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Ben Quells Media Riot

A bad day for political looters. Also: Babbin fixes FEMA. George escapes greater damage. Plus MUCH more.

9.13.05

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MEDIA MAWLERS
Re: Ben Stein's More on Katrina:

Perhaps George W. Bush realizes that you can't win with the media and just goes on being a good and honest man. Perhaps we all should.
-- Bruce W. Peek

It's like you opened my mind and read the exact words that were in it.

Mr. Stein, just realize who you're asking those questions to: the same people that blame Bush for terrorism and 9/11 rather than al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. They say we are ignorant and arrogant for defending ourselves against those that wouldn't think twice before wiping us off the planet! If anyone is ignorant, it is they who believe in junk science and they who believe in a propaganda driven by the media that Islam is "a religion of peace." These are the same people, who in my local university compared Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler simply for daring to retaliate against terrorists.

For these people, all that is ill in the world is the fault of one man, George W. Bush, because he supposedly stole two elections and he refuses to act like the Europeans who are nothing more than modern day Neville Chamberlains.

I was a harsh critic of President Clinton when I was in school, but I never criticized him for deploying troops against dictatorships (even in favor of Muslims), and I never criticized him for natural disasters. How can anyone criticize someone like that for a natural disaster? They can, because the media has successfully whipped them into a hysterical frenzy. The way people have responded to this incident frightens me. Half the people of this country have no resolve -- they only want someone to blame.
-- Josh McCracken
Dallas, Georgia

I would appreciate it if you and Ben Stein would start a campaign to charge the mayor and other New Orleans city officials and the governor of that state with MASS MURDER for not carrying out their evacuation plans. They left their jobs and violated their own contracts. They ought to be placed on trial for the deaths of all these people and for the murder of a city.

Also, I request that you point out that this scene was caused by SOCIALISM and not free enterprise. This proves that SOCIALISM does not work in a free society like ours. It does not work in any country anyhow.

You would do the country and our citizens a great service by introducing these ideas over and over until the media catches it. Might even charge them with murder also for not keeping the pledge of a good journalist for failure to scare the people and government into evacuation as the plans for New Orleans called for to do.
-- Delbert

Thankfully, with only 200 dead in New Orleans, the untold story is that almost as many died in Mississippi and Alabama, states the MSM all but ignored. I guess the "visuals" were not as compelling as the flooded streets of New Orleans complete with those poor souls walking to dry land. The primal screams of the media elites, i.e., Russert, Shep Smith, Juan Williams, et al., over the shortcomings of FEMA are a classic case of herd mentality coupled with just plain bad journalism. Will Russert apologize for hyping 10,000 DEAD, MINIMUM? I don't know, as I could not bear to watch him yesterday, but I suspect he did more of the same. Will Shep Smith admit to a bout of hysteria as he stuck his microphone in the faces of those same poor souls wading out of the flooded streets? All the while Shep appearing well-watered, well-fed, well-groomed and well-clothed. Or perhaps Mr. Drudge in hyping the 25,000 BODY BAGS ON ORDER. I think not, for as Mr. Stein correctly perceives, the MSM is in full riot mode, completely oblivious to their own pitiful conduct as well as to relevant facts contrary to the settled theme. Mr. Stein hints at this point when he suggests a review of other relief efforts in the recent past for some historical perspective.

As the media lemmings continue to race over the edge with their sidekicks in the (loyal opposition) Democrat Party in tow, a question still bothers me. I know this is heresy but frankly, as far as I am able to discern, the only real "catastrophic failure" was of the levees. As pitiful as the performance by the first responders (i.e. the mayor & governor) was in not evacuating more people sooner, what I saw still did not rise to the level of Juan Williams's cry of, "worse than a 3rd world country." Speaking of Mr. Williams, Fox produced a real heated exchange between Hume and Williams, complete with Juan's personal jab that "Brit was out of touch," as Hume valiantly tried to talk some sense into wailing Juan.

