14 September 2005

A storm created by a conservative ideology that, consciously or not, leads to contempt and indifference toward those not seen as society’s winners

What Katrina Tells Us About Mr. Bush's Philosophy of Government — an excellent article by Leonard Steinhorn.
Years from now, historians will likely see the Bush administration's initially callous and indifferent response to hurricane Katrina as a parable for the type of conservatism this president and his party currently represent.

From the Roosevelt years through the Seventies, we defined the American Dream as a good job, a piece of the rock, and the ability to take care of one's family. Those who lived paycheck to paycheck earned our respect, because hard work and determination were deemed virtuous. These were the people who built America.

Today, however, the conservative movement has redefined success and worth in America. Because some of us succeed, conservatives say, there must be something flawed in those who don't. The American Dream has been redefined as striking it rich, and falling short just isn't good enough.

It’s a worldview coded into the Bush and Reagan tax cuts, which showered money on the super wealthy under the assumption that these are the real people who know how to build America. Those with money, in other words, contribute more to our nation’s health than those who merely work. They have wisdom and virtue.

Compassionate conservatism at its finest. Or perhaps it's just that Bush surrounds himself with so many yes-men, that it has a paralyzing effect.


Strongly disagree with this story. In fact, coming from a very simple man who is proud to be a working soldier, rather than a bumbling, ignorant academe with no respect for real labor-I find the conservative ideology respects the simple man much more than the liberal, progressive ideology.
Sound like I have my goggles on? Maybe so, but I wouldn't be far off in suggesting that most hard working men with hard hats, blisters, sweat and tears are conservative minded.

How could Katrina reveal this shit, considering for 40 years, a democratic REGIME has run the city of New Orleans and is responsible for the pathetic non-actions and overall contempt for the poor. More blame game bullshit IMV. Another attempt by the left to cover up their faults and failures under the Great Society. Nice try, but only the Left will find this article excellent.
Have a nice day.
This article reveals what is really going on here. I must say, I can't really disagree with this interpretation. We should all be ashamed, frankly, including Leonard.

So called "liberal policies" created the middle class.

What period of history saw the most Americans enter the ranks of the middle class?

In the 1950's when tax rates were at their absolute highest.

Let's see, "liberal" policies brought us the Enlightenment, the 40 hour work week, end of child labor, civil rights, GI bill, interstate highway system, a devotion to science that brought immense rewards.

Look to the countries of South and Central America to see where the dominant political philosophy today, neconservatism, is going to take our once great nation.

Because billions of dollars are spent on neconservative friendly PR (just about the entire mainstream media spectrum, with minor dissent on some social issues), many don't have a grasp of history to understand these currents.

And your argument about local NO politics is a red herring:

1. Local authorities are not equipped to deal with the level of disaster - that is why there is FEMA.

2. Local politics does not mirror the political divides of national politics.

Today, the middle class is under great assault and many are a missed paycheck away from disaster. All the while, a anti-modernist frat-boy cabal of kleptocrats rapes the nation.
Sounds like Joe Republican again...same shit different story. Quite common on this site.
If your general summaries of the last 50 years is enough for you, Naum, then have at.
Red herring over local politics. Nice one...just loosen the goggles once in awhile to avoid the headaches.
Thanks for the comments, Neocon_Yadda man.

Funny you call me a partisan, when all I wish for is the return of REAL Republicans, not this phony baloney kleptocrat cronyism.

Once again, you just lob a mealy mouthed stab and run-off without answering any of the points made.

But lest I leave this post without making a substantive point, here goes another — it's a right wing meme that Republicans are the champions of limited government and champion deregulation. But let's look at the historical record:

Democrats were responsible for most deregulation — trucking, banking telecommunications, airlines, parcel post, etc...

Republicans backed only a few — S&L, energy, and accounting. But look at how those were carried out.
Thank you for your comments, Naum.
My point is simple here...American people have been responsible for most major changes in this country, there is no liberal-conservative scoreboard; for some reason, the liberals need to do this.
I have a real problem with the modern liberal taking credit for everything in the past, suggesting conservatives are scions and inhibitors. It basically colors the two words one color, leaving history as a simple pencil drawing, rather than a rich tapestry of human events.
This is exactly exactly what your post did, as well as the mundane Joe Republican and even the half-hearted post "Where did all the Old Republicans Go" where you accused the modern Neocons of opposition to Church and State, blah blah blah...
NOTHING is ever so black and white as these posts imply. History is much more than that. Don't bring up single topics regarding the 1950s- and 60's without telling the whole story..it's not accurate. Don't attempt to itemize liberal prizes, and then Democrat prizes through sweeping generalizations. It's not accurate.

