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Am annoyed - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Am annoyed
Two cities are destroyed, another is sinking, and people are trying to score political points off of it. "Bush didn't give money for the levees!" "Bush didn't give money for California fire prevention!"

Well, that's true. And, though a Republican, I'm no Bushie, and would be more than happy to have seen both President Gore and President Kerry. But you know what? That's just a general symptom of bureaucracy, and I give you an iron clad guaran-fucking-tee that neither President Gore nor President Kerry would have done it either. After a disaster, it's easy to say, "We should have done this." And yes--there are disasters waiting to happen still. But it's a little quirk of bureaucracy that things that "might" happen get a low priority in comparison to things that have already happened or are presently happening. That logic should dictate that it would make more sense to do some preventative work doesn't seem to have much of an impact on this. What's Seattle going to do if Mt. Ranier blows? The east coast if part of that African island breaks off and we have to deal with a tsunami? California, when the Big One hits? The central north if Yellowstone becomes a supervolcano? Anywhere on earth if a large meteor hits? These are all possible--even probable--scenarios, and most could have some contingency plans or even prevention plans in place. But somehow, everyday life takes precedence over future disaster all the time.

And if it didn't, people would get frustrated and lash at the government also--"We need help with homeless shelters/farm aid/school improvement/pet cause... and you're spending it to build some weird Maginot line against nature that we don't need right now and probably won't work anyway?"

What's going on is bad. Using natural disasters to score points against political opponents horrifies me.
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(no subject) - feylin17 - Expand
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, every area of the country has its own potential disasters, and a lot of the disaster-prone areas are desirable for other reasons (port areas, especially, for water disasters; fertile farming ground around volcanoes). There's also simple tradition of living in a place.

As to the evacuation... man, I don't get the not evacuating thing. Some kind of macho business, like Buffalo with snowstorms? Heh, I bin through a bigger one than this! But it's a common human phenomenon, and needs to be taken into account.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, actually, I've been hearing grumbles about the downgrading of FEMA for under the Department of Homeland Defense for quite a while now, and this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901445.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns) only echoes them. I don't think we can have, or need, a Maginot line against a disaster, but a coordinated response to one is a very good thing.

And, unfortunately, it doesn't matter what happens, human nature sets some folks to playing the blame game regardless.
From: tunxeh Date: August 31st, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like it or not, this president's government made choices that may have exacerbated the situation in New Orleans — deploying national guard units to Iraq, cutting funding for levee maintenance. Politics is about making such choices. The resources he spent elsewhere may have been better spent elsewhere, or they may not. Other presidents might have chosen similarly, or differently.

If we don't discuss such issues, and don't allow them to be discussed, we won't have much basis for judging the quality of our presidents' decisions and will be reduced to voting based on whether we like their haircut, or how publically they make their prayers. I don't know, but I think it's a valid subject of discussion and I resent being told not to talk about it because it's somehow too important to politicize. As if politics can only ever be about unimportant things. As if this president has ever failed to politicize anything when it's been to his own benefit.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually not saying they were good decisions. I think they were idiotic decisions. I also think they were decisions that would be made by any other man we put in that office when the country had been attacked.

And I don't care what Bush does or doesn't do. He's a politician, and politicians are by their nature skanky. It would horrify me in any direction to see all of this used for nothing but scoring points.
fallohidepride From: fallohidepride Date: August 31st, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once again, you've spoken my mind precisely. Thank you. :)
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 31st, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
That icon is awesome! And, ditto.
From: marciamarcia Date: August 31st, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly, Rush Limbaugh does not - he's started calling the storm Katrina Vanden Heuvel after the editor of The Nation magazine. Even more sadly, blogger Jonah Goldberg jumped on this bandwagon with the following stomach-churning quote where he imagined the headlines:

"The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive...The poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel."

So, you're right. Using a tragedy for political wanking is hideous.

But I also would like to respectfully add that there's a difference between earning political points/wanking and asking why the people in charge failed us so badly. As someone pointed out above, it's not an issue of building a Maginot line (that's that levy's, and you're right, they didn't work), it's an issue of having a plan for the inevitable that consists of more than "get out if you have the money to do so." And it's an issue of having the funds to properly equip those contingency plans and rescue efforts.

Maybe the line between asking these questions and wanking is small. And how you ask is probably determined by how you vote. But they are important questions that need to be asked...otherwise this kind of tragedy will happen again and again...here and in other places.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rush Limbaugh gets my vote for the idiot of the century, but Goldberg surprises me. I'm not even sure why they're blaming a magazine editor.

