “taking over” is a CLEAR violation of states’ rights and I am NOT a supporter of it. I work in an industry where we get a set of plans sent to us from the “main office”. The problem is…they always must be changed in the field…why?…b/c the person sitting in front of a computer drawing it up in 2-D doesn’t have the SLIGHTEST clue what it looks like in the field. I grew up in Illinois…and have lived in several places…but I have NO IDEA what the swamps of Louisiana are like…should I run a relief effort? or should someone with local knowledge? Maybe that’s the REAL question here. How much authority SHOULD be given to the feds. Maybe even with federal money and support going in…should be controlled at a more local level. Kinda like a “field office”. That sound practical?

Posted by: Robert at September 27, 2005 02:24 AM
Comment #82083

Just because FEMA failed so miserably at its job is no reason to hand it over to the military. The reason it did so was because the department has been staffed for years with political cronies instead of qualified personnel. FEMA under Clinton was quite effective, so it is not an organization that is inherently ineffective. If this Administration would only be willing to learn from its mistakes, FEMA could return to those days. Making it easier for the government to declare martial law is not the answer, and turning over power to the military in civilian life when we could just hire qualified people experienced in dealing with disasters has too many potentially harmful consequences.

Posted by: Tapia at September 27, 2005 02:26 AM
Comment #82088

Robert,

Blanco declared a state of emergency on Friday, August 26. Barbour of Mississippi declared a state of emergency a day later. Katrina made landfall on the 29th.

If you’re going to criticize her, at least criticize her for something based in reality.

Posted by: LawnBoy at September 27, 2005 02:58 AM
Comment #82100

Henry, thanks. We didn’t even get a drop of rain. The fire danger around here is extremely high as a result.

Posted by: David R Remer at September 27, 2005 03:36 AM
Comment #82101

Thanks, Lawnboy. You saved me the time of having to look up the links to prove Robert’s opinions totally unfounded.

Posted by: David R Remer at September 27, 2005 03:37 AM
Comment #82111

Oh, and just to be complete, Alabama declared its state of emergency last, on August 28th.

Glad to help, David :)

Posted by: LawnBoy at September 27, 2005 04:21 AM
Comment #82122

David, excellent post as usual. I hope to see a tipping point looming however that may cool some of the government’s actions. I think the press have finally had it with this administration’s shenanigans and are starting to react more aggressively. I’ve seen David Gregory chew up Scott McClellen in the white house briefings, and are starting to read more aggressive pieces in the paper coming even from conservative columnists. Someone once said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, and I agree. I’m optimistic that as governments attempt to get more secretive, we’ll see a more aggressive press shine a light on their actions.

Posted by: Dennis at September 27, 2005 06:31 AM
Comment #82135

Folks:

The idea of blaming the federal government alone for the Katrina aftermath is losing steam. FEMA deserves blame, but not solely. In your haste to blame Bush for anything and everything, please don’t forget the other people involved at the local and state levels.

The idea of giving the military authority is not a good one. The idea of using the military more is definitely a good one, but only if it doesn’t usurp state’s rights. If the states want the authority to be in charge, then the states must accept the responsibility that comes with that. They cannot simply wait for the “cavalry” to come. They can and should be able to request federal assistance, but the responsibility still should remain with the states.

New reports are showing that much of the allegations of rape and mayhem in New Orleans did NOT happen. There were certainly some isolated instances, but not on the scale of what was alleged. The death toll, while tragic, was 10% of what was alleged by Mayor Nagins.

People have been shown complaining about the evacuation of Houston, and the gridlock on the highways. Is there no understanding that there is NO plan for evacuation of a major city that does not include severe delays and problems? It simply is not possible.

The media’s job is to look for problems and for stories. There is little story in reporting that all went well, and so the media looks for the cracks in the wall. The cracks will always be there….ALWAYS. Yet to focus on the cracks instead of the good is a common mistake. I for one will not fall for that, and I urge the rest of you to not do so either.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 27, 2005 08:30 AM
Comment #82144
David R. Remer wrote: In these times of domestic and foreign terrorists threatening America, and in this time of increasing frequency of natural disasters resulting from global warming, what we viewed as unconstitutional and against the interests of citizen’s rights just a few years ago, are now becoming Constitutional and acceptable by a majority of Americans.

