Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Can I Get A Refund?

If a "liberal" does one little thing wrong, the reich wing goes to town with insults and demands for apologies, explanations, etc. When the President and the federal government fail to address a national catastrophe that the entire country saw coming -- THAT CAME AS NO SURPRISE -- the reich wing pundits offer a myriad of excuses for why the victims are to blame for their fate and for why the government's turtle-pace efforts are acceptable.

One "conservative" blogger (whose posts I enjoy reading and can be found at alanmanning.blogspot.com) offered this qualification

The president took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to protect and defend every man, woman, and child from freak acts of nature. It should be primarily the responsibility of private charitable organizations to help those in need. Since our federal government can, it should, and it did. But this is OUR job as citizens, not the president’s. If I’m wrong please show me where, when the Constitution defines the duties of the President, it requires that he provide support in the case of catastrophic natural events.

Another blogger (who I debate daily and is far more intelligent than the typical conservative -- freeagencyrules.blogspot.com) offered a similar refrain,
"Let’s don’t look for whom to blame for the lack of attention to the levy, but instead let’s “look to fix the problem” instead of the blame."

The sentiments expressed by Alan and Free Agency Rules are not far afield from what I have seen of the "conservative" spin on N.O. And I don't necessarily disagree with the underlying principles of charity and community spirit.

Most problematic with these sentiments is that they do not address fundamental questions about our government and its response to New Orleans. Regardless of whether the President is or is not Constitutionally responsible to protect America's citizens from natural disasters, the fact is that the federal government took that job upon itself. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers describes its job as follows:

Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including:
Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)
Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)
Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)

Today, as always, we stand ready... engineers, scientists, real estate specialists and administrators alike to meet national security, emergency and other national requirements.

The following is a bit about FEMA:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency - a former independent agency that became part of the new Department of Homeland Security in March 2003 - is tasked with responding to, planning for, recovering from and mitigating against disasters. FEMA can trace its beginnings to the Congressional Act of 1803. This act, generally considered the first piece of disaster legislation, provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following an extensive fire. In the century that followed, ad hoc legislation was passed more than 100 times in response to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.


Billions of dollars of new funding were directed to FEMA to help communities face the threat of terrorism. Just a few years past its 20th anniversary, FEMA was actively directing its "all-hazards" approach to disasters toward homeland security issues. In March 2003, FEMA joined 22 other federal agencies, programs and offices in becoming the Department of Homeland Security. http://www.fema.gov/about/history.shtm

These federal agencies are funded by me. And you. I don't voluntarily make charitable donations to the federal government. It is under the threat of economic and legal peril that my employer withholds almost 40 percent of my earnings so that the federal government can fund the massive Department of Homeland Security, give welfare to tyrranical governments and invade Iraq. So, as long as my money has been stolen by the government, I expect it to be used for the tasks for which it was earmarked.

When I donate to charity, I do so on the belief that the organization will spend the money on projects I deem worthy. If the Red Cross asks for donations to support relief efforts, but spends it on something else, they will lose my trust and I will no longer give them my money. As a shareholder of a corporation, I have the right to an honest prospectus from a corporation that details its spending so that I can make a voluntary choice whether to invest with that company.

Unfortunately, however, I do not have that same freedom when it comes to the federal behemoth. They steal money from the citizens under the guise of creating a national guard to protect the citizenry, to form a corps of engineers who are supposed to build levees that can withstand a hurricane that everyone knew was coming and to bolster FEMA with "billions of dollars of new funding." Whether I want my money to go to those purposes is irrelevant. The government does not care.

Enough of the bullshit that we, as citizens, should give to charity and stop asking the government to help the people of New Orleans. It is the government itself that assumed the responsibility of this aid and put a gun to our heads to pay for it. We, as taxpayers, are the involuntary donors to and shareholders of an inefficient corporation and, god dammit, I want an accounting. I want a prospectus that explains how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent the money and why the product was a flop. I want an explanation as to why the National Guard with all its overpriced equipment (made by Boeing, Northrup, etc.) was not sent to New Orleans the second after the hurricane passed? If the Guardsmen couldn't get in, why didn't the navy handle it?

Because if, as the reich wing claims, it is not the government's responsibility to handle natural disasters and other catastrophes, I deserve a refund of my tax dollars!


At 12:31 PM, September 06, 2005 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in. Where do you sign up for the refunds because I hate it when I pay for services that are never received or grossly insufficient.

At 2:08 PM, September 06, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Well I must admit I share your feelings about the theft of my money and the poor response. I definitely agree that since our stolen tax dollars are earmarked for FEMA and the Corps of Engineers then they should do their job.

