Friday, September 30, 2005

Roberts Red Democrats

Two things strike me about the Roberts vote in the Senate. The first is how Republicans are always identified in the media as “partisans” but Democrats rarely are. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was approved 96-3 with the makeup of the Senate Democrat 57, Republican 43 … not a lot different from today’s 55/45 split, yet the Republicans overwhelming supported the right of a Democrat President to appoint a qualified but VERY liberal justice to the Supreme Court. Naturally, the media gave them no credit for it, and has no quarrel whatsoever with the Democrats only supporting a much more moderate justice with 22 of their number voting against. What does partisanship mean?

The more interesting point is the breakdown of just how far to the left a lot of the country is, and how important it is for a Democrat Senator with any Presidential hopes to appease the left of their party even if it is likely that such a vote will hurt them in the actual election. They know that the purists in their base will give no quarter on this issue, so we find Hillary, Kerry, Biden, and even Barak Obama (long future hopeful) voting against. Even more interesting, we find 13 of the Democrat Senators for Red States voting for, and only 3 voting against. Reid, Harken the left looney from IA, and interestingly Evan Bayh from Indiana who is considered to be another Presidential hopeful, but unlikely since he is Pro-Life, and life is something that the core of the Democrat is foursquare against.

If you have any thoughts of being a Democrat Presidential contender you have to make your allegiance with the Pro-Death core of your party. If you are a Democrat from a Red State, you realize that you vote against highly qualified and probably overly moderate court appointees by the President that your constituency voted for is sure to get you (correctly) labled the next time you run as “out of touch with your constituency” as it famously did Tom Dachle and others in the last two elections.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bait and Switch

I suffered through “ Bait and Switch” (B&S) by Barbara Ehrenreich. Don’t ask my why I really put myself through these things, but I also read “Nickel and Dimed” (N&D) her previous “gem”. The only reason I can see for calling this book B&S is that the accolades on the back cover were for N&D, and she never actually delivered on this book.

In N&D she took the time to go out and get 3 or 4 minimum wage jobs and report to us that minimum wage jobs aren’t a lot of fun, and it is very hard to get anywhere at one over a 3 month period or so. At least she didn’t get a government grant to impart this gigantic piece of wisdom to us. She did seem to work hard doing the book however, and it is good to see a liberal woman with a $30K Mortgage deduction learning that it is possible to work very hard and not get a lot of pay. Had she grown up on a farm this piece of wisdom could have been gleaned much earlier in life and not been such a revelation when it finally occurred to her.

The premise of B&S is that she will go out and get a “good job” of $50K a year or better in hated Corporate America. She creates a fictional Public Relations background and proceeds to go to a bunch of “Networking events”, tries “Career Coaches”, and even goes for a “Corporate Makeover”, but unsurprisingly she doesn’t get a job. Since she doesn’t get a job and she meets a number of people that are following her same path she comes to the conclusion that the idea that one can get a good job in a US Corporation these days is “futile”, a favorite word of the American Liberal and the Borg on Star Trek Next Generation. I’m thinking the connection is “obvious”.

Along the way she manages to run into some events in Atlanta where Christianity and Networking are combined. This is of course quite offensive to Barbara the Atheist who firmly believes that while the correctness of liberalism and socialism are something to be shared at every opportunity possible, religion is something that should definitely be kept to ones self. (she is currently a vice-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America … something not mentioned in the book)

She is also offended by the idea of personal responsibility. In the following quote she does the obvious “all or nothing” overstatement, but the point is clear. “But from the point of view of the economic “winners” – those who occuply the powerful and high-paying jobs – the view that one’s fate depends entirely on oneself must be remarkably convienient. It explains the winners’ success in the most flattering terms while invalidating the complaints of the losers.”

We pretty much have the core of the liberal socialist ideal. YOU are NOT responsible, nor is anyone else who has succeeded or not succeeded. Barbara and her friends will be VERY happy to “fairly” decide just how the pie ought to be divided thank you very much! Somehow my guess would be that she would still keep whatever house she has that provides her with a $30K mortguage deduction .. but hey! She deserves it! Her heart is in the right place and MUCH smarter than any Capitalist Market system, so we ought to just hand her the keys.

Barbara had a number of petty criticisms of major US Corporations … too many personality type tests, to vague on what kind of skills required, too much rah-rah, too many standards of dress, and a host of others. Her liberal superior attitude remained intact, but at least corporate America was intelligent enough to figure out that they didn’t want to hire her commie butt! That alone ought to provide proof that something is right with the folks in our major US Corporations!

