Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Need to Redeploy our Forces

It's a quagmire. It's dangerous. It's ungovernable. We should give up and leave.

To understand how New Orleans is doing two years later, consider a few recent stories. This past weekend, seven family members and friends were enjoying a quiet evening outside their home in a tranquil neighborhood on the city's east side, which was badly flooded by Katrina. Then, according to New Orleans police, gunmen forced them into their house, robbed them, and shot them all, killing two. It was the neighborhood's second such crime in two weeks. Previously, gunmen had murdered a couple, Anjelique Vu and Luong Nguyen, leaving their infant and toddler unharmed.

"The slayings . . . were the latest in a series of armed home invasions and robberies in eastern New Orleans," wrote the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Several crews of gunmen . , . have robbed and shot workers . . . and homeowners in the area, where many residents are rebuilding their flood-damaged homes." Also last week, gunmen lined up six laborers and shot three, killing El Salvadoran Julio Benitez-Cruz. (New Orleans has experienced a post-Katrina influx of Hispanic laborers, both legal and illegal, who are tempting targets for criminals because they carry so much cash from contracting jobs.)

39 comments:

Truth said...

What I think is sick about New Orleans is that the federal government has been compltely lethargic in terms of a response. Two years after Hurricane Katrina hit people are still saying things like

""We're here and we're rebuilding"--with or without federal assistance. Indeed, Mr. Nguyen and his parishioners seemed to treat the subject of government help almost as an afterthought: it may help pay the bills if it ever arrives, but it's not expected."

Members of Congress from both parties have paid excellent lip service to the city, and yet of the money that's been passed very little has been delivered. The president has done the same thing, and again with little in the way of results. If we're actually worried about crime why don't we rebuild some of the city so that law-abiding citizens have a place to stay, work, and just generally live.

As of right now Habitat for Humanity is the largest builder of new homes in New Orleans, which is great, but why isnt it the US government with all of its reasources? Why are charities and private volunteers doing what the federal government should have been doing for two years?

Will G said...

Truth-
The first assumption that you are making is that it is the Federal Governments responsibility to take care of these people. I firmly believe in personal responsibility. If a windstorm comes through Latah county and blows down my shed (which happened last year) I don't expect a government check to pay for rebuilding. That is part of my responsibility as a homeowner to either insure it or otherwise absorb the cost of repairs. If any government agency is responsible here it would be the local government that is responsible for infrastructure. Personally I wouldn't live in a city that is under sea level. Something about that seems a little wonky.

Bruce Heimbigner said...

How about the 23 billion already spent in mississippi? Or the 116 Billion for the area? And that is disproportionate amount compared to pre-Katrina disasters. Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to rebuild a city that is 8 feet below sea level. Considering the levies were designed for category 3 storms and was hit with cat 5, the damage is less than it might have been. see http://www.kansascity.com/440/story/252364.html

Tom Forbes said...

Welcome Will! Please stop by again!

Truth said...

Will, the reason the federal government has a role to play is becuase it was levees built by federal taxdollars and constructed by the army corps of engineers which did the actual construction. Those were not built to withstand a categeory 5 or apparently even a category 3 hurricane, and despite everybody knowing that nothing was done to help them.

Secondly, the government has a role to play when a major disaster strikes the US. For example the LA earthquake, the recent flooding in the midwest, ect. And as it turns out I've got no problem spending a little more to help the tens if not hundreds of thousands of people get back on their feet. And make no mistake, they are trying as hard as they can to do so, they're not just sitting on a street begging.

Finally the argument about the city under sea level seems valid, but I have one major problem with it, namely thatit would never be uniformyl applied. For example take Washington DC, parts of which are below sea level. If DC flooded it would be a national effort to rebuild the city, with each party scrambling over itself to show how much they wanted the city rebuilt, nevermind that it was below sea level.

April E. Coggins said...

New Orleans biggest problem is the local, corrupt government. That's it. There is nothing more. We could pour our entire federal budget into New Orleans, and it wouldn't be enough. Frankly, the best solution would be to pull out all government support and let the free-market solve the problem. If that had happened at the beginning, we would not be revisiting the "victims".

Tom Forbes said...

