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» Doing Our Level Worst, Pt. 2 from T R I C K S T E R !
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT KATRINA. First, on the matter of leadership. Lance Mannion's excellent rant (It's not political; it's moral), takes dead aim at the cover-your-ass mentality of people who try to shield the incompetent from criticism during times [Read More]

» THE POTEMKIN COUNTRY from The Heretik
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA IS NOW CAPITOL to a Potemkin country, where what things look like to some match not at all what is real, where all the effort is to hide truth rather than to make a better reality.FOR [Read More]

» Potemkin Shelters from the chutry experiment
The Scrivener is calling for the impeachment of the President:For setting up fake food distribution sites in the New Orleans disaster zone, posing in front of them for the cameras, and then having his people remove everything and leaving the... [Read More]

» Point Fingers! Blame People, I Dare Ya! from Daily Pepper
Lance Mannion said it was about morals, and, by extension, if it is about morals, then it is also about accountability. You fail, you get fired. Courtesy of Norbizness, I read this gem of a line from William Kristol: "He... [Read More]

» On Looking at Photographs of the New Orleans Dead from The Tattered Coat
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And... [Read More]

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blue girl

Really, really good post Lance. Thank you for putting into words what my mind has been trying to grasp all week.

Linkmeister

Why politics is always perceived as something not to be paid attention to has been a mystery to me forever. As you say, it affects every aspect of our lives. From the American Heritage dictionary via dictionary.com, definition 6 of politics: The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society. The root of the word is the Greek polis: a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community.

A politician who does seem to get it is John Edwards at TPM Cafe.

mac macgillicuddy

"The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

The Viscount LaCarte

Nice one Lance.

This is how they've played it all along. They constructed this false air of nobility around the President. "You can't criticize a president during wartime. It aids and comforts the enemy. You can't criticize the war effort. I destroys the moral of our soldiers." How convenient for them. And how utterly hypocritical given their treatment of President Clinton.

This time it is different. Even the reporters on Fox News can't hold back their anger, their frustration, their embarassment. Nothing can survive for every long on a foundation of lies. FInally, I think we are seeing the beginning of the end.

denisdekat

"It's not political; it's moral!"

Life is political.

"Anarchy---the opposite of politics---took over."

Anarchy for me is the opposite of order and hierarchy, not politics. You could be political in an Anarachy I suppose...

"What's more, it's not a case that they failed. They are continuing to fail."

Check out Speigel on the failures issue:

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,372746,00.html

Earl Bockenfeld

I heard just one good report about FEMA's head Michael Brown. "He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm," said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief. "The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience." Thats not quite a sterling endorsement though.

Flatiron Dante

It seems to me that a lot of people trying to convince us that politics are not important are the same people who spend millions participating in it and trying to influence the decision makers. If the federal government really can't do anything, why do so many rich people and corporations focus so relentlessly on it?

Oh wait, never mind . . .

Campaspe

Cogent and impeccably argued, as always. I have been glued to Gilliard's blog as well. Times like these call for firebrands.

mrs. norman maine

One didn't have to be terribly prescient to wonder what would happen if a major natural disaster struck the U.S., given the massive amount of troops, equipment and resources currently siphoned off to the Middle East. (Molly Ivins' widely-circulated column points out that even high-water vehicles that would have been indispensable for rescue efforts in a flooded city were unavailable because they've been transferred Over There, which is curious given....you know).

But I have to admit I hadn't realized that a New Orleans hurricane, specifically, has been one of the top doomsday scenarios for those who are in charge of worrying about these things. This is from last year's National Geographic:

"It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.
 
But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.
 
The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.
 
Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
 
When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great."

http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature5/

mrs. norman maine

There are so many ripple effects to fear from this disaster that it's impossible to isolate them (unless you're obsessive about the price of gas).

But I've been trying to find estimates for how many people are thought to have made it out of New Orleans before the disaster. The majority of them, presumably, are now homeless, and we tend to forget when we hear about the busses and busses of people being transported to Houston, etc., that other refugees may soon be joining them from wherever they were able to get to, pre-Katrina. How many?

I also can't discover if there's any kind of real health screening and care for the survivors. Beyond reports that the threat of dystentary and other contagious diseases is considered a real one and already suspected in some shelters, is there any plan for containment? We hear about plans to get New Orleans kids enrolled in other Southern schools as fast as possible, which seems to me an epidemic waiting to happen.