She closes up with the classic socialist liberal bromides about “why can’t we be more like Eurrope”? Without of course mentioning stagnant economies, sky high unemployment, gas prices that would make the whiners go into spasms and a future that makes our worries about unfunded future liabilities seem like no concern at all. A very sorry excuse for a book without anything in the way of new ideas and just the standard wallow in the liberal swamp of “futility”. Only for a liberal Barbara, only for a liberal

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Generational Storm

I finished up “The Coming Generational Storm” (CGS) while up on a fishing trip to Winnibigosh. The weather is actually beautiful on our fall trip, maybe a good reason to do it a bit earlier in the future as we have this year.

CGS can be summarized as saying that we have been far to profligate for far too long in making promises to the old and eventual old, and the house of cards is about to crash … soon. Interestingly, we are better off than Japan and most of Western Europe with the exception of Great Britain. These guys try somewhat hard to be even handed, so I’d say they are “mostly in the middle” politically. They do their share of Bush bashing, but they point out that unlike the rest of Western Europe, and thanks to Margaret Thatcher, England has kept a lid on Government pensions and the growth of their medical system so they have a decent chance to avoid the perils of ever increasing liabilities and reduced population to keep paying that beset Japan, the rest of Western Europe, and to a lesser degree, the US.

The core of their claim is that we have an unfunded future liability of $51 Trillion listed in decreasing order of severity when Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and the national debt are counted. They maintain that there is no way we are going to cut benefits or raise taxes at anything like the rate required to pay that liability so the most likely outcome is hyperinflation and a wrecked economy. If we were so inclined, they propose the following plan that could still work:

1. Immediately stop accrual of benefits under the current Social Security(SS) program.
2. Current retirees and workers get whatever they have already accrued under SS.
3. The SS payroll tax is eliminated and replaced with equivalent investment into Personal Security System (PSS) accounts
4. A new federal retail sales tax of 12% that would reduce over time is initiated to pay off the benefits under the old system.
5. Workers PSS accounts are shared 50/50 with their spouses.
6. The government does PSS accounts on behalf of disabled and unemployed
7. The government matches PSS accounts on a progressive basis.
8. All PSS balances are invested in a single market weighted global index fund of stocks, bonds, and real estate.
9. The government guarantees the real principle that workers contribute to their PSS accounts.
10. Between ages of 57 and 67, workers PSS balances are gradually sold and transformed into inflation protected pensions.
11. If a worker dies prior to 67, any remaining PSS balances are transferred to PSS accounts of the workers heirs.

They spend a lot of time on the whys and wherefores, and I’d have to say that while I don’t agree with it all, they make rational arguments and it does have a bit of “pain for everyone” so if the world was rational, there is some chance it would be accepted. It doesn’t appear that the world IS rational however, so they indicate that it is time to “buy land and stock ammo”. Well, they aren’t actually that morose, but somewhat close.

In preparation for hyperinflation downsize but own your home, save, save, save, but not in 401K accounts since the government is going to be taxing those like crazy. Get in inflation adjusted securities, very broad market indexes that have an overseas component as well, and even some gold. While the pre-industrial life tended to be “Nasty, Brutish and Short”, they seem to be setting up for a case where the boomer old age will be “Nasty, Brutish, and Long”.

The book is a depressing but worthy read. I like to be a bit more optimistic than they are, but they do an excellent job of making the future look dark and knocking down any hopeful ideas one might have on how it could get better; technology/productivity improvement, globalization efficiencies, smarter immigration, people working longer … etc. In their world nothing works and doom wins. That is always a hard view to completely ignore, for it is certainly true that in the long run we are all dead.

Playing Democrat

Since his speech from New Orleans it is obvious that the Bush apple hasn’t fallen as far from the tree as one would have hoped. Bush 41 famously decided that doing tax increases “just like a Democrat” was sure to get him some admiration for “courage” in the media and a lot of votes from “Blue Dog Democrats” (those that retain some contact with reality). They naturally hated him just as much, and his Republican supporters loved him a lot less, so he was turned out of office by Billy the re-nosed womanizer who got to validly claim that BUSH had lied.

Enter Katrina, Bush 43 and over a decade of time. One would think that Republicans would just get used to being hated by the MSM, Hollywood, the guilty very-rich and those who can’t get over wishing for a perfect world in this one, but apparently not. I’m sure it hurts to have your poll numbers down, but there aren’t ANY federal elections this year, and even next year Bush isn’t running for anything. I certainly hope Karl Rove is on vacation or just having a bad non-hair day, or the situation looks grim for the pro-America team on how to operate day to day.

The right idea following Katrina would have been to spend as little Presidential time and Federal dollars as possible on the Sin City of the fever swamps. It is much better to have people hate you cheaply than it is to have them hate you while they line their pockets with most of the $200 Billion you pass their way and invest the rest in strip clubs and brothels that will be underwater when the next Cat 4 or 5 hits. When you pay to be hated expensively with other people’s money, sometimes the people you are taking the money from start to like you a lot less as well.