Having lived in the Washington, DC suburbs for 12 years, I feel I am somewhat qualified to speak about the comparison of DC to New Orleans. I rode out Hurricane Gloria in 1985 on a houseboat at the Capital Yacht Club.

The issue is not so much altitude but proximity to the ocean. DC is much further inland than NO. For example, the remnants of Hurricane Isabel that hit DC in 2003 caused 10-11 foot storm surges, a record, and some flooding. Katrina produced maximum surges near 25 feet and devastating flooding.

The biggest problems DC has are the winds and flooding from heavy rain caused by hurricanes.

Will G said...

I think that may need to agree to disagree as to the role of the Federal Government in these situations. All they can do is throw money at the problem with little ability to administer its use. This creates a breeding ground for corruption and waste. It also creates a situation where people don't take responsibility for themselves because they believe that the government will bail them out. Our country needs to wean people away from government dependency not encourage it. Of course our politicians thrive on a society that depends on their handouts because it gives them more and more power.

Uncle Bubba said...

As a former native and product of the New Orleans public school system I can attest to April's statements.
New Orleans' biggest problem pre and post Katrina is it's corrupt culture.
I lived there 50 years ago,30 years ago and briefly 20 years ago.It was ingrained and accepted in New Orleans culture then and even more-so today.

Truth said...

I agree that corruption is a problem, but not everybody in New Orleans is corrupt. If we were to stop all aid to New Orleans what you say to those people who are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and are making an honest living is that the government doesn't care about them and that rather than help them we abandon the entire city.

What I would say we do is create an independent oversight committee to ensure that the money is being spent, and perhaps allocate some of the money to groups like Habitat for Humanity and local religious organizations. I would also like to see the government actually taking an active roll down there, because if you talk to just about anybody in New Orleans, especially some of the harder hit areas like the 9th ward and St. Bernanrds Parish, they will tell you that the government hasn't really done a thing for them and that what's been accomplished is more a testemant to to willpower of the people.

In my mind we should have no problem giving aid to help our own people when we give such large (and deserved) amounts to help Iraq.

Michael said...

If somebody suggested that we build a new city on the spot where New Orleans now sits (and sinks), geologists and environmentalists would oppose it. There is probably a no more inappropriately located city in the US. It's sinking because the land it sits on is flowing goo and because of groundwater pumping. A summary of New Orleans' geology published in National Geographic a couple of years ago predicted that the city would be uninhabitable in few decades anyway. The longest anyone gave it was until the end of this century. In addition, the levies that protect it are destroying the Mississippi River delta and America's most vibrant wetlands. So, if it's such a bad place to build a city in the first place, then why rebuild it after mother nature delivers a multibillion dollar message that it shouldn't be there?
Political pandering and political correctness, that's why.
If Palm Beach Florida were washed away in a hurricane (and someday it will be), then the newspapers will be filled with explanations for why the federal government shouldn't spend a dime rebuilding in such a vulnerable location. And liberal Democrat politicians would be saying the same thing. And, for perhaps the only time in their miserable lives, they would be right - but for the wrong reasons.

Truth said...

You're right, its a terrible location for a city, but as it turns out thats where New Orleans is built. Throughout history people have built cities in places which we think are illogical today. However that doesn't stop us from helping those communities when they need it. While New Orleans is an extreme example there are plenty of other places which require constant attention and government assistance. People on major earthquake fault lines for example, or people in the Middle East who have such a difficult time getting water, as is true in some farm communities in America...the list goes on.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if we were to approach disasters from a logical and removed point of view we would undoubtably change a lot, but we don't do that, we look at the human element. In this case, we look at the culture of New Orleans and what its given America, we can look at the economic benefits we get from the numerous refineries in the area, we emphathize with the people who lost their home. Once again, I've no problem paying the money to rebuild New Orleans just as I've no problem paying to help the victims of the Oklahoma tornado a while back, or people affected by the midwest flooding. It seems to me that doing those things are what makes us a truly great nation.

April E. Coggins said...

Truth: I have no problem with you sending your money to support whatever cause you believe in. My problem is with people who use my money to imprison me if I disagree with their choice of charity.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

April: "Truth: I have no problem with you sending your money to support whatever cause you believe in. My problem is with people who use my money to imprison me if I disagree with their choice of charity."

