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Aug. 22, 2005. 06:30 AM

 

What boneheaded design guides Dubya's moves?

 

 

LINWOOD BARCLAY

 

How does one explain all the misguided, unwise,

sometimes outright

boneheaded things the Bush administration has done

since taking

over nearly five years ago, and continues to do on a

pretty

much daily basis?

 

How is it possible for a group of supposedly

intelligent, experienced

individuals to take this many wrong turns?

 

Wouldn't you think that once in a while, even by

accident, that George

W. Bush and his advisers would make a decision that

made sense?

 

Can this much mismanagement happen totally at random?

Would the occupants of the Bush White House have us

believe that all

these things, these missteps, these miscalculations,

these attempts to

deceive, that they all, you know, just kind of

happened?

 

I'm not so sure.

 

And I'm not the only one starting to ask questions.

More and more, it

seems unlikely that mere human beings could make this

many mistakes

without some sort of misguiding force, a kind of

supernatural entity

that has trouble remembering where it put its car

keys.

 

That's where Unintelligent Design comes in.

 

Once one embraces the concept of unintelligent design

- a kind of

doofus-like cosmic force ? it becomes much easier to

get your head

around the operations of the Bush administration.

 

I mean, making executive decisions randomly would

still probably result

in doing the right thing 50 per cent of the time. So

how does one explain such

consistent goofiness, like invading a nation based on

evidence that the

administration knew didn't exist in the first place?

 

Or exposing a CIA employee's identity just to settle

some personal scores?

 

Ignoring international trade agreements you've signed

on to?

 

Adopting a head-in-the-sand approach to the connection

between human

activity on the planet Earth and global warming?

 

Letting the boss be photographed on the ranch, golfing

and cutting brush

and chilling out and generally having a good ol' time

while young

Americans die overseas?

 

Not having the media savvy to have that same boss take

a stroll down the

driveway and chat with a woman whose son was one of

those young Americans?

 

Doing an end run around the Senate to send a loose

cannon to the U.N.,

while supposedly promoting democracy abroad?

 

Not firing a defence secretary who totally misjudged

how many troops

would be needed to secure Iraq?

 

Giving rich folks back home huge tax cuts while

soldiers go without

adequate body armour?

 

Looking upon scientific and medical innovations like

they're some sort

of voodoo and letting other nations take the lead in

these areas for the

first time?

 

You can't tell me that some magnificently dumb force,

more confused and

baffled than all the members of the Bush

administration put together,

didn't have a hand in this.

 

But I know what some of you skeptical types are

thinking.

 

You're thinking, hey pal, where's your proof?

 

Where's the actual evidence, the cold, hard facts, to

support my

contention that unintelligent design has played a role

in the decisions

of the Bush administration?

 

Well, that's easy. I have none.

 

Not one shred of solid evidence. But let me ask you

this.

What evidence do you have that I'm wrong?

My theory explaining Bush White House screw ups is, by

its very nature,

impossible to disprove. And if you can't disprove it,

then you don't

have much choice but to consider it as an alternative.

 

That's why I'm pushing to have universities start

teaching my

unintelligent design theory in their political science

courses.

 

Sure, these know-it-all professors may be teaching

that Bush and his

ilk do what they do because they're captives of their

own ideology, that

they're pandering to baser instincts and popular

prejudices to shore up

support among certain constituencies, that they're

willing to put their

own political interests ahead of those of regular

Americans.

 

Yeah, well, maybe. But my theory doesn't take as long

to explain on the

final.

 

Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Limited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________________

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RE: Here's an alternative, Can't do Government

 

September 2, 2005

A Can't-Do Government

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

 

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

 

First question: Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive? Katrina hit five days ago - and it was already clear by last Friday that Katrina could do immense damage along the Gulf Coast. Yet the response you'd expect from an advanced country never happened. Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all.

 

There will and should be many questions about the response of state and local governments; in particular, couldn't they have done more to help the poor and sick escape? But the evidence points, above all, to a stunning lack of both preparation and urgency in the federal government's response.

 

Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"

 

Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.

 

Second question: Why wasn't more preventive action taken? After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."

 

In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending.

 

Third question: Did the Bush administration destroy FEMA's effectiveness? The administration has, by all accounts, treated the emergency management agency like an unwanted stepchild, leading to a mass exodus of experienced professionals.

 

Last year James Lee Witt, who won bipartisan praise for his leadership of the agency during the Clinton years, said at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."

 

I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

 

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

 

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

 

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.

 

E-mail: [email protected]

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