The MSM has harped about “Bush never apologizes” as if they would point to such an act as some sign of “goodness”. They wanted it of course, but now that they have it for a situation caused by nature, broken local government, and broken state government, they view it as blood in the water and naturally seek to get some body parts to go with the appetizer. Sadly, Bush seems intent to provide them a feast. The idea of going to Texas in advance of Rita was as bad as political ideas get, and answering a reporters question as “One thing I’m NOT going to do is get in the way …” is worse than Clinton claiming “I’m still relevant”. At least he was claiming to BE relevant, Bush was only claiming to “NOT BE an obstacle”. If you are a “D”, you can get away with such things, as an “R”, the sharks will just get more excited. Deciding not to go anyway, then going on the return trip, shows a Presidency adrift for the first time since 9-11.

It is true we are all human, but Republicans in the WH can’t ever show it. A surreptitiously photographed note wanting to follow the proper protocol for getting a potty break at the UN becomes a news story when you are a Republican. Oral sex in the Oval Office with an intern is a “private matter” when you are a Democrat. Will he “get over it”? It certainly remains to be seen, but he needs to get back to his bearings and realize that a Republican can absolutely NOT allow themselves to be “controlled by events”, or they will be torn to pieces. The greatest real problem is that with the propensity to throw money at New Orleans Bush has returned to ill-conceived idea that Republican Presidents can buy votes (or VERY expensive poll numbers) like Democrats.

There is SOME truth that votes can be had in red states for things like farm bills and defense spending, but when it comes to drug benefits for the elderly and massive pork for minority groups, the money is even more wasted than the usual federal rat-hole. Oldsters that are more motivated by dollars than values will always know where their federal bacon is most plentiful, and minorities are perfectly willing to accept any amount of money from a Republican and maintain their 90%+ Democrat voting record. There is however a limit on how many dollars actual Republicans can watch being thrown in the toilet before they decide it isn’t really worth going out and voting for massive waste of funds with a red vs a blue tint. Bush risks having the same effect on his base as dear old dad. He did get a second term, but events of the past couple of weeks point to the very real possibility of it not being a good one.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I suspect that every human enjoys a good conspiracy theory now and again. The left has a number of goodies:

• Bush knew about 9-11 going to happen from “his friends the Saudis”, and did nothing on purpose because he knew it would be good for him politically.
• The whole Afghanistan war was to make way for a pipeline from Azerbaijan so that some of Bush or Cheney buddies could get rich(er). Sometimes it fits with the whole 9-11 plot in some elaborate way, sometimes it doesn’t.
• The whole Iraq war was “cooked up” to variously make Halliburton stock go up, provide oil money for some other set of cronies, cure some GW fixation with getting back at Saddam for trying to assassinate his daddy, or some other idea or all of that above.

While a good conspiracy theory needs very little evidence to get going in the minds of people that think it would be “shocking” if it were true, there are usually some set of news stories, memos, “heard on the street” kinds of things to give it some level of credence, at least if you are pre-disposed to believe it.

The interesting thing to me about the ones above is what kinds of people buy into them … Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, 90% of Hollywood … oh, maybe that really isn’t THAT amazing, and of course there is the excess of booze in the Kennedy case, age and booze can be a bit hard on the brain cells. I digress, the point is they do movies like Fahrenheit 911 on such things, millions of lefties go and cheer, and they have the director sit next to an ex-Prez at their last convention (the rabbit killer that only lusted in his heart and spared the Oval Office carpets).

Even though Hillary has pointed out to there being a “vast right-wing conspiracy” on National TV, we on the right just don’t seem to get many of our leading lights out there peddling conspiracy theories. It certainly isn’t for lack of “potential”, there is ALWAYS potential. Here are a few dots that the conspiracy minded could connect if they wanted:

• I read an article in US News last summer that Jim Wallis, author of “God’s Politics: How the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t get it” has been meeting with Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, and other Democrats to work on a strategy for “winning back values”. The bottom line of the article was that they needed to focus on “care of the widows and orphans”, and what they really needed was an EVENT to crystallize their superior position on that issue.
• It took repeated calls from the Bush administration to get ANY evacuation called from New Orleans, and even with the calls, the evacuation was grossly inadequate and offers of using a train, busses, and other items were explicitly turned down by either the Mayor or Governor. Hundreds of school and city busses sat in their lots and were flooded out rather than being used to evacuate people.
• People were explicitly told by city officials to go to the Convention Center and Superdome, and these buildings were explicitly NOT supplied with water, portable toilets, emergency lighting, medical supplies or security personnel.
• The Louisiana STATE office of emergency management DENIED access to these facilities by the Red Cross on Tuesday, the day after the Hurricane when they wanted to provide water and medical supplies to the people there.
• No information was provided up the ladder via usual channels that assistance was specifically needed by people at those facilities, however reporters were encouraged to go there and begin to interview people.

