Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Who Is Responsible?

We are a country that is divided. We are divided by ideology: Republican versus Democrat, Conservative versus Liberal, Faith-based versus Reality-based. Some say that we are divided by values.

I don’t buy that. Values are a very amorphous term on the Right with Pro-Life blather it is okay as long as you talk stem cells and fetus, not to mention the death penalty, but not when you talk of our troops dying in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What exactly does the term “values” denote? Does it mean generosity, caring, understanding, walk a year in my shoes? I think not ! It surely doesn’t denote anything that is found coming from Jesus’s mouth in the bible. We have Pat Roberston calling for the assassination of Chavez . This strikes me as wholly unchristian.

So much for the values discussion!

This leads me to wonder: have we lost our minds? Is this the reality great divide?

Katrina has laid bare the divide. Reality versus Fantasy. The American Dream versus the American Reality.

There is no amount of Rove Spin that can change these facts.

Luckily, Leonard Ptts has a great column on this. So,with all disregard for copyright I am putting it all right here:

Posted on Fri, Sep. 16, 2005


Katrina shows Bush jihadists have blind faith


Apparently, Brownie wasn't doing such a good job after all. You remember Brownie: Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and, in that capacity, a focal point for mounting criticism of that agency's leisurely response to Hurricane Katrina. Brownie's qualifications for that job have since been revealed: He used to run horse shows and was a friend of a friend of the president. Last Friday, that president offered support for his beleaguered subordinate. ''Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job,'' said George W. Bush.

By Monday, Brownie was out of work. He resigned, having evidently read the writing on the wall.

The next day, having apparently seen that same graffiti, Bush himself said, ``To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility.''

I found that shocking, but that's only because I had thought Bush physically incapable of taking responsibility. Having watched him brazen his way through successive botches and bungles here and abroad with an Alfred E. Neuman grin and a maddening insistence that botches and bungles were part of the master plan, I thought Bush's eyes would roll back if he even came close to saying, My bad.


So I have a question for the Bush jihadists, that shrinking but stubborn minority that still thinks Gee Dubya walks water and calls down rain. What's it going to take to make you folks stop sending me e-mails by the dozens railing at how the great and powerful Bush is being mistreated by that darned liberal media?

Take, for instance, Tom in Boynton Beach, who says criticism of Bush is a sop to the ''America-hating extreme left wing.'' Or Darwin -- I don't know where he's from -- who says liberals are playing ''the blame game.'' And on and on.

It is, of course, their standard defense, akin to a child sticking index fingers in her ears and shouting ''Lalalalala, I can't hear you!'' until you stop committing the sin of reason. In this case, the argument goes that Bush is being blamed for failures that should be assigned to state and local officials in Louisiana and Mississippi. It's their fault, not his.

So to recap: Media say Bush bears responsibility. Much of the American public says Bush bears responsibility. In an unprecedented show of lucidity, Bush takes responsibility.

Bush jihadists say Bush is not responsible.

Seldom has the intellectual bankruptcy, situational outrage and robotic partisanship of that stratum of the electorate been more apparent. I swear, if Bush blew up the White House, they'd praise him for creating construction jobs.

Yes, the apparent failures of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco are manifest and manifold. And people are right to criticize them.


But here's why Bush gets the lion's share of attention: He's the bleeping President of the United States. And the miserable performance of the government he captains speaks not simply to our immediate concerns about Louisiana and Mississippi but potentially to our future concerns about Florida, California or some other state that comes under terrorist attack.

Would you trust the gang that couldn't get water to Bogalusa for seven days to be in charge of rescuing you after a nuclear device went off in Los Angeles?

Would you feel secure in devastated, cut-off-from-the-outside-world Miami Beach knowing your salvation relied on some guy who got his job because he had connections?

More to the point, is incompetence so profound it causes actual death OK so long as the incompetents are of the right party, possessed of the right values? Apparently, for some of us, the answer is yes.

Never mind integrity, never mind objectivity, never mind simple enlightened self-interest.

Blue to the left, red to the right even now, even here. This is the nation we have become.

Anybody want to take responsibility for that?

As an optimist I am horrified to say , how late does it have to get before Armageddon?

And as Mr. Pitts has made the point, Ms. Sykes spells it out as to who is really responsible.

Wanda Sykes On Bush
by Michael in New York - 9/15/2005 12:58:00 AM

Wanda Sykes on Jay Leno (hey, I'll watch anything) was very funny about Katrina.

Jay: "But President Bush took responsibility."

Wanda: "I don't think the President should have taken responsibility.... I don't blame the President. I blame the American people. Y'all knew the man was slow when you voted him in. You can't blame the blind man for wrecking your car when you're the one who gave him the keys."

The woman said it all! Taking responsibility for your actions is a value!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Apparently Not Enough People Died!

