Musing my way through Sunday Morning

Warning: Bush Bashing Political Rant Follows

The New York Times has a great question in the first paragraph of this editorial…

FEMA Runs for Cover – New York Times
How many times can the federal government let down the victims of the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast two years ago?

The scary thing is, we don’t have an answer.

Then a couple of paragraphs later we get this…

More than 66,000 of the victims still live in FEMA’s trailers, unable to return home. In a sickening twist to their woeful tale of neglect, it appears that their trailers have been poisoning them. FEMA, which knew of the problem for more than a year, ignored warnings from its own staff and avoided addressing it because it was worried about being sued.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that like about 10% of the pre-Katrina population of New Orleans? And probably over 30% of the current population? Exactly what makes this acceptable to the current occupant of the White House. How does this make you feel about your chances of having your government step in should something happen that affects you or your loved ones?

I guess this is what really cranked me up though…

Still, FEMA resisted performing a systematic investigation because, according to FEMA lawyers, this could make the agency liable for health problems. “Once you get results and should they indicate some problems, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them,” a FEMA lawyer wrote in June 2006.

Then we come across this little tidbit in the same section…

Power Without Limits – New York Times
The Bush administration, which has been pushing presidential power to new extremes, is reportedly developing an even more dangerous new theory of executive privilege. It says that if Congress holds White House officials in contempt for withholding important evidence in the United States attorney scandal, the Justice Department simply will not pursue the charges. This stance tears at the fabric of the Constitution and upends the rule of law.

Seems to me this is the very outcome that started the investigation into the firings in the first place. The blogs pushed the possibility of this administration using their political control of the Justice Department to further it’s agenda…This appears to be exactly what they were worried about.

The next question is how Congress will enforce its right to obtain information, and it is on that point that the administration is said to have made its latest disturbing claim. If Congress holds White House officials in contempt, the next step should be that the United States attorney for the District of Columbia brings the matter to a grand jury. But according to a Washington Post report, the administration is saying that its claim of executive privilege means that the United States attorney would be ordered not to go forward with the case.

This really sounds like an old fashioned criminal conspiracy of the kind that ruled many American cities in the past. Except, this one starts at the very top of our Justice System. We now have a group of men and women with all of the reins of power, who appointed all of the legal gatekeepers (and fired the ones who actually did their jobs), who have stacked the deck on most of the Judicial benches. The only thing that will save this country now is if enough of the Legal and Judicial appointments take their Constitutional Oaths seriously…More seriously than this President and this Vice President. More serious than a lot of our members of Congress.

As bad as it is, the New York Times Editorial Board is right about one thing…

This showdown between a Democratic Congress and a Republican president may look partisan, but it should not. In a year and a half, there could be a Democratic president, and such extreme claims of executive power would be just as disturbing if that chief executive made them.

Then as if they haven’t done enough this summer we find out that the President is planning to use another of his rarest of rare Vetoes…

Vetoing Children’s Health – New York Times
President Bush is threatening to veto any substantial increase in spending for a highly successful children’s health program on the bizarre theory that expanding it would be the “beginning salvo” in establishing a government-run health care system. His shortsighted ideological opposition would leave millions of children without health insurance at a time when medical costs are soaring.

As a Texan this one does not surprise me at all. It falls into his past history. You know the history that no one wanted to hear about in 2000. Governor Bush was against S-chip, it took farsighted Texas Legislators (yes I know Molly, that’s an oxymoronic statement) to push it past his Royal Governor…Kind of like the Patients’ Bill of Rights the Governor ran for President on…You know…I was voted against it before I said I was for it…

Mr. Bush’s objections are primarily philosophical: that the bill would move more people into a government-run program while he would prefer to entice them into buying private insurance with the help of tax deductions, his favored approach for all uninsured Americans. Tax deductions will not make much of a dent in the ranks of the uninsured. And it seems wrongheaded to impose collateral damage on a successful children’s health insurance program while waging that broader ideological battle.

Only someone as privileged as George Bush could even envisage that the people who take advantage of S-chips would or could afford to take a tax deduction and use it for insurance and not for food or rent or clothes for those very same children. I’m sorry, I’ve been their when every penny went for the essentials of life and not the luxuries of insurance. Only someone who has never paycheck to paycheck with nothing left over could think that a tax deduction would raise the number of insured children. By the time a tax deduction makes a difference it’s not a financial decision its a philosophical decision.

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