I was wondering when someone would hit on that. Exactly. "I don't mind spending...", truth? Open your wallet then. My wallet doesn't tolerate footing the bill for idiots that build homes below sea level, i.e. I make sensible investments.

Truth said...

I suppose it depends on how you define sensible. For example, to me it would have been sensible for us to build a system of levees which could have withstood the storm, sparing us all of the destruction that would happen, and it is in part the government's failure to do that which makes them partially responsible. It might also be sensible to never intervene in a humanitarian crisis like that which was in Darfur, or it might not have been sensible for the government to help the State of Washington when Mount St. Helens erupted, because we're so close to a volcanoe which has been active in the past.

However the decisions we make, as I tried to illustrate before, are not made strictly by what seems to be rational but also by what is moral and right and just and by what shows the true character of America. Why is it so unreasonable to pay the $100 the article cited said it would cost per person in order to help the hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced and furthermore wouldn't you expect the same kind of aid if Mt. St. Helens erupted and displaced hundreds of thousands of people on the west side?

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

"Truth": "However the decisions we make, as I tried to illustrate before, are not made strictly by what seems to be rational but also by what is moral and right and just and by what shows the true character of America."

You need to back it up to the point where money is forcibly taken from one person to redistribute to another before you begin talking about "moral and right" and the "true character of America." There's nothing moral and right about forcing everyone else to fund the enabling of stupid behavior, and if that's the true character of America, well...

"Truth": "Why is it so unreasonable to pay the $100 the article cited said it would cost per person in order to help the hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced..."

It's unreasonable because I have a better use for my $100, such as putting it toward sensible investments, not toward rebuilding houses in the bottle of a bowl. If you want to spend $100 of your money on that, be my guest. In fact, send them $200 since I'd rather not throw away my money on something with a predictable bad outcome.

Truth said...

Paul, would you expect the same kind of aid New Orleans is getting if western washington was hit by a massive volcanic eruption, even though much of washingotn is close to what has in the past been active volcanoes. Or what if there was a drought in the Palouse, would you expect aid here even though farmers are so far away from water. Is stopping the genocide in Darfur worth your money? While perhaps not the best examples I think the answer to both would be yes, but I am interested in please hearing your answer. Nobody makes smart decisions, but interestingly enough in the case of New Orleans we have a way to protect the city and that would be building a levee system which compares to some places in Europe, and make it so that in the next hurricane we don't see the kind of widespread flooding we did from Katrina (which is where the majority of the destruction came from).

Again I say that its America's willingness to openly give aid which makes us a great nation, not our military or economic might. And what better investment can you do with $100 that beats bringing the refineries in New Orleans online, giving the people who work their homes, and giving those communities schools, churches, ect?

April E. Coggins said...

Truth: Your argument has a major flaw. It assumes that the only money and aid that is available comes from the government. In the the history of our country, the smartest development came out of the free-enterprise system. The government needs to step back and let the American free-enterprise system rebuild New Orleans. They will do it smarter, cheaper and faster and on their own dime. When the developer is risking his own capital, he will be very careful with it. When the developer is using other peoples capital, he will milk it for all it's worth.

Truth said...

April I agree that free enterprise needs to be in play here, and indeed to a great extent it already is. Habitat for Humanity is the largest builder of new homes in the area, communities are trying rebuilding themselves, and so forth.

The problem is that there is such vast devestation that the free enterprise system can't cope, and neither can the people down in New Orleans (not to say the people are doing nothing, they have done phenomenial work, but they are rebuilding a city of hundreds of thousands). In addition to this we have to achnowledge the fact that the government has the most money available to spend on a rebuilding effort of such magnitude. I'd advise letting people bid for government contracts, say perhaps a contract to rebuild 100 homes, obviously giving the contract to the person who can do it cheapest with the stipulation that if the company which gets the contract goes over the amount estimated it will come out of their pocket rather than the governments. In this way I think we could allow the government to get involved and speed up the rebuilding process while provinding new jobs to people in New Orleans and ensuring that the people's money is not wasted.

April E. Coggins said...

I'm okay with low or no interest loans, but not hand-outs. And your idea of government contracts is a pretty idea, but in practice is extremely crooked.

