...on an unrelated note...

Most folks like the idea of tax increases and wealth redistribution, granted that it's not their money being touched.

It's not his responsibility, morons!

Yahoo! News: Bush comments on Katrina sound sour in New Orleans

"Bush didn't give a damn what we got."

"To me, black folks weren't handled right, but we can't worry about it. We have to do the best we can."

Here, let me translate:

"Waaah waaaah waaaah! George Bush needs to stop running the country and help N'awlins out because he's white and we're black and the Democrats done tol' us fer 40 years that white people owe us stuff cuz mah great great gran-pappy were a slave! Now where mah gummint checks at so's ah can buy one o' them flat screen TVs?"

Before something is the responsibility of a county government - whether mundane or disastrous - it is the responsibility of the municipal government. Before it is the responsibility of the state government, it is the responsibility of the municipal and county governments. Before even CONSIDERING asking the federal government (the National Guard is governed by the federal government, by the way) for assistance, it is the responsibility of the local, county, and then the state government to put resources towards resolving the problem.

What do you mean, "black folks weren't handled right"? They weren't waited on hand and foot? They weren't scooped out of the New Orleans city limits on the wings of angels 5 minutes after Hurricane Katrina struck? They weren't given their reparations checks along with their rescue by the cavalry? The federal government bent over backwards to accomodate some mouth-breathing troglodytes who CHOSE, out of all the regions in the Southern United States, to live in a COASTAL city that LIES BELOW SEA LEVEL. Do you know what happened to other communities in the South that were hit by the hurricane? They dealt with it just fine, like any other hurricane they have experienced: communities of people, along with their municipal and county leadership, made sure everyone was properly secure. There was minimal loss of life, even if a good deal of property was destroyed.

Now, contrast this with the persecution complex adopted by Mayor Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin and the weeping and pleading offered by Governor Kathleen Blanco, and you start to realize that New Orleans truly is a "different" kind of city. It is a Democrat stronghold, and we all know what THAT means - lots of stupid people with a "society owes me" mentality, an easily angered populace who can't understand that solutions to their problems don't come by FedEx Overnight, and a host of other social ills directly related to the ever-increasing size of the welfare state and federal involvement in more aspects of daily life.

"Black folks" were not only "handled right", the federal government went above and beyond to help them. Well, as much as they could when the whole damn city was 20 feet under water and rescuers were being shot at! The other communities affected not only by Hurricane Katrina but other hurricanes before and after have experienced a miniscule fraction of the looting, rape, murder, and all other forms of iniquity (I'm talking Louisiana Superdome-style mayhem) because the people in other places are of a different mindset.

Individuals in those communities are more or less independent - they have emergency supplies, a good rapport with their neighbors, and they survive and thrive despite that there's rarely a government agency around to hold their hand as they weather a natural phenomenon. Individuals in New Orleans are different. They are dependent, being taught that they are helpless and thus need government help every step of the way since birth. They don't know their neighbors, stock no emergency supplies (outside of perhaps a cheap handgun and some malt liquor), and are ready to take advantage of other people at the drop of a hat.

This has nothing to do with a lot of Southern communities being "white" while New Orleans is "black" (excuse me, "chocolate"), and thus one is somehow deserving of more federal resources than the other. It has everything to do with a community mindset. Are you a sheepdog or are you a sheep? Are you prepared and ready for danger, or are you just going to stand around with a dumb look on your face and let everyone else figure it out for you?

President Bush is absolutely correct when he said "[T]he systems are in place to continue the reconstruction in New Orleans." They're called the local and state governments, which should have been the "first responders".

The morning of September 11th, 2001 could have been much worse for the people on the ground had there not been competent leadership at a more local level. New York was led by Rudy Giuliani, who refused to be a victim and allow chaos to ensue. He worked with emergency responders, instead of looking to them to do his job. He didn't blame some federal agency for "not doing enough". I obviously can't get inside Mr. Giuliani's head, but I probably wouldn't be far off if I said that the foremost thought going through his head during that day and the days following was something to the degree of "What needs to be done and how can I help things along?" That's it. The buck stopped there. Ray Nagin was more concerned with "Who can I blame because I didn't do my job?" than with being a good example to the people in his city. Giuliani and anyone else who decided that they would do everything they could to help others and not worry about blame were the MEN of the hour. Nagin is an unmanly simp who would likely respond to his keys getting locked in the car by revoking the business license of the local locksmith if he wasn't there to assist in a "timely manner".