Well, hate to light up a room and leave, but.....

Neil Shakespeare

CRASSNESS OF THE MEDIA UPDATE: Saw two stories on CNN back to back this morning. The first was about the NO Fire Dept trying to save a "Sachs" store.

REPORTER: Of course, they are worried about saving all those expensive goods!

(Jesus! Did she actually SAY that?!!)

The cameras were on the firemen and you could tell they didn't give a shit about expensive goods. They were bone dead tired and trying to put out a fire.

Next story is about our valiant professional football players, and the great sacrifices they are making in the relief effort.

No kudos for the firemen, the doctors, the emergecy workers. Just the fucking football players.

denisdekat

Hey Neil,

If you like being offended by the media, check out http://marchingorders.org/ Chris has some great images on racism.

mac macgillicuddy

MNM -- First of all, you ALWAYS light up every room!

Second, thanks for the description of the hypothetical scenario -- which is eerily like what actually happened, right down to the fact that people who didn't have cars couldn't get out of the city. And Rush Limbaugh is saying that this is just the "liberals" jumping at another chance to make GW look bad!

Gasoline today was $3.28/gal. where I bought it, but that, as you point out, is probably the least of our problems.

Deborah White

Thank you for this deeply insightful and important post. I have excerpted it and linked back to your site from mine at http://usliberals.about.com.

mac macgillicuddy

I've been posting a lot of links lately, I know, but here's another:

http://alternet.org/story/25021/

This one is important because what is being described is NOT radical. It shouldn't be hard to do and, you could argue, only needs to be REdone. Because this is the way the Constitution intended the system of checks and balances to work. It's not a system of three-way domination, nor is it a system of three-way stale mate.

Congress is SUPPOSED to be in charge. They are supposed to make the laws. They are supposed to override vetos. They are supposed to control the money.

There is no need for a "shadow" government, just a Congress that takes the role it was constitutionally endowed with.

Congress represents the people. The executive branch was never intended to have a "consituency" the way it does today.

Way past high time to take back the night -- or at least the Constitution.

Olympiada

Wow. Thanks for talking about morals. I thought I was the only one. I am glad I am not. It is time to talk about morals. It is time to talk about morals and politics. I am glad you made that statement about turning on the tap being a political act. Right on. It's all politics.

Pepper

The lack of morality that led to this disaster is nonpartisan. I am as outraged at the Democrats like Landrieu who let everything slide as I am at the Republicans who cut funding for levee repair. I don't want to hear about the future impact of Hurricane Katrina on the political parties. I want people to be held accountable for all the death and destruction.

Regarding firing Michael Brown, I want him to be shown the door ASAP, but the Bush Administration has a history of turning members of their team into sacrificial lambs and then carrying on as before. I want people held accountable across the board.

jahf

Regarding firing Michael Brown, I want him to be shown the door ASAP, but the Bush Administration has a history of turning members of their team into sacrificial lambs and then carrying on as before. --Pepper

Actually, it seems to me that this crime outfit reserves positions of ever greater power and authority in the control structure for individuals who are most successful at raping the nation, rather than making sacrificial lambs of them.

... wading through their own shit to stand in line to get MREs for their hungry children ...

Here Lance is speaking about the victims of the hurricane, but, due to the collective failure of the populace to exercise its responsibility in a healthily functioning government, the phrase also applies more broadly to the nation at large.

Our insistence on selecting for elective office only those who are from the subset of the population that have no interest in the public good has brought us to this sad place. If we the people cannot exert due diligence in seeking out and placing in government those whose interests are our own, if we the people lack the wit and inspiration to do other than we have heretofore done, then we deserve what we've got.

Abraham Chamie

Dubya and company continue to be single threaded. They cannot metaphorically chew gum and walk at the same time. In fact, Bush has always perseverated on one task ad infinitum. Witness his agendas: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Social Security, Medicare, Haliburton, Federal Judge Appointees, Supreme Court Appointees, Katrina.

And today his press secretary continues to position the president as taking care of business and not pointing fingers. Consequences must be applied for incompetence immediately. Waiting five days to respond to New Orleans and ten days to remove Micheal Brown is shameful.

We are in the thralls of a dictator who has turned this country against itself. When will the so-called religious right see they are being led by a simple-minded and dangerous man?

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