Wednesday, September 21, 2005

One Thing Democrats

One Thing Democrats and Republicans Can Agree On, But Will They?

Democrats and Republicans should agree that the over-militarization of civilian life is big government.  So, citizens of all persuasions should be wary of one of the most dangerous suggestions in a long time.  I speak of the current move to revisit the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prevents, in all but the most extreme cases, the military from taking control away from states and localities.  As the lead editorial in today’s Roanoke Times  points out, though, the act does recognize that, in cases of war, insurrection, or serious emergency, and to fulfill his Constitutional responsibility, the president could dispatch the military.  So, the government is fully enabled to act in an emergency.  But the emphasis should be on Constitutional responsibility, not power-grab opportunism.  Now we hear pols extrapolate from our pleas for help with overreach to the nth.  

Many of us only wanted help from the Coast Guard and Navy for search, rescue, and re-supply (food, medicine, water) and from the Army for help with the levee system.  But that’s not enough for some who, ironically, pretend to shun the big government label.  Even US Army General Honore, while staying out of the policy discussion, admitted to NPR’s Steve Inskeep this morning that his men and women were able to do everything they needed to do without complete military control of the affected areas.  Still, some still try to capitalize on the disaster to pave the way to police state.  It’s the work of scoundrels and beneath the dignity of Sen. John Warner.  As the Roanoke Times editorial also points out, it was the failure of leadership at every level of government, not the Posse Comitatus Act, which caused the failed crisis response.

Regarding the federal response, we now know, because a small number of reporters suffered through the storm along with stranded citizens, that the federal government had ample warning of the storm’s magnitude on the Sunday before the storm.  Brian Williams, once referred to as the Right’s Go-to Guy has had a revelation, and not of the religious kind (though that may have happened too).  As he tells it, even the folks on the ground knew they were about to go under water.  And denials of what was known (and when) don’t wash.  His incredible and courageous storm reporting is featured in a video library at MSNBC.COM.  And so, pleas by the fed to the contrary are both excuse making and opportunism in the extreme.  For more coverage of what was known, and when, please refer to the Boston Globe, which has a chronology.  

A good test of an idea is to ask ourselves how we’d feel about the proposal if it were administered by the other party.  What are the possible unintended consequences?  I doubt that many Republicans would have bought such a suggestion if proposed by a Democrat.  Whatever lessons we learn from this national disaster, let it not be the surrender of everything we hold dear.  Fear is a strong motivator.  But, it appears that, as Franklin Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  Americans have been handing over their liberties to calm their fears for a while now.  And it’s time we get a grip.  

Friday, September 16, 2005

Kaine's the One

Only two states' governorships are up for grabs this fall. Only one, Virginia’s, is a contest. And it shouldn’t be. There’s only one party achieving a best managed state in the nation designation:The Democrats. Contrast that to the fiscal irresponsibility, ideological obsession with dangerous tax cuts, and slick-speak chicanery of Jerry Kilgore. The difference is so stark that earlier this week, the Chamber of Commerce laughed at, not with, Jerry Kilgore. Earlier this summer I wrote two articles about Tim Kaine for Democracy for Virginia (  These articles (“Raising Kaine in Blacksburg: Part 1” and “Raising Kaine in Blacksburg: Part 2” tell the story.  Refer also to my article “The World is Upside Down" at the bottom (first entry) to this blog.

Amazing, Unsettling Background of GOP Candidate for AG

Over at there's a must-read about the GOP candidate for AG. Bob McDonald does not represent mainstream Virginia. Please watch for a commentary on the latest of his false diatribes against the Democratic contender.

The What "Will Rise Again?"

Reaching new depths for senseless and too-late efforts at pseudo-compassion, George W. Bush again showed last night that he has lost touch with what it means to be a real truly compassionate human being, muchless a leader. With his own mobile floodlights, master production crew, and gall, he stood in Jackson Square, ever-reminiscent of a war the South waged to prolong slavery. And he feigned compassion even as he used symbols, heroes, and words that bring a shiver to the spines of those sensitive to lingering wounds of that era. We can hardly believe what they heard: this time the city "will rise again." Straight from the "South will rise again" slogan of Confederacy wingnuts, he used words only a jughead or bigot could love. We all want help for New Orleans. But George W. Bush is not up to the task.

We've seen his lack of compassion before. In the days before 9-11, George racked up more of his vacation record for US presidents. Eveven after being informed of the tragedy, he continued reading to school children. He could have excused himself, but he didn't. Will anyone seeing the videotape ever forget the clueless, panic-stricken look on his face? Then, he left for yet another photo-op. Before long he was wisked away, so useless Americans were left wondering throughout Sept. 11, 2001, do we have a leader? Where is he? Why didn't he act? Why did it take so long for NORAD to activate? Is anyone in charge? We learned later, Richard Clarke ran the show and the other Dick sorta led from his undisclosed location. Of course, much later, George W. Bush did his grandstand. And Americans bit, hook, line and sinker.