Americans are allowing them selves to become tolerant and accepting of losses of freedoms and rights, and giving America’s government a free pass in its march toward an ever more powerful federal government with ever-greater authoritarian and even dictatorial powers vested in the occupant of the Whitehouse. These are dangerous times we live in; but if left unchecked, the future may contain horrors for our children’s generation which George Orwell and Aldous Huxley tried to warn us against.

Yes, government is out of control.
Also, consider recent abuses of eminent domain laws. Government and corporations are in-league with each other (corpocrisy; corporatism, what ever you want to call it), like some lawyers and government are in-league (leading to legal plunder and perversion of the laws). These forces and conditions always exist, but more so (or less) at different times in history.

But, unfortunately, Americans are too complacent, selfish, apatheic, and sheepish to see or care what’s going on, and view claims like your’s and mine as extreme, and Chicken-Littlish. But, Americans should never underestimate the few that abuse vast power and wealth, their greed, and the absolute power that corrupts absolutley.

And, the historical cycle should not be ignored either:

Posted by: d.a.n at September 27, 2005 09:29 AM
Comment #82158

I cannot conceive of any disaster situation — even a catastrophic terrorist attack — that would require the US 1st Armored Division or the Air Force Strategic Air Command to lead relief efforts in Port Boondock, La.

Having the military assist the states as requested is one thing (and Rita proves even Bush can do it right, if he’s forced to), but having the Pentagon replace FEMA is as dumb as making the Pentagon responsible for post-war planning in Iraq.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 27, 2005 10:58 AM
Comment #82160

I do not support government usurping state’s rights. The article pinpoints IMO a real need for extremely astute State Governors. Weather disasters, however well we claim to be able to predict, have a “crystal ball” element to them. I believe an example has been established by Katrina that will result in evacuations that otherwise would not have been ordered.

If there had been no Katrina, would Houston have been evacuated? I do not live there so I can’t possibly know. I would opine however that there woulde have not been a mass evacuation nor would there have been the other preparatory steps taken.

I believe that this country will now be “evacuation happy”. You may say ” on ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” but, I would counter with “a penny saved is a penny earned”. Or whatever jingle would suggest that it is very costly to prepare and evacuate unnecesarilly.

Posted by: steve smith at September 27, 2005 11:02 AM
Comment #82174

David, good article.

“There is no immediate danger should Congress usurp State’s Rights under the Constitution by removing the power of the state’s governor’s as sole decision maker of whether federal authorities and forces should enter the state with the power to commandeer the state’s national guard and invoke federal martial law. However, such a law would not be passed as a temporary law.”

Yes. It seems they are once again using a disaster in order to pass a very dangerous permanent law — just like they did with the Patriot Act.
Obviously this whole question should always hinge on whether there are enough National Guard troops for governors to call on in an emergency. This time there weren’t because of the Iraq War, so unless the Fed’s plan on being at war indefinitely (no doubt that seems like a fine idea to the Neocon’s), there appears to me to be no valid reason for passing such a law.

jbod:
“The idea of blaming the federal government alone for the Katrina aftermath is losing steam. FEMA deserves blame, but not solely. In your haste to blame Bush for anything and everything, please don’t forget the other people involved at the local and state levels.”

The problem here of course, is that the president can screw up the economy to the point where there isn’t any money for planning and personel at the state and local levels. And start wars that remove large numbers of the National Guard out of the state, thereby endangering a states ability to respond effectively in a disaster.
In the situation with New Orleans, FEMA’s response was pathetically ineffective at a time when it was much needed. And in a time when the governor had declared the state of emergency well ahead of time — knowing with certainty that the state wasn’t going to be prepared to deal with the crisis at hand.

“If the states want the authority to be in charge, then the states must accept the responsibility that comes with that. They cannot simply wait for the “cavalry” to come. They can and should be able to request federal assistance, but the responsibility still should remain with the states.”

The responsibility of the states is to begin responding immediately before and after the disaster, but FEMA should be fully engaged in standardized pre-planning for disasters (this way if other responders from other states must be brought in, everyone will be following the exact same plan) with the states. And they should be fully prepared to immediately assist every state during all their disasters and emergency responses.
That was the whole reason for creating the agency in the first place — and when a state is overwhelmed in a crisis, they should indeed become the “cavalry” that people should feel certain they can depend upon.

