Monday, January 30, 2006

The Democrats Turn on Cindy

Over at the Daily Kos they finally noticed that Cindy Sheehan is now hugging an anti-American communist. Also, there is talk that she will run against Diane Feinstein.

The comments are amusing. They alternate between defending Cindy and criticizing her. Here is the split in the Democratic ranks in miniature. They can't decide if America is misled by Bush or f we are inherently evil.

One thing is for certain - Cindy's credibility is shot. Last Summer she could present herself as an outraged mother. Now she is an anti-American, pro-communist who happened to lose a son in Iraq.

Hamas and Exit Polls

Last week, the day after the Palestinian election, the headlines were
Palestinian voters gave Hamas a significant second-place showing Wednesday in the first parliamentary elections in a decade, exit polls showed, propelling the militant group into a new, uncertain political role.

The ruling Fatah party is expected to win the most seats in parliament, according to exit polls, but appeared poised to lose its majority.

In fact, Hamas won the election. The exit polls were wrong.

Except, exit polls can't be wrong. Liberals have been telling us that since November, 2004 when early polls showed Kerry ahead. It's easy to find analyses "proving" election fraud based on exit polls. See here, and here. This one quotes Teresa Heinz Kerry as insisting that the mother voting machines were hacked, again based on exit polls.

So, if exit polls show a different outcome then Hamas must have cheated, right? So where is the outrage? I've scanned Huffington, Kos, and the Democratic Underground. I don't see anyone talking about voter fraud in Palestine.

Granted I didn't read the comments, just the main articles and granted events in Palestine and Israel do not affect us as directly as our own elections. Still, the "plight" of the Palestinians is supposed to be a major motivation in September 11 and the war on global terrorism in general. You would think that someone would look away from the Alito confirmation long enough to notice that a group that promotes terrorism and the destruction of Israel just won an election.

You would think that all of these conspiracy theorists would see something here.

So, where is it?

Two things are likely: The first is that for all their multiculturalism, liberals don't really pay attention to anything outside of the US.

The second is that the only time they argue with election results is when Republicans win.

What do I think? I think that the vote was probably accurate. I think that Hamas won because they have run charities for years, distributing money where Fatah took it. I also think that Hamas never expected to win so they never put together realistic policies. Now that they are in charge they will quickly hit the limits of rhetoric and will have to come to terms with Israel. Hut I'm guessing.

Friday, January 27, 2006

More on Folk Marxism

Sheldon Drobny, a co-founder of Air America recently posted on Huffington. He says some things that are fairly common to liberals.
However, most Democrats stand for positions that are best for 80-90% of Americans. The problem is that corporate propaganda is disseminated through filters and spin that demonize Democrats, liberals and progressives. Clearly the business class does not want to have Democrats in control unless the economic situation is so negative that they have no choice.
Wow! Position favorable for nearly everyone. But what are they? He doesn't say but we can infer from this:
The problem that the Democrats always have when they are the minority party is that they have no powerful constituency. The Democrats have always been the party that represents working America which now includes the middle class. That constituency is virtually powerless especially since the decline of organized labor. The Republican Party is the party of "big business" and their constituency are the rich and powerful in this country.
Oh - they represent working Americans including the middle class. They have policies that would be best for 90% of Americans and their constituency comprises the majority of the population but they have no powerful constituency. What's going on here?

Drobny is looking at the world through the prism of folk marxism. He sees labor and business as being advesaries - workers can only advance by tearing down business.

Two problems here. First - the biggest expense for most businesses is its payroll. Anything that hurts employers is going to hurt employment, meaning working Americans. Drobny fails to understand this because folk marxism sees business as a bottomless pool of money.

The second problem - a large percentage of Americans have a stake in big business, either because they own stocks themselves or because their retirement funds depend on the stock market.

So much for the Democrats' constituency. They want to hurt the people they claim to represent and they don't see it because of folk marxism.

Doubtless Drobny is also thinking of universal health coverage but the lesson of Canada is that this will lead to decreased care and long waits.

