Sunday, September 18, 2005

Time To Come Together

From Digby:

Yesterday morning a friend sent me the following article from the Wall Street Journal:
After Katrina, Republicans Back a Sea of Conservative IdeasBy JOHN R. WILKE and BRODY MULLINS Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNALSeptember 15, 2005; Page B1Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond.Some new measures are already taking shape. In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices. Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.Now, Republicans are working on legislation that would limit victims' right to sue, offer vouchers for displaced school children, lift some environment restrictions on new refineries and create tax-advantaged enterprise zones to maximize private-sector participation in recovery and reconstruction. Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would offer sweeping protection against lawsuits to any person or organization that helps Katrina victims without compensation."The desire to bring conservative, free-market ideas to the Gulf Coast is white hot," says Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who leads the Republican Study Group, an influential caucus of conservative House members. "We want to turn the Gulf Coast into a magnet for free enterprise. The last thing we want is a federal city where New Orleans once was."Many of the ideas under consideration have been pushed by the 40-member study group, which is circulating a list of "free-market solutions," including proposals to eliminate regulatory barriers to awarding federal funds to religious groups housing hurricane victims, waiving the estate tax for deaths in the storm-affected states; and making the entire region a "flat-tax free-enterprise zone."Members of the group met in a closed session Tuesday night at the conservative Heritage Foundation headquarters here to map strategy. Edwin Meese, the former Reagan administration attorney general, has been actively involved.Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R., Kan.) said that the plans under development "are all part of a philosophy of lowering costs for doing business." ............In response, Democrats are pressing for other proposals that suit their ideology. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois has suggested creating a national emergency airlift program so that U.S. airlines can help evacuate Americans from areas before a natural disaster strike. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu unveiled a plan that would, among other things, preserve victims' Medicaid health coverage, provide $2,500 education grants to displaced students and give victims a 180-day extension on outstanding loan payments................Some of the proposals are unlikely to win quick passage. But congressional tax-writing committees hope to approve legislation within days to offer $5 billion in tax relief and other aid to residents of areas hit by the storm. The legislation would, among other things, let victims withdraw money from retirement accounts without penalty, give tax incentives to those who house evacuees and give companies incentives to hire displaced workers.Republicans, meanwhile, say they will also press for a new round of energy concessions, including incentives to rebuild and expand offshore drilling and clear the way for new refineries that were dropped from a 500-page energy bill that passed last month.............House Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton of Texas and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe are working on bills that would encourage refineries to build new plants and expand existing ones by rolling back environmental rules and making it easier for refineries to navigate regulatory channels in Washington.Republicans hope Hurricane Katrina prods Congress to approve a second energy bill this fall that includes several provisions that were dropped from the first bill. ..............Then last night Bush gave a speech which many liberals are lauding, and conservatives are decrying, as a capitulation to liberal ideals..............I was confused. I had read that article in the morning, after all. Then I came home and fired up the creaky computer and saw that Karl Rove was in charge of the rebuilding effort. Ah. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" pushing the slogan of the very liberal Children's Defense Fund as one of his signature issues (No Child Left Behind.) He's always used liberal rhetoric and programmatic boilerplate to sell himself as a "new kinda Republican." It's just that being kinder and gentler has been out of fashion since he donned the codpiece after 9/11. There is nothing new in this. And it is in no sense some sort of capitulation................ Karl Rove knows what works --- and they know that the dipshit pundits love it when a Republican says it because anything counter-intuitive becomes "bold" and "politically courageous." And, I thought we all understood by now that there is no relationship between what the Republicans say and what they do. The
model we should look at is the Coalition Provisional Government in Iraq. That too was going to be a bold and courageous experiment in laissez-faire wet-dream governance. Instead it was the biggest boondoggle in history with more than 8.8 billion dollars officially unaccounted for and undoubtedly tens of billions more wasted on fraud and corruption. Bush's base, by which I mean corporate America, did very, very well. They will undoubtedly do well in Boondoggle Part Two as well. I cannot believe that any liberal in the country would take George W Bush's word about anything at this point.

Well, nobody thought George Bush had suddenly turned into a Liberal did they? I'd be willing to look at the ideas they have and maybe even come part way. I think their bully/bulldozer way they and their supporters come across is a detriment to me wanting to play with them. Things have been so propagandised these days that I think we need a whole new look at the whole idea of conservative and liberal philosophy.
I can without hesitation say I like the free enterprise system and appreciate its positives towards business and society. I can also say that I believe in a nation and society that cares for each other and helps build their nation together. How do we find the best of both worlds and do something we can all be proud of? Let's talk about this before the pundit, opinionspinners, liberal media, conservative media, politicans get ahold of it and tell you what to think. I'll give you time to comment before I give you my thoughts.