The final observation in this tawdry tale was that of the political hacks within the Democrat party. I really tried not to watch the Sunday shows, but while channel surfing, I managed to catch a snippet of Mr. Obama on ABC. Something to the effect of "racial element." That was all I needed to hear. ... The most surreal moment however, one that had me absolutely riveted was frankly also one of the most craven political performances ever by an American politician. And that is REALLY saying something. Sen. Landrieu's refusal to answer Chris Wallace's often asked question as to the mayor's failure to get those buses in use to transport people out of the city, was so laughable it was almost slap stick humor. Her rant that it was Bush's fault for his failure to fully fund mass transportation was that of a complete idiot. Hey Mary, was that Amtrak a local or an express that was going to get those people out of downtown? Landrieu's fierce protection of state & local officials is certainly understandable. After all, these same officials will be "assisting" Mary at the polls come re-election time. Well thanks Mr. Stein for doing us all a service. I for one can't wait to see the left's venom directed at you in tomorrow's mail. Brace yourself.
-- A. DiPentima

Hallelujah! Ben Stein has hit the nail on the head. The liberal press has little heart for the suffering of people. They just moan and gripe because they did not have the power to keep George Bush out of the presidency. They use every opportunity to whip up bogus anger and venom against the conservative movement. They wouldn't know decency if it bit them on the rear. This craven lust for power is causing the liberal press to break all rules of good, objective truth-telling journalism. When I was in school, they made a big deal of examples of slanted journalism. No more, I guess. The liberal press has a huge collective bloated ego, one that has been trounced twice. Most Americans want to go back to a value-based way of life, a truth-telling way of life. I frankly am sick of the petty, hate-filled, attitude of these lunkhead liberals.
-- Pat Jones
Farmington, New Mexico

Please tell Ben and anyone who cares that I thank him for this much-needed article. He said things that I've been wishing, (with a knot in my gut), that someone would have said by now. Not even the pundits who usually support him are willing to stick their neck out in this "open season" on our President. Hopefully, now that he has made the first move, others will follow.

This is truly about the hatred for one man. If they don't stop, I fear the worst for our great nation.

Long live Ben Stein. What would we do without him?
-- Christie

Mr. Ben Stein's customary thoughtfulness shines through again in today's "More on Katrina." His facts and analysis are carefully arrayed and logically presented. He is clearly correct that -- for the first time in many peoples' memories -- the mainstream media has created a series of collateral disasters in their reporting of the natural damage wrought by Katrina. Charges of racism (untrue), inaction by all levels of government (probably true in part), and chaotic disorganization generally (true) were made by the media not because they care so much about human suffering, but rather saw political and commercial opportunities.

Coming so closely on the heals of the divisive reporting of the 2004 elections, Iraq war coverage, Memogate, U.N. scandals, and even the contents of Sandy Berger's pants, I submit that the vast majority of Americans in these cases process the FACTS reported by the media and discard the POLITICAL CHAFF out of hand. While some of the more gullible (or politically desperate) among us will always buy into the conspiracies, race-based motivations, and sinister agendas the media concocts, Americans know better and won't be stampeded into indulging elitist fantasies.
-- Deane Fish
Altamont, New York

While I agree with the overall views expressed in the article, the damage done by this storm was clearly greater than any other, in recent memory. Not that the storm itself was unprecedented, but that it struck New Orleans, a city utterly unprepared in any way to deal with the hurricane. Not physically, with adequate levees or socially with political leadership able to marshal its own population to save itself.

It strikes me that this accurate criticism will be undermined by this inaccurate (or is it imprecise) characterization of the damage caused by Katrina.
-- Richard Marpet

Mr. Stein's columns are all one has to read about the events in New Orleans. Mr. Stein holds those responsible for their irresponsibility.

Lawlessness and anarchy during a crisis cannot be tolerated and rule of law failed in New Orleans years before any levy was breached. It was tinderbox waiting for a spark. A blackout, as NYC experienced in '77, could have started this mayhem in New Orleans. Instead it was Hurricane Katrina.

It took Rudy Giuliani and dedicated police professionals to straighten out NYC's crime problem; can a New Orleans mayor rise to this challenge?

The September's TAS book review by William Tucker titled "An Army of One," p. 71- 73, illustrates this lesson perfectly.
-- Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida

Thank you for your keen insights into the Katrina disaster. Many are all too ready to cast blame where none belongs. The media has failed us once again by prejudging a president they do not like and missing the goodness of the American people. The church where I preached has raised nearly $50,000 for disaster relief and is now sending a truck full of goods to help a church in Gonzales, Louisiana (halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge). This small church of 100 members gave 500 meals a day for several days.

