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- Liberalism: Curable or Terminal? - 06/14/03
- Filibustering Judges: Hijacking Presidential Powers? - 06/17/03
- Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror? - 06/22/03
- How Malleable Is The Constitution? - 06/26/03
- Rejecting Our Biological and Cultural Heritage - 06/30/03
- I Need Liberal Assistance, Now! - 07/02/03
- Bring Them On - 07/03/03
- We Need You Arrogant Warmongering Americans...Again - 07/09/03
- Much Ado About Nothing, Again - 07/13/03
- Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush - 07/18/03
- Was WWII Also Unjustified? - 07/20/03
- Clinton Backing Bush? Don't Bet On It! - 07/24/03
- How To Be A Hypocritical Liberal - 07/28/03
- The Clinton Legacy: In Answer to Mr. Stensrud - 07/30/03
-What Is 'Good News' To Liberals? - 08/02/03
- Bush's Big Blunder - 08/06/03
- The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War - 08/10/03
- More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 08/14/03
- You Can Have Cary Grant; I'll Take John Wayne! - 08/19/03
- Where Is The ACLU When It's Actually Needed? - 08/25/03
- Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Ten Commandments? - 08/28/03
- From The Weasels: Thanks For Nothing - 08/30/03
- The Liberal Superfriends - 09/02/03
- Liberal Superfriends 2: The Sequel - 09/05/03
- Saddam and 9/11: Connect the Dots - 09/08/03
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Sunday, September 18, 2005
Katrina's Fallout: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The most severe fallout from Hurricane Katrina's effects on New Orleans is in the federal government's reaction. I don't mean the administration's reaction to the hurricane itself, nor the disaster that befell a huge swath of the Gulf Coast, but their response to the media's overblown and falsified attack.

Remember the dire headlines of only weeks ago? The media proclaimed that ten thousand people may have died in New Orleans alone, warning that it would take months just to begin pumping out the deadly toxic water or allow residents back in. It would be years before people could live in New Orleans again, if ever, according to media consensus. Moreover, the media struggled mightily to pin the blame for everything that went wrong on President Bush. (They never did manage to explain how it was his fault that the mayor allowed buses to flood instead of using them for evacuations, or that the governor used the National Guard to turn the Red Cross away from New Orleans instead of patrol its streets.)

After three weeks, however, power is back on in parts of NOLA, the water was nowhere near as toxic as the media led us to believe, the gas pipelines are restored to service, businesses are already reopening and the entire death toll may not reach a thousand. Despite the lack of potable water and dependable levees, residents are moving back in -- disregarding FEMA's advice. (I wonder who they will blame if a late-season hurricane should flood their city again?) The situation was never as bad as the media painted it to be.

It's the same method the media has used to portray Iraq as a horrific quagmire, despite outstanding successes there. Coalition forces have helped Iraqis hold elections, assisted in rebuilding schools and hospitals, and witnessed a free people create a free country. The mainstream media sells stories based on the worst-case scenario, projecting and predicting doom and gloom in order to make a fast buck, regardless of the facts. The reason we can see the truth in New Orleans is that some reporters are actually hitting the streets, instead of holing up in a downtown hotel and reporting what they're told.

Until now, the Bush administration has more or less ignored the mainstream media's hyperbole and responded to the facts, especially in Iraq. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, however, they appear to be addressing the media hype more than the reality of the situation. President Bush's speech of 15 September summed up the good, the bad and the ugly of the administration's reaction.

The good part of what President Bush proposed is the application of Conservative principles to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. Bureaucratic environmental regulations will be eased. Corrupt union rules will be put aside. Home ownership and small business will be encouraged, not stifled. Money will be set aside specifically for job education and training. Federal expenditures will, as much as possible, be balanced by spending cuts instead of higher taxes. The next few years should see the entire area enjoying an economic boom like it's never seen before.

The bad, on the other hand, is short-term job creation fueled by dumping federal tax money into the area. Spending cuts, each of which will be bitterly opposed by Democrats and even some Republicans, can offset not all of it. Moreover, many people will become dependent on aid money, and become unwilling to take advantage of less-secure job opportunities. Unscrupulous politicians will undoubtedly promote federal jobs as a "right," making it more difficult to reduce the amount of federal -- that is, taxpayer -- money going to sustain those jobs. Just wait until the Democrats spend their 2008 campaigns bleating about how the eeevil Republicans are taking away federal jobs from poor people. Print this page and read it again in a few years.

The ugly part of the response is as ugly as it gets. In his speech, President Bush said, "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces." A more powerful central government with the ability to declare federal authority over a state at will is something that should never be allowed. Giving the federal government the power to declare martial law over a state by decree, without asking the consent of the state's governor, would be a betrayal of much of the freedom for which our forefathers fought.

Why should we bother to have state governments, if they can simply be bypassed whenever the federal government perceives a need to do so? Have state officials no responsibility to their citizens at all -- are they not the proper entities to conduct the local response to an emergency? Who should know better where rescue efforts would be effective and supplies might best be allocated -- some faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC? If state and local leaders prove themselves incapable of handling a crisis, the correct answer is to elect better local and state leaders, not to consign even more of our sovereignty to Washington. How can we surrender the rights of sovereign states to an all-powerful federal government merely on the latter's say-so?

In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of this country declared that "these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States." The structure of the federal government was created to deal with other countries -- friends or foes -- and to regulate trade and disputes between those independent states. The Constitution itself is mostly a list of limits on federal power, including the strict admonishment that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Now we've come to a point where we're actually considering whether to cede state control to a vastly more powerful central government than our founders could have envisioned. I have too much respect for them and for the country they created to accept that.