Blogger The Donkey said...

On citizenship day, and now Constitution day , The donkey rehashes some old thoughts.

" I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered; that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.

Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined.

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all to frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism --

The right to criticize;

The right to hold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right of independent thought.

The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know some one who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn't? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in.

The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as "Communists" or "Fascists" by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others. The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed. But there have been enough proved cases to cause nationwide distrust and strong suspicion that there may be something to the unproved, sensational accusations."

The Donkey sees that some things never change.

11:44 PM, September 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron, you would love this article by the incomparable Hal Crowther on "Why I am not a Libertarian."

And below is the link to Frank Rich's scathing assessment of President Bush in "I like Black Folks."

We now have 500 troops in Paraguay. These people are simply insane. BTW, Clinton has called for a repeal of all tax cuts for the rich to pay for Katrina. He says it should not be paid for by our children because of our "self-indulgence."


7:45 AM, September 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And for Democat and the other environmentalists out there. From "We Must Take Our Country Back," a speech by RFK, Jr.

..."This is the worst environmental president we’ve had in American history.

If you look at NRDC’s website you’ll see over 400 major environmental roll backs that are listed there that have been implemented or proposed by this administration over the past four years as part of a deliberate concerted effort to eviscerate 30 years of environmental law.

It’s a stealth attack.

The White House has used all kinds of ingenious machinations to try to conceal its radical agenda from the American people including Orwellian rhetoric. When they want to destroy the forests, they call it the Healthy Forest Act. When they wanted to destroy the air, they called it the Clear Skies Bill.

But most insidiously, they have put polluters in charge of virtually all the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution.

President Bush appointed as head of the Forest Service a timber industry lobbyist, Mark Rey, probably the most rapacious in history. He put in charge of public lands a mining industry lobbyist, Steven Griles, who believes that public lands are unconstitutional. He put in charge of the air division of the EPA, Jeffrey Holmstead, a utility lobbyist who has represented nothing but the worst air polluters in America. As head of Superfund, a woman whose last job was teaching corporate polluters how to evade Superfund. The second in command of EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist.

The New York Times reported a couple of weeks ago we all read that as second in command of CEQ which is in the White House directly advising the president of environmental policy, he put a lobbyist of the American Petroleum Institute whose only job was to read all of the science from all the different federal agencies to make sure they didn’t say anything critical, to excise any critical statements about the oil industry.

He was there to lie to the American public, to protect one of the big corporate contributors to this White House. This is true throughout all of the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce which regulates fisheries, the Department of the Interior, EPA of course, and the relevant divisions of the Justice Department. The same thing, all these agencies and sub secretariats, it is the polluters who are now running these agencies..."

The citizens of New Orleans were thrilled when they got electricity for the President's speech. BUT, when he left, so did the electricity.

The man is a punk!!


8:08 AM, September 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember what it was like to have a president who could actually discuss issues??
Bill Clinton talking about anything and everything. About the folly of retaining the tax cuts, about jobs, poverty, intrnational relationships, the war. What a refreshing change!!

2:44 PM, September 18, 2005  
Anonymous diane marie said...

America supports only 5% financial assistance throughout the world concerning global disasters...we are now receiving assistance totalling far more than 5% from the EU, Asia, Russia, the Mid East, South Africa and Mexico...anyone hear from Isreal??? Most Americans are under the assumption that our government is too generous to the many global crisis---well think again, if we are not in debt due to our generosity, than why are we in such a financial mess??? Questions, investigations and resolutions need to be effected immediately in order for the "US" in the USA to remain. We need to take our country back, we need to stop being apathetic and we need to demand the government's accountability from the top on down...yes, impeachment, as a solution, possibly??? "They" considered impeachment against Clinton for far less than what is trnspiring in this administration...Iraq, Katrina---Iran next??? I don't think sooooo and neither should any of us...bring our boys and girls home and take our country back...join the sit in in Roswell, NM 2PM Pioneer Plaza, Saturday-Sept. 24, 2005---bring chairs and signs, voter registration will be available as well, exercise your constitutional rights before they are all dispensed with via this administration...hope to see you all there... writer---diane marie

3:40 PM, September 18, 2005  
Blogger The Donkey said...

The Donkey says if FEMA can't do it, nobody can. Why would Bush head such a bad Administration?

Last story update by the Donkey

Doctor says FEMA ordered him to stop treating hurricane victims
Advocate staff writer

In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.

"I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave."

3:42 PM, September 18, 2005  

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