Monday, September 19, 2005


Rothschild: “People want leadership, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.”

President Shepherd: “Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.”
our society is a mess.

recognizing this fact is easy. changing it is hard. complaining is not enough. effecting change takes people with vision, intelligence, courage.

more importantly, it takes the ability to deliver truth to a public conditioned not to hear it. today’s u.s. public refuses to hear the truth. they want government without taxes. they want war without death. they want an end to poverty and disease and suffering, but without being bothered with the messy details.

and they want politicians who will promise these things regardless of the fact that they can’t be delivered. since the reagan era we've steered hard toward social civil war—economically, philosophically and spiritually. where once we aspired to achievement, now we aspire to accumulation. where once we demonstrated for civil rights, now we reallocate to the very wealthy.

the wealthiest in our society are particularly problematic. of the well-to-do people i know, most would pay zero taxes for any purpose whatsoever, if they could arrange it. they are completely focused on sheltering every last dollar for themsleves; they have no interest in, say, housing the homeless or pre-emptively shoring up the levees in new orleans.

they want the benefits of living in a country that makes their success possible, but none of the responsibility for maintaining it. this attitude of entitlement starts at the top: the president of these “united” states says every day, in effect, that no one is responsible for sustaining this country.
President Bush didn't say the other night how he would pay for his promise to rebuild the Gulf Coast states. Allow us to explain: Every penny of aid approved by Congress so far and all subsequent aid - perhaps as much as $200 billion - will be borrowed, with most of it likely to come from Asian central banks and other foreign investors. That means additional interest of about $10 billion a year indefinitely. The bill will hit current and future taxpayers in the form of higher taxes or cuts in government programs, or both.
we have gaping holes in the infrastructure of our society. government has the duty and the responsibility to fix those holes for the greater good. bush and his ilk, however, don’t share this view of government’s role. in fact, they don’t believe in government at all. government, they insist, is corrupt and incompetent. we must deprive it of the money needed to run it. no wonder, then, that the government we get is corrupt, incompetent and bankrupt.

it’s odd that people so invested in acquiring and holding power are so intent on destroying the legitimate expression of that power. but therein lies the fundamental illogic of this administration. they cut taxes, but spend more prolifically than any administration in history. they want less government, but have overseen an unprecedented expansion of bureaucracy. they speak of spreading american-style democracy while undermining democracy at home.

meanwhile the voters charged with keeping the government in check just yawn and go back to watching survivor and desperate housewives.

our society is in trouble. and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that we can save ourselves from it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

eulogy for a presidency

five years of sanctioned vandalism summed up here:

"Bush has a very well defined vision of what government should do and how it should do it," said Michael Franc, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research organization consulted by the White House. "This is a moment to teach or explain to the American people how his values apply to this catastrophic situation."
there will never be a more damning indictment of this administration's humiliating, abject failure.

Monday, September 12, 2005

"we've got plenty of troops..."

during today's spin through the wreckage of new orleans, george bush said it was "preposterous" to claim that the Iraq war had drained military resources, leaving too few troops to help out with the hurricane.

"We've got plenty of troops to do both," Bush said during a tour of the areas of the city ravaged by the hurricane.

where did he hear that, do you suppose? since before the start of the iraq boondoggle, military experts have been saying, "not enough troops to do the job." national guard troops have been forced into far longer duty tours than they signed up for; regular armed service personnel have done multiple tours without relief.

military recruiting is in crisis mode...and now the federal government has drop-kicked katrina relief.

but we have plenty of troops for any and every mission, huh, george? preposterous is right.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

compassionate, aren't they?

richard baker, nice guy.

our gop conservatives are real humanitarians.

as their response to hurricane katrina shows, they never met a victim they wouldn't kick.

take rick santorum. asked about survivors still in new orleans, santorum said,
" have people who don't heed warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."
so, those who survived the storm should be punished. apparently those who died have been punished enough.

and then there's louisiana rep. richard baker (R), quoted in the wall street journal as telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

and house speaker dennis hastert said straight up that parts of new orleans should be bulldozed.
"It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that's seven feet under sea level," Hastert said of federal assistance for hurricane-devastated New Orleans.

"It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed," the Illinois Republican concluded.
after the fact, of course, all three issued "clarifications" to their previous statements. baker disdainfully said,
"What I remember expressing, in a private conversation with a housing advocate and member of my staff, was that 'We have been trying for decades to clean up New Orleans public housing to provide decent housing for residents, and now it looks like God is finally making us do it.' Obviously I have never expressed anything but the deepest concern about the suffering that this terrible catastrophe has caused for so many in our state."
oh, obviously.

santorum's backtrack amounted to, "i didn't mean the people who were unable to leave." hastert: "did i say bulldoze? i meant plant roses."

it's not enough that these three and their legion of like-minded compassionate conservatives issue statements from afar. to demonstrate their sincerity and good faith, it is entirely appropriate that they travel to new orleans, hold a town hall at the morial convention center, and explain to the displaced residents of the city exactly what they meant.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

actually, he doesn't understand...

george bush recently took a stroll around poplarville, mississippi.

and he understands that.

"I understand. I understand the damage. I understand the devastation. I understand the destruction. I understand how long it's going to take. And we're with you. That's what I want you to know," he told the residents of Poplarville, where some trees fell on carports.

in a related note,the war president also visited with a couple folks in biloxi...

cnn video footage recorded this exchange:

[Bush strides up to two African American women, who are sisters. Hovering nearby is a white guy wearing shades and shorts.

With the cameras rolling, Bush hugs the two women, one of whom starts sobbing.]

Bush to women: "There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry . . . They'll help you. . . . "

Woman 1: "I came here looking for clothes. . . . "

Bush: "They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center. . . . "

Woman 1: "We don't have anything. . . . "

Bush: "I understand. . . . Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?"

Guy with shades: "There's no center there, sir, it's a truck."

Bush: "There's trucks?"

Guy: "There's a school, a school about two miles away. . . . "

Bush: "But isn't there a Salvation center down there?"

Guy: "No that's wiped out. . . . "

Bush: "A temporary center?"

Guy: "No sir they've got a truck there, for food."

Bush: "That's what I'm saying, for food and water."

Bush then turns to the woman who's been saying how she needs clothes and tells her: "You need food and water."