Let's not forget that it was government levies that failed and much of the flooding was in government housing projects.

Truth said...

Its true that the government contracts can be very crooked and money will undoubtably be wasted, but unfortunetly I think that's the nature of government. At least in terms of the levies hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and rebuild the levies so that they are able to withstand things with the force of Hurricane Katrina, so that instead of flood damage we have only the wind damage which usually is far less destructive.

I guess it just sickens me when I think how willing we are to give money to Iraq to rebuild (which is desperatly needed, don't get me wrong) and then are unable to rebuild a part of our own country which was, and still is, very much destroyed.

Will G said...

Truth- Previously you said "In addition to this we have to achnowledge the fact that the government has the most money available to spend on a rebuilding effort of such magnitude." I'd like to know who this "government" is that has all this money. The government only has the ability redistribute wealth not create it. They've already confiscated over 127 billion of our money and sent it to the Katrina damaged areas. Is there any limit? What will be enough? 200 billion? 500 billion? A Trillion? Has the 127 billion that has already been spent returned 127 billion in value? I do agree with you that Habitat For Humanity has done great work. If I was going to voluntarily give it would be to an organization like it because I have confidence that they are going to use it wisely. However, at this point I feel like the government has already taken enough of my money and wasted it. This is one of the major problems I have with the government handling these situations. They replace family, church and other philanthropic organizations and create an environment of entitlement.

Truth said...

The government has allocated a good deal of money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and they have given at least some of it out. However when last I checked most of the money was still waiting to be allocated, so I suppose to clarify then I don't necessarily know if the government needs to allocate more money, although looking at the devestation it is quite possible, but rather the government (both Congress and the President) needs to get off its ass and actually do something. Habitat for Humanity is wonderful, but a charity cannot be where we turn to rebuild a city the size of New Orleans, if for no other reason than their workforce is all volunteers and there just arent enough of them to do the job. I would like more than Congress and the President giving speeches about how they care and actually seem them start some broad reconstruction programs in New Orleans to get the city on its feet. 2 years after the disaster we shouldnt have to look at specific areas or specific areas to find where the city has improved, we should have to look at specific places which have yet to be rebuilt.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

"Truth": "Paul, would you expect the same kind of aid New Orleans is getting if western washington was hit by a massive volcanic eruption, even though much of washingotn is close to what has in the past been active volcanoes. Or what if there was a drought in the Palouse, would you expect aid here even though farmers are so far away from water. Is stopping the genocide in Darfur worth your money? While perhaps not the best examples I think the answer to both would be yes, but I am interested in please hearing your answer."

You need to rephrase this to "would I expect the government to step in with aid, regardless of whether I or anyone else wanted it or not?" Yes, I fully expect a government that is drunk on the money it steals from hard working citizens to jump at the chance to buy votes. Disasters are the socialist's Christmas, after all.

I don't expect anyone to ride to my rescue, and it is on that basis that I make my decisions and arrange my affairs. There's this stuff you can buy if you're smart called insurance...

"Truth": "Nobody makes smart decisions..."

So that's your mindset...

"Truth:" "interestingly enough in the case of New Orleans we have a way to protect the city and that would be building a levee system which compares to some places in Europe, and make it so that in the next hurricane we don't see the kind of widespread flooding we did from Katrina (which is where the majority of the destruction came from)."

Here's a reasonable idea: we don't rebuild a city below sea level. In fact, we don't even rebuild it, just the homeowners and whatever contractors hire on for the job.

"Truth": "Again I say that its America's willingness to openly give aid which makes us a great nation, not our military or economic might. And what better investment can you do with $100 that beats bringing the refineries in New Orleans online, giving the people who work their homes, and giving those communities schools, churches, ect?"

America does not have willingness to give, as abstract concepts are only concepts and do not have volition and motivations. Individual Americans do, and a lot of us frequently exhibit a willingness to give, depending on the cause, and others (mostly liberals) simply do not. They make individual, free choices about how their capital will be disposed of. The sort of government robbery and redistribution you constantly gloss over removes that choice from both types of people (even the ones who are for the particular redistribution, since it happens regardless of their approval).