We are not the exception among churches of Christ. Churches all around us in the Nashville area have also done as much or more. The media will give little note to us, but God sees and will reward or blame with justice.

I have such admiration for you, Mr. Stein. The more I know about you, the more I respect you. Keep writing common sense, and God bless,
-- Phil Sanders
Nashville, Tennessee

Thanks for printing the article by Ben Stein. I agree with how the media has overdone their coverage without having facts, reporting with political bias an American tragedy.

They should have reported the positive facts, and outpouring of caring Americans, who showed compassion for the incomprehensible loss of people in New Orleans. The media used a human tragedy to further their own political agenda. Their agenda completely overshadowed the true facts. The mainstream media needs to change and do a better job, reporting without bias the real news stories.

Thanks to Ben Stein for his bravery in confronting the failing mainstream press in the coverage of "Hurricane Katrina."
-- CB
Houston, Texas

Mr. Stein's ability to use words to create images is very powerful.

Mr. Stein says, "The real story is that the mainstream media rioted."

And they will continue to do so. They will become shriller, more opinionated, and less fact-based. Reminds me of Howard Dean and the far left Democrats. They too are involved in a rot... oops, riot.
-- Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

It's a shame when people try to take a tragedy and score political points. A president who has failed massively to meet his own is not some poor victim of undeserved persecution when folks point out his failure.

Bush repeatedly represented he was the one who would be best to protect Americans should disaster strike. Was putting a show-horse judge in charge of FEMA the best way to protect America? Was sending the National Guard off to fight in Iraq, so that many of the Gulf Coast's first responders would be unavailable in the event of disaster at home the best way to protect America? Was cutting funding for flood control in southern Louisiana to finance a tax cut for the ultra-wealthy the best way to protect America?

Somehow I don't think so.

But I guess that doesn't matter to Ben Stein.
-- FJG

Someone at work printed Ben Stein's article defending Bush's handling of the Katrina aftermath, and my blood boiled when I read it! There are a few points I'd like to make. First of all, I don't think George Bush handled things any better or worse than anyone else would under the circumstances. That said, I think it's disgusting that no one can even hint at criticism of Mr. Bush without the right-wing spin-masters going into panic mode! Secondly, he suggested how awful it would be if Hillary Clinton was in charge of healthcare. Well, let me tell YOU, Mr. Stein, as a 56 year old who has paid taxes in this country since I was 15 years old, that I would be grateful if ANYONE was in charge of health care. I'm sure that our senators and representatives don't think it's much of an issue, because THEY have wonderful health care, and they'll keep it for the rest of their lives! If the American people had health care, it would be socialism, but if our representatives have it, it is a necessary perk for working SO hard to take care of us! Yeah, I hear you. Thirdly, you want to know where the love and compassion is when it comes to President Bush. It's in the same place as it was when Republicans were vilifying Bill Clinton! It's the right-wingers who have polarized the country, and alienated half of the population. Take it from the mouth of one who has been caricatured as an environmental wacko, and a left-wing liberal socialist, because I had the audacity to question anything George Bush said. You get AS GOOD as you give!
-- Neil McKee

Everybody has missed identifying the Dems' strategy employed right from the start in New Orleans -- political protectionism! Go back and check the media accounts from the first Tuesday on. Every Democrat who was on television immediately pointed the finger of blame and responsibility solely at the feds, especially Bush. They all knew that, because virtually all of Louisiana pols are Democrats, they had to preemptively redirect the focus on the feds and Bush; otherwise the Democrats would take a serious and warranted pounding. People might put Louisiana under the microscope and find out the depth of political corruption. This is why, from the initial Tuesday, when the focus should have been solely on the storm and the rescue, they started the blame game. You've also witnessed proof of the polls that show the media vote 75% to 90% Democratic, the media picked up and furthered this misdirection of blame and also howled about the lousy job the feds and Bush were doing! No one in the media reported facts, only feelings! Except Major Garrett of Fox News who conclusively showed that ALL responsibility for the horrors of the aftermath emanated from state of Louisiana officials, from allowing the buses to flood to turning away food and water from the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Yet, this truth is swept aside by most. Why let facts get in the way of feelings? Why ruin a good story?
-- Ken Keane
Bloomfield, New Jersey

