Saturday, September 17, 2005

Plus ça change

Plus ça change, plus ça reste.

Here's a little news brief to file away in your mental archives until the next disastrous California fire:

Much like the warnings in New Orleans the century-old dikes in New Orleans needed additional money to shore up the levee system that keeps the city dry, Washington has again cut spending to remove dead and diseased trees in the San Bernardino National Forest. All this despite urging by the U.S. Forest Service and local leaders to stay the course.

Officials in the nation's capitol are gambling the worst-case scenario will not come to be, fresh on the heels of the 2003 Old Fire that ravaged our area.

A few weeks ago, Washington rolled the dice once again and only included $5 million next year to remove the bark beetle infested trees that still dot our landscape. The total money allocated to reduce hazardous fuels for the nation's most urbanized forest is down $25 million from the 2005 allocation. [Emphasis mine-CK]

The only thing more predictable than Gulf Coast Hurricanes and Oklahoma tornados are California wildfires.

Sure, California has that earthquake thing going too, but unlike THE BIG ONE, wildfires in California happen year after year after year, though with varying degrees of damage.

So, next month or next year, as Californians watch their forests and houses burn, think back on our national leaders, whose priorities are funding an unnecessary war, giving tax cuts to the rich and doling out corporate welfare and porkbarrel pet projects.

And to be clear, I'm not simply Bush-bashing (this time, though he and his fellow Republihacks deserve a large part of the blame). Spineless, corporation beholden Democrats are to blame as well.

One point made by Katrina's news coverage has, in fact, been the contrast between the hapless government response, and the courageous, quick, and generous response of the American public. One wonders when we will ever cut the corporate purse-strings which bind our national leadership and elect leaders that accurately represent the best that can be America, rather than its worst.

1 comment:

T.L. Stanley said...

Good post. I think your are right on target by chastising Washington for not allocating funds appropriately for critical projects. In addition, most of California's San Gabriel Valley trauma centers are closing or have closed. If I'm not mistaken, Pasadena Memorial Hospital is the last one open for trauma care. We need more resources for our hospital trauma centers.

Now to your comments about the Iraqi War. It is obvious that President Bush has mis-managed the Iraqi War. And, he was not forthcoming about the long-term military commitment needed in Iraq.

On the other hand, I have read parts of 9-11 Commission report and leaked intelligence reports. And, Iraq and al-Qaeda started holding high level military talks in North Africa, Europe and in Baghdad starting 1998. al-Qaeda was, and still is, interested in ways to attack America.

The 9-11 Commission admitted past contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda and that they were ongoing. For whatever political reason they could not bring themselves to state that there was a direct link between Iraq, al-Qaeda and 9-11.

Regardless, instead of attackinig Iraq, it may have been better to concentrate on Afghanistan. The UN should have been pressured into supporting a complete boycott of Iraq. America should have told the UN to knock off the corruption in the "Food-for-oil" program.

Then, America should have told all UN members that our support for the UN will only continue if Iraqi purges all terrorist organizatons and submits unconditionally to UN inspectors which includes American inspectors.

France and Germany would have still balked at any suggestion that their friend Sadaam be required to play nice.

Since we pay 25% of the UN budget, we probably could have used our economic might to facilitate a change in Iraq. Maybe we could have told the UN that we were taking the UN building in New York back if they continue their anti-American ways. I am sure the property is quite valuable. I wonder if Castro would be willing to house the UN in Havana. This might be good for his economy. He sure could us tourist dollars.

Of course, this is all just wild speculation. Thank goodness I don't have to make these decisions.

You have a good blog and you are good writer. Even though I may see things a little different, I enjoy your thoughtful ideas. Take care.