Friday, September 16, 2005

George Delano Bush

Though I've heard the term before, I must admit that I firmly agree with FOXnews judicial analyst, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, who today referred to the president as "George Delano Bush". That says it all.

Should US taxpayers pay to rebuild New Orleans?

Last night, President Bush promised that US taxpayers would shoulder "the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone." What's wrong with this picture? Where is the responsibility?

Dubya promised that US taxpayer funds would go toward rebuilding roads (a small minority of which are federal highways), bridges (a small part of which are on federal roads), schools (which are a state issue) and water systems (which are state and local issues).

If an interstate highway, a US highway or a bridge on one of those highways was damaged, then it is only right and proper that the US government should shoulder the expense of repairing it. But in Louisiana, the way governors build their legacy, is to build bridges. The more bridges you have named after you, the more important a governor you were, seems to be the belief. Of course, if you want to build a bridge, you have to build a road to get to it. Somehow, I just don't see how rebuilding STATE highways and bridges in Louisiana, should be shouldered by US taxpayers.

Now, if Louisiana wants to BORROW the money to repair or rebuild STATE highways and bridges, then it would only be proper for US taxpayers to step up to the plate to provide low-interest LOANS to the state for that purpose, expecting a reasonable payback. The same applies to schools and water systems.

LOAN the state and the city the money to repair or rebuild those state and/or city owned properties and require payback. DON'T GIVE it to them. It is not the responsibility of the US taxpayer to pay for Louisiana's and New Orleans' mistakes. It was more important for them to have a giant domed stadium and more social programs than any other city besides New York City, than it was to build proper levees. That was their CHOICE, not ours. They CHOSE to live below sea level, with a levee system that they knew was not sufficient to withstand any more than a category 3 storm. In fact, the Times Picayune newspaper ran a five part article a few years ago, that predicted almost exactly what has now happened. They KNEW that this would eventually happen and the socialists in New Orleans and Louisiana just let it happen, fully expecting the US taxpayers to come in and bail them out, when it did.

Dubya is just going along with this and once again, showing that he is NOT A CONSERVATIVE, by any stretch of the imagination. That's probably why the Democrats hate him so much. He's stealing all of their issues.

Under the Constitution, the federal government is only supposed to provide an environment that will allow the states to deal with THEIR OWN PROBLEMS, not to solve those problems FOR the states. All that Dubya and the Congress are doing, is using this state disaster, as an excuse to, yet again, expand the federal government far beyond constitutional limits.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evacuees go on Spending Sprees

KPRC-TV (2) is now reporting that evacuees are using their FREE debit cards to buy expensive items, like a $250 bracelet, at the Galleria. One of the Dallas TV stations aired a similar story a few days ago, where they cited an evacuee using her FREE debit card to buy an $800 designer purse. I would be very surprised if more than half of the people getting those debit cards have ever had $2000 at one time, in their entire life. Give people more money than they have ever seen and they will almost always waste it. On the other hand, they may just be taking those expensive items to a pawn shop to exchange them for money for drugs.

On a related vein, it's interesting to note that responsible victims of Katrina, who left New Orleans before the storm and who are staying in hotels and were expecting insurance to pay the bill, cannot get help from either FEMA or the Red Cross, since they are insured. Yet, at the same time, the insurance companies are telling the responsible victims that they are unable to pay any claims until they can see the house, but they are not allowed into New Orleans to see the damage. Actually, that's a perfectly reasonable attitude for insurance companies to take, since many homes in New Orleans were not damaged and they don't know which were damaged and which were not. There is also the question of whether or not the homeowners policy covers the cost of housing as a result of government ordered evacuations, when the home is not damaged.

Instead of FEMA and the Red Cross passing out FREE debit cards to the irresponsible victims, who were either too poor or too dumb to evacuate before the storm arrived, they should be checking to see who was on the dole before the storm and getting them only their welfare checks, so money can be allocated to those responsible people, who got out early and were insured, since those are the producers, who we need to get back into the system fast.