My main complaint is that the Corps of Engineers had a responsibility to build a CAT 5 or 6 levy and they just recently built a CAT 3, (but the new levy was not built on Bush's watch if I am not mistaken.)

Why was a CAT 3 levy built?

Why was the Mayor not following his own disaster relief plan that he and the governor drew up?

Why were the buses not used?

When the Federal Government called right away and wanted to take over, why did not Governor refuse to relinquish control, and then did nothing?

I think if we are to blame, then there is plenty of it to go around.

One thing that exacerbated the problem was the numerous times the "Emergency Broadcasting" people cried wolf. There had been many times in the past they called for evacuation and then it didn't need to be done.

Spread around the blame if we must, and it is good to do what in management we call a "Postmortem" meeting, (aptly named in this case), to review...1. What went right, and 2. What went wrong?

The most frustrating thing of all for me is the intellectual dishonesty on the far left whereby the inference that if a Democrat was in office the Federal Government would suddenly become this machine of efficiency that it has never been.

The statement..."If you want anything done poorly, give it to the government and the bureaucracy will grind it to a snails pace."...Cannot be disputed, but all we here these days is Bush is at fault for everything.


ii, thanks for your flattering remarks about my intelligence, it means a lot coming from you as I also respect your opinion as very knowledgeable and intelligent.

At 2:24 PM, September 06, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

The far left has actually irritated me more by the global warming hoo hah they are making about the storm. I am not convinced that global warming is a force about which we should be concerned or the reason New Orleans is now off the map, but that seems to me where the left has focused its argument.

Otherwise, I definitely agree that there is a LOT of blame to go around.

At 5:14 PM, September 06, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Another point we are in complete agreement on. Global Warming has just as many experts on the Right as are on the Far left.

I think it is complete hogwash.


At 10:46 AM, September 07, 2005 , Blogger Alan said...

Intellectual Insurgent,

I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern of anger, hostility, and hatred on your part. I didn’t want to make it an issue, as I thought you could keep it under control. It appears, however, that you need to be instructed on how to conduct yourself like an adult.

Please don’t use the word “hell” or any other inappropriate language on my blog. Please don’t use the phrase “reich wing” in place of “right wing.” Even though the liberal platform supports abortion, I don’t say “death wing” in place of “left wing.” While I still commend your apology for calling me racist, that should’ve never happened either.

I am always happy to move forward with intelligent dialogue. You use the name “Intellectual,” please reflect that in your speech. If I’ve angered you with this request, please look at your anger introspectively. Is it possible that your overall worldview is wrong if all it leads to is hatred?

With respect and genuine sincerity,


At 11:06 AM, September 07, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


It is remarkable to me that you accuse me of anger and hostility when that is the substance of most of the "conservative" posts that you post as well as those to which you link are composed of.

The righteousness that comes from "conservatives" about "anger" from people with whom they don't agree is beyond disingenuous given the amount of apologizing you do for the hatred that is spewed from Fox News. If you watch Fox News and read Conservative Schooler, you have nothing to say to me about anger and hostility.

There is nothing I will ever say that will ever approach the amount of hatred that comes from the right. If you want an intellectual discussion, spare me the nonsense about leaving America if I don't agree with you. How's that for a starting point?

At 12:01 PM, September 08, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii and Alan,

I think many people in the blogosphere use hyperbole in some of their posts to emphasize their point.

It's like we are tempted to let our emotions get into the message as to some how either shake or wake up the other person.

But instead it comes across as "yelling" or being insensitive.

I have to catch myself from time to time because we are being "disconnected" from the arena due to the fact that we are somewhat "wearing a mask" and are not feeling like we have to be as responsible for our remarks.

I also think it may be "indignant" posts as opposed to "anger" posts, but either way, let's still be friends and not use "hot button" words like "hate", "anger", or etc.

Here is to unemotional, logical conversation.

Here, here!


At 12:39 PM, September 08, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Thank you FAR! I explained to Alan the same thing about hyperbole and the fact that e-mail cannot convey tone and, thus, leads to misunderstandings.

It really is much ado about nothing and hopefully intelligent discussions can continue.

At 12:41 PM, September 08, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

My comments that may be mistaken for anger are typically heavily laden with sarcasm.

At 7:00 PM, September 09, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I use sarcasm more than I should as well and it always comes across wrong.

I have to often rewrite my post and remove my sarcasm for that very reason.

I do believe sarcasm comes across as anger or erudition.


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