Many Democrats think that all they have to do is properly package their policies. Not Drobny. He is reduced to hoping for disaster.
America is definitely heading toward economic and political collapse as a result of the decisions made by Republican Administrations over the last 25 years. The collapse of the American Empire will be the necessary step that will once again bring people back to the sanity necessary to change the political and economic crisis we are facing today. It will take no less than a "Depression" type calamity like it did in the 1930s to bring America and its leaders back to their senses. And this time I believe it will be the "last hurrah" for Republicans and the wealthy elite they represent.
He gives no reasons why we are heading for economic or political collapse. Probably he thinks it is self-evident. Marx predicted revolution in the 19th century so folk marxism predicts collapse in the 21st.

While Republicans need to get their act together, the Democrats aren't doing any better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Moral Authority and Folk Beliefs

Here's an interesting take on the left's reliance on "moral authority". The theory is that ideas like Marxism get distilled as they enter the public consciousness resulting in a sort of folk version. The folk version of Marxism pays special attention to class membership.
Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as on oppressor and other countries as oppressed.
And Maureen Dowd pronouncing that Cindy Sheehan has absolute moral authority leads the article.

It is an interesting take and it meshes with last night's post quite well.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Murtha and Swiftboats

Normally I hate the term "Swiftboating" because liberals use it to mean a baseless attack on a candidate. In Rep. Murtha's case I will accept it because the head of the Swiftboat Veterans is actually involved. O'Neal did some research and found that, like Kerry, Murtha received his Purple Hearts for superficial wounds. That isn't the interesting part.

What is interesting is how the story has spread. If you are like me, you read about it in a column somewhere denouncing Republicans for daring to attack heroes. A search of Google News showed dozens of columns defending Murtha.

So far I have only seen one conservative column making the charges. No one on the right seems to care but the left has circled wagons and waged a major defense.

Are the charges true? Possibly. No one has bothered to actually produce research to the contrary. They are too busy condemning Republicans. Oliver North has written that is was too easy for officers to earn medals during Viet Nam and too difficult for enlisted men.

The thing is, it doesn't matter to conservatives. We don't care what Murtha's background is. All we care about is that he is suggesting the wrong course now.

Liberals take the opposite course. Moral authority seems more important than anything else. Look at how often anti-war people refer to the Bush administration as "chicken hawks". That's why they nominated Kerry in the first place. That's why they attacked Bush's record in the National Guard.

It doesn't matter if the only way to leave a functioning Iraq is to have a slow draw-down accompanied by building a strong, elected government backed by a native army and police force. If someone served in Viet Nam or lost a son in Iraq then that person has the moral authority to insist on a surrender and retreat.

That's why Murtha's past matters so little to the right and so much to the left.

Speaking of which, I was looking at Mary Mapes book, Truth and Duty on the mark-down counter. She never understood anything about fonts or typesetting. Early in the book she complains that bloggers were looking at second-generation faxes instead of the high-quality copy that she had and that many subtle details were lost in the faxing process. To prove this, she reproduced the original and the faxed copy in an appendix. What she fails to realize is that the original looks even less like a document typed on an early 1970s typewriter than the fax. No unbiased person familiar with typewriters could ever mistake this document for one that was typed.

Mapes really wanted the story to be true. As I said above, liberals are convinced that Viet Nam era service is the main qualification for commander in chief. Except for Bill Clinton who joined the ROTC in order to dodge the draft.

Mapes will probably go down in textbooks as the reporter whose story was too good to check.

Signing Statements and Power Grabs

For all the angst about President Bush's signing statements you would think that he re-wrote the laws. The best-publicized statement was the one on the torture bill. Bush basically said that he would enforce it consistently with the powers granted him by the Constitution. Anyone who objects to that would seem to be saying that Congress can pass a law limiting the power granted the President by the Constitution. So who is doing the power grab?

Regardless of signing statements, the President as chief executive gets to decide how laws will be administered, anyway.