What better investment can I make with $100? Simple - the investment that I want and choose to make, whatever (else) that may be.

So I say again, if you want to open your wallet and rebuild a city at the bottom of a bowl, feel free. We'll see if you "don't mind" spending the money then.

Uncle Bubba said...

Truth -
The Federal Government has allocated at least $127b [ that's billion with a B ] for Katrina relief the lion's share going to New Orleans. According to a federal spokesperson the reason a great portion hasn't been distributed is that it hasn't been applied for. My guess is the crooked establishment is still looking for ways to siphon part of it off. Considering that the GDP for the entire state of Louisiana is only $141 billion I can't imagine how you consider the government help as lack-luster .

Keep in mind also that the federal government can't send troops or aid into a sovereign state without that state asking for assistance unless declaring martial law. Gov. Blanco was remiss in her slow request for assistance.

Relief supplies including FEMA and others were held up at the Louisiana state line by LA. State Troopers at the behest of Gov. Blanco for days.Tow trucks and other non emergency but essential services were pulled over by State Troopers and ask if they were licensed to do business in the State of Louisiana and when they couldn't produce them were escorted to the state line . Shall I go on ?

The age old adage still applies- The Lord [ and the government ] helps those who help themselves .

Truth said...

Paul, to start with the entire city is not below sea level, indeed there is a good portion which is not. Furthermore, if you are trully against the government stealing your money as you phrase it then I would expect you to be the first person advocating a withdrawl from Iraq, considering the vast sums of money that the government has to "steal" in order to pay for that. Whats more, you could probably make a number of the same argument that you are making for New Orleans to stop rebuiling in Iraq. Now I understand your views, that the government should stay out of people's lives, but the problem as I see it is that we rely so heavily on things provided by the government (infastructure, education, fire, medical, police, etc.) that I don't think its practical to say we want to stop the government from taking our money and then spending it on various programs. As for the problems initially with government aid, there were problems from Lousiana (not allowing aid in) all the way up to the head of FEMA (not knowing the extent of the damage while CNN did); it was embaressing when the first military group to aid the area was from Canada.

Also, in terms of the money not being applied for, that may be true for some things but talking with the people down in New Orleans the vast majority (likely hundreds of thousands of applications) have applied for money and as of yet haven't recieved any of it (the fault of both parties, I'm not picking on any one person here).

To your age old saying uncle bubba the people of Louisiana are helping themselvese, one hell of a lot actually, and I see no problem with the government assisting in rebuilding such a strong American cultural icon. And to Paul, I've opened my wallet to help New Orleans, but my wallet isn't big enough to dent the problem, hence the need for the government.

Bruce Heimbigner said...

When New Orleans was built it was on a HILL. It was the highest place around. As Michael said it will continue to sink which makes it very different from places like Holland. New Orleans is one of the very few manmade places in the US I found to be genuinely interesting. I enjoyed the food, Jazz, and architecture, even though I don’t like big cities. But I’m not sure it should be saved. Combine the sinking with the levies working so well that we continue to lose more ‘wetland’. Personally, I think we should start tearing down the levies beginning at the mouth of the Mississippi and upstream as far as the swamp original went. Move New Orleans off the delta.

April E. Coggins said...

Bruce, In my opinion it should be saved, but not as it currently exists. The French Market and the Garden section should be saved. They weren't very damaged anyway. The mouth of the Missippi River is an important riverway to the entire US. Heck, we fought a war to save it. However, I believe that much of what the goverment built in the surrounding areas was ill advised. Our government believed, at that time, that proximity had something to do with wealth. They were wrong. Instead, their idea brought drugs and crimes to neighborhoods that were just trying to make an honest living.

New Orleans residents deserve to have their town back. They don't deserve to be used as a pawn in the national political game.

April E. Coggins said...

Truth: I have to call you on this, "it was embaressing when the first military group to aid the area was from Canada." Where did you get that information? Why do you believe it? Nothing is further from the "Truth."

April E. Coggins said...

Just for the record, the first people in was the Baptist Church. The second was the Salvation Army. And as weired as it sounds, Wal-Mart was the most important and biggest contributor, and was the most important in bringing normal, stable life back to average individuals. The govermnent at that time, was something to be feared. They were stopping cars, confiscating goods, (for the greater good) from each other and it was generally in chaos.