“New reports are showing that much of the allegations of rape and mayhem in New Orleans did NOT happen. There were certainly some isolated instances, but not on the scale of what was alleged.”

Yes, and the result of that was that those who responded immediately began treating so many people as though they were criminals, or potential criminals. Also, now there are reports coming out that the local police were doing quite a lot of looting and terrorizing of people themselves.

“People have been shown complaining about the evacuation of Houston, and the gridlock on the highways. Is there no understanding that there is NO plan for evacuation of a major city that does not include severe delays and problems? It simply is not possible.”

It’s hard for me to comprehend the idea that FEMA hasn’t even begun to consider what an emergency situation in an urban area would automatically be like! That just seems like total stupidity to me. I mean, HELLO! 9/11 — big urban crisis — no planning for a similar situation?
And again, I don’t understand why the railways aren’t being considered an obvious solution for moving large numbers of people out of disasters way in numerous directions.

“The media’s job is to look for problems and for stories. There is little story in reporting that all went well, and so the media looks for the cracks in the wall. The cracks will always be there….ALWAYS.”

If those cracks weren’t so bloody gaping-wide, it wouldn’t have even become such a major focus of this disaster, yes? People lost their lives here because of the ineffective response — that’s news and that should always be taken seriously, IMO.

“Yet to focus on the cracks instead of the good is a common mistake. I for one will not fall for that, and I urge the rest of you to not do so either”

But this goes completely against human nature, Joe. We’re supposed to obsess on whatever goes wrong and learn lessons from our mistakes. We’d have never evolved from being grunting cave-dwellers if we didn’t have that very necessary ability to learn and adapt.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 27, 2005 11:55 AM
Comment #82180
We’re supposed to obsess on whatever goes wrong and learn lessons from our mistakes.

We do. It’s just that we have to do it over and over (i.e. re-learn those lessons).
We’re doomed to repeat history.
We can’t seem to break the cycle.
It’s human nature.
Despite much study of history, we still ignore it.
Also, to ignore government, is to invite abuse.
The cycle is driven by laziness.
When laziness, plunder, and lawlessness becomes too painful,
humans will then find the courage to be responsible (and less lazy).
Unfortunately, that means things will probably
have to get a lot worse, before they’ll ever get better (if ever, for a long long time).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 27, 2005 12:10 PM
Comment #82186

Adrienne:

Thanks for being an example of my argument.

A couple things:

You cite that “local police were doing quite a lot of looting and terrorizing of people”. I’ve not heard this as fact. I’d agree that there have been instances of it (such as the local police chief who hoarded supplies), but perhaps you could show examples of how they were doing it “a lot”.

Your desire to blame Bush for everything simply overwhelms anything else you have to say. You ignore the pathetic efforts of Blanco and Nagin in order to take shots at FEMA. By ignoring their efforts while blaming FEMA, you give the perception that you believe they did a good job. I’d like to hear your specific thoughts on how well Blanco and Nagin handled things.

The railways were considered. An empty Amtrak train left New Orleans. Have you read about that?

Lastly, Adrienne, it is NOT human nature to look for the black cloud behind the silver lining. You THINK its human nature because you do it. We do need to learn from mistakes, but pointing fingers at only one group while ignoring any other mistakes does not help us learn.

You’ll note that in every single post I have written on this topic, I have pointed to mistakes made by the federal, state and local government. You on the other hand focus on the Federal government only, which means you aren’t learning the lessons you need to. Your comments show a blindness..an inability to look beyond your anger at Bush. And by doing so, you cheat yourself more than anyone else.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 27, 2005 12:28 PM
Comment #82188

JBOD, something to consider is the fact for those who do not reside in the Katrina zone, local officials and their responsibilities do not fall within our purview to do anything about. That is for those locale’s constituents to deal with.

However, all Americans have a say and vote when it comes to the Federal Response to Katrina and Rita, and therefore, for most Americans, the Federal response is their chief concern. Since their money pays for that response, appropriate or failed.