Hundreds of school buses sat underwater rotting away. Those buses could have saved thousands of people, but that would have required Nagin to do his job. Remember kids, when a black person is in need, it is the responsibility of all white federal officials to rush aid to them. When a black person says "jump", all whites who heard the command are to respond "how high?" This is the legacy of the modern Democratic Party. They are the same kind of Democratic Party of the antebellum South, but they now engage in intellectual and moral enslavement of minorities. They have made them wards of the state again. The benevolent white plantation boss is ultimately responsible for their well-being and prosperity yet again.

New Orleans is corrupt as corrupt can be, so it wasn't much of a surprise that Nagin was more worried about his job and his image.

As for Kathleen Blanco, she had the nerve to point the finger at the federal response despite not doing her job, either:

"President Bush is totally wrong about the federal response... It was absolutely too slow in those early, critical days."

Whose responsibility were those levees? Could it have been the state government's responsibility? Here in California, we make sure that we are more or less prepared for the aftermath of a significant earthquake. We're not going to point fingers at FEMA because they were "absolutely too slow" in trying to help us, at least not after local and state resources are exhausted. We make sure to maintain earthquake standards for buildings and design our skyscrapers with all sorts of cutting-edge technology to make them more stable. The southern part of our state suffers from large brush fires every year, yet 9 times out of 10 our state and local fire departments and forest services tackle the blazes. We don't have to wait for George Bush to send a federal fire department to our aid because our governor and local officials wasted time making a "People I'm Going to Blame For This" list.

Since 2005, the Bush Administration and Congress have set aside $126 billion (with a 'B') for hurricane relief. Despite this massive influx of funds, not much has been done. Typical of governmental response to everything - just throw money at it until it goes away.

"Melanie Ehrlich, a resident and frequent critic of the state-run Road Home program, said that residents, not goverment at any level, have rebuilt the city."

I guess people in New Orleans are waking up from their nanny-state dream and starting to take their future in their own hands. They learned their lesson correctly - the federal government has no responsibility to dole out aid for individuals. That is the responsibility of local governments. If the local government doesn't help, that is not the responsibility of the federal government. They weren't the ones who elected an egomaniacal malingerer for mayor or a bumbling nincompoop for governor.

Cities rise and fall. Governments are instituted and they dissolve. No matter how many times human society goes through the cycles of civilization, we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. Self-reliance is a biological imperative, but some people are just more "progressive" and have concealed that imperative better than others through the help of massive and ineffective bureaucracies with their "feel-good" social welfare policies that only serve to hobble ingenuity and human advancement.


Screw the UAW!

It's time to get 2009 kicked off properly - by bashing socialism and proclaiming the virtue of manly qualities like perseverance, taking responsibility for one's own actions, honoring agreements, and living within one's means.

The UAW, along with a lot of other unions, do none of that. Thus, the UAW is unmanly, and unmanliness is not tolerated here. After the most recent $17.3 billion bail-out (it has always been a 'bail-out' and not a 'stimulus package'), it has come to my attention that these funds were not to bail out the companies, but to save the unions who have a stranglehold on them. Such a relationship as what the UAW has with the Big Three is any organized labor fan's wet dream: dictate to a company its hiring/firing policies, dictate non-market wages, be able to "negotiate" paid vacations for workers on disciplinary leave, bleed the company dry, and then get rescued by the government (unions donate heavily to Democratic candidates, who they know will shore up their positions) when their disastrous relationship nearly sinks the company.

The Obama administration's soft spot for organized labor will ensure more handouts if any other large unionized industries start to go belly-up. Sympathy for habitual screw-ups is the favored tone for the Democratic party.

One thing I discovered about the UAW is that they built a posh resort and golf course in northern Michigan (top part of the 'mitten'), of course using union dues to pay for the whole thing. The website is HERE. Your average factory worker probably couldn't/wouldn't cough up the $55 for 18 holes on the off-season, unless they went twice a year and didn't bring anyone else. A decent cable subscription, a few 6-packs and some large pizzas will be easier on the wallet than trying to take 8 blue-collar guys to a swank golf resort at $55 per head. To compound the sarcasm, there's a nice little "Public Always Welcome", even though union members get preferential tee times. The resort, in actuality, is pretty far out in the hinterlands, relative to your average rich-snob country club, thus making it perfect for the fat cats of the UAW to live very well off of factory workers and taxpayers.

