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I've started this entry over a dozen times with various snarks ranging from "The Peter Principle writ large..." through "Four score and seven hours ago...." to "I've just witnessed the death of the American Dream..." and deleted them all.

Fuck it.

I'm too tired and angry to be funny, so I'll just lay out what I think in plain words.

This governement -- and I'm not specifying just Bush and his cronies here -- has failed the people of this country in an unprecedented fashion. Societies are founded upon an unwritten contract: "We abide within the laws and strictures of this society in exchange for protection via the government of this society." The United States government abrogated that contract willfully this week.

When the fucking President gets on a morning talk show and says "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" he is either incompetent or a liar. Y'know, given that that exact fucking scenario was listed in 2001 as one of the top 3 potential disasters to hit the United States. By FE-fucking-MA (link). Along with a terrorist strike to New York and a 7+ Richter earthquake to San Francisco. SFians, get out, now. Seriously, he's going for the trifecta. Then again, the President seems to have memory problems, so maybe he just doesn't remember. You'd think FEMA would, though, given that they ran the "Hurricane Pam" exercise in Baton Rouge earlier this year, which, coincidentally, featured levee breaches in New Orleans.

When a category 4 hurricane (which, by the by, I suspect will be revised upwards to a category 5 hurricane a la Andrew, since it had the 3rd lowest central pressure of ANY hurricane we've measured making landfall) annihilates a goodly bit of the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines, I expect the government via organizations like FEMA and the National Guard to step in to assist the areas that bore the brunt of the devestation. I expect this aid to consist of things like the necessities of life, such as food, water and rescue from uninhabitable situations like floods, fires, etc. I do not expect this aid to be there during the storm. I *do* expect this aid to be there within 24 hours. Why? Because we've done it. Repeatedly.

Now, Katrina was extremely violent. The devestation was far more widespread than previous storms. This is why Mr. Intelligent Designer designed us to design such things as "helicopters", "Baton Rouge Airport", "parachutes", and "Army Corps of Engineers". So we could rapidly deploy the aid FROM OUTSIDE THE DEVESTATED AREA. But I digress.

Once the levees breached, we had a relatively short timeframe in which we could do something about it, before the lake and city equalized water levels. A Plan was formed, involving helicopters and 3000 lb. sandbags. Only, due to miscommunication or misappropriation, the helicopters needed for this task were pulled off for another task. Scratch one plan, scratch one city.

So, now we have a new lake in southern Louisiana. OK, time to shift the efforts from "stop the leak" to "rescue as many as we can".

Now, I'm not real clear on the calculus of rescues, but I do know this: These events are supposed to be wargamed and planned for. A former coworker of mine used to fight wildfires out west, and introduced the concept of ICS to me. ICS stands for Incident Command System. When the situation is chaotic and uncontrolled, ICS allows for a clear, measured response. Everyone knows their areas of responsibility. Everyone knows who they report to.

In other words, almost but not completely unlike what we have now.

I also know this -- hours matter in these situations. As do boots on the ground.

So, can anyone explain to me why THE FUCKING U-S-of-A rebuffed offers of assistance from over a dozen countries? Is President's Bush sense of machismo so overweening that this seemed like a good idea to him? Was there nobody that could say "Y'know, these guys would help save lives..."?

And then, Thursday. Here's where I got sick, and spent the day sleeping and watching CNN.

I caught the press conference where Bush 43 announced Bush 41 and Clinton are going to head up a fundraising taskforce. Oh, dear God. The smirk. The "heh, heh, heh". He thinks this is fucking AMUSING. And then I had my epiphany.

Bush is not just stupid, though I think he is. Bush is not just arrogant, though I think he is. Bush simply doesn't care about "those sorts of people". The poor, the black, the distressed.

For the refugees ARE predominantly poor, predominantly black, and ALL distressed. He simply doesn't care. It's reflected in his personnel as well. Most especially, Michael Brown, current head of FEMA.

Ah, yes, Michael Brown. I find myself compelled to start believing in Hell, simply to consign this fucking rotten piece of human scum to it.

