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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bush-Hating Suicide

The latest conclusion on the floodwalls in New Orleans (WaPo) - the failure was widespread and fundamental in a literal sense:
"This place was ripped to shreds. I was amazed," said Peter Nicholson, a University of Hawaii professor of civil engineering who is part of the investigating team. "There were dozens and dozens of breaches."
At two key breaches where huge volumes of water inundated the city -- at the 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue Canal -- the quality of the soil supporting the flood walls appears to have been a problem.

At the 17th Street Canal, they said, a section of the levee embankment moved back 35 feet. There is evidence of a similar "soil mass movement" at one of two London Avenue sites. The engineers speculate that either the pressure on the walls pushed them back against the soft soil or water seeping beneath the walls softened the soil, weakening the wall's support. "The soil moved," said Paul Mlakar of the Army Corps of Engineers. "The exact mechanism is not known at this time."

The soil in the area, composed of sand, silt, clay and peat is "compressible and not very strong," said Raymond Seed, a professor of civil engineering at UC-Berkeley.
They may patch these, but they are not going to be changing the soil underneath them. The floodwalls ought to be replaced with levees. New Orleans gets more dangerous all the time due to the erosion of the wetlands. Solomon's House has been following the floodwall/levee story.

We are faced with one huge engineering problem and no amount of politicking is going to change the situation in the slightest. Much of New Orleans is a death trap. We need to back off and reassess. All the political ranting about how Bush is attacking LA because it is a Democratic state isn't going to save New Orleans.

Democratic Underground expresses dark suspicions about avian flu. You guessed it - Bush is cooking up the virus in order to provide a pretext for martial law. Posters struggle desperately against the tide of irrationality in this thread, but the current is pretty strong.
1. more fog of war....now we will see a flurry of reports on how bad this flu is.... and how we need the military to enforce quarantine.

the reports will come in from a variety of sources, but they will all be the same:
Rovian scare tactics to quell the masses into forced stupor of fear so that when the soldiers shoot their grandma, they'll run up and kiss the killer's hand in gratitude for keeping them safe.

we as SOOOO in nazi germany. Its time we wake up to it.

27. Did you see CNN this morning?
They did a report on the 1918 flu epidemic. There was a person giving a gruesome report of how the people looked -- they were so blue from lack of oxygen that the doctors couldn't tell African Americans from caucasians. Often the patients bled from the eyes, nose and ears.

Immediately after that horrifying report, they cut back to Sodedad O'Brien, who said something like, "President Bush yesterday discussed the use of the military to enforce quarantines in the event of an outbreak of the deadly bird flu in the United States."

So, there you go. They're terrorizing us.

56. Great post, good analysis. Thanks for passing that on. As you said, they're terrorizing us. It's obvious.

9. For months, DU's been abuzz with how deadly a bird flu pandemic could be..
and how its effect would be amplified by BushCo's incompetency. Now, BushCo has put forth a plan (flawed though it may be), the possible effects are made clear through this article, and everyone wants to go paranoid over how BushCo will use this to its own gain. There's no pleasing some DUers. In their case, paranoia is a comfort, and it doesn't matter which end of the argument fuels the fear.

22. Bush (Rove/Scooter) Would Capitalize on Anything--for Political Gain
His parents could be abducted by Martians and he would turn it into something promoting his crime syndicate. They could get head colds. They could lose a grandchild. Anything.

If they are out to get you, there's nothing wrong with being paranoid. And Bush is out to get us all.
Kos is no better, although it has been trying to get the word out. I will give three consecutive comments:
Let me keep it simple...it is not ONLY about New Orleans and the levee damage.
As to bird flu, AIDS and other things that are 'cropping' up...someday people will figure out that the government cannot continual alter DNA, make deadly viruses and so forth, that will wipe out entire populations, etc., without something seriously going wrong.
This could and probably is the tip of the iceberg...
pardon me but are you suggesting that bird flu, AIDS, etc is a government experiment gone wrong?
I thought it was pretty common knowledge....
Well, that is pretty common "knowledge" among the "reality-based" contingent. And my favorite:
Too few doses (none / 1)
When push comes to shove and we have to ration, Vaccine here is what we do. First, anyone with a sign that say's this could be the day, the rapture is coming, DON'T TAKE A SHOT. Those that are here waiting for the afterlife, DON'T BOTHER. Anyone who will not allow a Jew, Hindu or nonbeliever into their heaven, walk away. If you believe in Intelligent design and not science close you doors gather your family and hope for the best. If you believe Tom delay, oj Simpson, and George Bush are innocent, you deserve to die. Everyone else take a shot put on air america spread some sheeps blood on you doors, and wait it out.
Those who have constructed the idea that Bush is responsible for all worldly ills are not doing much for their own life expectancy. When you construct a mindset against this it might help your political cause in the short run, but after a while it prevents any meaningful response to issues and potential problems.