I agree that the issues need to be discussed when talking about who to hire next and making decisions about what to do, but asking it shrilly while the disaster is still in progress has long since passed out of the realm of responsible questioning and entered the realm of wanking. Until the flooding is under control, the dead are buried, and the wounded taken care of... until there's some kind of handle on what to do about the refugees beyond transporting them from one football stadium to another... our energy is better spent trying to solve the problem than assign blame for it. It's the very fact that such blame is being tossed around while people are still swimming in filth in the Superdome that drives me over the edge. At the moment, the president is irrelevant except insofar as signing orders at this exact moment. Engaging in partisan squabbling of any sort isn't going to make it easier to get people working together to solve the problem.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
super_pan From: super_pan Date: August 31st, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's hard to evacuate people ahead of time. We tried that about 5 years ago, to evacuate Charleston SC. It tied up the interstate all the way to Columbia, and I'm sure, further and elsewhere. It was a nightmare, and then the hurricane didn't even really hit Charleston. So lately, no one has really bothered. So even if you think you're prepared, or that you will be spared, there simply is no knowing with mother nature. Also, Fern, you said the F-bomb! (I say it all the time, but I think that's the first time I've heard you curse!). Also, with this latest disaster on my mind, one thing my friends and I do every month is have a Ladies Night, where one lady hosts a party and chooses a charity, and the other ladies come and bring a donation to that charity. It's a good(and fun) thing to do,if anyone wants to try it, and now is a good time for it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I try to save my f-bombs for special occasions so that people know I'm actually ticked off... although my RL friends would probably point out that I say it more than I write it.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 31st, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
It really is horrible - this isn't really the time to worry about Bush. He had nothing to do with the Hurricane.

ivylore From: ivylore Date: August 31st, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Were it Kerry or Gore in office, had the same decisions been made, I'd be just as p'd off and willing to complain.

However, the Republicans are not fiscally responsible. They're viewed by the Liberal government up here as extremely fiscally irresponsible.

Sure, Kerry or Gore might not have done it - but they also wouldn't have poured billions of dollars into a war.

I don't think there are any points to be won here save a good lesson in realizing that some of the greatest dangers to the United States have nothing to do with terrorism. No one is saying, "let's build a giant dome around the cities near Mount Rainier to save them from flying ash." Improving a levee system or thinning trees in a beetle infested forest (and believe me, we take THAT seriously up here) are things which can be done and are reasonable forms of long term planning.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 1st, 2005 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Improving a levee system or thinning trees in a beetle infested forest (and believe me, we take THAT seriously up here) are things which can be done and are reasonable forms of long term planning.

Yeah, but no other president or government would have done those either--I agree, they're eminently reasonable. But we have a bad habit, no matter what the administration, of entirely ignoring these things until there's "proof" that they're needed--eg, closing the barn door after the horse comes home. G-d knows why, but we do. And if you think we we wouldn't be at war under Kerry or Gore...? It might be a different war, but trust me--we'd be at war.
may_child From: may_child Date: August 31st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two cities are destroyed, another is sinking, and people are trying to score political points off of it. "Bush didn't give money for the levees!" "Bush didn't give money for California fire prevention!",
He couldn't. He's already spending so much money on Iraq, and funding tax cuts for the wealthy.

I agree, it's despicable to use a disaster or a tragedy to score political points, as Bush and his handlers did with 9/11 (and continue to do); or when Falwell and Robertson blamed 9/11 on feminists/gays/abortion/what-have-you; or when Newt Gingrich said after Susan Smith admitted she drowned her two boys, that the only way to prevent such tragedies in the future would be to vote Republican; or when people wrote letters to the editors of newspapers saying that we as as a society have no right to be horrified by the Oklahoma City bombings because we kill so many children through legal abortion.

If I recall correctly, that vicious hate-spewing uberbitch Ann Coulter accused Bill Clinton of using the tsunami disaster in December of 2004 to score political points, or to "humiliate" Bush. Why? Because Clinton spoke of the disaster in an interview that took place shortly after the disaster -- an interview that had been scheduled far in advance, by the way, so he didn't give it to "exploit" the disaster. I suppose Ann "The Man" Coulter was just trying to cover up for Bush's complete inaction on the disaster at that point.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 1st, 2005 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. It horrifies me in all directions.
laureate05 From: laureate05 Date: August 31st, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you're equally horrified in the opposite direction, i.e. the Republicans who are trying to bank on heroics. Jeb Bush, for example, disgusts me. Anytime there's a disaster remotely near Florida, they put him all over the tv because he is being set up to follow his brother in 2008.

