September 4, 2005
Placing the Blame
It should be obvious where to place the immediate blame for the debacle that followed Katrina: squarely on the shoulders of the appallingly inept local government of Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Local government, for obvious reasons, has the responsibility to be first responder in a local crisis.
Nagin's useless sniveling stands in stark contrast to Rudy Giuliani's take-charge response to 9/11. Although any able-bodied person could have gotten out of New Orleans with the notice they were given, there were others who required a competent local government to be evacuated. It's Nagin's fault that New Orleans had no such government.
Previously Governor Blanco admitted that Bush had had to call her and personally appeal for a mandatory evacuation as the storm approached. Now she is blubbering to the cameras that Bush let her down, although behind the scenes, she prevented the Federal Government from taking over the evacuation.
But what about the "root causes" liberals love so much? Unsurprisingly, they look at the Katrina aftermath and manage to see the same root causes they see for everything else.
Dimwitted demagogue Michael Moore claims racism is to blame. In an open letter to President Bush, he croaks, "Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh!" Someone might write an open letter to Moore pointing out to this idiot that not everyone stranded by the hurricane was black. Or is he claiming that the National Guard flew around rescuing only white people? Anything to whip up racial tension. It might help him sell a few more tickets to his next schlocumentary on the evils of America.
Similarly true to form, the New York Times blames low taxes.
Much as I hate to be as predictable as Mickey Moore and the Old Gray Hag, when I look for root causes, I see — what else? — moonbattery.
One of the prime goals of moonbattery is to take away our adulthood, to reduce us to whining children at the complete mercy of the all-powerful Federal Government. Those who blame Washington for post-Katrina misery are exploiting the hurricane to advance moonbattery's cause. But if moonbattery hadn't been all too advanced to begin with, the problem would not have been nearly so severe. An ingrained habit of sitting passively with open mouths, like baby birds waiting to be fed, rendered some people helpless in a situation that required personal initiative.
Katrina didn't hit New Orleans as hard as was expected in the last days before the storm. Residents were told days in advance that their city could be under 30 feet of water. Yet many could not work up the initiative to leave, despite facing what would have been certain death for many of them if the hurricane had struck full force.
The Left seems to find vindication for their ideology in the fact that those who stayed behind were poor. But did they stay behind because they were poor? Or do their poverty and their decision to stay behind share a common cause — the moonbattery that has persuaded many that they can evade responsibility for their own lives?
With thanks to V the K.
Posted by Van Helsing at September 4, 2005 12:36 PM
Excellent points. The baby chick metaphor is particularly apt.
I've spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans over the years, and was always appalled at the third-world mentality unique to the city. The government, including the police department, was run like your stereotypical banana republic: corrupt at all levels, wasteful, incompetent in even the most basic municipal services. Yet, somehow, with all the city's problems, Nagin's predecessor for instance found the funds and manpower to stencil his name onto every piece of city property like Saddam imprinting his name in the bricks of the reconstructed Babylon. Municipal operations were more about enshrining some political hack's name for eternity than getting some basic task accomplished.
Hopefully, what will come out of this experience is the knowledge that winking at a culture of corruption and incompetence in a major American city as part of the "local flavor" and "unique style" of the place, is no longer acceptable...It gets thousands of people killed. New Orleans will be physically rebuilt, but its government also needs to be "reconstructed" under outside (non-Louisiana) supervision.
One good thing that will come from the evacuation of the population is that they will have months of exposure to how things are done in other major cities, and many will no doubt be unwilling to accept anything approximating the political status quo ante when they return. This is also a good lesson for the voters in other municipalities around the country to learn - the same sort of corruption occurs to lesser degree even in the government of the midwestern township where I grew up.
We as a nation need to shine the spotlight of public attention on Louisiana politics and demand reform.
Posted by: prince of leaves at September 4, 2005 2:35 PM
Louisiana has been corrupt since before the Republic was founded. I doubt anything will change...and now they are in for the motherlode of government aid to be siphoned off by the politicos and their buddies.