It is not that there are not very rational people participating on Kos and DU, but they don't seem to win the day. And many of the people who push these bizarre ideas are personally genuinely altruistic and benevolent. They are willing to sacrifice their own time and money to help people (i.e. the person who thinks the US government cooked up AIDS and bird flu), but they are also wild-eyed fanatics about objective matters.

Real life is not a game of spin. There are real problems and real uncertainties, and when you twist everything to serve your own world view you put yourself in danger. Now let's look at Dean's talk to the Connecticut Dems:
"We want our country back. We are all in this together," he said. "We are tired of a president who thinks it's OK to divide people to win the presidency."

Dean identified several goals for the party that included balancing the budget, a renewable energy policy and national health insurance.

"We need jobs in this country and we can't have it without health insurance," Dean said.

Reproductive rights and separation of church and state also figure prominently on the party's platform.

"We need to speak to people on our terms. We are not a pro-abortion party. The issue is whether a woman gets to decide or whether Tom DeLay or (President) Bush decides for them," he said.

"We have great religious plurality in this country but we also ought to make sure that science is science, not religion," Dean said. He was referring to the current dispute now in federal court in Pennsylvania over whether a school district can teach evolution and intelligent design, representing them as theories.
Point 1: A man who runs around announcing that Bush and all Republicans are evil does not have any credibility when it comes to renouncing country-dividing political tactics.

Point 2:
What have the Dems done to seriously work towards balancing the budget? Talk to Teddy Kennedy. The Dems have a problem here. So does the Bush administration. Is either party serious about balancing the budget?

Point 3: A "renewable energy policy" is a grand idea, but at this point it's pie in the sky! Could we talk about something feasible that leaves us less dependent upon foreign energy? Please?

Point 4: National health insurance. It's a lovely idea that has not the remotest congruence to the goal of balancing the budget, so Dean is contradicting himself in one sentence. As for jobs, Democrats consistently lobby against the bill to allow trade associations, etc, to offer insurance to their members on a national basis - a benefit that every large corporation now enjoys. That would be the single best job-producing initiative that we could pass, because most of the new jobs created in this country come from small business. It would also cost the government nothing. So why don't the Dems like it? Explain that, Howard.

Point 5: Reproductive "rights". No, the issue is not whether Bush and Delay decide what happens to a pregnant woman who wants (or has to) terminate her pregnancy. The issue is whether the states get to decide or whether nine people on the Supreme Court do. Talk about spin!

Point 6: Separation of church and state and intelligent design. I don't think that intelligent design should be taught in schools, because I don't believe it qualifies as a scientific theory. It is a theory, but it is not testable so it isn't a scientific theory. But that's not the real cause of the Democratic jihad against religion in general, and most particularly the Catholic church. They are angry because the Catholic church doesn't support gay marriage and they are angry because most Christians don't believe that abortion is morally right. As for separation of church and state, they are the ones who don't believe in it. They want the church to be prohibited from expressing any opinions that affect politics, which is ridiculous. Politics often has to address moral issues, like equal rights for minorities, caring for the poor and the aged, questions of war, criminal punishment, etc. All through our history the churches have been an integral part of the social dialogue about such issues, and all through our history the voters have expressed their personal opinions through voting. That balance still exists. It is the Democrats who are attempting to change the balance, not the Catholic church.

Declaring the church, a longtime Democratic ally, an enemy is the most batty strategy any politician has ever come up with, bar none. The more they point the pistol at their own feet and pull the trigger, the more they blame churches for the resulting pain. So they just keep shooting away, and I guess they will until they can't remain on their feet any more. They are only fooling themselves.

It's bizarre. It will not work. It is hopeless. The voters aren't stupid. They see all of this. How long can the Democratic party believe it can win as the party of an alternate universe? Can any level-headed Democratic politician win the Democratic nomination in these circumstances? I doubt it.

Well done.
But a very depressing reality.
Great post. It reminds me of what George Will said about Dean when he was "electrifying" the Dem base during the primaries:

'He seems to be an Everett Wharton. "The Prime Minister," one of Anthony Trollope's parliamentary novels, introduces Wharton, who was, Trollope wrote, "no fool":
"[He] had read much, and although he generally forgot what he read, there were left with him from his reading certain nebulous lights, begotten by other men's thinking, which enabled him to talk on most subjects. It cannot be said of him that he did much thinking for himself - but he thought that he thought."