So, do I think that the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana, the DNC and CNN cooked up this scheme to get the ball rolling as a kickoff to a “Democrat Values Initiative”? Nope, I don’t … I certainly don’t give them credit for being that smart or organized for starters. I think they could have done such a thing with a “reasonable expectation” that nobody would be “seriously hurt” and not be aware that things would go as bad as they did, but in no way do I think they even WOULD try to do such a thing if they thought there was a reasonable chance people would be killed (and they would have to be even bigger idiots than I give them credit for to not see that).

All of which goes to show you that my opinion of liberals and Democrats is WAY higher than their opinion of George Bush, Dick Cheney, the US Military, American Business and a whole lot of their standard demons. They explicitly DO think that all of the above are REGULARLY doing “conspiracy things” to “make money”, “gain power” or other such reasons that will certainly take both American and other lives. Democrats at high levels and the media REGULARLY assert conspiracies very much like my fantasy stated above as “facts”, with much less “supporting data” than I have presented. They do whole books on such things (Al Franken, “Lies …” for example) only in place of CNN they use Fox news and Conservative Radio … but it is a conspiracy just the same.

Anything that happens can always be “explained” by some “conspiracy” or even “space aliens” if one is so inclined, all that is really required is ignoring the simple maxim that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Do I REALLY think that conservatives should play such games? No, it would make us just as daffy as the left, but I think that an occasional observation of how easy it would be to “spot something” is healthy. Besides, just because I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “vast left-wing conspiracy” really doesn’t mean that there ISN’T one. If Hillary thinks that such a thing exists on the right, maybe she has a good reason because she knows of what she speaks due to her knowledge of the left? ;-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Beam Me Up

The MSM has done a great job of creating the story that the FEDERAL response to Katrina was “slow”, “incompetent”, “woefully inadequate”, etc. Today on CNN they used this headline to get the false point across for the 1000th time.

Indeed, the “story” has often become the public reaction and polling data on how bad people feel about how bad the response was. Isn’t it interesting that there isn’t a single story that provides ANY data about how fast or how large the responses were to say that last 5 or 10 hurricanes? Wouldn’t an objective measure of “horrible” be something like “hours or days difference” from the “standard response”? It would seem like a “fair assessment” (not likely from the MSM when a Republican is in the WH) might include some small words about what might be different from other hurricanes or floods … New Orleans being below sea level so the flood just stays and has to be pumped out, very limited roads into the city, and those damaged by the flooding. Little things like that.

At least there is the Internet now, so some folks that actually do hurricane relief are starting to make their opinions known. A lot of what follows is stolen from . The following is from Jason van Steenwyk, a FL Gaurdsman that has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history. I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:
- More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.
- The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.
- Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.”

A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:
"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network. You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region."

"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

The between hookah hits is priceless, and really fits well with the journalism majors that I knew in college. The MSM, and unfortunately a lot of Americans seem to believe that a “fact free analysis” is all that is required when it comes to a “Blame Bush” approach. What relief effort do they hold up as being “the best”? How fast was it, and how much was done in what period of time? Doesn’t it seem like a rational person would have to ask those kinds of questions before they would be satisfied that this was “the worst ever”, “totally unacceptable”, or some other scathing evaluation like we see every day from the MSM on this one? Doesn’t it have to be compared to SOMETHING? Apparently not if all you need for justification is another hookah hit. Beam me up.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Everyone that was mature enough to have memories of 9-11-2001 can remember where they were and how they heard. I personally was at work and about to go into a meeting that included a person from Haifa Israel. His sister worked in one of the towers, which added a more personal level. Fortunately she got out. It was a perfect blue sky clear day here in MN as well, and a day that our department had a golf outing that we decided to not cancel. No matter what anyone did that day, it was a strange day that we realized that the world would never be the same again. Much more than the JFK assassination (which I also remember) or the Challenger, which are the other two shocking negative days that I would put in the somewhat the same category, but 9-11 was unique.

What made it unique to me is that evil moved up to a new level. Plenty of people have been shot before and will be again, Presidents had even been shot. Assassination had been around for a long time and will be around forever. The Challenger was memorable, but it was an accident at the limits of technology, surprising, but not really shocking after a moment of thought. The unparalleled impact of 9-11 was that a group of people in a non-war situation would seek to kill as many people as they possibly could with no specific demands, even though the fact they could fly a sophisticated aircraft proved that they had opportunity for a better life. All Americans were targets, and we realized would always be targets, and for a least a week or two we came together and understood that.