Signing statements have been used for more than two decades. Bush has used them most of his presidency. So why are we just now hearing about them? Because of the connection to Alito. He had advised President Reagan to use them. No one cared at the time or in the intervening decades but now that Alito is up for the Supreme Court they are suddenly an issue - or an excuse to provide cover for Democrats to vote against a qualified nominee.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More Reasons to Bash Bush

Earlier this month a Pentagon study was released which showed that 80% of combat deaths in Iraq could have been prevented with available armor that covers more of the body. More recently it was reported that soldiers who bought ore protective armor at their own expense would be denied death benefits. Interestingly, all of the outrage is from the left. It may be cruel of me but I suspect that the outraged are looking for justification to be anti-Bush rather than showing concern for the troops. What is really going on?

I'll address the second charge first.

The armor in question is called Dragon Skin. Rather than using large ceramic plates, it uses many smaller ones. This makes it flexible which in turn allows it to be wrapped around the body better, protecting more area.

So is it better? This is unclear. There is one account of a soldier being shot multiple times in the back and not even noticing until later. On the other hand, a military spokesman said that it is good for a knife fight but is not something you want to wear when you are being shot at. The military considers the standard issue armor to be superior.

It should also be pointed out that Dragon Skin is heavier. I'll go into more detail about that later.

What about canceling death benefits? It turns out that the people who reported this, Soldiers for Truth, asked the military if this was an actual policy but ran the story before they got a response. A week later they still are not sure.

Since Dragon Skin uses multiple small plates, it is possible that a bullet could slip between them, making the armor less protective. I don't know but that would be consistent with the "good in a knife fight" comment.

If there actually was a policy against using non-issue armor I can understand it. The government could face lawsuits if someone is killed wearing Dragon Skin.

There are reports that Dragon Skin is being tested in Afghanistan.

Now, what about the other report - that 80% of deaths could have been prevented? That's what was reported but that mis-represents the actual study.

The Pentagon examined 93 fatal wounds to Marines and concluded that 74 of them were in areas unprotected by current armor. Of 39 fatal torso wounds in which the bullet or shrapnel entered the Marine's body outside of the ceramic armor plate protecting the chest and back, 31 were close to the plate's edge, according to the study.

Notice the numbers here. 93 deaths were studied but only 39 were torso wounds and 31 were close enough that larger armor would have covered the entry wound.

If we took the original numbers at face value we would conclude that or the approximately 2,200 deaths so far, 1,760 dies needlessly. That is how the perpetually outraged presented the story.

A more fair person would only include soldiers killed by enemy action. Around 1/4 of the deaths to date were not related to hostilities. Around 1,600 combat deaths have occurred which would give a figure of 1,280 needless deaths.

But, only 39 of 93 deaths were torso wounds and 31 of those might have been saved. Figure 31/93*1600 and you get 671. Still a lot of flag-draped coffins but a lot less than the 1,760 originally implied and a very tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands of military personnel who have been posted in Iraq.

But all of this is meaningless. 31 of 39 deaths are too few to draw any real conclusions from.

There are other issues. The moderns soldier carries up to 100 pounds of equipment. Dragon skin or larger ceramic plates add more weight. That reduces mobility, slows soldiers, and tires them more quickly. This is not my opinion. See here.

Until mechanized exoskeletons are available there will be a limit to how much armor a soldier can carry. There will be gaps and soldiers will die.

Possibly the Pentagon has done a study on how many soldiers were attacked and saved by their armor. If so, no one has bothered to leak it, probably because no one will be outraged.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Prisoners of Their Own Rhetoric

I play the fiddle and regularly get together with other fiddlers. Last week we had just played a piece called "Liberty" and someone just had to add, "We don't see much of that under Bush."

Now why would he say that? I honestly cannot think of any liberties I have lost in the last five years. True, there are longer lines at the airport than there used to be and there are reports that it will take longer and cost more to get a driver's license. Both of these are prudent changes similar to the original metal detectors installed in airports after the first few skyjackings.