Michael said...

Truth, there are a number of things you should be embarrassed about, not the least of which is your spelling. You should also be embarrassed to repeat that Daily Kos nonsense about Canada providing the first military support in the area. We have multiple military bases in the area that were mobilized, as well as the Coast Guard. The failure of the press to report the Coast Guard's heroic efforts which saved literally tens of thousands. Naval ships followed Katrina's track through Gulf to provide relief.
Your claims are every bit as idiotic and ill-informed as Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's accusation that flood relief to her state was slowed because of National Guard deployments to Iraq.
Shame on you.

Truth said...

My claim comes from articles such as this one

http://barrysblogsspecialfeatures.blogspot.com/2005/09/canadians-beat-us-army-to-new-orleans.html

As well as from some of the fire fighters in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane. I suppose a clarification should be in order though, I believe you are correct that the U.S. Navy was the first military group, the Canadian army however beat the U.S army to New Orleans.

Terribly sorry about the spelling though, most are just typos I don't go back and fix.

As for the claims of the national guard being deployed in Iraq, that realistically is true at least to some extent. There are less men and materials in the US, and as a result it is likely harder for them to mobilize in the same kind of numbers as fast.

Michael said...

One reason for what you consider a "slow" response by the United States Army was Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who famously refused to ask for such aid as it would have infringed upon her authority. Federal law prohibits the deployment of combat troops without a specific request from the governor. Here's how the New York Times phrased it:

"To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.

While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges."

All Kathleen Blanco had to do was ask, and she refused. CNN inadvertantly taped Blanco telling an aide that she had made a big mistake by not immediately asking for that help when it was most desperately needed. Nevertheless, her on-the-record posture has remained that it was all Bush's fault. No doubt, like Sebelius, she's getting her scripts from the DNC.

Truth said...

Oh I agree that was an incredibly foolish mistake on her part to not ask for government assistance sooner. There is no one person responsible for the slow response, it was an entire bureacracy of people, just as there is no one person, group, or party responsible for the slow aid now but rather an entire system full of those people.

April E. Coggins said...

Truth: Now will you give up the idea that the government is the most able to solve the problems of people? Wouldn't each and everyone of those people be better off today if they didn't pay the tax that was supposed to save them and if they weren't taught to wait for the government to save them? Other than national security, each citizen is better off providing for himself and his neighbor. We don't need to pay into the funnel of government, which pays government bureaucracy first, and then the citizens.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

"Truth": "Paul, to start with the entire city is not below sea level, indeed there is a good portion which is not. Furthermore, if you are trully against the government stealing your money as you phrase it then I would expect you to be the first person advocating a withdrawl from Iraq, considering the vast sums of money that the government has to "steal" in order to pay for that."

Again, your ignorance is on display. Defense is one of the legitimate roles of government. Reallocating my money from me to some schlub in New Orleans who is to dumb and/or lazy to put a house in a sensible spot is not government's legitimate role. You really need more learning in the philosophies I subscribe to before you even attempt to continue with your commenting. You ought to be embarrassed by yourself.

And as for the geography of New Orleans, I already know that, too, because I've actually been there. Have a stroll down their sidewalks sometime in that "lovely" French quarter, and step over the human feces on the sidewalk on a normal afternoon, or take a walk through the lower ninth like I actually have and see if you could have out-intimidated the scum sucking leech that tried to mug me like I did. I know that you wouldn't last 10 seconds there, and all of your present illusions would shatter even faster than that. To my eyes, watching that hurricane roll in was like seeing a toilet get flushed. Good riddance.

"Truth": "Now I understand your views, that the government should stay out of people's lives, but the problem as I see it is that we rely so heavily on things provided by the government (infastructure, education, fire, medical, police, etc.) that I don't think its practical to say we want to stop the government from taking our money and then spending it on various programs."

Hahahahaha! Here's a paraphrase of what you just said: "I'm already addicted to crack, so I had better just stay on it because quitting is harder." God help us all if you ever become the architect of our moral spines.

"Truth": "As for the problems initially with government aid, there were problems from Lousiana (not allowing aid in) all the way up to the head of FEMA (not knowing the extent of the damage while CNN did); it was embaressing when the first military group to aid the area was from Canada."