That tiny bit of unity didn’t last long, and provides my second personal mind-change from 9-11, but let me go back to the first for a moment. Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City at least had a “target” … “the FBI”. He was a monster that killed plenty of innocents including children, but at least one would guess that once he was done killing all the FBI folks, he would be done. Nations having wars of course kill huge numbers of civilians, but without going into the morality of war, one can argue that it is a very costly competition at a nation level. Nazi Germany of the USSR winning at war could have certainly been horrendous for Americans, but the parameters of war, however distasteful had been around for a very long time, and will be around for a very long time to come.

9-11 ushered in a different view. Here were groups of people from around the globe banding together for the explicit purpose of killing as many Americans as they could, but with no explicit purpose for the killing. Maybe revenge, maybe because they felt powerless, maybe as some surrogate target for Israel, maybe because they simply wanted the power that they called “the great satan” to feel pain. The act was the message. “We are here and you will notice us” maybe comes as close as any meaning. For the first time we knew that there were people that would use ANY means they could get access to for the purposes of mass killing. Nuclear, Biological, Chemical … the limits were gone. They signed no agreements and made no statements of restraint. All Americans became targets of killers that explicitly decreed that no law or morals would stand in their way when it came to killing us.

For a week or so, we shared the threat as “Americans”, but my second great lesson came as the liberals began to leave that fold one way or another. Some of the earliest discussions were “Why did we deserve 9-11?”. Some others came up as Bush and others called the terrorists “cowards”, or “evil”. Many on the left considered it very “brave” to commit suicide in the interest of killing thousands, unsurprising since they sometimes find it “brave” to commit suicide when it is only ones own life being taken. Once life is not a gift from a higher power that comes with responsibility, both the taking of ones own life and the lives of innocents can be just as admirable with a plane and a building as it is with euthanasia and abortion.

Which brings us to “evil”; that too being a concept that made the liberals very uncomfortable, since even in the face of 9-11 such a claim was too judgmental to be applied to those intrepid warriors with box cutters. This quickly gave way to “Why do they hate us”, “We deserved it” followed shortly by “There is too much flag-waving and we are being asked to give up too much (searches at airports) and too little (economic sacrifice)”. Once Bush decided to actually take action in Afghanistan, the farthest of the left completely peeled off, and with a bit more than a month of action over there Daniel Schorr of MPR labeled it a “quagmire”, just before the Afghan cities started to fall to allied hands like dominos. Poor Daniel, he was so hoping for a quagmire.

The months right after 9-11 changed my mind about liberals. I used to believe that they were well-meaning people with a different view of America. I came to realize that America was optional to them. Since they live with an abstract view of what America (or some country) OUGHT to be, the continuation of this America was very optional, and in many ways deserved to be attacked of even destroyed. This America, or even Democracy held no special place in their minds, and other concerns, even hatred for a single President could consume their minds and especially their emotions to such a degree that all else was easily forgotten.

Those were the lessons that I learned for 9-11. For middle of the road to conservative Americans I think we re-learned that freedom isn’t free and must be constantly defended, plus, the task of defense has to include both offense and defense. Fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq is way cheaper in lives and capital than fighting them in New York, Washington, and every other large American city. Liberals didn’t learn any lessons, they never do. Since the abstract perfect world that they have in their minds always remains abstract and perfect, and this world always remains far inferior, there is very little reason for them to learn.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Blocking The MSM

The story broke on Fox news last Wednesday that the LOUISANA STATE Department of Homeland Security had blocked the Red Cross from taking water, medical supplies, and food into the Superdome on the Tuesday after the hurricane. Friday I saw the story up on CNN, and thanks to some help from a friend was able to find it yet today:

I’ve heard a few left-leaning people report the story as “The Department of Homeland Security”, or “FEMA” (which reports into the FEDERAL Department of Homeland Security” blocked the aid. I have no idea if the “heard on the street” view of these generally anti-Bush people is “wishful hating”, or if it is the result of actual misreporting. It is very easy to see how even a good and unbiased reporter could accidentally leave out “Louisiana State” and just say “Department of Homeland Security”, and it is obvious that someone with bias would WANT to leave it so that it appeared that the federal department messed up and the problem was closer to the White House doorstep.

How many disasters have you seen where there Red Cross wasn’t visible in the thick of things very early on? Not many I’d wager, yet they weren’t here this time, and apparently this explains why. This action seems to be a clear major mistake, but my interest isn’t so much that “heads roll” at the State of Louisiana as it is that the facts be carried by the MSM.