Posted by: Saije at September 4, 2005 11:36 PM
Saije: Long time no see... And you hit the nail on the head with that comment.
Apparently Nagin can't wait to get his hands on the moola:
"So this 10.8 billion dollar relief bill Congress is getting ready to pass, I hope they pass it quick because we're going to need some of it," he said.
Posted by: Mike on Hilton Head Island at September 5, 2005 2:34 AM
Is this the time to find the villian, or to get help to the people there? I'm sick to death of hearing about who's responsible for the damage or the aftermath. People there are trapped in a cesspool. If the blame-gamers (on both sides of the political fence) spent as much time and energy on getting through the crisis at hand, instead of discussing who's to blame, some much needed help might land there.
Posted by: Rob B. at September 5, 2005 4:28 PM
Sadly, you're probably right. I was trying to be optimistic.
There should be careful external oversight of how the relief and (especially) reconstruction aid is spent in Louisiana, and especially in New Orleans...but I'm sure there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth over even the suggestion that the pure-as-rain politicoes in the area aren't honest enough to be trusted with the task. Charges of racism would no doubt be made. And then, a year from now, when there is an uproar over tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction money being squandered and siphoned off by the corrupt locals, Bush will get the blame for insufficiently micromanaging the funds.
Posted by: prince of leaves at September 5, 2005 4:32 PM
Poverty is one of the main root problems in our society. The government claims education is the answer, yet, they cut spending for programs that aid in getting an education. Unity is a proposed solution, so cut social programs that help to advance social standing, Helping the working poor is noted, so give tax breaks to the wealthy.
As long as we live in a capitalist society, there will always be some poverty, but, the government shouldn't be eliminating programs that will help in the long run. For years, people could get checks for being illiterate, and the geniuses passing out the checks were blaming the people cashing them for the problem. How about aiding the education of these people, instead of cutting the funding altogether?
Posted by: Rob B. at September 5, 2005 4:40 PM
The Department of Education's budget has grown by 82.5 percent in real terms from $34.9 billion in FY2001 to $63.7 billion in FY2005. This is the largest increase of any president since Lyndon Johnson.The pain...
Posted by: Jonathan at September 5, 2005 6:07 PM
It's not enough to throw money at grant barrels, Jonathon. If the money is used ineffectively, or if there is not enough for ancillary programs that help people make the transition from social and economic poverty toward success, it is as good as taking a blind man to a light show. Money alone is not the answer, as our government likes to have us believe. Many of the programs that assist in aiding the associated problems of poverty have been trimmed.
Our leaders have a rich history of throwing money at problems; giving it to people that don't have the first clue what to do with it. That way, they can say, "We did what we could."
Posted by: Rob B. at September 5, 2005 9:40 PM
This has been one of the more insightful comments about Katrina. So are the responses. Poverty, unfortunately, is not the root of everything. Liberals mistakenly think this about terrorism. Never was and never will be. Hence, they become useful tools of propaganda to savvy enemies. There's poverty in every system. End of story. As for taxes and the wealthy. Again, we split hairs over things we do not fully grasp. In any society, tax cuts are beneficial at all levels. Simple economics: Lower taxes, more disposable income. The reason there is less of an impact on the poor is because they already pay little taxes. You also can't over tax the wealthy or your growth and innovation stagnates. Canada taxes its wealthy and creates superficial ways to spur innovation and growth. What is sad about all this is that Canada, at its root, is an innovative society strapped down by socialism. Ironically, capitalism is the only system capable of reducing poverty. Poverty will never be eradicated a slong as there are dumb and lazy people. Not PC you say? Absolutely. However, it's the reality of the human species. Education spending has been RISING among Western societies, including the U.S., over the last 20 years. Why the educational system in the U.S. seems to lag has other reasons. As a Canadian, I am not in a position to comment on this. Once again, you were spot on regarding New Orleans. Mickey Moore is truly an impostor. I've commented on him, Katrina, Sheehan among other things on my site. Good work!