During Katrina, unbelievably, we lived the nightmare of a pilotless government once more. Days unfolded while George W. Bush vacationed. And, finally, he did an overflight. Long distance "compassionate conservative" rides again. Distance yourself, George W. Bush, feel their pain without feeling it. His poll numbers plummeted. And so he came back, staying long enough to reminisce of his hard-drinking days and strike a new low for inappropriateness. And off he went again. So, he came back --Handlers trying to get it right one more time. He posed with survivors, walked to nowhere for the cameras, two survivors so tightly in tow, they nearly cringed with discomfort for the phoniness of it all. It was clear he didn't really care. Poll numbers stayed in free-fall. Then the George W. Bush Production Company came back yet again. (Hint: It was already too late.) Weeks late and a country short.

In the shadow of a cathedral (must throw a bone to his theocratic Constituency even while doing his soul-less PR work) and using the words of the confederacy now applied to New Orleans, he said those words (the city "will rise again"). If he ever thought we'd believe he gives a fig about the people of New Orleans, the majority of whom are African American, we now know with absolute certainty. The answer is no. How insensitive can a man be? I am afraid we have only begun to find out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Real Chronology of Requests for Help by LA Governor

Over and over, we've heard that the governor of LA is responsible for the mess in New Orleans. This timeline will put such claims to rest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

See the Trouncing!

Sick of the empty Senate Hearings and the Bush-nominated lackey John Roberts? Feeling frustrated by the ongoing lack of transparency by everyone associated with George W. Bush? (More on this subject later.)

Here's a diversion for you. Watch the video of the Kaine-Kilgore debate. Kilgore was a joke. Kaine ruled. Even the media had to admit it. Here's the link. Then Kaine took on Potts (Kilgore wouldn't debate Potts.) A great day for Tim Kaine.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Babbling Babs Shows Even Less Heart Than Son George

So Barbara Bush (former First Lady) suggests evacuees are better off in the Houston Astrodome shelter? Can the Bush family be any less sensitive? First George had to take a vacation, get to a game of Golf, and wax poetic about his hard-drinking days. Now this. Read it and weep for the lack of compassion from the House of Bush.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What, Me Speechless?

Only once before have I been struck speechless. But here we are over a week since the horrendous tragedy on our nations's Gulf Coast and things just keep getting worse. We had ships off shore with amphibeous vehicles. They weren't dispatched in time. We had a floating hospital, also not dispatched in time. As I said earlier, we have a Navy, Coast Guard and Marines. They weren't dispatched in time. We are told by the golfer-in-chief that the Big Easy is important as nostalgia for his youthful drunks. And Mississippi is important for the rebuilding of Trent Lott's home--bigger and better. Meanwhile, hope fades for all the missing. 80% of the homes in New Orleans are under water. It will be months, if ever, before residents can return. And, now, George W. Bush has put himself in charge of the effort to find out what went wrong!

Anyone who thought we had a government prepared to help in monster storm rescue, relief and rebuilding is surely having second thoughts. Your tax money and mine rendered into patronage for former horse show organizers. He was too incompetent to run horse shows, so put him in charge of FEMA. This is what the House of Bush thinks of us. Leave No Poor State Behind, especially if the majority of the victims stranded are minorities. There is much more than neglect here. And I am stunned that our so-called leaders have sunk so low.

In 2001 Scientific American ran a story about how, in a major hurricane, New Orleans would be flooded (in 20 feet of water) by a failure of levees. The scenario read like the real news of last week, but yet, Bush fiddled (or rather strummed the guitar),vacationed at the pseudo-ranch, golfed and played. He looked us straight in the eye and once AGAIN said no one could have known. How many times will he utter empty words and still find Americans believing him? Compassionate Conservative? Caring resident? Let's face it. For all of us it's "let us eat cake" (or worse). For minorities, it approaches genocide-by-neglect. It's unspeakable. His father lost the faith of the voters for not understanding what ordinary Americans go through. Not GW. Millions of people keep believe him because they think he's a man of faith and like them. If they haven't figured it out by now, we are all lost. I usually don't judge the faith of another. But it's clear that there is nothing moral, compassionate, or even Christian in his actions and inaction. It's unspeakable. And I weep for the country I love. Please help, any way you can, the poor people of the Gulf. God knows, GW won't, despite his promises. As in the past, much money will never reach those needing it. People will be in shelters years from now (around 75 or so still remain in shleters from Hurricane Floyed 6 years ago). We are on our own.