As for the press, get real. Up until now, the press has supported Bush mostly. Now that they are questioning him, the conservatives are jumping on the band wagon and saying that the liberals are taking advantage of the situation. We Americans have a right to know what is going on....
-- Vonita Holub
McDonald, Kansas

Ben Stein's article about Katrina and the media is terrific! Amen! Amen! Amen!
-- L. Baker
Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Mr. Stein's comments should be on every news channel in the world, but of course they will not be, as they are correct, but not politically correct. Please Mr. Stein, give us more of your balanced, well-thought out, and TRUE observations. You are 100% right on this issue....
-- Sue Eisenman
Chandler, Arizona

Thank you so much for the awesome, fantastic article �"More on Katrina." I want to shout it from the mountaintops. Ben Stein said what has been on my mind, only I could not think of the appropriate word. Media riot is the only way to explain the sad state of television and printnews. It is almost as though they were frothing at the mouth like a mad dog waiting to strike even before the last Katrina winds had yet died down.

It galls me that we have such a good person, a gentleman of professional demeanor, unafraid to tackle the worst scenarios thrown his way as President of the United States and his own countrymen attack him at the risk of the nation and the safety of us all. Do they think this is some kind of silly game? Where are the adults? Where are the elected officials with professional demeanor who can discuss a situation graciously and with honesty? When did it become fashionable to fabricate stories and call them news?

I for one think it is time to stop the financial backing of any and all destructive idiot programs and articles by not supporting their sponsors with my dollars. It is small, but it is a start. Thank you for taking the initiative, I am emailing your article to the masses.
-- Debbie Gamble
Richardson, Texas

FEMA BABIED
Re: Jed Babbin's Amateur Hour Is Over:

I'm confused. I thought FEMA was not a first responder. I thought FEMA was to bring the money to the table and give it out to the qualified needy. Your article seems to be saying that FEMA was supposed to put on waders and personally rescue people from roof tops.

FEMA plus Homeland Security, et al., are bloated, inefficient bureaucracies. They certainly need to be revamped, but going into the field, directing rescue operations, being responsible for the "nuts and bolts" is not their assigned job.

What happened in New Orleans? Here is a time line: Friday: Bush calls Blanco urges her to act, she demurs for 24 hours, and then doesn't act. The National Hurricane Center calls the Governor to urge evacuation, again, no action on Saturday or Sunday. Nagin is urged to evacuate and he does nothing other than suggest pedestrians walk to the Superdome.

Monday morning Katrina arrives, with less wind than feared and shortly departs. The levee is to remain intact for 30 hours of calm. The governor turns back a Red Cross relief convoy headed to the Superdome, because people would stay there if fed.

Tuesday, 1 a.m., the levee breaks and the water starts to rise, not a rush, and with little current. Residents have ample time to find higher spots or higher ground. The buses, unused, start to go under water. Recriminations are rampant, most directed at FEMA and at Bush. Local officials blame everybody but themselves.

Surprise! Surprise! That John Wayne general empties the Superdome of 20,000 refugees in one day with his helicopters. The 10,000 bodies anticipated by Nagin fail to materialize, ditto the 25,000 body bags, ditto the 62,000 dead predicted in the computerized rehearsal of a hurricane several months before Katrina.

I still don't see FEMA to blame.
-- G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

Many of our fellow former and retired USAF types (mostly command post controllers) ARE working at FEMA, most were first hired BECAUSE of their expertise at "unconventional" experience and their austere facilities command and control experience. But in 2005, many are aging out and retiring. We don't have SAC to instill in them "checklist discipline" AND alternate means of getting the execution orders out. (Heck we lost TAC and MAC too!) (Oh my Lord, I remember my earliest days in a Command Post and all the creative ways to do things. Exercises at "no bones" bases and sites -- no electrical power but the aircraft -- now what do you do?)