CNN interviewed him, Dateline interviewed him, hell *everybody* interviewed him. For a "best-of" collection of his egregious lies and talking points, check out Crooks & Liars for a ton of video clips. Suffice it to say, the man believes the the refugees brought it on themselves by not evacuating.

OK, no bullshit. No snark. No laughter. I honestly, seriously, cross-my-heart believe that viewpoint to be 100% sociopathic. The complete and utter lack of empathy inherent in that outlook is so foreign to me that I literally cannot do the mental gymnastics required to make it make sense.

Has anyone in this government ever been hungry? Ever lived paycheck-to-paycheck? Ever lived on government subsistence? Katrina hit on the 29th. Money doesn't arrive until the 1st. Greyhound closed on Saturday, yet the mayor announced a mandatory evacuation on Sunday. The entire evacuation plan was If you have a car and cash, get as far away as you can. That was it.

What if you are in a nursing home? Prison? Poor? Handicapped?

WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO?

They were left to die.

Think about that. This is America, 2005. Greatest nation on the planet, IMHO.

And we left 10-20% of a major American city to die.

Oh, we hoped would could rescue them. FOUR DAYS LATER. Do you know what four days without water can do to an infant, or the elderly?

And then, Friday.

Here's what happens when you lose your city and realize you no longer need to worry about reelection, and are thus liberated from the fetters of handlers: Nagin's interview this morning

Finally, the President stopped in MS to "comfort the survivors". And make the most tone-deaf statement I've ever heard out of ANY politician's mouth, ever: "Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house, will come a fantastic house. And I look forward to sitting on the porch one day."

...

Can anyone explain to me how this passed a sanity check? I've said stupid things before, sure, but I've stopped myself LONG before hitting this level of insanity. People are DEAD. People lost EVERYTHING. Fucking Trent Lott lost his beach house -- he has ANOTHER.

Anyway, Friday. The day that we would FINALLY see troops, food and water start being distributed to the remaining refugees at the Superdome. But first, they were held up for a time. What was the problem? Mechanical? Spoilage? Manpower?

Oh, they had to TIME THEIR FUCKING ARRIVAL TO COINCIDE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S. He needed the photo-op, after blowing the last one so badly.

There are several reports that some units arrived THURSDAY, but were held until "all the units could enter together". I hope that is untrue. I want to believe it is untrue. But I have my doubts.

I know early on I said this was not specifically aimed at Bush, then proceeded to rant about him at length. That's because he is the PRESIDENT. He is supposed to LEAD this nation. With the help of all the other members of the government. They are not supposed to take the social contract, tear it up, piss on the pieces, and go back to eating cake.

Dammit, the people of this country need help -- ALL of them. Not just the rich donors to political parties. Not just the lobbyists. Not just the special interests.

It's time to take it back.

Impeach the government.

ALL of them.

Democrat, Republican, Independent -- I don't care.

They have failed us. We deserve better.

Impeach the bastards. Today.




Update: Unfriendlocked, and bracing for potential shitstorm.

Date: 2005-09-02 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scifantasy.livejournal.com
I wish I had something profound to say. I would recommend un-friending this entry, though, because it's on the list of "I want to spread this around" links.

Date: 2005-09-02 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jsbowden.livejournal.com
I touched on this in this post a few months ago.

I hate being right some days.

Date: 2005-09-02 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] texas-tiger.livejournal.com
Thank you for expressing my thoughts and feelings so much better than I've been able to.

I've tried writing about it. I can't.

Date: 2005-09-02 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melallen.livejournal.com
I agree. The entire government screwed the pooch on this one. The response time has been deplorable. The destruction and devisation has been unimaginable. But....

As much as I don't think the President has been doing what he needs to be doing (on so many fronts), I honestly can not believe that the reason the response time was so bad was purely because he did not want to help "those sorts of people".

And in fact, many of the refugees are coming here, to Houston. Yes, "those people" are coming to the place that his parents call home. To the place that I call home. It only makes sense. There are just not that many large cities close enough to handle the sort of large scale evacuation that a disaster of this magnitude entails. It's not unpredictable.

