Total Lack of Leadership

I finally got to see Bush’s interview with Diane Sawyer last night. He says this isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, and he’s right. It’s about leadership. If Bill Clinton was the president right now, and this was going on, I’d be blasting him left and right as well, I promise you.

That said, when the lid was about to blow off Three Mile Island, Jimmy Carter said, “I don’t care… I’m going.” That was all it took to calm a frightened city. People still talk about it today, that here was the president in the middle of this crisis.

So where are you today, Mr. Bush? Another flyover? That’s what I heard. You should’ve been there days ago, Mr. Bush. Standing in the rubble, just like you did on 9/11. People laud you for your leadership. You have been completely and totally inept, just like the rest of the politicians — ALL of them — in Washington. I could vomit listening to Mary Landrieu go on and on about how grateful she was to all the people in Washington, and what tremendous leadership there is there. Senator, there are people dying in your state, not because they were hit by a hurricane, but because they don’t have food and water FIVE DAYS after the disaster. Who could possibly float the idea that this is acceptable???

Today on the way in to work I was flipping the radio between Jerry Springer and John Gambling, and there are numerous reports that Carnival Cruise Lines offered to send three ships to NO to pick up refugees, and they were refused by FEMA. 350 hazmat emergency personnel are in Kansas City, offering their help, and FEMA has not released them yet.

What the hell is happening to our country? Is this what happens when the US hasn’t allocated enough money to rescue organizations and drills as a result of tax cuts? Is this what happens when those who are supposed to be on standby to protect us from these sorts of things (the National Guard) are instead deployed overseas where they’re not supposed to be?

These people in Louisiana, who are watching themselves die because of no food or water, believe no one cares about them. They obviously don’t see the television or hear the radio and hear how outraged this country is that no one is doing anything about this. They think they are alone. What a horrible feeling that must be — beyond words… They have been totally abandoned, and the world is watching how we treat our own, and they’re sure to start asking questions, and rightfully so.

Politicians on both sides have been completely and totally incompetent on this. Where are our leaders? There certainly don’t seem to be any from the government.

God help us if something like this happens in any other major city. If we can’t save a city of 500,000 people, what happens if a larger city suffers an environmental disaster? There’s going to have to be some reckoning for this, because we pay government to help us in our time of need and to protect us. Otherwise, what’s the point? We might as well be anarchists. Scary shit. I guess if something happens here in NY, we’re all on our own.

What kind of a country are we that we would allow this to happen in our own homeland?

Trouble in Louisiana

Well-armed gangs of looters, people barricaded inside schools and hospitals trying to protect themselves, diabetic patients with no medicine.. It’s all happening in Louisiana, and the government, local and federal, seem to be completely clueless on what to do. I’ve been reading more of the horror stories, and also some interesting reports on how thoroughly this was all predicted. Unfortunately though, it seems that the “war on terror” was much more imporant than the lives of half a million US citizens.

Indeed, Speaker Dennis Hastert has already proclaimed — on a day when people are still looking for rescue from this disaster — that we should seriously consider whether or not we should bother rebuilding the city. You’d think he could wait until people are out of “emergency crisis” mode, huh? Nope.

Sickening how reactionary this administration is, huh? First, Rumsfeld says he doesn’t want any money diverted to fighting terrorism from his precious “Star Wars” program, then we’re attacked at home. After this, they throw billions and billions into the war on terror, which has now claimed almost more American lives than 9/11 itself, and they forget all about how badly we need the money spent here at home (not to mention how badly we need the National Guard right here, for just this sort of emergency).

It’s all well and good for me to sit here and criticize, I know. But some of you out there elected these people, and they continue to be horribly inept at best, and greedy, heartless assholes at worst. Some of us saw it coming. The rest of you are hopefully waking up. Can we please do better next time? Can we start electing people who will look out for the interests of our country instead of their own business associates?

“Flood control has been a priority of this administration from Day One,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. Oh yeah, everything has been a priority of this administration from Day One. Sure it has. Lying ass.

New Orleans

I don’t think anyone expected that it would take days to mobilize FEMA and the National Guard into action in New Orleans, but that’s the way it seems to be. Everything New Orleans tells the tale in dark, scary terms. People shooting at officers, angry mobs trying to get onto late-arriving buses to whisk them away to safety, dead people lying around in the open. If we can’t get control over an area of our own country, we’re in a sorrier state than I ever thought we could be. Granted, the devastation in New Orleans is supposedly worse than anything we’ve seen in the US, but what happens if something happens to NY or LA or SF? We need to get our act together, and we need to get our National Guard back from overseas, back home where they should be.

I also find it very interesting what the president said today — “I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this ? whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud…” Remember what Donald Rumsfeld said when we got into Baghdad and the looting started? “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things…” Amazing how this administration applies different standards wherever it sees fit to do so.

I just got an e-mail from my mom up in New England where she mentioned she was paying almost four dollars a gallon for gasoline. Hmmmm… Record profits last year for the oil companies. You think during this time of crisis they could maybe make a little less profit? Maybe just for a couple months while the infrastructure gets settled and New Orleans gets out of emergency mode? Can’t say that, can I… Oh no. That smacks of socialism. Restricting profits… Not in this country.

We’ll just smile and continue to pay, right? I have to admit, I’m going to get a chuckle seeing every soccer mom out here in Whitelandia trying to fill up their giant Tahoes, Expeditions and Hummers. Let’s see… Here’s an article from a little over a year ago about how Hummer demand is still high — Car Buyers Unfazed by Fuel Prices. Gotta love it. Let’s see… Thirty-two gallon tank in a Hummer. At four bucks a gallon, that’s $128 to fill up the gas tank. At thirteen miles a gallon in metro areas, let’s be generous and make it fifteen overall, a tank of gas will take them about 400-500 miles. That’s over a quarter dollar per mile. My Saab costs about fifteen cents per mile, and my mom’s Honda is about thirteen cents per mile. I wonder what the resale values of Hummers are right now? There certainly are enough of them out here. I wonder if I’m going to see them on sale anytime soon?

I can’t help but think of the days when I was making $15K a year and every single time I filled up the tank at $1.30 a gallon was agonizing. I don’t know how people earning minimum wage today will be able to cope with this, as they’re the ones who will be impacted the most by these prices. The only upside to all this is that it’s sure to provide a nice boost to the companies and people who are investing research dollars into alternative energy sources. That’s good for us, good for the planet, and good for our national security. Perhaps this is the best thing that could’ve happened? The more the oil companies continue to overplay their hand, the better off we’ll eventually be. Unfortunately, the suffering of many will continue for some time before that happens.