Seriously folks, I cannot believe that all of the Right-Wing pundits could come up with this stuff (shit) by themselves. They all seem to have the same talking points. The current “Save George W. Bush and the GOP Ass” version of the PR disaster that is Katrina, we aren’t talking dead, displaced folks or the annihilation of a city of course, is that actuarially speaking the number of dead aren’t all that disastrous. Needless to say of course the drowning of a city, ala Grover Norquist’s desire to drown the Federal Government in the bathtub does not enter the equation. These comments have been heard all over the MSM and Faux News, so I can only assume that Karl Rove and Roger Ailes have phoned or faxed this message to everyone that is even slightly willing to carry this administration’s water.

Mr. Wolcott, the brilliant, has a wonderfully edifying post on this subject. I defy him to sue me for copyright reasons as I put up the entire post.

From Blame Game to Numbers Game

Posted by James Wolcott

The mayor of New Orleans predicted the death toll from Hurricane Katrina could reach 10,000. Officials at the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team--DMORT, an apt acronym--guesstimated the death toll at 40,000. Splitting the difference somewhat, authorities reportedly sent 25,000 body bags into the stricken region to accommodate human remains. But a recent sweep of New Orleans turned up fewer fatalities than feared, "suggesting that Hurricane Katrina's death toll may not be the catastrophic 10,000 feared."

Casualty figures are often high-ranged at the outset, dropping as the smoke and water clears. But any number substantially higher than 3,000 dead presents a political and symbolic dilemma for the most avid advocates of the War on Terror (or World War IV, if you're a Norman Podhoretz devotee). It may seem cold and inhuman to apply a political calculus to casualty figures. Every death is an individual tragedy with a radius sorrow extending to friends, family, and coworkers--no one's life should be reduced to a digit. But it foolhardy to ignore how the death toll (high or low) will be spun by conservatives, who have already begun twirling their tops.

Here's why they're in spin mode. Since 9/11, "3000" has been elevated to a sacred, symbolic number in political discourse. It has been the solemn chord struck again and again by Donald Rumsfeld at his press briefings and public addresses--"It's important to keep in mind that the civilized world passed the 1,000th casualty mark at the hands of extremists long ago; I mean, 3,000 on September 11th alone"--and a recurring talking point to justify the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It has provided the grim refrain Victor Davis Hanson has gonged in column after column to lend greater reverberation to his preachings from the ramparts:

"Right after 9/11, some of us thought it was impossible for leftist critics to undermine a war against fascists who were sexist, fundamentalist, homophobic, racist, ethnocentric, intolerant of diversity, mass murderers of Kurds and Arabs, and who had the blood of 3,000 Americans on their hands. We were dead wrong. In fact, they did just that. Abu Ghraib is on the front pages daily. Stories of thousands of American soldiers in combat against terrorist killers from the Hindu Kush to Fallujah do not merit the D section. Senator Kennedy's two years of insane outbursts should have earned him formal censure rather than a commemoration from the Democratic establishment."

When one of those leftist critics, Norman Mailer, deplored the bloated vanity of American self-involvement post-9/11 and pointed out that 3000 dead was statistically small in a population our size--"By such heartless means of calculation, the 3000 deaths in the Twin Towers came approximately to one mortality for every 90,000 Americans. Your chances of dying if you drive a car are one in 7,000 each year. We seem perfectly ready to put up with automobile statistics. I fear I am ready to say there is a tolerable level to terror..."--conservatives rushed out to renew their distemper shots, they were so spitting mad.

But now that the death toll from Katrina is threatening the inviolable aura of "3000 dead," rightwingers are playing their own form of hopscotch to put things in "proper perspective." They recognize they're in danger of losing a mass grave marker on the high moral ground.

Today, James S. Robbins pulled a Mailer on NRO, using not automobile accidents but a household item found in every medicine cabinet as his point of comparison.

"Of course, the parallels between 9/11 and Katrina are at best inexact. Hurricanes are more frequent than terrorist attacks. They are more predictable. And they are often more devastating. Katrina is a case in point — the number of deaths may go well beyond those incurred on 9/11. But that will not in itself make the hurricane a more significant event. One cannot gauge the magnitude of events simply from body counts. Aspirin abuse accounted for about twice the number of American deaths in 2001 than the September 11 attacks, but who noticed?"

Robbins did. You can't put anything past this guy.

A more vulgar effort to shrink Katrina's impact as a national tragedy was made by Jack Burkman, a member in good standing of the vile order of Republican strategists, who said on MSNBC, "I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen."

When political whores take the long view, you know they're running scared. But I would advise conservative hacks like Robbins and Burkman that it's unwise to get philosophical on us at this late date, and not just because they're lacking the proper intellectual equipment and stoic temperament (Epictetus, they're not). For, pace Burkman, if 10,000 deaths amount to but a drop of blood in the abattoir of time, 3000 is an even smaller drop, and once you begin to shrug off large numbers of dead to the caprices of fate, striking a militant pose over a smaller number becomes even harder.