So we can write my friend off as having a knee-jerk reaction.

Then there is Harry Belafonte. He recently referred to President Bush as the world's greatest tyrant and terrorist. The terrorist part came from his belief that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were unjustified. I'm going to skip over that part to the part about being a tyrant.

tyrant n 1. an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution.
Some wiretaps do not make a tyrant. In order to qualify, Bush would have to suspend Congress and the Supreme Court. If Bush really was the world's biggest tyrant then Belafonte would be facing arrest and imprisonment, not speaking engagements at universities. If Bush was a tyrant, he would be acting more like Castro, who Belafonte admires.

Alright, let's dismiss Belafonte as a communist sympathizer.

Next up, a new mail campaign by the ACLU featuring the slogan, "I REFUSE to Surrender my Freedom!" complete with a sticker and pre-printed letters for our senators and representative. The things they are against:

  • Renewal of the Patriot Act.
  • The faith-based initiative (which gives money to charitable organizations to expand their charities)
  • The federal ban on partial-birth abortions
  • Any attempts to block gay marriage.
  • "Court stripping" laws.
Note, the language they use is quite different from what I used. For example, they refer to the ban on partial-birth abortions as the "first-ever federal abortion ban". and they refer to religious groups eligible for faith-based charity funds as "religious institutions and religious extremists".

Combine the hysterical tone used by the ACLU with the quotes from Al Gore and Hillary Clinton I wrote about yesterday and you can see why my friend thinks ill of President Bush.

The problem is that the left is using this rhetoric to whip up their base and increase donations. This in turn obligates them to pick fights. When they inevitably lose, their base gets even more whipped up and demands more fights.

Look at the Alito hearings. Here is a judge who is very well qualified and appears to be fairly moderate but he will be replacing a swing vote and Roberts was given a pass so Democrats had to fight.

All of this is very destructive. Once you convince your followers that Bush is a tyrant who is endangering the Constitution there is no room for compromise.

For years we have been hearing about how polarized Washington has become. This is why. When the Democrats were in charge, the crazed theories about black helicopters taking over the US for the UN came from the Republican fringe. Now that the Democrats have been out of power for a while the crazies represent the Democrat mainstream.

The Democrats have a shot at the White House in 2008 but less of a shot at both the House and the Senate. Today's rhetoric may well come back to haunt a future Democrat president How on earth can a Democrat deal with a Republican Congress after this sort of attack?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Pervasive Al Gore

On Monday, Al Gore gave his annual speech to the anti-Bush organization, MoveOn. In a widely quoted soundbite he said,
At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.
When I first saw this I thought that the former Veep must have used the wrong word. "Pervasive" means everywhere. In a country of 300 million, even tens of thousands of wiretaps are miniscule. Surely Gore meant "intrusive".

A look at the rest of the speech shows that Gore probably meant pervasive. This means that he probably had advance notice of two lawsuits filed to stop the wiretapping. These also asserted that the wiretaps were pervasive.

All of this is part of a major offensive being aimed at the Bush administration. Pundit after pundit is coming out insisting that Bush is the biggest danger to the constitution in history. Syndicated columnist Jonathan Alter says it. Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon, insisting that Democrats in Congress are treated like "a plantation". Presumable she is saying that the Republicans are treating her like a slave. No wonder the Republicans complain that she it over the top.

In fact the whole attack is over the top.

More on this on my next post.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wiretapping II

Here's a different explanation for how the wiretapping worked.
After 9/11, authorities found a bunch of e-mail addresses and phone numbers in the phones and computers of confirmed terrorists. They tracked down those leads. Most of the people the NSA started eavesdropping on - about 7,000 - lived overseas, and their phone calls were to other foreigners living abroad. But, according to Risen's book, "about 500 people" living in the U.S. who were in contact with suspected terrorists had their communications tapped.
Again, it's hard to see how the NSA could ask for warrants. Are they needed when a foreign call is tapped and it happens to connect to the US? Is it practical to ask for warrants covering calls that might reach the US? Assuming that the US got proper permission to monitor calls in the origination, is any other permission needed?

