This is, to me, without a doubt the ugliest I have seen the hysterical Left get in their political attacks. After all, to use a natural disaster of historical proportions (Since 1885 there have been only five storms hit Category-5 status; Katrina was the fifth, although an upper 4 when it hit land) as a vehicle for partisan attacks is beyond petty and shameful. Their attacks are already backfiring.
For starters, most rational people, (hint: Kanye West, JFK Jr., Sean Penn, Thomas Friedman, Sidney Bloomingthal, and Oprah are the farthest thing from rational) understand a gargantuan sized hurricane is bound to do more damage than any country, no matter it's size or wealth, is capable of handling without pain. All the talk is of New Orleans but Gulfport, MS, was 24 feet (yes, that's feet) under water. Cities far north of the coast such as Hattisburg, MS, were damaged. The entire Gulf coast from Pensacola to west of New Orleans was affected.
Even hours into the storm, and indeed some before, Democrats were assailing Bush by linking Hurricanes with global warming and the Kyoto treaty (JFK Jr's editorial). When a line of attack starts this nutty you know it's only going to get worse. Naturally, those Liberals forget to mention that Kyoto lost in the Democratic Congress of 1998 by a vote of 98-0. Likewise they neglect to recall that in 1800, when a CAT-5 storm wiped out Galveston for 8,000 deaths, there were no Cadillac Escalades. Indeed, there would be no automobile for another 100 years (BTW, before the automobile do you know what was considered to be the greatest impending threat? Yep, horse manure piling up in the cities; the auto cured this).
Then the attacks turned racial. Usually accompanied by apologism towards looters and criminally-minded types shooting rescue and repair workers, the Wacky Left tried to play the race card, remarking that the slow response was because, you know, Bush hates Black people (hates them so much he makes them National Security Advisor and twice Secretary of State).
[Civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot told Bill O'Rielly], "If the victims were white, the response would have been quicker." Former presidential candidate Howard "Yeeeeah" Dean told the National Baptist Convention of America "that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not." Today a radio caller asked Sean Hannity if he thought the slow response would have happened on a more wealthy, whiter city like Los Angeles. Again, one should reiterate that everything from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, was hit, some 118 miles. So the question should be redesigned in this manner -- were a major earthquake to hit the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego (116 miles) what rationally-minded soul really believes the response would be quick, or the deaths short of thousands? Mother Nature is the most destructive force on the planet, and humans will never be able to react to it quickly.
Finally, you have irrational Liberal pundits attempting to peddle thoughtful analysis. Look no further than NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wishes ill upon Bush's tax policy advisor Grover Norquist: "Mr. Norquist is the only person about whom I would say this: I hope he owns property around the New Orleans levee that was never properly finished because of a lack of tax dollars. I hope his basement got flooded." Nice guy that Thomas, eh? Friedman continues: "[Bush's] refusal to impose a gasoline tax after 9/11, which would have begun to shift our economy much sooner to more fuel-efficient cars, helped raise money for a rainy day and eased our dependence on the world's worst regimes for energy; its refusal to develop some form of national health care to cover the 40 million uninsured; and its insistence on cutting more taxes, even when that has contributed to incomplete levees and too small an Army to deal with Katrina, Osama and Saddam at the same time." This is a laundry list of unrelated Liberal pet causes, a wet dream for the Sean Penns.
Well, armies are made for killing, not for cleaning up after hurricanes. Higher taxes are not synonymous with increased tax revenues; in fact, quite the opposite - our greatest tax receipts have come in times of low taxation because more people spend more money resulting in more ways to tax. I haven't the foggiest how dying of cancer while on a six-month waiting list for a Canadian MRI (and other wonders of free but too late to help socialized medicine) has anything to do with Katrina. Nor do I have the foggiest how a bunch of sissified and price-sticker inflated eco-cars, peddled to us through government intrusion instead of free market forces, could have stopped Katrina.
But why bother with facts when Liberals have hateful emotions spilling over like festering muffin tops.
Speaking of facts, here are some (and yet one more lesson for Liberals who jumped to conclusions hours into the storm without knowing the facts):
-- Louisiana politicians spend disaster money on pork
"[Washington Post] In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.
Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.
For example, after a $194 million deepening project for the Port of Iberia flunked a Corps cost-benefit analysis, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations. The Corps also spends tens of millions of dollars a year dredging little-used waterways such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Atchafalaya River and the Red River -- now known as the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, in honor of the project's congressional godfather -- for barge traffic that is less than forecast.
...Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.
...But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects. Strock has also said that the marsh-restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands."
Bush kne..... what... oh, Clinton knew too. The levy systems, by the way, are under control of the local authorities, whose bean-counters foolishly estimated that it would cost more to fortify for a CAT-5 then to just take the CAT-5 on the chin.
It gets better:
-- Greens sued to prevent the fortifying of Levees.
[John Berlau] "The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees.
The Army Corps was planning to upgrade 303 miles of levees along the river in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. This was needed, a Corps spokesman told the Baton Rouge, La., newspaper The Advocate, because “a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi which the states would be decades in overcoming, if they overcame them at all."
But a suit filed by environmental groups at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans claimed the Corps had not looked at "the impact on bottomland hardwood wetlands."
...[worse] At an Army Corps of Engineers meeting concerning the Mississippi River in 2002, Audubon official Dan McGuiness even recommended "looking at opportunities to lower or remove levees [emphasis added]" from the river.
Once more, Liberals chose animals and plants over people.
-- Local government failed time and again I:
[New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, explaining why he refused to use city school buses to move citizens] "I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."
Oh, would like cabin service with that? Pillow for your feet? Well, because Nagin waited for this ethereal fleet of Greyhounds the city's bus service quickly became submerged.
Here's Bob Williams: "A year ago, as Hurricane Ivan approached, New Orleans ordered an evacuation but did not use city or school buses to help people evacuate. As a result many of the poorest citizens were unable to evacuate. Fortunately, the hurricane changed course and did not hit New Orleans, but both Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin acknowledged the need for a better evacuation plan. Again, they did not take corrective actions. In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 people were sent to the Superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security. Again, these problems were not corrected."
-- Local government failed time and again II:
[Text from City of New Orleans disaster action plan]"Using information developed as part of the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force and other research, the City of New Orleans has established a maximum acceptable hurricane evacuation time standard for a Category 3 storm event of 72 hours. This is based on clearance time or is the time required to clear all vehicles evacuating in response to a hurricane situation from area roadways."
[Houston Chronicle] "The mayor's mandatory evacuation order was issued 20 hours before the storm struck the Louisiana coast, less than half the time researchers determined would be needed to get everyone out.
City officials had 550 municipal buses and hundreds of additional school buses at their disposal but made no plans to use them to get people out of New Orleans before the storm, said Chester Wilmot, a civil engineering professor at Louisiana State University and an expert in transportation planning, who helped the city put together its evacuation plan."
[Linda Chavez] " The governor had the power to call out the National Guard in advance of the storm. Indeed, it was imperative that she do so if troops were to be available, since it takes 72 hours to fully mobilize.
"Ms. Blanco delayed taking crucial actions – in fact, it was the president who called her to plead that she declare an emergency. "Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding," the Associated Press reported Aug. 28.
According to The Washington Post, federal officials have asked the governor for "unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law." And, The Post reported, "Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said."
They had a plan. The mayor of N.O. and governor Blanco just didn't follow it.
-- Local government failed time and again III:
[Fox News reporter Major Garrett to Hugh Hewitt] "Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They're not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdome, and the convention center, needing most accurately...
The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come."
Great roundup by Neal Boortz, if you have the time.
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