This post went even further by taking a tragedy like Katrina and attempting to relate it to Bush 43 and his tax cuts. Hello? That's as simpleton as you can get. The conditions prevalent in New Orleans and exposed by the hurricane didn't occur overnight, nor was it apparent after Reagan. It's been a putrid disease for decades. My first point was why didn't the Great Society policies and high taxes of the 50's-70's alleviate those conditions? They didn't. Reagans tax cuts didn't scratch the surface of the torrid conditions of the inner cities. They didn't help I'm sure, but neither did anything prior to Reagan.
Only a liberal like Leonard can take two completely different tangents and force them together to tell a story.

And lest you think I'm not answering valid points that you think are in this post, Naum, I've answered the points addressed by your first reply in the earlier Joe Republican. Why bring them up and expect me to devote more text to them? It's senseless and pointless.

And finally, with the last sentences above, you're talking Dem vs Rep., rather than Lib vs Conser. I thought this was conservative vs. liberal?
OK, so you feel you've stated your piece in the other "Joe Republican" thread…

And while I agree that tax cuts, or refusal to sign Kyoto accords (global warming), or other such things wouldn't have lessened the shock, still, the fact remains that there were resources diverted into an elective war that could have served here and more essentially, as the author makes a good point, the "philosophy" of the party in power has indeed manifested itself into realities such as Katrina aftermath.

Contrast that to FDR where due to New Deal reforms old folks didn't have to die in the streets eating dog food and our culture was truly transformed, resulting in the greatest growth of the middle class. Talk to someone my father's age sometime (~70) and they will tell you about all the elderly who had to live at home (if fortunate) or just withered away before social security. That is why they are adamant (a substantial majority) about opposing Bush's corporate welfare privatization scheme, even though they would be "grandfathered" out of any destructive^H^H^H^H^H^H^H reform.
The fact also remains, Naum, that resources readily available were NOT used prior to, during, or in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. But why bring that up? We all know that already, without the Red Herrings.
The "Philosophical Manifestation" conjured by the author is completely off the plane of reality. One would have to conclude that New Orleans was just dandy and thriving in Middle Class harmony from 1945-1980. Was that the case? I doubt it. The question you must answer before you blindly accept this manifestation is how deteriorated New Orleans was before the New Deal, how deteriorated it was immediately after and whether it improved prior to Reagans Tax Cuts.
Let me also repeat what I recently wrote for Trav. I applaud, as a conservative, many of FDR's New Deal Programs-particularly those dealing with regulation of interest, FDIC, etc., as well as worker programs that helped Americans and the country (WPA, CCC). His programs, however, did not usher in the era of the Middle Class;nor did they end the depression. Thank World War II for that. If not for the GI Bill, the 12.5 million veterans would have not had the oppurtunity to go to school and get good jobs (question:Did FDR, or Truman enacted the GI Bill). If not for the war, the Depression might have lingered on for who knows how many years? And you can also thank the Cold War for continuing the growth of the Middle Class and GDP wealth generated during the 1950's and 1960's (question: was it GDP, or GNP, when was it changed?). Taxes were high, but who cares when Government Funded Programs were employing so many in the private sector (space race, cold war, Korea, military).
Times changed after the 1970's, naturally-and not only because of the evil Reagan and his dreaded reforms. Everything changed. OPEC, inflation, oil and natural gas shortages here in the US.

And while we're on the subject, why are you contrasting this with FDR in the first place? The point of this article that you called excellent was that Reagan,Bush and the tragedy of Katrina somehow had a relative component. The fact is, it doesn't, at least not without uttering Truman-Carter as well, with a dash of Bush I and Clinton.

There's no need in this discussion to contrast with FDR, nor bring up Social Security and Privatization.

Thank you Naum and have a good day.
The civility on this web blog warms my heart.

What also warms my heart is that you guys are focusing on bread and butter issues, which the mainstream media often ignores, for more sensational stories, like abortion, gay rights, etc...

“My point is simple here...American people have been responsible for most major changes in this country, there is no liberal-conservative scoreboard; for some reason, the liberals need to do this.”

I agree 100% with you neocon.