In watching the hearings with “Brownie” on C-Span, it is not clear yet what failures occured at the local level, though there are plenty of allegations and counters to them. But Republican and Democrat Congresspersons in those hearings appear to be in agreement, FEMA failed in its responses and preparedness. To what extent is being discovered.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 12:38 PM
Comment #82189

And, let’s not forget those that could have evacuated, and did not, which not only endangered themselves, but selfishly endangered the rescuers and the truly needy that could not evacuate.
That’s the primary reason the disaster was more severe than previous recent hurricanes.
The order of responsibility is:
(1) those that could evacuate, and did not.
(2) the local city and state government (Nagin and Blanco),
(3) and then federal government (Brown, and who appointed him, and FEMA)

Posted by: d.a.n at September 27, 2005 12:42 PM
Comment #82196

jbod:
“You cite that “local police were doing quite a lot of looting and terrorizing of people”. I’ve not heard this as fact.”

I saw a special report about this on CNN. They first interviewed a New Orleans hotel owner and the engineer who worked for him and both claimed that a group of 8 policemen had taken over rooms in the hotel and kept bring back more and more stuff that they’d looted from area businesses. They also reported that the hotels customers were being terrorized by these rogue cops who eventually came to the hotel with a bus they’d stolen, loaded it up with everything they’d managed to take and finally drove away. Then, in the next segment, two reporters went to various parts of the city and talked to many of the residents who stayed in NO and they reported seeing the exact same kinds of things.
Sorry, I’ve tried to look for a link on CNN’s website for this story, but all the hits I keep getting have to do with reports of the police response to looting in general.

“Your desire to blame Bush for everything simply overwhelms anything else you have to say. You ignore the pathetic efforts of Blanco and Nagin in order to take shots at FEMA.”

I guess you haven’t been reading the posts I put up last week — I do think that Nagin can share blame with FEMA. I don’t see how the governor can be blamed since she declared the emergency early and begged the president for all the help he could give her.
If you don’t believe me when I say this, you can read this exchange I had with kctim recently (our exchange is towards the end of the thread):
An Expanded View Of Security

“By ignoring their efforts while blaming FEMA,”

I agree with David:
“all Americans have a say and vote when it comes to the Federal Response to Katrina and Rita, and therefore, for most Americans, the Federal response is their chief concern. Since their money pays for that response, appropriate or failed.”

“The railways were considered. An empty Amtrak train left New Orleans. Have you read about that?”

No, I hadn’t. Got a link?

“Lastly, Adrienne, it is NOT human nature to look for the black cloud behind the silver lining. You THINK its human nature because you do it.”

I try to keep my eyes open and take the good with the bad. Personally, I get the feeling you’d like to paint me as nothing more than a pessimist because they it is much easier to try to negate and belittle everything I have to say to you, but the truth is, most liberals have got to hold a lot of optimism in reserve in order to keep fighting to move progressive ideas forward in this society.

“We do need to learn from mistakes, but pointing fingers at only one group while ignoring any other mistakes does not help us learn.”

I think people should point their fingers whenever and wherever necessary and valid to get to the bottom of any problem.

“Your comments show a blindness..an inability to look beyond your anger at Bush. And by doing so, you cheat yourself more than anyone else.”

And you rightwingers have shown an inability to hold your president accountable for anything — even when it’s ridiculously obvious that he’s screwed-up big time. And by doing so you cheat the entire country, right, left and center.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 27, 2005 01:31 PM
Comment #82229

Adrienne,

What purpose does the little box in the middle of a sentence serve?

Posted by: steve smith at September 27, 2005 04:48 PM
Comment #82230

steve smith,

I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. What little box, in the middle of which sentence?

Posted by: Adrienne at September 27, 2005 04:56 PM
Comment #82232

Adrienne,

“you cite that ⬯cal police were doing quite a lot of looting and terrorizing of people⮠Iⶥ not heard this as fact.””

The little boxes above.

Posted by: steve smith at September 27, 2005 05:19 PM
Comment #82234

Adrienne:

I painted you as a pessimist for one reason and one reason only: You admitted to being one when you said “We’re supposed to obsess on whatever goes wrong and learn lessons from our mistakes.”

By obsessing on whatever goes wrong, you become pessimistic, in my opinion. You are free to be what you choose, but from your own comments, I see the choice you’ve made.