There are a great many of dedicated folks working, and a severe disconnect from "reality" by many of the political appointees to the agency. I've volunteered with the county OES agencies when I lived in California AFTER September 11, 2001. There are many dedicated volunteers and crisis center trained operators. BUT NO ONE wants to take time to do the "PRIOR PLANNING" that "prevents piss-poor performance."

Civic and elected officials see "no need" to "play games" when there is real work to be done, (i.e. fundraisers, "face-time" and so on). Other municipal leaders (like public works -- sanitation and sewers; water & power, road repair) really don't have the funding to do their normal work, are asked to come and play for a day? "Stop work and have my guys do what?" and my personal favorite, "In this weather?"

FEMA was supposed to run these exercises and provide training to state and local authorities. That has been forgotten. All we have is a lot of inexperienced (but maybe well-intended), uncoordinated, and un-commutative people working on "their" choice of crisis of the moment.

I have heard from a few other "commode post types" that are still in the "thick of it." Anyone for more Mogadishu or Kosovo? It's the same "circus" in Louisiana.
-- Sandy Dent, a former 27490, NOT a 1C390

Bravo -- wonderful, to-the-point article. There is however one other agency at the federal level that needs to butt out of this type of planning.

I was told by a reservist that EPA had mandated that the Reserves and Guard meet their fuel needs in emergencies by purchasing fuel through local distribution networks instead of having a stock in their own facilities because "they might leak."

If this true EPA has effectively hamstrung any relief efforts.
-- Margaret Wilkman
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I fully agree with the main point of your article, FEMA is not an organization that can be treated like the Commerce Department, packed with political appointees. Brown was probably very effective as general counsel for FEMA. But lacking any long-term experience as a first responder, he never should have been elevated to the head man. Lawyers are deliberative by thought and training. Not exactly a combination one wants in that type of organization.

Some observations:

* FEMA, unless your desire is to change their charter, is not actually a first responder organization in their own right. They own no assets outright to mitigate a natural disaster. They utilize the resources released to them, local, state, DoD, contractors, etc., to get things done. But they are a coordinator which matches exactly your point about C3I.

* As to all those grumpy old generals and admirals, last I heard once you reach the rank of Command of Corps, a member of the service can be reactivated even if 'retired.' Only by resigning their commission could they be released so as to not run up against the Posse Comitatus Act in some capacity. The one organization that might have the requisite skills you mention comes from the Coast Guard. CG is not part of DoD having originated out of the Treasury Dept. and now part of DHS. And they have enough grumpy old men to get the job done (e.g., Mr. Allen).

* You are correct -- a resource sharing agreement needs to be developed. But my impression is that the Louisiana governor dallied and no level of resource sharing will solve that problem. Ineffective leadership is what it is.

* Katrina points out to us and al Qaeda that the most effective way to cripple this country to date is a multi-state attack. Neither FEMA nor the states are prepared for such an action. Were the top ten cities to be hit, I am afraid that responder resources would be "frozen" by the various governors, forcing those that were attacked to use all their resources to solve the problem and forcing those that were not attacked to hold back anticipating that they will be next.

As Michael Ledeen is want of saying, "Faster Please..."
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Jed Babbin replies: Mr. McGinnis is entirely right: FEMA is not, and should not be, a first-responder. But it needs to be staffed, organized, and its operations planned, so it can come a'runnin' within a two-to-three day period when states have to handle matters themselves. In cases such as this, where the entire communications grid is gone, where people are able to martial resources quickly, and where the FEMA guys can help bridge the gap between state and federal responses, they should do so. In this case, when Blanco and Nagin were -- if not criminally negligent and incompetent, damned nearly so -- FEMA should have been able to do more, and much more quickly.

I mean this sincerely and in no way to be considered as frivolous: Please ask Jed to identify specific failures and real-time examples of the "failures." Mere reference to what others are saying, without any examples means nothing. When we talk about local "failure" we can point to not using the buses to evacuate, calling for an evacuation one day too late, not stocking the Superdome with provisions and security, and not letting the Red Cross and Salvation Army into the Superdome with relief supplies. Where did FEMA go wrong? Exactly. Specifically. If it is too numerous "to list," humor me with some facts. I don't think you can.
-- Robert W. Ball
San Bernardino, California

Jed Babbin replies:Mr. Ball can begin his investigation with Michael Barone's column in Townhall.com today, wherein he describes FEMA's forcing volunteer Indiana firefighters to take sexual harassment training before entering the disaster area. Mr. Ball can add to that the shipment of evacuees from the disaster area to Charleston, South Carolina and actually sending them to Charlestown, West Virginia. The rest of the investigation he'll have to do himself.

