California Dreamin'

  1. California Dreamin'
    Copyright 10/25/07 by Zashagalka (Used by permission, of course!)

    To some extent, politics is a game where the payoff is the validation of your own beliefs, with the simultaneous repudiation of positions held by political opponents. We all want things to go great when 'our guys' are in power. While we (most of us) don't want things to really tank while the other guy is in office, well, let's face it, we like the idea of 'proving them wrong'. In any case, we live in a 'rubbernecking' society, a culture fascinated by watching the wreck.

    Ultimately, it's all too common to secretly hope things don't go so well for the other team. While we might not really want a recession, we also don't really want the economy to validate the ideas of the opposing party in power. While we don't want America isolated or ostracized, we also don't want foreign policy to demonstrate "undesirable" Presidents to be natural born leaders. We not so secretly thrill to see those low popularity polls for Presidents we despise, even if those polls are the results of some dramatically negative news for America, from war to Katrina.

    If you aren't the party in power, then the greatest advantage by which to gain power is to be a party that changes a negative status quo. Nobody wants to change horses during the middle of 'Morning in America'. People are much more likely to seek such change during 'the worst economy in the last fifty years'. In every major election, somebody wants to ask if you are better off than you were four years ago. Good question. The underlying question is just how much spin should go into the formulation of an answer.

    As our national dialogue has gotten more abrasive, so has the challenge to whatever status quo is in office. The result is a continuous and steady campaign to spin and denounce, to even despise, the current leadership, whomever that might be (this isn't a partisan accusation, as Clinton 42 was as despised as Bush 43 and a Clinton 44 would be even more so). We used to pull together and put America first, on a variety of issues. We used to unofficially decree that politics should end at the water's edge. We used to put people first and above policy.

    No more.

    It seems that we have forgotten that, ultimately, we are on the SAME team. Political strategies and advantages aside, we are in this together.

    From the war in Iraq to Katrina to the economy, the loyal opposition has recently taken this penchant to wish for bad news to a higher, uglier level.

    "The war is lost," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mere weeks before the situation in Iraq so improved that political opponents of the war no longer desire to even discuss it. No news isn't good news anymore. No news is simply a lack of bad news to crow about.

    "It's about the poor children that won't get coverage," wails Congress as it rejects the Administration's bid to significantly expand the Republican-passed SCHIP law. The party in power must be evil for wanting to actually put poorer children first over failed legislation that does no such thing.

    "The economy isn't carrying everybody along fast enough," wail progressives that must include Clinton's recession and 9/11 setbacks to reach such a conclusion. In fact, the economy is doing quite well, despite the Clinton recession, despite 9/11, despite World-com and Enron, and likely, the economy will continue to improve despite a housing over-reach that amounted to putting more people in their own homes than likely was prudent. How dare as many individuals try to become homeowners as possible! (This is not to say that all those ARM mortgages weren't slimy, just that it's not the government's business to tell people that they can't make stupid decisions.)

    Everything is now fair game. Even the recent fires in Southern California. It seems that some in the loyal opposition were hoping for yet another disaster to hang on the current Administration. The problem with this is that such an event would have had dramatic costs in human lives and suffering. We are all on the same team. Hoping for government dysfunction in California isn't mere political calculation; it's dastardly.

    Whole hosts of Democrats chimed in to speak of just such government dysfunction. California Senator Barbara Boxer complained that there weren't enough National Guard troops, thanks to Iraq, to be effective. This was just not the case. The evacuation of a million people went precisely according to plan, sans armed troops. Qualcomm Stadium is not the Superdome (principally because evacuating to Qualcomm was an evacuation OUT of the danger zone instead of a centralized evacuation WITHIN the danger zone - better local planning, at work).

    Many networks rushed to compare the fires to global warming. CNN went so far as to recommend its anchors link the news story to a documentary that it had recently made about global warming. Senator Reid flat declared, "The fires are caused by global warming," before denying that he said what he said. Acts of God aren't acts of God any longer; they are blatant and intentional Administration missteps. If only we had been part of Kyoto, this would never have happened! (The Senate unanimously defeated participation in Kyoto before the current Administration even took office.)