I think people should point their fingers whenever and wherever necessary and valid to get to the bottom of any problem.

My point earlier and still is that by pointing fingers only at the Feds, you are not getting to the bottom of the problem. You are only focusing on one aspect of it, and in doing so, you are missing an opportunity to fix a problem.

Adrienne, you called me a right winger who doesn’t hold Bush accountable in your last post. I’m not sure why namecalling is required, but at least get your story correct. Even in this thread, I’ve clearly stated that the federal response was inadequate. And by doing so, I’ve held Bush accountable, since he is the head of the federal government. I’m not clear on why you would even accuse me of not holding Bush accountable—-I’ve done so repeatedly in this and other threads. Perhaps I haven’t shown the requisite hatred of Bush that is required?

David:

Forgive me, but your last post was a complete copout. The discussion is about New Orleans and Louisiana, and as such the discussion obviously includes local, state and federal responses. They are obviously intertwined, and I’m sure you can see that clearly.

As we will all be paying for the bailout of New Orleans, I’d say it IS within our perview to discuss the specifics, and not just the federal issues.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 27, 2005 05:26 PM
Comment #82239

David, It’s sad to point out the increasing corruption, abuse of power, and irresponsibility of government, and the voters’ increasing complacency about it all, only to have it trivialized or ignored.
Most people are wallowing in their own petty little lives with little concern for government irresponsibility, unaccountability, legal plunder, fiscal, and moral bankruptcy, and where it’s all headed.
If it’s inevitable, then perhaps, it really doesn’t matter.
But, we need more people (like yourself) raising concern about the disturbing trend of the federal government, as our pressing problems grow in number and severity, while government does little (if anything) about any of them, because the system doesn’t reward those that tackle tough issues (in fact, they avoid them).

Posted by: d.a.n at September 27, 2005 05:45 PM
Comment #82240

jbod:
“By obsessing on whatever goes wrong, you become pessimistic, in my opinion. You are free to be what you choose, but from your own comments, I see the choice you’ve made.”

I don’t agree. Being honest with yourself by looking at what goes wrong is exactly how people go about fixing problems. Where the optimism comes in is having the confidence to try to fix them, the will to want things to improve, and the humor that will be needed along the way to keep everything moving forward.

“My point earlier and still is that by pointing fingers only at the Feds, you are not getting to the bottom of the problem.”

Didn’t look at my discussion with kctim, did you? Oh well, you can lead a horse to water….

“Adrienne, you called me a right winger who doesn’t hold Bush accountable in your last post. I’m not sure why namecalling is required, but at least get your story correct.”

Okay, so I was lumping you in with the Bush apologists — but why should I care since you’re still lumping me in as someone who will only point to FEMA’s mistakes?

“Perhaps I haven’t shown the requisite hatred of Bush that is required?”

Nah, not hate. Growing anger and impatience with their many failures would suffice.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 27, 2005 05:45 PM
Comment #82241

steve smith,
I don’t see that on my computer. I’ve got an Apple though, so maybe those boxes are caused by that? I really don’t know. Sorry if they’re irritating, but I can’t help what you’re seeing on your computer.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 27, 2005 05:47 PM
Comment #82244

I’ve been looking at my copy of the Constitution and the only things I see that puts a restrictions on the military taking action in this country are Article IV Section 4 and the 3rd Admendment. Article 4 Section 4 could be interpited that the military cannot just come in and take over a state. And that’s the posistion I take. However, if someone wanted to, they could make it say that the military can take over a state. That would be, I beleive, a streach of the Constitution.
Taking the wording of Article 4 Section 4 I don’t think that any law allowing the miltary to take over in case of a natural desaster won’t stand up to a court challenge.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 27, 2005 06:08 PM
Comment #82247

Ron Brown, I truly hope you are right. However, the courts have been time and again supporting the growth of power of the Executive Branch and in so doing, has been eroding the checks and balances between the branches. This is what gives me pause when I hear the Whitehouse discussing the Pentagon having autonomy to move into a disaster situation on its own authority.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 06:31 PM
Comment #82249

JBOD, I nor anyone else here is saying you can’t address the failures at the local levels, as you well know. The point is, our votes outside that region have no effect on those local officials. Our votes DO have an effect on the federal officials who are supposed to represent our interests.