I can think of a simple explanation why this story gets no MSM play. It would water down the “Bush incompetence” story and start to bring State and Local officials into the limelight and it seems that the MSM is going to avoid that at all costs. Why is the country divided? If you believe that FEMA blocked aid to people at the Superdome, AND you already hate Bush, this is certainly enough to get you ticked off. If you generally support Bush or don’t much care and find out that the STATE blocked the aid, but the MSM wants to report it as if the FEDs blocked the aid, one might get the idea that there is bias in the MSM.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Today was a work sponsored holiday where our area was bussed out to lunch and a play. The play was Edward Albee’s “Seascape”, and from a purely entertainment / acting point of view was “just fine”. I checked up on it and it won a Pulitzer prize, so at least someone thought it was good.

The play centers on a middle aged human couple on the verge of retirement where the man would like to “just relax”, and the woman would like to “be active and find adventure”. The dialogue is sometimes witty and funny, but the subtext is that the basic meaning of life is “having a good time”. Certainly no “higher purpose”, or even “serve your fellow man”.

Just before intermission, a pair of odd looking lizard creatures shows up. The second half of the show is a dialogue between the human couple and the lizard couple. The lizard couple are “highly evolved” (for sea lizards), and are ready to graduate to life on the surface. A good deal of time is taken up trying to show the absurdity of any “human superiority” … we are merely “animals with clothing”. Strangely though, rather than reason, the thing that sets the humans apart from the lizards is emotion. While less well versed in key things like “what is an airplane”, the lizards seem quite reasonable.

In retrospect, this was the part of the play I found the most objectionable. Possibly I’m just a foolish pet lover, but I feel somewhat certain that animals know emotion. They certainly seem “happy” to see a person on arrival, fearful of the vet, “bored” when nobody wants to play, and “sad” when it is obvious that the family has packed up and they are going to be left alone for some period. I see less evidence of “reason”, although I hold out some reservations that cats work to train their owners to provide them with an optimum life ;-)

Cat training aside, reason is the separator. Many an animal can throw just as good a hissy fit as a Hollywood director, but they aren’t likely to do higher math or even write a program that says “Hello Reality” anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Negative Advertising

I was up early enough this AM to watch a bit of Don Imus on MSNBC. For those that don’t know him, he is an irreverent pseudo cowboy that broadcasts from NYC, but is either #1 or close to it as a radio personality inside the Washington beltway. He has a lot of politicians and media people on. McCain, Kerry, and Biden are favorite politicians, Tom Oliphant from the Boston Globe and Tim Russert from NBC news are on there quite a bit. Russert was on this AM.

It seems that his shtick of early AM, seems like just joshing around, off the wall comments gets folks to let their hair down a bit and they seem to enjoy pontificating on there even a bit more than normal. Russert did masterful job of talking about how “After 911 the Bush people just wanted to keep moving forward with the war on terror without investigation, and after no WMD were found in Iraq they had the same idea again, now they seem to think that the time to figure out what went wrong in New Orleans is after the rebuilding.”. He went on to discuss how we can do both, and there needs to be deep study, because the American people seem to have been “lied to” about homeland security as they were “lied to” about WMD. The Federal Government has failed, and we need to understand why.

Russert was very smooth in his “drawing of connections”, and even managed to touch ever so slightly that things might have not been done “perfectly” by the city and state governments, but then moved right back to “responsibility being at the top”. While Russert is MSM, I wouldn’t have previously put him in the rabid Bush-hater class, but his performance of this AM and I hear on his “Meet the Press” show on Sunday show that he is drifting to the “rabid class”.

For the left, the “let’s beat on the Federal Government since it is run by Bush” has to be a bit pyrrhic. As they savage FEMA, Homeland Security, and whatever other surrogates they can find for the hated Bush, most people are simply going to get the message “Government Doesn’t Work”. The very people who cheer for ever more massive federal bureaucracy are forced to paint it as powerlessness and ineffective. Of course they “mean well”, they REALLY only want to savage Bush, but since he is President, people get confused and think he is part of “the government”.

Someone wrote a piece for the back of US Nudes and World Retort (better known and US News and World Report ;-) ) long ago, in which they brilliantly pointed out that if Coke and Pepsi discovered negative politics to the extent that the US parties discovered it after Watergate, nobody would be drinking soft drinks in this country. The airwaves would be full of shocking exposures of rotting teeth, heart attacks from obesity and caffeine, mice, fingers and all matter of deleterious found in containers and on and on. In general, they avoid negative advertising because they BOTH want to keep selling their product, and they know that negative ads would hurt BOTH them and their competitors.

