Ask The Question: New Orleans residents a casualty of the war in Iraq?

[Article sourced from Editor and Publisher, via Dave Farber’s Interesting People list. I had this same thought myself – given that New Orleans actually survived the hurricane, and that the real disaster was the levee breakage afterwards… shouldn’t the Bush Administration be held responsible for the (possibly unnecessary) total destruction of a major U.S. city, rendering 500,000 to 1,000,000 people homeless… should we now include a portion of the deaths in New Orleans in the fatality totals for the Iraq war? -Thomas]

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a
trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending
pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming
at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the
strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and
2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of
hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that,
the federal government came back this spring with the steepest
reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in

Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? ‘Times-Picayune’ Had
Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues
By Will Bunch
Published: August 30, 2005 9:00 PM ET

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That was the sign on the door of the local independent gas station my wife and I regularly patronize (free soda or coffee with any fill up of $7.00 or more)… Beach City Gas (not to mention that the local owner pays his staff well for the job, and as a result the folks there are happy and friendly and personable).
Why did he close? Because gas prices just spiked by 37 cents a gallon, and the owner can’t manage the risk associated with the volatility – he’s shut the business down until prices stabilize or come back down.
Guess we can kiss $2.xx gas good bye for now (and maybe forever) – at least here in California (and a quick scan of Google shows that we’re not alone, either).
Here’s what theDepartment of Energy’s measurements show: regular gas at $2.60/gallon (and rising), nationwide.
Here’s where the betting is headed (Foresight Exchange)… note the recent price spike.

It Takes A Hurricane

“Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
Ronald Reagan
That is the key sentence in Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, which was titled Putting America Back To Work. We can only hope that Hurricane Katrina demonstates once and for all that callous conservatism is not the solution. Callous conservatism is the problem.
A long line of callous conservatives have been accusing liberals of being soft hearted do gooders because they have genuine concern for the common welfare of the American people. On a long string of issues from Social Security to wetlands to mundane tasks like building levees, conservatives have been riding on Reagan’s coat-tails to insist that government is not the solution to our problems.
It is time to drive a stake through the heart of that canard. If it takes a hurricane to wake up the American people, I will not be apologetic for pointing out the obvious. Red state voters have no one but themselves to blame for the excess hardship that will be caused by years of callous neglect from the Bush administration.

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Why does Bush hate Louisiana?

From a series of diaries at MyDD:
Bush’s Ignorance, by Scott Shields
Bush Does Not Back Louisiana Coastline Project
New Orleans Is Pompeii
Pass on your favorite links.
This Hurricane’s Implications Are Major by Ben P
Photos Of President Bush’s Compassion courtesy of Huges For America
Iowa National Guard Heading To The Gulf Coast
Elevated from the comments: Hat tip to Lis Riba The economics of disaster from boingboing
Always a good read, Bilmon adds insightful perspective and context.

If It’s So ‘Noble’ …

Go see the BuzzFlash editorial Either the Bush Kids Put Their Lives on the Line for George’s “Noble War” or the Troops Come Home. Also sign their petition.

Like George did, the new generation of Bushes let other Americans do the dying for them.
Bush has derided the mothers and fathers of our nation’s war dead for not wanting any more young American men and women to die in Iraq. “We owe them [the already killed and wounded soldiers] something,” he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion, according to Maureen Dowd). “We will finish the task that they gave their lives for.”
Yet, not one — not one — of any of Bush’s children or his nieces and nephews have volunteered for service in any branch of the military or volunteered to serve in any capacity in Iraq. Not one of them has felt the cause was noble enough to put his or her life on the line.

Much more, go read.