    The worst of all was reserved for California's Lt. Governor, John Garamendi. On Chris Matthew's "Hardball", the less-than-honorable Garamendi stated, "I got some doubt about the value of President Bush coming out here . . . okay, President Bush comes out, we'll be polite. But frankly, that's not the solution." Way to put your politics ahead of your people there, John.

    It comes down to this. Despite a disaster of significant magnitude, the people in California, by and large, are weathering the storm with grace and resolve. It is a story to make most Americans proud, and it does. It is a story that should have taken precedence over the whims of some politicians' California Dreamin' of a new Katrina. Shame on them all. We are in this together. Pray for those in need tonight.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Oct 25, '07
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    As a Californian who has been subjected to the politicians' rhetoric, I appreciate your post.

    I am very proud of the firefighters, volunteers, nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, city, county, state and federal government agencies, neighbors, churches, schools, etc.

    To have politicians chime in with self-serving, incorrect statements makes my blood boil and a letter to each has been sent.

    Bravo California! Be proud. Don't let the naysayers win.


    steph
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    I do think the federal, state, and local governments learned from the lack of planning and communication when Katrina happened. Good for them!
    October 24, 2007
    Press Briefing by Dana Perino

    … PERINO: Remember -- we've gone -- these fires are not the same disaster that we had in Katrina.
    There's so many differences. Katrina wiped out 90,000 square miles of the United States, and there was no electricity, there was no sewer system.
    And they knew for days that the storm was coming. This is just a very different situation.
    The President visits disasters -- any President visits disasters regularly. And I think that -- I would not see the President's visit tomorrow as part of lessons learned. I actually would look to more of -- look at the coordination efforts amongst the state, federal and local governments that are working to make sure that everybody has what they need.

    For example, evacuation planning is one of the things that people learned about after Katrina, that local jurisdictions need to have a plan.
    And according to the Homeland Security Council, the local jurisdictions have done a tremendous job of managing the evacuation there in southern California. There are rapid changes to respond to when you have shifting winds in a fire like that, and so they've done a very good job because of their advanced preparation and their efforts.

    Another thing that we've worked on with state and federal -- state and local governments is prescripted mission assignments, so that there is a lot of pre-planning, pre-positioning of assets when they know something is going to happen.

    As I mentioned earlier today, Secretary Kempthorne who runs the Fire Center that is based in Boise, they knew that this was coming and so they started to pre-position assets that they had to be able to provide.

    And then the most critical point I think is the close collaboration between the state, federal and local partners. And you have everyone working together for the same goal, lots of early and often communication, and that's one of the reasons I think you've seen a difference. …

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0071024-8.html
  5. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from spacenurse
    I do think the federal, state, and local governments learned from the lack of planning and communication when Katrina happened. Good for them!
    October 24, 2007
    Theoretically, you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, and your successes. If many lives were saved in California this week as a result of lessons learned in New Orleans a few yrs ago, GOOD.

    That's not to say that that makes Katrina OK.

    No.

    It IS to say that at least something positive came out of it: a million person evacuation with nary a hitch. Much of that credit goes to Californians, even if the methodology was tweaked by lessons learned in Katrina.

    I'm proud of California today. It's not a proud story to witness such a fire. The response, and the fortitude, IS a proud story. I'm proud to be an American. This is why.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Oct 25, '07
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    there is really very little resemblance between the fires and the hurricanies
    flood disabled bridges preventing the arrival of crital goods, water etc
    superdome was wrecked in the hurricaine and left with no electric/sewer facilities..however there was much media exaggeration
    but the truth was horrid enough
    children being rescued while the bodies of their mothers had to be left floating in the flood waters
    people being left out 100 degree heat on bridges while tv reporters went in boats drinking botled water
    evacuation was a short drive away with the families together: in katrina the people were separated and taken all over the country not knowing whether their familys were alive or dead

    much was learned from the mistakes of katrina/rita but much of the horror was unique to the storm

    one thing that i see that is very similiar is the lack of prevention
    the levees should have been repaired/replaced years before
    the hills of so ca should have had a controlled burn in the spring when the plants were not so dry and the winds were not bringing tht hot desert santa ana winds that contributed so much to the disaster
  7. by   mercyteapot
    Something else that should be pointed out about San Diego is that we take care of our own. We had horrible fire storms 4 years ago, too, before Katrina. The outpouring of support and assistance was extremely impressive. The national media that are here this week have all said that they've never seen such an orderly response to a natural disaster, but similar services were available last time, too.