What people need to do is shut the hell up and put their money where their fat mouths are. On both sides of the aisle.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2005 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. That wasn't where I happened to see it most, but if I come across that, I will be equally horrified.
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: September 1st, 2005 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
The really ironic thing? In the past decade, flood damage has risen in direct proportion to the amount of money spent on flood control. Fact is, shit happens. And the more levees you put in place, the bigger the disaster will be when they finally break - and there will ALWAYS be something big enough to break them eventually. Flood control is, inevitably, useless in preventing widespread damage. It can only fend off smaller events.

People need to realise that there are things in nature that no one can control, not even the American government. We can prepare; we can evacuate; we can insure. But we CANNOT prevent.
may_child From: may_child Date: September 1st, 2005 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
You make excellent points.

New Orleans was dangerously under sea level, being as it was built on land reclaimed from the ocean, and also sat in a "bowl" between two major bodies of water. So really, all they could do was prepare, evacuate, and insure, as you said. Whether global warming contributed to Katrina's severity is a matter of debate. However, that's almost beside the point. Nothing, but NOTHING, was going to keep New Orleans safe forever.

I don't like Bush, his policies, or his (in)actions. But to blame him for this disaster, the sheer SCALE of this disaster, is grossly unfair. It would've happened under Gore or Kerry, too, and I doubt they would've been able to do much more, Iraq war or no.
sreya From: sreya Date: September 1st, 2005 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Gee, doesn't remind me of a certain opening chapter lately at ALL.........

Unfortunately, I think natural disasters lend themselves more to the blame-game precisely because the best blame is at the feet of Mother Nature herself (after all, the government didn't create the hurricane) so there's no real way to stop the blame from travelling amongst anybody and everybody else.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: September 1st, 2005 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right...there isn't enough of anything the government could do when it comes to natural disasters. That's just how it is. It shows you how irrational the partisans in this country have become.
may_child From: may_child Date: September 1st, 2005 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
If Gore or Kerry was in Bush's place right now, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage, and the rest of those...people would be screaming to the skies about how it was all his fault. They most certainly would not put aside their seething hatred for Gore or Kerry and all things Democratic aside.

In other words, they'd behave just as they did whenever a natural or man-made disaster/tragedy occurred during the Clinton years. In fact, they're still unwilling to put aside their seething hatred for him and all things Democratic even nearly five years after he left office -- they continue to blame him for every natural or man-made disaster/tragedy that occurs, up to and including 9/11.

While it's pointless to start a p***ing contest as to which "side" has been nastier, all I can say whenever a right-wing pundit gets taken aback at criticism of Bush is, "Be prepared to take a few blows, because heaven knows you've given your share."
danel4d From: danel4d Date: September 1st, 2005 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
That's politics, I guess. Sometimes I wonder why I like it so much.

At the end of the day, such things always get blamed on the government of the day, even when its not their fault - I guess it balances out how they can take the credit for a drop in crime or a booming economy primarily orchestrated by their predecessor.

Still, if Bush has massively cut whatever programs could have helped here, he deserves some attacks. As to your point about them attacking instead of discussing... it just gets more airtime, I guess. x attacks y is a more interesting story, sayeth the media, than x puts forwards some reasoned arguments as to why y's actions were wrong.

Agree with you about how the US would probably be fighting a war even if the Democrats were in power, tho - hell, look at us in the UK - we voted for a guy who campaigned as Clinton II and we're now worse off, since the main opposition is more pro-war than he is.
threnody From: threnody Date: September 1st, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't really care what the gov't is/is not doing along these lines, as long as they're doing their best. It doesn't seem like they are. But, there are a lot of people who couldn't get out of the city, so. *shrug* It's happened, there's no use in griping about it now.

What really boggles my mind is how people responsible for building a levy near a city that's actually *below* sea level didn't think it was worth building it strong enough to withstand the strongest storm they could think of. Doesn't the government have regulations about this kind of thing? Meh.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 1st, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doesn't the government have regulations about this kind of thing? Meh.

You'd think it should, but you can bet that if it came up on a referendum, people would vote against it, especially in a poor state like LA, where the money is tight and could be spent on more immediately useful things.
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