Friday, September 02, 2005

Sign Of The Times (A Quick and Important Question for Readers at the End of the post!)

Of all of the unbelievable things our federal government did or, more accurately, failed to do yesterday, nothing was as symbolic of the problem as the following exchange on National Public Radio's All Things Considered between commentator Robert Siegel and the Secretary of Homeland Security Micheal Chertoff:
Robert Siegel: We are hearing from our reporter, he’s on another line right now, thousands of people at the convention center in New Orleans with no food, zero.

Chertoff: As I said, I’m telling you we are getting food and water to areas where people are staging. The one about an episode like this is if you talk to someone or you get a rumor or an anecdotal version of something I think it’s dangerous to extrapolate it all over the place.[Snip]

Robert Siegel: But Mr. Secretary when you say we shouldn’t listen to rumors. These are things coming from reporters who have not only covered many many other hurricanes, they’ve covered wars and refugee camps. These aren’t rumors, they are saying there are thousands of people there.

Chertoff: I would be…I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.

The above exchange comes to us from Think Progress and you can hear the original interview here

Now, anybody with access to a radio, television or the internet yesterday knew about the people at the convention center. We heard about people at the convention center being raped and beaten. A CNN reporter saw a baby die right in front of him yesterday.

Yet here we have and ideological hack appointed to head the huge Department of Homeland Security; the guy whose job it was to dismantle the Federal Emergency Management Agency, telling Robert Siegel that he knows nothing about fifteen thousand people at the New Orleans Convention Center. Actually, he goes further than that, he dismisses it as a rumor.

So, not only is he, the man in charge of relief efforts completely unaware of 15,000 desparate refugees; when told about them he simply dismisses it out of hand. This is the Bush administration in a nutshell. We know better than you, so just shut up while we do what we want.

And make no mistake about it; they want FEMA dead. This is what they will do to all of our government if allowed. There is a famous quote from Republican activist Grover Norquist that the GOP wants a government small enough to drown in a bathtub. Well, guess what? If government is that small, it will just a surely drown in New Orleans.

There is nothing wrong with private enterprise. Private enterprise, competition capitalism are all tools that have served us well and excel at doing certain things. However, much like having a hammer when all you have are a fistful of screws, there are situations where tools like private enterprise, competition and capitalism are simply inappropriate. Mass rescue and recovery operations are an example of this. There is no money for private enterprise to make and the downtimes between crisis' would be fatal to any company dedicated to this purpose. On the other hand, the government is the ideal tool to solve this type of problem; it is one of the reasons to even have a government: to keep civil order, protect its citizens and aid in disaster.

Katrina perfectly illustrated why the current incarnation of the GOP is toxic to America.

Yesterday, when Bush spoke with his father and Bill Clinton (our last two legitimately elected presidents) standing behind him, I was suddenly yearning for either of those two former presidents to be returned to office. That's right, either. I did not agree with the first George Bush on almost anything. But he was a thoughtful, competent man who would handle this emergency much better than his son. Despite what some on my side say, I believe that man loves his country and really tried to do his best for America. I don't believe that of his son.

Worst. President. Ever.

Donate to the right please.

Now, a quick question: Laura and I are discussing taking in a family, up to three people for 30 days or more. But both of us are worried about having strangers in the house with the baby. What do you think? Should we do it? I keep thinking (oddly enough for a Pagan) what would Jesus do? I believe he would open his home. So I kind of feel that we should. But I do not want to expose my child to any danger and that is why I hesitate.

Have a great holiday weekend and lets all pray and kick in to help our fellow Americans!