    I'm sure many people feel similarly proud of where they've live, but IMHO, this sort of thing is just one of the many reasons I love living here.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from CHATSDALE

    one thing that i see that is very similiar is the lack of prevention
    the levees should have been repaired/replaced years before
    the hills of so ca should have had a controlled burn in the spring when the plants were not so dry and the winds were not bringing tht hot desert santa ana winds that contributed so much to the disaster
    Ah, you can blame the far far left kooks for that. My husband is a logger and we have personally seen forests locked up for years because of lawsuits by extreme environmentalists who don't think anything should ever be cut. Not the proliferation of brush, which feeds the fires. They won't allow the dead wood to be cleared. The diseased trees to be cut down so the diseases don't leap to the next tree. They won't let anyone go in after a fire and cut the burned trees and replant. It is very frustrating.

    steph
  9. by   mercyteapot
    Yes, the liberals caused the fires. Now who is using tragedy as a political soapbox????
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from mercyteapot
    Yes, the liberals caused the fires. Now who is using tragedy as a political soapbox????

    Well, maybe . . . but I actually have real evidence that the fires burned so hot because of the overgrowth of underbrush, etc.

    Besides, I said "far far left" and "environmental extremists". . . . not liberals.


    steph
  11. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from stevielynn
    Well, maybe . . . but I actually have real evidence that the fires burned so hot because of the overgrowth of underbrush, etc.

    Besides, I said "far far left" and "environmental extremists". . . . not liberals.


    steph
    Given the scope and magnitude of this tragedy, it is in incredibly poor taste to be assigning blame to anyone other than an arsonist and Mother Nature. Shall I now opine about how perhaps the fires would've been extinguished more quickly had National Guard troops been available instead off fighting a war of which we should have no part?

    No? Why? Would it be offensive to the "far far right"?
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from mercyteapot
    Given the scope and magnitude of this tragedy, it is in incredibly poor taste to be assigning blame to anyone other than an arsonist and Mother Nature. Shall I now opine about how perhaps the fires would've been extinguished more quickly had National Guard troops been available instead off fighting a war of which we should have no part?

    No? Why? Would it be offensive to the "far far right"?
    No, because that isn't true - And the National Guard refuted that charge by some politicians in the last few days:

    "More than 1,500 California National Guardsmen continue to provide firefighting, security, support to law enforcement, interoperable communications, transportation, medical and command and control in support of firefighting operations in southern California."

    "More than 17,000 additional California National Guardsmen are available if needed."

    "I have heard claims that there are not enough National Guard available, and that simply does not reflect reality," Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said today.

    "The National Guard is pre-positioned in 3,200 communities across the nation with over 400,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen Airmen available and ready to go."

    "I can tell you unequivocally that the ongoing warfighting activities ... have had no negative effect at all with regard to our ability to provide sufficient forces to assist civilian authorities in fighting the wildfires," McHale said.

    http://www.ngb.army.mil/news/archive...e_support.aspx

    I am a firm believer in the truth - from either side. It was better when liberal, conservatives and libertarians didn't go to extremes to make their points, thereby losing all credibility.

    steph
  13. by   mercyteapot
    No, it was better when you initially agreed that these fires shouldn't be used to make political statements. Obviously, what you meant was that they shouldn't be used to make political statements with which you don't agree.
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from mercyteapot
    No, it was better when you initially agreed that these fires shouldn't be used to make political statements. Obviously, what you meant was that they shouldn't be used to make political statements with which you don't agree.
    In responding to the initial political statements, I guess I am.

    I didn't stand up in the beginning and say anything about why the forest is burning. Our families instead prayed for safety for the residents and volunteers and firefighters. Lots of our local loggers, truck drivers and firefighters went down to help. Money was sent for food, water, etc. Then I came across Tim's thread and I stood up to agree with Tim's original piece and to disagree with those who place blame where it does not belong.

    Do you still think that we don't have enough National Guard troops though?

    Might I just be right in one small thing? :-)

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Oct 27, '07

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