As with the Carnivor explanation, this one does not allow time for warrants and little case for impeachment.

This is the latest in a long string of cases where Democrats act as though there is no war on. Granted it is a silent war but they want us to act as though no hostilities were going on at all. Even something as staightforward as propaganda is considered wrong. What happened to winning hearts and minds? We need to spread our side of the issues to do this.

We are fighting a hidden foe. When one is captured, we have very little time to interrogate him for links to others. As soon as one person's capture is known, everyone else in the chain hides again. That's why we have to have black facilities and use stress techniques.

There are even signs that this is coloring new reporting. According to Little Green Footballs, the Italians arrested a groups of Algerians who were planning major terror strikes in the US but the US media gave it very little coverage because it would have reminded people that there is a war going on.

The mainstream U.S. media outlets have failed to report a major terrorist plot against the U.S. - because it would tend to support President Bush's use of NSA domestic surveillance, according to media watchdog groups.

News of a planned attack masterminded by three Algerians operating out of Italy was widely reported outside the U.S., but went virtually unreported in the American media.

Italian authorities recently announced that they had used wiretaps to uncover the conspiracy to conduct a series of major attacks inside the U.S.

Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said the planned attacks would have targeted stadiums, ships and railway stations, and the terrorists' goal, he said, was to exceed the devastation caused by 9/11.

Notice how the plot was discovered - wiretaps. How about that?

Friday, January 13, 2006


I don't have a link because I read it a day or two ago but I saw an explanation for how the controversial wiretaps work. I saw it in a liberal site (probably HuffPuff) where it was meant as an argument against the wiretaps.

According to this explanation, the NSA is using computers to monitor international calls for key words. When a conversation is flagged, someone listens in. According to this, a couple of thousand conversations are monitored daily. The objection was that an unknown but huge number of conversations must have been monitored so the problem is much worse than previously reported.

Funny thing, if this explanation is correct it explains why court warrants are impossible. Unless the NSA can get a warrant in less than a minute the conversion would have ended long before the NSA was authorized to listen.

Why doesn't the administration say this? It is possible that this explanation is wrong but if it is correct then making the information widely available gives possible terrorists a lot more information about what not to do to avoid capture.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito & the ACLU

The ACLU has a statement on why they are against Alito. They give these specific cases:
This list is disingenuous. I am familiar with some of these cases. The first one, for example, called for a woman's husband to be notified that she was having an abortion. Since the husband is assumed to be the father and financially responsible for a baby, it seems reasonable that he also has an interest in the child's abortion.

The ACLU is against any public expresion of religion. They don't mention that the SCOTUS sides with Alito on this one.

As someone who has been a supervisor for more than 20 yeas, I've heard several minoriies claim discrimination when there was none. Raising the bar forfiling complaints seems fair to me.

In the strip search case, the police asked for a warrant to search everyone on the premise. They assumed that their request had been honored and that only one name on the warrant was listed because of space limitations. Alito felt that the police had acted in good faith and could not be sued.

I assume that the ACLU's objections on death penalty cases have more to do with their blanket objection to the death penalty.

Their real objection is summarized early in their statement:
Perhaps the best description of Judge Alito's overall philosophy was provided by Judge Alito himself in 1985, when he submitted a now well-publicized letter to the Reagan Administration seeking a position with the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. “I am and always have been a conservative,” he wrote, “and an adherent to the same philosophical views that I believe are central to this Administration.”

They might as well have stopped there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Alito Hearings

After reading the list of "troubling" cases from Judge Alito's past, I'm convinced - go ahead an confirm him.

For the first time since Robert Bork, a conservative with a long paper trail has been nominated to the Supreme Court. After digging through his fifteen years on the bench, the opposition came up with nothing. There are some cases they don't like but he was always on firm legal ground.

In fact, Alito's cases show high respect for the law. In some cases he specifically says that the law as written should be applied one way but suggests that the law should be rewritten by the legislature. These are not the actions of an activist judge.