“I have a real problem with the modern liberal taking credit for everything in the past, suggesting conservatives are scions and inhibitors. It basically colors the two words one color, leaving history as a simple pencil drawing, rather than a rich tapestry of human events.”

Before the election I went to hear a speaker…

(I will not use his name, because I have learned in debates that there are preconceived notions on both sides attached to certain names—instead I will let his idea stand alone, and be judged for its validity without the preconceived Ad Hominen (sp?) tendencies of both sides)

…this speaker was asked if he would support a third party candidate, he said he would not, that by supporting this third party candidate would assure another Bush presidency. He said that although the Democratic party gives those progressives on the left little voice, at least there is this small ledge that progressives can stand on in the Democratic party, to let their voice be heard, whereas with the Republican party, there is no “small ledge”.

I agree that modern liberals have betrayed many of the progressive victories that the people forced upon the government. They should not take credit for many of these victories because they no longer represent the ideals which made those victories come to pass. When you have a Democratic president voting to support NAFTA, Chinese trade, and welfare reform, you know the democratic party has become the republican party with a little “r”.

That said,
My question to you neocon is which of the evils, the democrats or the republicans are the greatest voice of that progressive history? Which party represents the voice of those progressive people the most? Is it the business class Democrats, or the business class Republicans?

You know my answer. You seem to reason, and I know you will correct me if I am wrong, that since neither party has your best economic interest in mind, you will vote for the party that has other issues of yours in mind, not economic. This is dangerous economically not only to you, but to those who still support the democratic party and still feel there is a small ledge to be heard on. Again, this comes back to my argument before that you lambasted me on so much. If you vote against your own economic interests, you should pay the consequences of your decision. Unfortunately, I have to pay those consequences to for your vote.

Gotta run to class…
Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.

Neocon wrote:

Okay Neocon, if your theory is correct, why is it that the gap between rich and poor continues to widen? Why is it that the wealthiest 1% are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? By your logic, wouldn’t the rich also become poorer too? After all, America is in decline since the 1970’s, no one argues this. But if America was in such drastic decline, out of the control of our politicians, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the richs’ wealth would be in decline too?

This is the biggest Achilles Heal of your entire argument, indeed of the entire argument of the Neoconservatives. Without strict government control of business, the gap between the rich and poor will widen to the level of third world status. I argue that Bush, Reagan, and even Clinton have accelerated this economic stagnation of the middle class, for the benefit of the rich.

The Economist article:
“A growing body of evidence suggests that the meritocratic ideal is in trouble in America. Income inequality is growing to levels not seen since the Gilded Age, around the 1880s. But social mobility is not increasing at anything like the same pace: would-be Horatio Algers are finding it no easier to climb from rags to riches, while the children of the privileged have a greater chance of staying at the top of the social heap. The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.

The past couple of decades have seen a huge increase in inequality in America. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank, argues that between 1979 and 2000 the real income of households in the lowest fifth (the bottom 20% of earners) grew by 6.4%, while that of households in the top fifth grew by 70%. The family income of the top 1% grew by 184%—and that of the top 0.1% or 0.01% grew even faster. Back in 1979 the average income of the top 1% was 133 times that of the bottom 20%; by 2000 the income of the top 1% had risen to 189 times that of the bottom fifth.

Thirty years ago the average real annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives was $1.3m: 39 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is $37.5m: over 1,000 times the pay of the average worker. In 2001 the top 1% of households earned 20% of all income and held 33.4% of all net worth. Not since pre-Depression days has the top 1% taken such a big whack… The most remarkable feature of the continuing power of America's elite—and its growing grip on the political system—is how little comment it arouses.”

(This article is echoed by recent articles in the New York Times (a series of 6 articles) and the Wall Street Journal)

This economic inequality is the legacy of Reaganomics and 30 years of Republicanism (including 8 years of a very conservative Democrat). The Republicans, the ear piece of the business elite, want to slowly take us back to the “Gilded age” to pre-depression America where the gap between the rich and poor was phenomenal. Where the poor had little economic and political control. Democrats may have betrayed many of the progressive ideals of the past, but Republicans have firmly embraced the regressive ideals of the past, and are aggressively attempting to make it America’s future.

What bothers me so much is that you, and those of your ilk, so aggressively support such policies.

Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand [their own country’s bloody historical struggle for the material benefits they all enjoy today], march in the army of the night with their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason.