...and then in the vary next breath (or maybe the same one), you detail the litany of problems imposed by bureaucracy (followed up with this nonsense about the Canadians - you really are gullible). I can't believe you don't catch yourself on these flubs from one sentence to the next.

You're in over your head again. You still need to take Tom's advice about doing that from way back whenever.

"Truth": "And to Paul, I've opened my wallet to help New Orleans, but my wallet isn't big enough to dent the problem, hence the need for the government."

And there it is, the frank admission: "I can't personally pay for the things I desire, therefore, I find it acceptable that everyone else should be forced at gunpoint to fund my wants."

You are scum.

Truth said...

Paul, first off I too have been to New Orleans, with the K House last spring break to do reconstruction work down there, so don't tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about. The same goes for Canada having the first miltary units down there, want to know where I first heard that, the head of the fire department of St. Bernard's Parish, who said that the first military personell he saw were from Canada, you want to tell him he's wrong too? Perhaps you should try taking another trip down there and talking with some of the people, and listen as they tell how they are doing everything they can to rebuild the city they love and how they listen on the nightly news of promises of aid which have yet to materialize. Perhaps you should go see the vast FEMA trailer parks all over New Orleans housing the people who have lost everything, and then realize there are still thousands of people waiting to get trailers. Unless you have taken a trip since the hurricane I believe you can't quite get a grasp of what has happened down there, I know for a fact I didn't have one.

As for the being addicted to crack analogy, what do you propose we do about police, fire, education, infastructure, and the hundreds of other things the government pays for? Privatize them, and watch as those with money get the best deal while those without get screwed? Call them part of the bureacracy and eliminate them? I don't know. I have no intention of putting words in your mouth, so if that's not what you're saying please correct me, but it sounds like you're advocating a return to the early 1900s and the Gilded Age, which saw some of the greatest wealth gaps in American history. Also, who decides that defense is a legitimate role, and furthermore who decides that the reconstruction of another country is defense while reconstruction in our own country is government waste? While we both agree that defense is a legitimiate roll of the government we disagree on other roles it should play, who decides what government action is "just" and what is "stealing"?

And yes, there are problems with the bureacracy, just as their are problems with private companies, just as there are problems with anything. The point I was making was that in this case, to the detriment of the people, the problems were not isolated but rather a giant bungled effort across party and organizational lines. If you're going to attack the mayor and govenor (which you've been very free with) I would also expect you to attack the head of FEMA, who said they had no information while CNN and FOX ran continuous coverage of the storm.

Michael said...

Truth,
If you went on the K-House trip to New Orleans, then you are guilty only of starry-eyed naivete and are innocent of being a phony. But, rebuilding New Orleans is worse than throwing money down a rat hole. What happened two years ago will probably happen again and it will get people killed again. And even if it doesn't, New Orleans will continue to sink into the delta goo, until it becomes uninhabitable.
I happened to be in New Orleans just before Katrina hit, and as another hurricane passed just to the south. At that time, New Orleans had a high unemployment rate and wages were very low. A quarter of New Orleans families lived on $15,000 or less. Efforts to entice those displaced by Katrina to return are misguided at best. If I were unemployed and got a job elsewhere in the country, why would I want to come back to New Orleans? Or, if I were working for minimum wage in New Orleans and got a better paying job elsewhere....?
Barney Frank gave the game away about a year ago when he complained that New Orleans' population loss was a Republican plot to make Louisiana a Republican state.
Yeah! Right!
One could reply, with more credibilty, that Democrats want all those unemployed back in New Orleans because welfare recipients vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

April E. Coggins said...

Now Michael, we are all in a gooey mess. Other than Pullman, Washington, everywhere is vulnerable to some degree. New Orleans proper has changed very little for the past few hundred years. It's the idiotic, short-sighted government projects that was the mess. The government bought cheap swampland and placed their "wards" in harms way. Meanwhile the Corps of Engineers were enjoying fat pay checks to oversee neglect. Those areas should never have been built in the first place and should not be rebuilt now. In my opinon, that is why some neighborhoods are slow to rebuild. It will take time for current living residents to forget and new ones to be born.