This is precisely why the Democrats are absolutely correct in calling for an independent investigation of the breakdowns prior and during Katrina. The partisan nature of investigations pose the large risk of dodging responsibility which in turn will gloss over or neglect weaknesses in the system which will need to be strengthened for the next disaster.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 06:35 PM
Comment #82250

d.a.n, thank you for your remarks. We each do what we can. And we always have the same choice people in other countries have when they can no longer tolerate living under the system of their homeland, and immigrate to America. 7.2 million Americans have already emigrated to other nations for residence. That number grows every year.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 06:39 PM
Comment #82251

Dennis, thank you for your comments. You are right, we need more sunlight, and a great place to start is an independent investigation of the systemic weaknesses prior and during Katrina. It is needed because we have had 4 years since 9/11, Hurricane Pam, and billions of tax payer dollars spent to be prepared. We tax payers have a right to know why that money was wasted and how, and who is responsible. We have a right to demand that government start getting right after spending our money on a purpose. And I pray, Americans en masse will Vote the In Guys Out in 2006, as the strongest statement possible that political leaders are failing and we won’t stand for it anymore.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 06:45 PM
Comment #82254

steve smith,

Those little boxes you are seeing (I don’t see them either, but I do see other strange characters) are most likely the result of the software this blog is using—it doesn’t seem to be handling conversions between character encodings very well. Since the browser character set I’m using (UTF-8) is not the normal Western default I’ve noticed this occuring when I copy text into my posts. It usually happens when I copy someone else’s text directly without retyping it (eg, to use in a blockquote). If then hit the “Preview” button the preview screen will often show the copied text with incorrect character mappings (usually its quotes, elipses, and en or em dashes that get screwed up). If I don’t remember to retype the screwed up characters at this point and just hit “Post” they will appear in the final post.

Posted by: Charles Wager at September 27, 2005 07:24 PM
Comment #82258

apostrophe’s are also a problem.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 08:06 PM
Comment #82267


David R. Remer

Ron Brown, I truly hope you are right. However, the courts have been time and again supporting the growth of power of the Executive Branch and in so doing, has been eroding the checks and balances between the branches. This is what gives me pause when I hear the Whitehouse discussing the Pentagon having autonomy to move into a disaster situation on its own authority.

I know what your talking about, it scares the bejeebies out of me too.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 27, 2005 08:34 PM
Comment #82335

David:

You are changing the subject of our discussion. Nowhere have I said that an independent investigation would be a bad thing. I did, however say that to focus on one of three areas—federal versus local and state—does not help anyone get to the root of the problem. They might get to a part of the problem, but only the part they have already decided they want to get to.

A truly independent investigation would be good. What I fear is that Republicans might want to whitewash an investigation, while Democrats might want to simply tar and feather the administration for political purposes. We know that its very hard to have a truly independent investigation, but I would certainly support that.

My point once again is that the entire issue of Katrina is a public issue. You can choose to narrow the focus any way you want, but in doing so, you won’t get the whole truth.

Adrienne:

I see no posts of your discussing anything with kctim in this thread. So…I’ve focused on what you have said. I have neither the ability nor desire to hunt down all your posts in different threads before responding to this one.

However, I recall a post you made to me a while back where you admitted to not being able to find a single solitary thing to compliment George Bush on during his two terms as President. I pointed to that statement as evidence of your bias against him. I’ve seen nothing in subsequent posts from you to dispel that.

By the way, below is an excerpt from a Washington post story regarding the empty Amtrak train that you hadn’t heard about:

“In fact, while the last regularly scheduled train out of town had left a few hours earlier, Amtrak had decided to run a “dead-head” train that evening to move equipment out of the city. It was headed for high ground in Macomb, Miss., and it had room for several hundred passengers. “We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm’s way,” said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. “The city declined.”

So the ghost train left New Orleans at 8:30 p.m., with no passengers on board.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/10/AR2005091001529_pf.html

And this from CNN:

“Nagin, whose desperate plea for help in the days after the storm made him a folk hero to some, faces criticism for turning away resources that could have moved more people out of the city faster.