–-Alteration of a quote by Isaac Asimov
continued critique of neocon:

Neocon wrote:

I think it was a combination of the war and FDR. Why? Because before the many social nets created by progressives, the wealth of the nation was concentrated in the hands of the few. America did not become an economic power house only after World War 2. Throughout the entire late 19th and early part of the 20th century America was becoming an economic titan. The American military was invading and subjecting many foreign lands to our economic power which increased America’s wealth. But the majority of the wealth was going to the top 1% of the nation. Thus the rise of unions, anti-monopoly laws, child protection laws, progressive taxes, and consumer protection laws. Progressive ideas support by the people, and therefore supported, albeit often grudgingly, by the government. Big business fought everyone of these progressive changes every time. In the case of unions, they fought these rights violently. 700 people have been killed in labor disputes in America since the 1870’s, a number which is phenomenally higher than any other industrial nation.

“The Gilded Age was the era of economic development and intense wealth generation in the United States from approximately 1876 to 1914. The expansion of commerce and heavy industry, mercantilist economic policies, and federal railway subsidies created a number of immensely successful businessmen as public figures; these were often referred to pejoratively as the robber barons.”


Does it matter who enacted the GI Bill? FDR or Truman (both democrats), Democrat of Republican? The point is that the GI Bill is a very progressive piece of legislation, but it is very anti-neo conservative. The government giving out money to the entire population, instead of the rich. You are supporting a piece of legislation that is very anti-neo-conservative.

(I believe behind all the rhetoric of small government, I think that the elite neoconservatives actually in power support ‘big’ government, but only ‘big’ government that supports the ruling (wealthy) class. Our complex system of capitalism demands that government plays a predominant role in business.)

I don’t know, I am interested please tell.


By attributing everything to the Cold War, I think you are missing the point that America’s economy was a power house before World War 2, and that America was such a power house after World War 2 because Europe was devastated from war. America used that devastation to its advantage to wrest control over many markets that the former colonial masters could no longer control. Egypt and the Suez Canal from the French and English, Vietnam from the French (failed), Indonesia from the Dutch.

After World War 2, America was using the decline of European empires to its own advantage, to create its own “colonial system”, as it had many timed before, for example during the Louisiana Purchase from the French; the Spanish American War; the Alaska purchase; World War I and Central America.


What, exactly are you advocating here NeoCon? Perpetual war?

Your theory that the cold war generated so much wealth falls on its face when you look at the war on terrorism. Where is the great gains generated from this newest “perpetual war” created by Washington (even more absurd than the Cold War in hyping the threat of our “enemy”, I feel like we are in an episode of GI JOE)
First Trav, you tend to ask so much in your posts, I can't possibly answer in this small conversation format. Not that these questions are intersesting and perplexing, but how do I proceed?
First, the questions I pondered (who enacted the GI Bill and GDP-GNP denomination) were simply questions I wanted answered foir my sake only; I just want to know is all.
Second, my opining on the Cold War wasn't support for perpetual war. Please give me some credit here.
The fact remains, that in the early era of the Cold War, the military and space program was resonsible for over half of the GNP (or GDP, at some point this changed-thus my question for useless trivia). Yes, wealth to the private sector was a result, as well as nourishment of the middle class. Technological development was accelerated tremendously as well. If not for WWII and the Cold War, we might just now be playing on our Ataris and C-64's. That's all I'm saying.
What I'm attributing to the Cold War is that Technology was advanced much more quickly than would have occurred without it. We all know that technology advances an economy as well. The powerhouse economy before WWII was not close to that of the post war age.

Oh yes, one morew thing, touche on your argument above about FDR's policies and the war both having an effect on the middle class. I stand corrected. I might disagree with some of your historical interpretation of the Gilded Age, but the conclusion, nevertheless was the same. That is to say that unbridled capitalism without some federal oversight doesn't help anyone, but a select few.
One more thing and I'll shut-up; I completely disagree that Repubs today want to dismantle the gurads FDR set up to run a workable capitalist economic structure. It won't happen and can't happen.
Your argument about CEO's and their self appointed bonuses are a great point, frankly. I just don't understand how, or why they'd take so much from their company, rather than giving it back to those who truly make the company-the employees.
It's a dysfunctional character in today's business climate. If the CEO's were to take cuts, spread their wealth and cut from the top to save bucks, I really believe Americans might trust business better. But this is not political, it's just greedy bullshit.
Oopsy, sorry Trav. I said:
"Not that these questions are intersesting and perplexing, but how do I proceed?"
I meant to say these questions ARE very interesting and worth dialogue. Please don't take offense at my typo.
And what the hell is a GURAD?
Just found the answer to one of my questions. FDR signed the GI Bill on June 23, 1944.
Kewl neoncon
Will read your post in time and give my impressions in a bit, life has gotten awful busy lately.
Good point neoncon...