Posted by: the commentator at September 5, 2005 9:43 PM
Rob (B)S. is further proof that Moonbattery should be a recognized psychological disorder.
In true moonbat fashion, he twirls and flails in order to avoid admitting the fundamental incorrectness of one of his screeching-points...simultaneously, he argues that social programs are what create a durable and cohesive society...
Unity is a proposed solution, so cut social programs that help to advance social standing
And that entitlement programs are to blame for social problems...
For years, people could get checks for being illiterate, and the geniuses passing out the checks were blaming the people cashing them for the problem
When what he was really trying to hasten down the memory-hole was this little pearl of moonbat "fact"...
The government claims education is the answer, yet, they cut spending for programs that aid in getting an education...How about aiding the education of these people, instead of cutting the funding altogether?
So which is it, Rob? Entitlement good, or Entitlement bad?
Your argument by neccesity sets aside the kids who succeed in spite of shitty schools- like my sister, who went to Philly public shools during their absolute nadir during the 70s and early 80s, but who now owns her own PR firm, and a half-million dollar house designed by a world-reknowned architect.
Kids' success is not a linear, mathematical function of the amount of money spent on them.
And anyway...this post was about the failure of New Orleans' mayor and Louisiana's governor to employ all available assets to evacuate the same Poor People of Color™ that they're whining and seething over as the victims of a racist, indifferent, and incompetent federal response-- i.e., Bush Lounged, People Drowned© (I reserve that, by the way!)-- so try and defy your moonbat genes and stay On Topic, m'kay sweetie?
Posted by: LC TripleNeckSteel at September 5, 2005 10:18 PM
Or maybe that should be, "Bush Lounged, Po' folk Scrounged"©...
I don't know for moonbat slogans- I only know moonbats.
Posted by: LC TripleNeckSteel at September 5, 2005 10:24 PM
It's empty conservative spin to suggest that liberals are alone in criticizing the federal response to Katrina.
As I point out here, there's no shortage of Republican critics of the federal response.
Furthermore, there's a bipartisan Senate investigation planned, to examine a federal response that is being called an "immense failure."
Hate to burst anyone's bubble -- but it is possible that Nagin, Blanco and the Bush Administration equally failed here.
Posted by: David R. Mark at September 6, 2005 2:46 AM
Possible, but not very likely. Mississippi was hit harder than Louisiana, but because its state government is run by relatively competent people who spent the days after the hurricane coordinating with Federal authorities instead of looking for TV cameras to denounce Bush in front of, the recovery effort was able to move forward much more effectively.
Posted by: V the K at September 6, 2005 6:13 AM
LC, you totally missd the gist of my comment. That's the problem with being a contrarian.
Posted by: Rob B. at September 6, 2005 7:51 AM
One of the reasons why Louisiana is so poor is because of the corruption in the government. Businesses don't want to locate in a state where bribery and shakedowns are the order of the day, not to mention the awful crime stats of urban New Orleans.
This is a state where a Democratic congressman is under indictment for fraud. Where close relatives and political appointees of the former Democratic mayor are currently under indictment for stealing public funds. Where the longtime Democratic former governor is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for numerous acts of corruption while in office. Where the long-time local joke is "half of Louisiana is under sea level and half is under indictment."
Increasing federal welfare dependency in LA is not the answer. Fixing the government so that business and investment can flourish in the state is a better answer.
Ray Nagin did take a half-hearted stab at cleaning up New Orleans. He was condemned for not "fixing" a case where his own cousin was arrested for bribing a city taxi official. He was also condemned as "disloyal" for looking into the doings of the former mayor's fund-skimming brother and uncle. A place where the mayor is roundly condemned for trying to clean up corruption -- that's the kind of place New Orleans is.
Posted by: Irene Adler at September 7, 2005 11:48 AM