Nor will it do to argue, in effect, Hey, our dead don't stack up as high as those decadent Euroweenies' do, as Jonah Goldberg just did from his potty throne at NRO's "The Corner."

"HEAT WAVES [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich - Let's also not forget that in 2003 more than 11,000 people died from a heat wave in Europe (3,000 in France alone) and we all know how enlightened their policies are.
Posted at 04:50 PM"

I suppose these guys have to reach for any rationale lying around handy. For Hurricane Katrina has broken the post 9/11 spell that held everyone in thrall to terrorism and terrorism alone as the paramount menace on the horizon. (Compare the lyrical emoting Peggy Noonan has done since 9/11 with her dry, chapped response to Katrina.) Whatever the final numbers are from Hurricane Katrina, it will be harder for the WOT propagandists to ritualistically invoke the "3000 dead" to the same sonorous effect. Those deaths have reached their expiration date, not for mourning, but for political, cultural, and military exploitation. Here we are coming up to the 4th anniversary of that horrible day, and Ground Zero still lacks a memorial or even a palatable design, Osama Bin Laden is unapprehended, Iraq is a vale of tears, and a dorky "Freedom March" is being staged in Washington. One can only hope that the dead of New Orleans receive a more decent and deserving memorialization than the dead of 9/11 have gotten.

My question is why do we let them get away with this?

How many people have to die before this administration’s priorities will be questioned?

America, add up 9/11, Iraq and Katrina! Isn’t that enough?

FEMA Director to Spend More Time with his Family!

Will it become breaking NEWS that Michael Brown has a Nanny Problem? Only time will tell. Just ask Bernie Kerik.

FEMA said Mr. Brown would not respond to a request for an interview. But Mr. Brown told The Associated Press:

"I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep. And then I'm going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims."

Well perhaps James Lee Witt, recently hired by Gov. Blanco and formerly of the Clinton administration, can give him a few pointers on disaster relief.

And I do not mean pointers on the PR spin needed to mitigate the President’s personal disaster.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Damn That Spam!

Spam away!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Stop the Presses: Bush to Investigate His Own Failure!

In Washington, President Bush said he would lead an investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs announced hearings to probe failures in dealing with the storm and its aftermath.

"What I intend to do is . . . to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong," Bush said after meeting with his Cabinet in the White House. "It's very important for us to understand the relationship between the federal government, the state government and the local government when it comes to a major catastrophe.”

President Bush, I am sure, is vowing to get to the bottom of who exactly okayed hiring Michael Brown, the former fired commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, to be the head of FEMA. He, I am sure, is vowing to get to the bottom of who in his administration is behind downgrading FEMA, cutting their budget, and canceling the whole SELA project put in place by President Clinton.

I am comforted that he will want to know why when Governor Blanco, only told him on August 26th, the Thursday before a predicted historic natural disaster category 5 hurricane hit NOLA on the following Monday, he had no idea and neither did his administration know that a disaster (which had been predicted for years and FEMA held a practice for in 2004) was going to hit NOLA, which lead him to stay on vacation while American Citizens died.

I am comforted that President Bush will be finding out exactly why his administration is behind this ghastly Grover Norquist program of shrinking government (until it can be drowned a bathtub) which lead to all of those innocents who drowned, along with an entire City, in NOLA.

Now, I am comforted by this because President Bush has gotten to the bottom of so many other investigations and scandals in his administration.

After all, Mr. Bush has been right up front and had successful investigations which have resolved so many other scandals in his administration.

His successful investigations to date have revealed why his administration paid no attention to repeated warnings about the terrorist attacks which resulted in 9/11. Oops maybe not!

Another of his successful investigations revealed why there has been no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and no accountability for the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction, which is the reason we are in a failed war in Iraq. Oh, that’s right Mr. Tenant, who took the bullet for this fiasco was rewarded with the Freedom of Metal Award. Okay so not so successful.

And then there is the failed prosecution of this War in Iraq and so Gen. Franks likewise got a Freedom of Medal Award and Rumsfeld is still in charge with no strategy, forward or exit. We all know that this hasn't worked out very well.

Then of course we have the Plame/Treason gate investigation, which the President vowed to get to the bottom of. What do we know so far, well Karl Rove, the Bush Brain, is a leaker, of most likely classified information, and so is Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff. And the President’s vowed desire to get to the bottom of these two investigations has gotten no where.

And we all know how the Abu Ghraib investigations turned out.

So, yes I am so comforted that President Bush is going to investigate another one of his administrations failures and scandals.

What does comfort me is that Governor Blanco of Louisiana has hired the last actual professional we had at FEMA, James Lee Witt, to assist her as we really do move forward from this predicted disaster.

Thank heaven someone has figured out what went wrong.