Dean seems like that, which is not surprising or disqualifying: Most political leaders are not people of reflection, but of ambition-dictated action, living off borrowed intellectual capital.'

I agree wholeheartedly with Will. Dean's appeal is thoroughly emotional
Pedro, that's an interesting observation. I believe Dean mistakes emotion for authenticity.

The problem with the current Dem crop is that they are not genuine because their agenda is not rational, not because they do not wholeheartedly desire to "make things better".

They are like the drunk who breaks down and cries in a therapy session, promising to do better, but then feels so bad about what he has done to his family that he stops off on the way home to buy liquor to drown out his remorse.

In this case they need less emotion and more planning.
I just stumbled in here. I have to admire your courage to read the comments at Kos and DU and still resist the urge to commit suicide.
But I'll disagee with you one one point: The Dems can do and say things that are either 1) plain nuts, or 2) self-defeating, precisely beacuse they appreciate how truly lazy and impressionable their core constituency is. No one calls Dean on his pronouncements because it's far easier to to simply agree than it is to question. As the flap over the Miers nomination shows, the rank and file on the right are far less willing to tke things at face value than those on the left.
To our credit, I believe.

Good blog.
spd rd this is a GREAT blog- just so we're clear.

In any event, I for one am har more sanguine about the whack jobs. It is about the 'arabization' of the left- fantastic conspiracy theories, wild claims and counter claims, etc.

No one who is in an actual position of authority will ever take these voices seriously.

Cynthia Mckinney, for example, remains an outsider and irrelevant, save to her constituents (who will only tolerate her as long as the pork keeps coming). While it is true the dem caucus welcomed her back with open arms, that was because she represented a needed vote- no more. If Jim Jeffords is on the outside, you can only imagine Mckinney's status.

As with most things, the proof was in the pudding.

Just as in NO, where the residents gave the Feds hig marks after the disaster, despite the wild and frenzied efforts of the left, so too do Americans reject stupidity.
Spd rdr, I agree with you. At this point the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that on balance the Republicanish voters are more willing to actually debate the issues and disagree. This is a very good thing.

SC&A, I agree with you also. Americans aren't stupid and they really reject factionalism. They evaluate candidates and parties more by the yardstick of pragmatic results. The Dem leadership really knows this, because that is why they keep trying to depict GW Bush as a religious zealot, etc.

But they make a mistake in thinking that the American voters aren't able to detect non-religious zealotry.
First, what is "Intelligent Design"? There are hundreds of opinions and variations on what constitutes "Intelligent Design". A lot of these are mischaracterizations, both inadvertent and malicious. To understand the debate we must go to the original premise as developed by some prominent scientists and philosophers of science calling on the fields of information theory, biochemistry, genetics, and related disciplines. For the sake of brevity I will call this ID.

To clear the air it is useful to state what it is not. ID is not a scientific theory. It says absolutely nothing about religion, behavior or morality. It doesn't predict results and offers no conjectures or mechanisms. It is not an alternative to the Theory of Evolution. In fact, it does not question the broad validity or any of the details of evolutionary theory except for one particular conjecture.

A theory must be testable, "falsifiable" in the argot of science. The conjecture that ID attempts to falsify is that "macro evolution" is the result of random genetic mutations that prove viable (selection). ID holds, from observation and information theory, that the mutations necessary to introduce new species are so unlikely as to be impossible. There must be another explanation: design.

To put this into more familiar territory: "If you win the lottery three times in your life you make the Guinness book as the luckiest person in the world. If you win the lottery three weeks in a row people start to ask questions."

This is a legitimate scientific and philosophical debate that is not unlike many current and past debates in all branches of science. So why all the excitement?

The Theory of Evolution is the scientific proof that there is no God. If ID is correct then the proof falls apart.

The existence of a Creator is at the heart of the ages long battle about the dignity and value of individuals. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, ...".

If men are simply random accidents then they are not worthy of individual consideration. They are clever animals that need be managed, trained and culled for the good of the whole herd. That good to be determined by the enlightened few. "New Soviet Man", "the greatest good for the greatest number", ... Religion is not the opiate of the masses, it is a dagger in the heart of tyranny.
> Could we talk about something feasible that leaves us less dependent upon foreign energy? Please?

LOL, like nuclear energy? As though the Green nitwits will ever let that happen.
Great information on health coverage as Bush needs to work on improving much for America.
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