Alito will probably be much more centrist than either side admits. He will act as a drag on the court, keeping it from bypassing the legislation and writing new laws on its own. That is a good thing and part of the separation of powers that the left keeps talking about. Of course, the only separation of powers that they are interested in are ones that limit President Bush. Since the 1960s, liberals have bypassed the legislature by appealing directly to an activist court.

Those days are long gone and the best that liberals can hope for are justices who are reluctant to overrule prior judgments, even if the judgments were flawed. That is what the current fight is over.

Plus many on the left feel that they have to oppose any Bush nominee, either because of promises they made to their base or because of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

The New York Times has come out against Alito, declaring that O'Connor was mainstream conservative and Alito is a dangerous extremist. This is rather silly and unbecoming such an important paper.

According to the Washington Post, the public doesn't really care about the confirmation hearings. That's bad for the opposition but good for the nation.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Time for the Democrats to Change Their Name

Christopher Hitchens wrote a recent column about Democrats' objections to the elections in Iraq. He was reacting to complaints that the elections had nothing to do with the original mission in Iraq, that they would lead to an Iran-style theocracy, and that elections held ahead of nation-building will lead to strife if not war.

You can read Hitchens's rebuttal to these points but this is only one aspect of a general trend among Democrats - they don't like democracy any longer.

Part of this is a reaction to Bush's foreign policy. Bush is pushing democracy as a general cure for terrorism. Bush has a point. Previous US support for dictators is supposed to have been one of the root causes for September 11 so support for open elections would seem to be a reasonable response. Because of Bush Derangement Syndrome, anything Bush supports must be opposed so the left has been looking for bad news in every foreign election in the last couple of years.

Domestically, a core of Democrats are convinced that American elections are fixed. This started with the 2000 election which they insist Gore won, no matter what independent counts show. It got worse in 2004. According to the reasoning in 2000, the candidate who won the popular vote should be president no matter what the Electoral College shows. Bush won both the popular and the electoral vote but Kerry came close enough that he could have won the electoral vote if Ohio or Florida had voted differently. That led Democrats to insist that Kerry HAD won one or both of those states but the voting machines were fixed. There was no proof, just some statistical anomalies that turned out to be unimportant plus an endorsement of Bush by the management of a major voting machine company.

Then there was the 2005 Ohio initiatives where voter reforms sponsored by MoveOn were defeated despite a poll showing them ahead. The 2004 exit polls are also the main case for vote-tampering.

What this comes down to is that the Democrats no longer trust elections. Either the "wrong" candidate is elected or the election is fixed. There are constant rants about this on the Huffington Post and Kos. Calls for armed overthrow of the USA pop up now and then.

Even the more level-headed Democrats are distrustful of elections. The recent book, "What's the Matter with Kansas" insists that the Republicans get citizens to vote against their own interests through the use of wedge issues that have nothing to do with everyday life.

As one of the two major parties in America, democrats have a duty to uphold democracy. Go ahead and investigate election disputes but be vocal about the results. Investigations in Ohio found that there was no voter fraud. Even the long lines were equally distributed between the parties. A manual audit of punched card ballots in a state where Kerry won but Bush did better than expected proved the accuracy of the tabulating machines. Many counties in Florida were dissatisfied with the lists of convicts and did not strike any of them from the voter rolls (allowing people to vote who were not entitled to).

Democrat leaders know all of this but they are silent. Instead they let rage against Bush fester, hoping to use it to win future elections.

As for foreign elections, 9/11 showed that we have a stake in promoting democracy abroad. Granted many elections will come out anti-American but the whole point of democracy is allowing the marketplace of ideas into politics. Again, Democrat leaders need to support any policy that makes America safer, even if it comes from President Bush.

If they aren't going to support democracy then they can't call themselves "Democrats". Maybe they should change their name to "Autocrats".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Katrina Retrospective

In 2005 we lost a major American city, New Orleans. It is being rebuilt but it will never be what it was. With luck, the new New Orleans will be smaller, safer, and more prosperous.