A NEW MOURNING
Re: Jay D. Homnick's September 11th...and September 12th:

I lost my mother to emphysema on Sept. 21, 2001 and I was 42 at the time. My father died suddenly when I was 17, so I understand the power of the death of a parent, at any age. The memory of Sept 11 and of my mother's death is a reminder to me the preciousness of life and the need for strength to keep on going. You, me and America will carry on and be b'seder.
-- Paul Austin
Tempe, Arizona

JITTER-PUB
Re: The Prowler's Republican Jitters:

If the Republicans really wanted to help cut spending they would take out all the pork in the highway bill and give it to FEMA.

We really, really need term limits. Then the Congress would not be in anyone's pocket and could do what was right and not what would get them reelected.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Speaking of a political animal named Clinton, when will the establishment media start pushing the upcoming TV series staring Geena Davis as the president? Is it because there is too much news to spin right now? I have been waiting for one of the Spectator's contributors to comment on this one.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

STALINIST SIMILARITIES
Re: Christopher Orlet's The Hitch Pitch:

Only one correction for Mr. Orlet. His cauterization of British MP and Islamo-fascist apologist George Galloway is incomplete. A fuller description would be British MP, Stalinist and Islamo-fascist apologist George Galloway.

Remember Gorgeous George was and is a Stalinist. Hence his choice of favorite dictator, Saddam. Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that The Baath Party was founded as and continued to be a fascist party, Saddam's role model was Joseph Stalin. So it was only logical that Mr. Galloway who loved Stalin to love Saddam. This illustrates the true nature of Communism and fascism. They are in the most important ways the same and each equally an enemy of liberal democracy. As proof of this, they are now united in the person of George Galloway.
-- David Sonenstein
Las Vegas, Nevada

Christopher Hitchens and others who appear on television shows hosted by left-wing types have to be aware that the hosts (to paraphrase George Orwell) "speak in slogans and talk in soundbites" which are aimed at the studio audience. To be effective foils they will have to learn to do the same, otherwise their message will be lost in the static caused by the audience.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

AN EYE FOR THOSE CAST ASIDE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's In the Eye of the Storm:

I was very pleased to read the article "Eye of the Storm," about the Coast Guard response to Hurricane Katrina. I thought the article was excellent and brings out something that has been overlooked in most of the coverage that I have seen, which has focused on the vicious and inhumane. Whatever the problems there undoubtedly were, I couldn't help feeling that the efforts of emergency services personnel busting their butts down there were being almost universally overlooked or denigrated.

Also, for me the piece had special meaning. As a 20-year Coastie who spent the majority of that time working search and rescue, I still feel an affinity for the service, the mission, and the members.

One request, though. As a female Coastie, please lighten up on the "those boys" and "the guys," and "fellows." The Coast Guard is the only armed force that does not restrict its ratings (operations specialties) by gender. And the gals were out there, too. I saw them on TV. I used to be one.

I'm not especially sensitive and definitely not concerned about being "politically correct"; if for nothing more than the sake of accuracy, please recognize and include the efforts of all of the members of the United States Coast Guard.
-- C.I. Obenland
St Charles, Missouri

WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN
Re: George Neumayr's A Civilizational Vacuum:

What do you call a person who presents facts and wins an argument with a liberal? A bigot.

I hope you have a thick skin! Fortunately for you, most of the venom is directed at Ben Stein.

On the bright side, these nit-wits do read NRO. Who knows, it might eventually make them consider some of their fundamental premises.
-- Lamar Johnson

I find your article right on, on the one hand and yet, totally off the mark on the other hand. First of all please, tell me if you can, in what does this federal government not now have its big dirty unconstitutional finger in it? The very fact that it grows ever bigger and bigger no matter who sits in the White House, and controls the Congress says it all. In reality, the whole American system of government is absolutely at odds with the Founding Fathers' hopes and dreams.