What is the MSM media and and the Democrats really “selling” when they go after Bush? Well, what they THINK they are selling is that he is a horrible President, and by extension Republicans are horrible, and so voters should vote for Democrats for Congress and the Senate in ’06. But how likely is that to work? It works GREAT with the already Bush hating mad as hell 20% who immediately parrot the “Bush is incompetent, Bush hates Blacks, Republicans cut the budget so the dikes failed, etc”. It sounds good in their echo chamber. People like to bitch as well, so for a few weeks a few more sheep may pick up the bleat, but is that going to last for over a year?

But what is the BIG message? “Government doesn’t work”. We spent a bunch of money on Government and it didn’t help. In fact, they have missed a HUGE chance to point out that Government DID work … it worked in Mississippi, it worked in Texas, it worked all over Florida last year as 3 hurricanes were dealt with. It also is working big time from the feds … lots of choppers rescuing 10s of thousands of people who failed to heed a warning, federal and National Guard troops bringing order and aid, the Corps of Engineers fixing the levees, pumps flown in from across the whole country. The very folks that are the biggest fans of government, which in general IS working are forced by their hatred of Bush to give that very government a black eye.

Most people understand that it is the “system” that works more than the temporary occupants of various elected and appointed offices. As a conservative I’m often amazed by how well it really does work … even under Bill Clinton, so dedicated to the Presidency that he not only brought pizza into the office, but sex as well. Talk about competent leadership. It is big and often bloated, but nearly everyone at all levels is very likely to try their very best to deal with a hurricane where lives are at stake. If must be so hard to be a lefty and have Bush be this horrible buffoon that is completely incompetent … so much so that he is “criminally negligent” in his handling of a natural disaster, yet he keeps on beating your party in elections. Even worse, how fragile does that make the Federal Government? How many people in how many places of work rely on word from the very top to react to the basic tasks of their business? Like none?

Bias is expected, but if they stay on this track the MSM and the Democrats have a very legitimate chance to hurt themselves and the causes they claim to support far worse than they hurt Bush.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Too Few Rs

As I watch and listen to the coverage of the Katrina recovery I’m struck by the horrible problem that arises when there aren’t enough Republicans in the chain of command in a situation. As I’ve said before, I actually think that the media coverage of Republicans would be pretty good if it was the same coverage that was given to Democrats. Situations like New Orleans and Mississippi show how different the coverage really is. We need a lot of government watch dogging, it just needs to be bi-partisan … neither party can be trusted to do a good job without watching (and likely only a marginal one WITH close watching).

The Mayor of New Orleans, Raqy Nagin is Democrat, as is the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux. They have been mentioned, usually complaining, and but one could instantly look at this situation and realize that no matter what FEMA does, there is a TON of blame to be applied to local or state government. I could tell right away they had to be “D”, because things looked bad and there was no “R” visible next to their names. A group of friends and I have a lot of fun with media stories off CNN … if it is a rare positive story and there is no political designation next to the elected official, we know it is an “R”, and for certain, if things look bad an there is no “R”, it is ALWAYS a “D”.

Since the whole chain to the federal level in the Kristina story for New Orleans/Louisiana is “D”, all blame for everything … evacuation, response, maintaining order, looters getting mosquito bites, etc all has to flow directly to the first “R”. I understand this is a special case since Bush hatred is the leading Main-Stream Media (MSM) sport, so they view this as just another target opportunity.

One doesn’t hear nearly as much bad news and complaint out of Mississippi whose Governor is an R. Very strange, they actually took more of the brunt of the storm, but nobody is shooting helicopters over there, and in fact people are being evacuated there from not only Mississippi, but Louisiana as well. The REALLY sterling example is Texas. Public radio kept trying to find some hole in how refugees from New Orleans could possibly be handled in Texas. Strangely, Texas had cots, portable showers, kits of toiletries, and an entire preparedness plan for dealing with 10s of thousands of hurricane victims. Why? They have a few coastal cities … Galveston, Corpus Christi, etc. and practice every year for a hurricane like Katrina. Texas was highly prepared, current Governor J. Richard Perry, previous governor George W Bush. There can’t be anything GOOD over there, too many “R”s, so the MSM treats it as if emergency preparedness is some sort of accident that somehow just failed to happen in Louisiana.

The MSM does everyone in the country a disservice with the huge level of bias since with the exception of the 20% and growing of the angry left, MOST people want things to work as well as possible with as low a cost as possible in tax dollars. When a local community is below sea level, has no reasonable evacuation plan, and certainly no plan to house people displaced by the storm, that would mean that the local government is extremely screwed up, and it needs to be reported. The Superdome with no bottled water, portable toilets, portable generators, etc? Who were they kidding? That wasn’t a “plan”, it was at best a bad idea. How can 150 school busses be sitting out in the flood waters in New Orleans with people complaining “I had no way to get out”? Did the city have no plan to use public means to evacuate people? How can you live below sea level in a hurricane area and not have a solid evacuation plan?