The mayor’s disaster plan called for mobilizing buses and evacuating the poor, but he did not get it done. He said he could not find drivers, but Amtrak says it offered help and was turned down, so a train with 900 seats rolled away empty a day and a half before the storm.”
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/13/katrina.response/

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 28, 2005 08:15 AM
Comment #82363
you called me a right winger who doesn’t hold Bush accountable in your last post. I’m not sure why namecalling is required

LOL! Adrienne, you should throw in the deadly insults, “conservative” and “Republican” for good measure. :D

Posted by: American Pundit at September 28, 2005 10:23 AM
Comment #82405

I’ve been called a Libertarian, but schismatist is probably more accurate.

But, look at the nightmare proportions that government has grown to.
Look at all of these: departments, agencies, committees, commissions, offices.
And, then look at how poorly, and irresponsibly most of them are operated.
Then, look at the cost for each.
And, look at all the people, so pathetically dependent on that dysfunctional system (even empower it).
The way it’s going, it’s certainly not helping to prevent the next economic downturn, that seems inevitable due to the federal government’s nearly complete irresponsibility, unaccountability, and fiscal & moral bankruptcy.
The system isn’t invincible.
Some economists are now (i.e. Harry S. Dent) are starting to say we’re approaching a substantional economic downturn.

…will come in the downturn we project for 2011 to 2022…

Posted by: d.a.n at September 28, 2005 01:10 PM
Comment #82407

I’ve been called a Libertarian, but schismatist is probably more accurate.

But, look at the nightmare proportions that government has grown to.
Look at all of these: home.comcast.net/~d.a.n/DoWeNeedAllOfTheseGovernmentOfficesDepartmentsAgenciesCommitteesEtc.htm

And, then look at how poorly, and irresponsibly most of them are operated.
Then, look at the cost for each.
And, look at all the people, so pathetically dependent on that dysfunctional system (even empower it).
The way it’s going, it’s certainly not helping to prevent the next economic downturn, that seems inevitable due to the federal government’s nearly complete irresponsibility, unaccountability, and fiscal & moral bankruptcy.
The system isn’t invincible.
Some economists are now (i.e. Harry S. Dent) starting to say we’re approaching a substantional economic downturn.
…will come in the downturn we project for 2011 to 2022…
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A0F6Q8/102-6110633-2726562?v=glance&n=551440&n=509382&s=ebooks&v=glance#detail-bullets-shorts

Posted by: d.a.n at September 28, 2005 01:13 PM
Comment #82415

Regarding Tom Delay’s indictment ( www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9507677/ ),
even if Tom Delay gets convicted, or even if
he pleads guilty, Bush will probably give him
a pardon, like Clinton gave to Dan Rostenkowski.
( www.bartleby.com/65/ro/RostenkD.html )

Posted by: d.a.n at September 28, 2005 01:36 PM
Comment #82491

We be celebratin’ round the BBQ with a case of Lone Star and Perle Beer, tonight!!!

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2005 06:09 PM
Comment #82526



This is reported by CBS News:

Hey, David, you believe anything they say?

Maybe they have changed, havent watched for over a year.

Posted by: George at September 28, 2005 10:09 PM
Comment #82567

David,
Re: The Crooked Delay
“We be celebratin’ round the BBQ with a case of Lone Star and Perle Beer, tonight!!!”“

Ya-hoo! The Cockroach Exterminator is finally gonna get a taste of comeupance!
This is a very hopeful sign for me that Justice is not entirely dead in America!

Warning, these are not a political questions (and so, no one will likely pay them any mind) but they are generally happy and celebratory in nature, though totally off topic…

You’ve mentioned you’re a Buddhist, therefore, vegetarian, and since my husband and I are quasi-vegetarian ourselves (I like to eat fish and seafood, my husband loves the occasional slab o’ meat and sometimes we indulge - though nothing will convince either of us to give up eating dairy on a daily basis), so I’m wondering what do you like to put on yer Texas BBQ?

I’ve been known to grill up all of the following: Portobello’s, Zuchini spears drizzled with sesame oil and spinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper, Butternut Squash (lots of ways), Stuffed Chiles or Tomatoes, Shish-kababs with chunks of tomatoes, onions, peppers and marinated tofu…
Actually, I’ll try anything that seems delicious and likely to hold up well over coals. I’m wondering if you’ve got any fresh or unique ideas from your part of Texas?