What FEMA and the Red Cross are doing is effectively punishing responsibility and rewarding irresponsibility. What's wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Creating More Victims in New Orleans

Instead of helping those who survived Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Nagin and Police Superintendent Compass are yet again, adding to the problem. Cybercast News Service reports that many residents of New Orleans, whose homes totally escaped the devastation of both the hurricane and the ensuing flood, don't want to leave, for fear of losing everything that they have, to looters, once they are gone. Interestingly, many of those homeowners are armed and some have even used their guns to defend their property (see article). So, what is the response of this turn of events, by the mayor and police superintendent?


What's wrong with this picture?

The devastation is so vast, that as we have seen, with all of the New Orleans Police, Louisiana State Police, National Guard and other authorities in New Orleans, all of those agencies just cannot keep up with fighting crime, while attempting to evacuate those who still want to leave.

The Second Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights, to function largely as a last resort, so citizens would be guaranteed that they could protect their property, when all of the efforts of government failed to do that or when government itself, became a threat. Well, guess what? All of the efforts of government have failed to protect hundreds of buildings and homes from looters. We're not talking about a possibility. This has already happened and is still happening. This is one of the primary cases that the Second Amendment was designed to protect citizens against.

Mayor Nagin and Superintendent Compass totally failed in their duty to protect New Orleans most vulnerable residents. So now, because some more self-sufficient residents lived on higher ground and were able to protect what they own, Nagin and Compass want to take away the ability of those self-sufficient residents, to protect themselves and their property, thus insuring that they will lose all of what they have, too. That's typical liberal mindset. "If the poor lose everything, then the government should make sure that the rich and middle class lose everything, too."

The Mayor of New Orleans and the Police Superintendent are making the worst disaster that this nation has ever faced, even worse. If homeowners have food and water for an extended time, there is no reason for them to be forced out of the home that they are protecting or to take away their ability to protect themselves and their property. Having worked in New Orleans on occasion and knowing the temperament of many of their citizens, I would not be surprised to learn of New Orleans citizens being killed by police, who come for their guns and to force them out of their homes, in the near future. Of course, as we all know, the police will be doing this for the citizen's own protection, even though the citizen ends up dead.

I'll close by asking this question. How do the authorities propose to allow people back into New Orleans, when the city is completely evacuated, without creating an enormous looting problem in the still mostly unoccupied homes and businesses? After all, half a million people aren't just going to magically appear back in their homes all at one time. It will take weeks - weeks during which many of the early returnees will have to loot the homes and businesses of those who have not yet returned.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The National Disaster Plan's Real Weakness

Although it appears that the federal officials, simply acted slowly, in their response to the disaster in New Orleans, it's not that simple. The problem was a missing scenario in the federal disaster plan and it was a scenario that is hard to blame them for missing. You see, nobody in the federal government could have ever imagined a scenario, where there would be a total breakdown at both the state and local levels of government. Nobody in the federal government had envisioned a scenario where both state and local governments would fail to even begin to follow their own disaster plans.

As even the liberal Houston Chronicle reported, New Orleans had a disaster plan in place and the Mayor failed to follow it. Specifically, it called for extra help to be provided in advance to residents with "special needs." That term means, among other things, anyone who has no means of transportation out of town. That help didn't materialize until it was too late to take them anywhere but the "shelter of last resort", the Superdome. Furthermore, the Governor, who by law, must specifically authorize any incursion by US troops into a state, did not call for federal help until Wednesday. The failure at both the state and local level was epic.

The federal disaster plan attempted to take into consideration, all reasonable possibilities. But, what reasonable person could have ever predicted that there would be such a total breakdown of authority at both the state and local levels? Prior to this, such a possibility was unthinkable. The result is that federal officials, who have extensive disaster plans in place for just about every conceivable disaster, were totally blind-sided.

Considering that this is the worst natural disaster that this nation has ever faced and the massive failure at the state and local levels, the federal response has actually been better than should have been expected. Instead of trying to figure out a way to spin the facts to blame Dubya, we need to focus on the recovery. Then, after it's all over, if people want to try to spin the blame, they should go for it.

Dubya has done more than enough for which to be criticized, in other areas. We don't need to be inventing imaginary evils to apply to him, especially now. Tens of thousands of people are probably dead, many others still need rescue and hundreds of thousands of others are displaced. Like it or not, Dubya and the federal government have done a respectable job.

As I have said here before, even a blind pig finds an ear of corn once in a while. Though Dubya has done more damage to our republic than any president in history, I must give credit, when credit is due. Chalk up one to the blind pig.