New Orleans and Louisiana have both inept and corrupt government, but since it has a “D” next to it we have to try to blame the Federal Government and the story gets lost. I’m not going to go do the research myself to try to compare Katrina response with ND Floods in ’97, Andrew in ’92, or Mississippi River Flooding in ’93 when many towns in MO and IL were in flood conditions for over 100 days. I’m sure however that if the handling of those disasters had significantly better handling by FEMA, we will find out, which is GOOD. If FEMA has gone down hill and it is Bush’s fault, it OUGHT to be pointed out and dealt with. I live here, I want both parties to do a good job and poor results to be pointed out when they actually happen. There is no way to evaluate the FEMA performance at this stage. We have never had to deal with a city below sea level that failed to evacuate, had no plan to deal with the situation once it happened, and had residents shooting at the rescue personnel.

To see the MSM media absolutely ignore what is certainly and abysmal performance on the part of the elected officials in New Orleans and Louisiana with attempts to “blame it on FEMA” is even more reprehensible that their usual left wing nut performance. Ineptitude and corruption of local officials have proven to be a lethal combination here. To see some elements of the MSM and a decent portion of the angry left bleating sheep just see it as another opportunity to “blame Bush” shows that for many, partisanship is all that counts. I have no problem blaming the federal government and Bush if the failure of the local government is handled badly, but we at least need to recognize that the local governments in the New Orleans case could scarcely have done worse.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Human Values

I’ve heard a few pundits and politicians lament the rampant lawlessness and looting in New Orleans with some variation of; “Usually disasters bring out the best in people, I don’t understand and am very distressed by what is happening in New Orleans …”.

Due to the background noise from the American media and our education system; many people seem to have lost touch with yet another piece of reality. Disaster bringing out the best in people WAS a key part of that horrible America prior to 1960 that the left has done everything it can to get rid of. The America where God, Family, personal responsibility, mutual respect, adherence to higher ideals, local community, self reliance, and helping your neighbor were shared and common values.

The liberal values start with there not being any God, personal pleasure being the highest value, everyone is a victim and they are “owed”, you are not responsible for yourself, and certainly not for your neighbor. Responsibility is farmed out to “the wealthy”, “corporations”, or some other corrupt entity that is no doubt not giving you what you justly deserve. Property and people with property deserve no respect, and in fact are to be seen as “victimizers”, they probably obtained it at your expense. There is no higher ideal than looking out for #1 and getting what you “deserve” by any means possible. Your local community is powerless, only the Federal Government has any power and responsibility, which they never live up to because of “big money” or “the ideology of greed”.

“Human Nature” is pretty close to liberal values, and like all values, does indeed come out in time of crisis. If you believe in God and an everlasting soul, when you witness the awesome power of nature and see death and destruction, you are very likely to be moved by your own powerlessness. You will probably feel gratitude that you survived, and the idea that your life is fragile and in Gods hands. You are very likely to be motivated to follow your values even closer than normal, help your fellow man, completely eschew any thoughts of obtaining property and looting, and dedicate yourself to a thankful response for having been spared.

If your values are “human” (liberal), when you see that nobody is watching, feel that you have been victimized by not only the normal demons of society, but now by the randomness and meaninglessness of nature as well, you feel that it is “payback time”. You are now in charge, authority (which hasn’t done you right) isn’t there, and the goodies are ripe for the taking, so why not? If you can get a gun and take some shots at “the man”, maybe that is all the better, you may never get a clean shot at those folks that have failed to provide you what you deserve again. Some idiots in a helicopter trying to help someone else are foolish cogs in a corrupt and random system, worthy of your scorn, and “targets” to feel the sting of your justifiable anger.

Look at Mgadishu or Rawanda. What we are seeing in New Orleans is very much “human nature”, and it is an early flower of the kind of America that was planted in the sixties and continues to be planted by the left today. What we mistakenly came to think was “human nature” was actually “American Values”, completely unnatural to man, but instilled by Church, School, Community, and family with loving effort back in the days when all those institutions and more … like the Scouts, 4-H, and even the social and fraternal organizations were revered and supported in this country. It wasn’t the “best of people” that came out in crisis, but the “real nature”, the core values that were a shared part of a great nation.

The press will do all in their power to prevent Americans to see this simple truth. LA in the Rodney King riots, New Orleans after Katrina, THIS is the America that the left is working to create, and has successfully created for those parts of society that have been most vulnerable to their agenda. Look closely, human values unencumbered by reverence for the divine have a smell that is precisely like the lord of human values.