As for beer:
I’ve had Lone Star a couple of times, but what’s “Perle Beer” — and is it any good? Is it a local Texas microbrew? I’m a huge fan of American do-it-yourself-type-brewers, so I’m extremely curious.

Side note: Along with many Napa Valley and New York State wines, a major point of American Pride for me is the fact that our beautiful country happens to be making some of the very finest and award winning micro-beers and ciders in the Entire World currently!
And best of all, it’s a real country-wide joint effort: using the beautiful grain grown on our prairies, and some of the best hops ever produced from Washington State, along with various local fruits and veggies, New England maple syrup, and lots of other good stuff — all is being used to creatively add spice to real homegrown American beers and ales and cider.

While I feel that we have a great need of some serious enlightenment in many areas of our collective mentality, clearly American Food and Beverages aren’t those areas — because we’re fantastically creative and totally fearless when it comes to these things!
In fact, think all of us (no matter our party or political persuasion), can be so justifiably proud of our regional and collective culinary traditions and efforts — both old and new!

Posted by: Adrienne at September 29, 2005 01:55 AM
Comment #82956

Hmmm. No reply to my question…
Since I can’t find any trace of the name on the internet, I guess I’ll never know what “Perle Beer” is.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 30, 2005 08:14 PM
Comment #83001

There is a “Pearl” beer that ius (or was) Texas made.

Posted by: steve smith at October 1, 2005 11:18 AM
Comment #83122

Sorry, Adrienne, got busy with other threads. Steve is right, my misspell. It is Pearl. Tastes like watered down Coors to me, but, it has been a Texas staple for decades.

My preference is Guinness Stout! 2nd choice is St. Pauley’s on the lighter side. Nursing a bottle of black label Jack Daniels actually these days. At $45 bucks a bottle, I have to make it last 6 months or the better half gets annoyed. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 2, 2005 05:43 AM
Comment #83134

David:
“Sorry, Adrienne, got busy with other threads. Steve is right, my misspell. It is Pearl. Tastes like watered down Coors to me, but, it has been a Texas staple for decades.”

Thanks for replying (you too, Steve). So Pearl is a typical American-style lager then?
I’ve never liked lager - the taste is too bitter for me. In fact, until I had other types of beer, I thought I didn’t like beer at all.

“My preference is Guinness Stout!”

Now you’re talkin’! I love dark beers and ales.
Hey, you should try this stout glaze that a friend of mine invented on your grill — it’s great on skewered veggies. Here’s the recipe:
12 oz. Guinness
1/4 cup of balsamic or apple cider vinegar (balsamic is better)
1/4 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (or more, to suit your taste)
small handfull of chives or scallions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Mix everything in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes (uncovered), giving it an occasional stir. Let it cool completely, then brush it on veggies while grilling. Tasty stuff.

“2nd choice is St. Pauley’s on the lighter side.”

I like Hefeweizen on the lighter end of the beer spectrum.

“Nursing a bottle of black label Jack Daniels actually these days.”

I like sour mash, and bourbon, too. Have you ever tried Gentleman Jack? It’s really smo-o-oth.

“At $45 bucks a bottle, I have to make it last 6 months or the better half gets annoyed. :-)”

Well, I could give you my own bourbon-ginger cranberry sauce recipe if you want — then you could always say you need to buy more because you’re cooking with it! ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at October 2, 2005 12:48 PM
Comment #83814

Since the Republicans will not fund projects or give enough funds to run agencies properly; and the Democrats can not see the forest for the trees. I believe it is time that we really have a third party candidate in 2008 that tells it as it is. A Ross, but one that will take it all the way to the white house.
A candidate that will put down programs such as correcting SS without making Private Savings Accounts.
A candidate that will promote a universal national health insurance.
A candidate that will tax the rich.
A candidate that will promote a Value Added Tax
A candidate that will promote the making of x% hydrogen cars by the year X.

Posted by: Daniel at October 5, 2005 03:38 PM
Comment #83815

Add one final point. A Candidate that will extract us from IRAQ!!

Posted by: Daniel at October 5, 2005 03:44 PM