I fully expected Liberals to push for a stronger central government after Hurricane Katrina -- that and calling for higher taxes are the two things we can always expect from the Left on any provocation. However, I never expected President Bush to accede to that demand.


Posted at Sunday, September 18, 2005 by CavalierX

Litl Bits
September 19, 2005   12:27 PM PDT
 
Sadly, I have to agree with you. But I also wonder what would happen if we leave that authority to such corrupt and ineffective state and local authorities, who are basically responsible for allowing this to happen. i.e. Had the Eco-terrorists not had their way, the levees would have been strengthened years ago. Army Corps of Engineers, plans in hand, money appropriated, were ready to go - until the Eco-terrorists put a halt to that! ----and I can't help but wonder what happened to that money??
Now Mayor Nagin, man of no principle and obviously no intellect, is bringing people back in - in violation of FEMA and Pres. Bush advice. Perhaps what should happen in the case is the Federal Gov't should tell Nagin this - If you insist on re-population now, against our advice, we are OUT OF THE PICTURE. You are now responsible for the clean-up, you are responsible for the reconstruction, you are responsible for the medical care of these people, many of whom will end up very ill from being here - and there's no hospital to care for them!
If he insists on re-populating, then NAGIN ALONE should be completely responsible for them - and for what happens to them.
After all, he was too smart to pay heed to his own Disaster Evacuation Plans in the first place!
Jamie
September 19, 2005   07:47 PM PDT
 
The mayor seems to me to be a foolish man, more concerned about asserting his "ownership" of the city, not necessarily stewardship over his citizens. His statements that Vice Adm. Thad 'Allen had apparently made himself "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans."' and that HE 'was still the mayor" of N.O. is proof of that. He was encouraging the people to move back, yet he himself settled his own family in a house in Dallas! I think that the business community is pressuring him to allow people to come in so they can fill their restaurants, shop at their stores, etc. BTW, the new hurricane, 'Rita', appears by most of the computer models to be headed for..... HOUSTON.
pocketchange
September 20, 2005   05:21 PM PDT
 
2 cents worth…
I hope this is wrong, but it seems correct. The democrats and liberals have been trying to strengthen federal powers and weaken state powers. This is one of their main goals. It seems ironic that the liberal mayor’s and governor’s complete and total ineptitude during this disaster is going to be used to further the liberal cause. I hope the mayor and governor are simply incompetent morons. Because if they are not they could be deliberately using their failure to further their cause.
Of course the (D) behind their names leads me to believe they are simply morons.
Well maybe that was only 1&1/2 cents worth.
Name
September 20, 2005   06:38 PM PDT
 
"Actually, Joe, it was Louisiana officials "

Louisiana officials do not decide or write newspaper headlines. The media trumpeted this projected death toll as they did every other scrap of bad "news" they could get their claws on.

After the first thousand words, I stopped reading and skipped to the next comment. What a longwinded nitpicker... get your own blog.
Neal J. Lang
September 21, 2005   03:10 PM PDT
 
Hmmm! Apparently you have a problem with the truth, Joe.

"Louisiana officials do not decide or write newspaper headlines."

As a matter of fact they do to the extent that their "quotes" might be considered "news".

"The media trumpeted this projected death toll as they did every other scrap of bad 'news' they could get their claws on."

Having grown up in the US where, since before the Vietnam War the operative philosophy of our mass media has been: "If it bleeds, it leads!", find angst over "dire headlines and quote" rather quaintly naive.

I believe that "precision when laying blame" seems to be at least one point of your commentary. Of course, such a commentary is much less compelling when its author fails himself to be precise when "laying blame".
JM
September 21, 2005   05:31 PM PDT
 
>As a matter of fact they do to the
>extent that their "quotes" might
>be considered "news".

So, newspapers are not responsible for the stories they write, or how they write them. That's an interesting new point of view.

>I believe that "precision when
>laying blame" seems to be at
>least one point of your
>commentary.

Unfortunately, you missed the point, if you think the media has nothing to do with the hype of bad news.
Juliet
September 21, 2005   05:57 PM PDT
 
Thank you! I've been saying this same exact thing.

Great stuff as always.
Neal J. Lang
September 27, 2005   12:37 PM PDT
 
"So, newspapers are not responsible for the stories they write, or how they write them. That's an interesting new point of view."

Joe, I never said that. Of course, what you don't understand about journalism would fill several books. First, a story published in a Newspaper that is not based on at least some set of facts (like a quote from the Mayor of New Orleans) is known as an "opinion piece". You should be familiar with opinion pieces, because that is what you write. The key components of a "news story" are "who, what, when, where, how, and why!" In the case of the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana blame shifting, the press' failure is in the "why" aspect of the news story.

Second, blaming the media for reporting what the Mayor of New Orleans or the Governor of Louisiana states is exactly like blaming the messager. The real culprit is the shiftless politician much more so than the messager.

"Unfortunately, you missed the point, if you think the media has nothing to do with the hype of bad news."

I never said that the media has no responsibility for the news they print (good or bad). I merely stated the real guilty party is the politician making false statements that try to shift the blame to someone else for their own faults. If the media can be blamed for anything it is in not being credulous enough to report the facts that would make a lie out the false statements of these shiftless politicians. Of course, the "free press" in this country has long had an agenda that plays right into the lies of certain politicians. But without the lies of shiftless politicians for the media to "report", their published agenda would be nothing more than so many opinion pieces.

Have a nice day, Joe.
 

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