Sadly (trying to keep a straight face here, folks) the resort is losing money, to the tune of a cool $23 million over the last 5 years. It's estimated that the whole thing was worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $33 million earlier in 2008. This is where some of that bailout money is likely going.

People were livid about the Big 3 leadership flying to the Congressional hearings by private jet, but not a peep out of those same detractors regarding the patrician lifestyles of the UAW leadership.

Here's a nice article written by an ex-supervisor at a GM plant, who pulls no punches in her descriptions of the rampant corruption and ineptitude that the UAW encouraged: HERE

"To put it bluntly, the UAW takes the hard earned money of the best workers and spends it defending the very worst workers while tying up the industry with thousands of pages of work rules that make it impossible to be competitive. And the spineless management often makes short sighted decisions to satisfy the union and maximize immediate benefits over long term sustainability."

In other words, organized labor is protecting those who cannot do their manual labor jobs properly in order to score points with neo-socialists (who will be running our country come January 20th), squandering union dues on multi-million dollar country clubs, and then shifting the blame to the management who would never stand up to a political and economic force like the UAW.

"The strength of the union and the weakness of management made it impossible to conduct business properly at any level. For instance, I had an employee who punched in his time card and then disappeared. The rules were such that I had to spend hours documenting that this man was not in his three foot by three foot work area. I needed witnesses, timed reports, calls over the intercom and a plant wide search all documented in detail. After this absurdity I decided to go my own route; I called the corner bar and paged him and he came to the phone. I gave him a 30 day unpaid disciplinary lay off because he was a “repeat offender”. When he returned he thanked me for the PAID vacation. I scoffed, until he explained: (1) He had tried to get the lay-off because it was fishing season; (2) The UAW negotiated with GM Labor Relations Department to give him the time WITH PAY."

This is the same kind of mindset that perpetuates our growing welfare state: subsidize poor performance, mollycoddle the immature and stupid, and then blame someone else when the whole three-ring circus goes down in flames. I cannot bring myself to even fathom the utter intellectual nebulosity that occurs inside the heads of those who consider centralized goverment involvement in industry and large bureacratic unions to be "good things", especially when they consider corporations with the same kind of bureaucracy and luxurious golf resorts to be "bad things".

As St. Milton (Friedman) once said, "Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." What is so different about corporations and unions? The leadership of each have their own interests in mind - economic, and personal, respectively. If we also would like to look at government, the chief interest of a government is its institutions and positions of leadership, and not necessarily the ordinary people who compose it - yet Leftists will throw tantrums because there's "not enough" self-interested institutions and bureacracies with their involvement in our economy.

[aside: Leftists like to talk about "good" and "bad" in very concrete terms, yet they will dialectically invert themselves in the same breath and declare that one's value judgments are solely based on perspective, whether it be geographical, cultural, class/gender/race-based, or otherwise.]

Back to the article.

"I supervised a loading dock and 21 UAW workers who worked approximately five hours per day for eight hours pay. They could easily load one third more rail cars and still maintain their union negotiated break times, but when I tried to make them increase production ever so slightly they sabotaged my ability to make even the current production levels by hiding stock, calling in sick, feigning equipment problems, and even once, as a show of force, used a fork lift truck and pallets and racks to create a car part prison where they trapped me while I was conducting inventory. The reaction of upper management to my request to boost production was that I should 'not be naïve'."

They act like welfare leeches and dreadlocked trust-funded Community Studies majors - wanting to be given everything, but suddenly getting very defensive and even outright hostile when they are expected to actually work for what they're given.

Even with the $17 billion, the UAW has now refused to make any concessions, despite its statements prior to the bailout money being awarded.

Screw the UAW. It's too bad the Bush administration won't be around much longer to rescind the loans, because I have a feeling that Zero is going to want to appease union fat cats by letting them keep their change, so they can fix up their golf courses, pay incompetent workers full benefits, and give the finger to the American taxpayers.

If capitalism and market forces were allowed to take their course, we wouldn't be having this problem. It's not simply about "deregulation" or "overregulation" - it's about who's doing the "regulation": the market, the government, or unions? Markets are self-correcting. They do not lend themselves to the rapid increases or decreases that result from government involvement. Letting go of useless baggage like workers who mouth off and harass the management is a manly thing. Excusing and rewarding that kind of behavior is UNmanly.

Enough With That Peace Bullshit, Give Capitalism A Chance!