There Must be Recriminations

There seems to be a consensus, especially among liberal hawks, that we shouldn’t play the blame game about Iraq, but instead should dedicate ourselves to efforts to solve the problem facing us.
My opinion is the opposite. The most important thing is to find and punish the guilty parties (including media people, conservative ideologues, and liberal hawks) by ending their political careers. We must have recriminations.
Outside politics, the “blame game” is called accountability. Achieving accountability will be extremely difficult in the present case, since the culprits include not only most Republicans, but also many Democratic leaders and almost all of the media. But unless a large number of careers end, there’s no hope for this country.
The demand for a solution to the Iraq problem is deluded. Nobody knows what to do next –- engineering the fait accompli has been Bush’s game all along (“facts on the ground”), and he’s made sure that Humpty Dumpty will never be put together again. Despite the failure of Bush’s non-plan in Iraq, however, the Democrats actually are in a very tight spot. The American people (bless their optimistic little hearts) hate naysayers and truth-tellers, and the Bush team may very well parlay their failure in Iraq into permanent domination of American politics.
Within the media, special attention should be given to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and Donald Graham — the unjustly-respected individuals who ruined the Times and the Post. Because of this planned media failure, ambient political opinion (the opinion of the semi-informed voter) is now reflexively anti-liberal, and this has led us one more time to a failure of democracy. Like Nixon and Reagan, Dubya was elected to a second term; only the efforts of prosecutors kept the first two somewhat under control, and right now we’re waiting for Fitzpatrick to save us from our stupidity again.
The politicians and opinion leaders who got us into this mess, including the liberal hawks, must be blamed, and their careers must be ended. The only other alternative is for them to destroy us, which is what they plan to do. The “stabbed in the back” smear is already on the table, and the movement conservatives haven’t lost any of their enthusiasm for the culture war. Terrorism has never been their primary enemy –- their primary enemy has always been liberals (us). They’ve been calling us traitors for over a decade, and for them 9/11 is just another stick to use to beat us with.
(Parenthetically, people should lay off the “chickenhawk” meme. It’s indeed a fact that most strategic planners and foreign policy spokesmen, for both parties, are non-veteran wonks, but the military is not on our side. Angry veterans coming back from Iraq right now might mostly be liberals or Democrats, but if the military as a whole turns against Bush — and that might happen –- most of them will become rightwing ultranationalists and superhawks. Check out the post-WWI German Freikorps if you wonder what I’m talking about).
Since 1941 the United States has been in a permanent state of mobilization, and the interventionist war party has controlled both parties during that whole period. Within the Democratic Party, arguments about foreign policy are usually ended with the simple invocation of the words “McGovern” and “isolationist”. The Democratic Party foreign policy can be summed up with the words “You can’t be a dove”. This makes the intelligent proposal of alternatives impossible and makes it easy for the Republicans to win every time by outhawking us. A genuine demagogic militarist will defeat an opportunistic one every time.
The Bush plan is especially hard to argue against because no one really knows what it is. A big chunk of factually-misinformed voters supports Bush because they trust him personally as a good Christian gentleman, and another better-informed “insider” chunk supports Bush because they think that they know what his “real” plan is (as opposed to any of his various publicly expressed plans). The cult-of-personality and liberal-hatred aspects of Bush’s support far outstrip informed support for any intelligible program.
Do I really think that it will be possible for us to politically destroy Bush, Cheney, Rove, Norquist, DeLay, and the Revs. Moon and Robertson?
Not really, but I think that that’s what we need to do. If we don’t get them, they’ll get us. No matter what happens in Iraq, we can expect a savage counterattack. It’s them or us.
(If you’re wondering why I quit blogging politics, this post helps explain things. I sound like a Chomskyite now, so of course no good Democrat is going to listen.)

Legal Ravers vs. Camo Clad Cops. Police Dogs, and Assault Rifles

The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd […] I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. […] A few “troops” rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone “get the fuck out of here or go to jail”. […] They had police dogs raiding the crowd of people and I saw a dog signal out a guy who
obviously had some drugs on him. The soldiers attacked the guy (4 of
them on 1), and kicked him a few times in the ribs and had their knees
in his back and sides. As they were cuffing him, there was about 1000
kids trying to leave in the backdrop, peacefully. Next thing I know, A
can of fucking TEAR GAS is launched into the crowd. People are running
and screaming at this point. Girls are crying, guys are cussing… bad
scene.Now, this is all I saw with my own eyes […]

One of the promoters friends (a very small female) was attacked by one
of the police dogs. As she struggled to get away from it, the police
tackled her. 3 grown men proceeded to KICK HER IN THE STOMACH.- The
police confiscated 3 video tapes in total. People were trying to
document what was happening out there. The police saw one guy filming
and ran after him, tackled him and his camera fell, and luckily.. his
friend grabbed it and ran and got away. priceless footage.

This in person account of a SWAT team raid on a legally permitted rave in Utah just came across my inbox, via Dave Farber’s Interesting People list. What happened is just flat out friggin’ insane. Unfortunately, I can’t honestly say “I can’t believe this is happening”, but I’m still outraged. If you don’t like what you read, hear and see below, I’ve included information about how you can take action at the end of this posting.
Take a look at this two minute video (quicktime and wmv). I just downloaded it… you can hear the helicopter, hear the dogs barking, see the cops in full camo storming the stage, shouting threats, waving assault rifles around (not just holding them)… at least two people getting the crap beat out of them, video is abruptly cut off, not clear why (unless this is the individual referred to in the first quote).
According to the promoter’s statement the event had full permits, and was widely advertised in advance, and every effort had been made to comply with the law. The email quote above also says they did not have a warrant (no independent verification of this).

“Dozens of Men in Full Camo, Kevlar Vests, Gas Masks MP5 Navy’s AUG’s and many other fire-arms. Attack Dogs, were barking somewhere ahead of me. Suddenly I saw the sight that disgusted me. A person whom I had met before was on the ground face first, 4 Reservists had their guns pointed to his head, and were handcuffing him. Their attack dog was mauling his: Shoulder, Neck and Torso areas. I was quickly shuffled along but was very disgusted. I had attempted to record the man on the ground with my Camera-Phone, but a soldier approached me and took my phone and said “move Along” I still have not recovered it.” (source: discussion thread below)

More personal accounts of the mayhem, like the one above. One of the first ones discusses how the police went after anyone and everyone with a video camera (not to mention beating the crap out of people on the slightest of pretexts).

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