In reality it is the Federal Government that actually is the creator of this vacuum as I see it! Social Security, Medicare, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, etc., is that by the people or by the federal government for the people whether constitutional or not?
-- H. D. Schmidt
Loma Linda, California

I don't see what can be done to restore the family. The ease of divorce and the absence of fathers are the doings of lawyers -- and judges and legislators are lawyers.

Women are pampered and favored in divorce for the purpose of bribing them to divorce so lawyers can have a steady stream of clients. Judges see to it that this is done. Besides, they have to watch out for their professional buddies because one day they'll likely be in private practice again and somebody there will be the judge.

A commonplace response to criticism of judges is that they have to enforce the law. Legislators will claim that either they have enacted the will of the people or that the judge has a great deal of latitude.

Till this racket is fixed our society will remain disordered.
-- David C. Morrow

NO END IN SIGHT
Re: Ben Stein's Get Off His Back, and Reader Mail's The Hurricane Continues, Ben Stein, Bush, and Katrina, Beaming Over Ben, Ben Stein Held Over, and Shoring Up:

Spectator? Spectator of what? You must be a spectator way out there in left field then, or a blind Bush supporter, as I used to be. Patriotism doesn't feed the family, nor fills up the gas tank, Spectator.

Doesn't George Bush run the country as our president? If he doesn't, who does? If he can't take the heat, then he should step out of the....

Bush has been weak at its best from the beginning of this whole Katrina tragedy, and this is coming from a Bush supporter during his first term. He's stunk royally this second time around, and for the record, I DID NOT vote for him this time. FEMA's Brown deserved to get the boot a long time ago, and Bush shouldn't be too far behind, if only...

God help our troops and the Katrina refugees...and God help us all!!
-- Jorge M.
San Antonio, Texas

I'd like to offer a generalization about the fault positions some take on Bush and Ben Stein.

Steve Feeser, for example, faults Bush for not having the military in New Orleans for five days. Yet I've read elsewhere that Governor Blanco refused the offer of military help; that Posse Comitatus prevents military intervention without a governor's permission. Many other examples exist.

The generalization is that the main stream media omits any details from its stories that do not fit their a priori views of President Bush; it is easy to fault Bush and others if all the facts are not known.

And so the Dowdification of the news continues.

Thanks to The American Spectator (and many other blogs), for filling in the ellipsis of facts.
-- A. Robinson
Lowell, Michigan

As a college graduate there are a few truths I would like to share with you. When you make a statement as a fact one must substantiate it with evidence otherwise it is an opinion... Calling something a truth does not make it one. I am surprised a man with your credentials does not know that yet.

Here are few truths you should revisit before pointing your finger any further.

1. The evacuation plans were not perfectly good. People died, people in nursing homes, and hospitals. Some of those 20% that "neglected" to follow the plan. It is George Bush who was briefed by Max Mayfield about how dangerous the storm was. Bush, as well as other top officials, was warned. I agree it is not George Bush's job to provide a car, good health, mobility, or good sense for every American. It is his job to lead Americans, certainly in times of tragedy. What were his directives at the time of being warned? It is his job to make sure those less fortunate, unable, or incapable of evacuating are taken to safety. The buck does stop there. Have we not treated Iraqis who were less-fortunate better?

2. I am glad Mr. Stein that you have been able to enter the mind and soul of EVERY president that ever lived and know that President Bush is the LEAST racist of them all. Remember in college how hyperbole was never an acceptable writing standard?

3. The Louisiana National guard has 4000 men and women at home in the state and 3000 men and women in Iraq as well as watercraft and hi-water vehicles in Iraq. Would a 40% decrease in the guard diminish the response of the government? Would a 40% decrease in your wealth diminish the way you live? YES

4. I am so glad that you wished God to bless the "dear people who are suffering" when you then proceed to blame the victims by saying "if able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen?"
-- unsigned

Ben, I always admired your thought process. No evidence of global warming? Come on, Ben. Someday drivers of Hummers and Suburbans gotta get a clue. Tax cuts for small business owners to buy a 0% interest Tahoe categorized as a work truck for their insurance agency cuts to the consumerism causing global warming.
-- unsigned

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