And regarding the government as a whole: Of course, I think we do deserve better. I think our government has failed us in so many other ways that it makes me sick to even think about it. But what can we do about it? How do we fix it? The democrats, the republicans, the independents, none of them, NONE OF THEM are really doing anything that I am proud of.

But I am still proud to be an American. And I am also proud to be a Texan. And I am doing everything that I can to help out during this disaster. Even to the point of possibly losing my husband for three months so that he can join in the FEMA related relief in the reconstruction efforts to come. And maybe that will be enough. But truly, I don't have much else to give. Other than tears. And those are never enough.

Date: 2005-09-02 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilickjm.livejournal.com
As much as I don't think the President has been doing what he needs to be doing (on so many fronts), I honestly can not believe that the reason the response time was so bad was purely because he did not want to help "those sorts of people".

I drew that conclusion from these two events:

Bush broke off a vactaion, to fly back in the middle of a Sunday Night, to sign legislation that applied to one white, brain-dead woman.

Bush broke off a vacation 3 days after a national disaster. Coincidentally, this hurt poor black people the worst.

Can I prove that was what he was thinking? Of course not. But it sure as hell looks that way from where I sit.

Date: 2005-09-02 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melallen.livejournal.com
And I understand your feelings. I just wanted to voice mine.

I just have a hard time truly believing that people (especially the president) could actually think that way.

I have a hard time believing the worst in people. Maybe I am wrong. But I seriously hope I am not.

Date: 2005-09-02 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melallen.livejournal.com
And my comment is not indicating that I love the president (which I DO NOT) but is more because I believe that the person who is elected president is elected president of all the American people. Not just the people who elected him.

Date: 2005-09-02 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilickjm.livejournal.com
In all honesty, I believe that as well. Which is why I'm calling for impeachment.

This is my president as well, and I am ashamed.

Date: 2005-09-03 07:50 am (UTC)
merhawk: (Hawkgirl)
From: [personal profile] merhawk
I've been thinking the same thing as well, but I want to look at the impeachment rules again. While I THINK that they could be applied in this case, I'd want to double-check.

And... the racism involved in all of this is outstanding. It sickens me to the core.

Date: 2005-09-03 10:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilickjm.livejournal.com
Exactly right about the racism.

The Republican's 'Southern Strategy' has been laid nakedly open, for all to see, for the first time in 2 generations. It has led me to the arms of the Democratic Party for the first time *ever*. I've always considered myself a moderate Independent, so I've never been a member of either party, and have voted for both in the past. Not any longer. Since the Republican Party refuses to repudiate (and indeed, glorifies the American Taliban) the extremist wing of their party, preferring to give them airtime, cushy posts and sinecures, I refuse to vote for them until such time as they clean house.

The Democrat's timidity over the last 5 years has angered me almost as badly. The Patriot Act, the abortion of a Bankruptcy bill, The Iraq War -- they have consistently rolled over and played dead on every single important issue before them during this Administration. While I doubt we can impeach them for stupidity, I will never vote for any current member of Congress.

The President is impeachable for fixing the intelligence leading to the Iraq War, lying to the public about same, and War Crimes committed under his watch. That'll do for starters.

Date: 2005-09-03 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] allysonsedai.livejournal.com
Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking, except in a logical, concise manner.

Date: 2005-09-03 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] allysonsedai.livejournal.com
Oh, and I am going to link to this via my journal. I'm assuming you don't mind since you unlocked it...

Date: 2005-09-03 10:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilickjm.livejournal.com
No, that's fine. Like I said, I'm bracing for the shitstorm.

Date: 2005-09-03 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] turnberryknkn.livejournal.com
Bush is not just stupid, though I think he is. Bush is not just arrogant, though I think he is. Bush simply doesn't care about "those sorts of people". The poor, the black, the distressed.

Bingo.