Looking back at the events surrounding Katrina, there are a lot of myths that were reported. Lets look at some of them:

Myth: Katrina represented the mainstream media at its best.
The networks set up shop in New Orleans. Some anchors rode out the hurricane in the Superdome. They rented boats and showed us footage of flooded streets. They even rescued a few people. So, was this the MSM at their best? No. Many of the other myths started with them. They passed on any stories, no matter how wild, without doing basic fact-checking. In some cases this cost lives. When they reported that people were shooting at rescue helicopters, the rescue flights were suspended for days until the National Guard secured the streets. Likewise, reports of armed gangs roaming the streets were wrong.

Similarly, the images they showed of flooded houses were only half the story. Residents in the 9th Ward probably expected to find their houses intact, possibly the first floor ruined but still solid. Instead they found block after block was simply gone. The footage of reporters boating from house to house was shot where the flooding was not as severe. The viewer had no way to know where they were filming and where they avoided.

Myth: Katrina showed the racial/economic divide in America.
This is one that the MSM came up with on their own and pounded us on the head with. Day after day we were told that Katrina showed fissures in American society that had to be fixed - they never said how but one can speculate that the solution would include a European-style social safety net.

The facts are that 1) The people left in New Orleans when the floods came were there be choice. They had passed up rides out of town in the belief that they were safer at home. Many were older with health problems and, had the floodwalls held, they would have been correct. 2) A disproportionate percentage of the victims were white. New Orleans was 75% black but slightly over half the bodies recovered were white. 3) Many of the victims were employed and earned a living wage.

In addition, Katrina was a huge storm. New Orleans was only one area hit but it got more than half the coverage.

Myth: The devastation caused by Katrina could have been avoided if the levees had been built for a category 5 (or at least 4) hurricane instead of for a category 3.

There is some doubt about how strong Katrina was when it hit the coast. Initial estimates put it at a category 4 just before hitting but newer data showed that it had weakened to a strong 3. Regardless, the strongest part of the hurricane missed New Orleans. What hit was the equivalent of a category 3.

Myth: Officials should have known what to expect.

President Bush and others in his administration said that no one had expected the floodwalls to break. A simulation run just week before Katrina hit showed significant flooding. Similarly, other previous warnings had been issued about the possibility of flooding.

All of these were referring to the likelihood of water coming over the top of the levees. They assumed that the walls would hold and that the pumping stations would continue to function. Instead, the canal floodwalls broke. The pumping stations pump water fron t he city into the canals. That meant that the pumping stations could not get rid of the water. Worse, the pumping stations themselves soon were flooded. Possibly authorities should have anticipated this but no one did.

Myth: It was all President Bush's fault.

This is part of the Bush Derangement Syndrome. As the floodwaters rose, Democrats were looking for some way to blame Bush. Surely something as catastrophic as this must be Bush's fault somehow. Examples of this include:
Cutting funding for the levees. This one got nation-wide attention before anyone noticed that what failed were floodwalls, not levees. Current thought is that the floodwalls were flawed from the start but no one noticed.

Cronyism. A lot was made of FEMA director Michael Brown's previous work experience. No one paid any attention to the fact that he had been in charge of FEMA during the 2004 hurricane season when four hurricanes hit Florida. His problem was more that he had a political tin ear than anything else. In addition, FEMA is not a search and rescue organization. That is done by the military. The continual focus on New Orleans instead of the surrounding area also gave a false impression.

Global Warming. My favorite. Katrina fed off of warm Gulf waters. The waters were warmer because of global warming. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto agreement therefore, Bush cause the global warming which made Katrina so bad.

There are several problems with this, all of them showing just how out-of-touch Bush Derangement Syndrome makes people. The National weather Service and the American Meteorological Association are on record as saying that global warming did not contribute to Katrina. Kyoto is supposed to slow global warming decades from now, not reverse it the same year that it is implemented.