"If not for WWII and the Cold War, we might just now be playing on our Ataris and C-64's. That's all I'm saying."

In fact I agree with everything you wrote...

Just read your comments neocon. Not much to say. Amazing how when we get past the name calling and the labels (a very difficult task) how both sides can (generally) agree.

You may have different views than me, but it is refreshing to see that you are not an ideologue, i.e. you can admit to yourself and others the weaknesses in your argument, and can concede certain points. I only hope that sometimes I can do the same! I have found in my own life that it is hard, so hard to let go of a world view, a pet ideolgy.

On to studying....sigh...Federal income test on monday...

My brother wrote me yesterday and said something I have increasing thought about myself:

"I dont understand some of what you expend your energy on because there seems to be so much more useful "real" things to do... chatting online and maintaining web blogs while increasing awareness in strangers and boosting egos in debates is a good diversion to real life its a poor substitute to face to face communication and face to face debates."
True what your brother said, Trav, but I presume you're not here in Phoenix. If I were to meet Naum face to face, I think I would rather just have a nice conversation with him about life in general over a good beer; politics aside.
This avenue is much better, IMV; I don't have the heart to debate live-I'll admit, I'd probably lose.
Take care and have a good day all.
"I don't have the heart to debate live-I'll admit"

Yeah me too, and I am supposed to be training to be a lawyer!

Thank god there are so many jobs other than the trial court
In 1927, a major unnamed hurricane struck the city of New Orleans. It was actually more powerful than Katrina. The scope of damage was much more severe because this particular hurricane actually hit the city. Katrina missed it by 25 miles.

The interesting difference is the response the government gave in 1927 to those hurricane refugees, compared to the refugees of Katrina, err- I meant "survivors" ---(sorry Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson). How much aid did the government dispense at that time? Zero, nada, not one dime. And you know how much aid the army offered? The only aid from the army came in the form of loaning the city of New Orleans tents and camp stoves. Ironically, later, the army sued the city for reimbursement. So what was the big difference here?

It was the attitude the people had towards the government at that time, compared to the attitude that Katrina's victims have. The 1927 "survivors" expected nothing from the government 80 years ago, people understood that the government was there to "protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Today, Americans expect the government to "provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" That's a major difference. And now, a week later, when the government failed on all three levels of local, state, and federal to provide for their needs, Americans were sorely disappointed.

Reverend Jackson and reverend Sharpton spend their opportunities arguing about semantics."They shouldn't be called refugees, they should be called survivors" Unfortunately, they missed the boat. It was a perfect opportunity to deliver a very basic message to their people.

Fact, if you are poor and uneducated in America, this is what happens. Fact, if you depend on the government, you will be sorely disappointed. Fact, if you are poor in America, there is no reason for you to be uneducated. Its free! 12 grades. And if you really apply yourself, there is enough grants and assistance out there for higher education, which will raise you above the poverty level. And no longer will you depend on the government and be disappointed. Its unfortunate that this
lesson will be missed by most of the "survivors".

A couple of other points should be brought to light. G. W. has asked the congress for 50 billion dollars worth of aid for the "survivors" and clean up of the city. Interesting isn't it? one million people displaced and out of work in that city, sitting all day in shelters, waiting for the next handout. Of course, the thought never occured to anyone that just maybe, "hey, we should give all these folks jobs filling sand bags to plug the levees and clearing trees." (Wonder how many of
them would want government aid if they had to work for it?)

And finally, they haven't hardly begun the task of picking up dead bodies, and already the finger pointing has started. The congressional hearings and probes will go forever. Millions will be spent on a wasted diatribe of a bipartisan "witch hunting expedition"- all of which will be nonsense. If you're a democrat, you are going to blame the president. If you are a republican, you are going to blame the mayor and the governor. This is another case in point of how the government will once again fail its people, they could have spent the millions educating the poor and misplaced citizens of New Orleans so that they could go out and get a new and better life, instead of wasting it on useless blame investigations.

Smack a damnocrat, you will feel better

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