In fairness, it's not just Bush. I think you've put your finger straight on the mindset behind the entire political philsophy of which Bush is simply the highest ranking member of. The same mindset which was responsible for the Purple Heart Bandages during last year's Presidential Election. The same mindset which sees absoulutely nothing wrong with enthusiastically supporting a war, *not* supporting sufficent armor, planning, or veteran's health care, and yet, once the number of volunteers falls far short of needed, refusing to either volunteer themselves, their children, or to call for a draft to spread the risk evenly and fairly -- the Chickenhawks, the "Fighting Keyboardists". The same mindset which sees the "Guilded Age" of the 1890's as America's Golden Age, when the barons of industry lived in unprecedented (for the time) luxury while teeming millions lived in squalor. The same folks which, in all the years since President Johnson -- including all eight years I've fought as a activist in medical activism [1] -- have consistently opposed any effort to try to expand health care coverage here in America to the average working American.

That last, perhaps, why I am, sadly, utterly unsurprised by all that has happened since this mindset and its partisans took control of government. I've dealt with and fought these people. I know how they think. And at core, they don't give a shit about the average person. Many have an almost unmitigated contempt for the average person, a sneering arrogance, a remarkable lack of concern about what happens to the "average" person. The people have no bread? Let them eat cake.

(cont.)

Date: 2005-09-03 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] turnberryknkn.livejournal.com

Government, obviously, can't be all things to all people and give everyone everything that they want. Government cannot be a sugar daddy that absolves everyone of responsibility. But that's not what we're talking about -- and everyone knows it. We're talking about basic stuff, like making sure pregnant mothers have decent pre-natal care, kids have meals to eat, soldiers get armor and veteran's care -- just absolutely basic shit. We're talking about the idea that the measure of a nation is how well the majority are doing, not how well an individual *could* be doing. We're talking about the idea that the every American has value, not just those fortunate enough to be among the wealthy or the skilled. We're talking about Theodore Roosevelt, who believed in his heart and soul about self-improvement, about self-accountability, about self-responsibility -- yet understood that there was an important place for government as the force behind "The Square Deal". A land of hands-up, not hand-outs. Instead, we get people who claim to be his political successors who kept pushing for an estate tax rollback even while fellow Americans *still* fucking wait for food and water. Does anyone honestly believe Theodore Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln would be Republicans today?

In the end, it comes down in part to one's definition of what a country is supposed to be. Either a country is supposed to try to figure out how to do the most good for the most people, or it is largely merely supposed to protect property rights and let the strong do as they will to the weak otherwise. Either you, at heart, believe the poor are largely unlucky people who need a hand or an unfortunate bit of inevitable collateral damage that is "just a part of doing business". Either you understand why there's something wrong with wholeheartedly supporting sending other men to die for a cause that you yet don't think is worth your *own* life, either by self-volunteering or by calling for a draft, to sacrifice, or you don't give a shit.

Because, as you point out, that's the lens through which it becomes very easy to understand so much of that side's policy and politics. Not my problem. I don't care. I don't give a rat's ass. Pin them against the wall, and that's ultimately what drives them at core -- they do not think the lives of people not them are important. They don't care about others. They would rather be the wealthiest man in a hell-hole than a servant in heaven.

They've been there for anyone to pay attention to for years, trying to roll back the Kennedy/Johnson reforms, FDR's New Deal, hell, many think Theodore Roosevelt's FDA was an unwarranted limitation on the free market. Anyone who's been an activist at a national level has always known they were there. It's just now, between Iraq and now Katrina, it's finally become obvious to everyone else.



[1] See my friend [livejournal.com profile] alikforchair for the general idea.

Date: 2005-09-04 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/sleepingalone_/
This is the problem with the 2 term maximum.

Not that I'm saying he should get in again (god help us all if that were to happen) but applying limits basically means that it doesnt matter what the fuck happens during the second term, theres no benefit for the president doing a good job the second time around.

Unless they are a decent person who actually cares about the country they run.

George W. is only interested in one thing. War. He has failed to uphold the basic standards of living that one would think should be paramount to his job. He has failed the people of America, and because of the huge amount of power his position commands, he has failed the people of the world.

He has failed, not through active effort, but through apathy.
He does not care about those people who do not affect him directly. I dont think he hates black people, or poor people, he just doesnt give a shit.

I honestly cannot believe that he was re-elected, even after we knew what he was like.

We should be ashamed.
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