Sunday, September 11, 2005


Has America been jinxed?

When hurricane Katrina hit the US shores and things started to become really desperate and pictures of disasters similar to those seen in the Third World were beamed into our living rooms, a strange idea furtively crossed my mind. I jotted it down as an idea for a post then somehow forgot about it plus it was inappropriate to talk like this when people where dying. However, today when I read Tareq's blog and saw this caption , I think it is high time I expose my theory.

I shall be brief, from the face of things it looks like Bush's presidency has been an extremely bad omen for the USA.
Bear with me :
(1) a few months after he is sworn in for his first term in 2001, 9/11 strikes ,
(2) then almost the same interval passes after he is sworn in the second time in 2005 and Katrina strikes.
Now that is what I call a curse and a disaster to the United States. I have nothing against the man in person, but hey if I was a US citizen with all the choices that a democracy entitles me to, I would make sure he leaves the office ASAP. We would not want another disaster would we?because believe me usually these things come in three. We had (1) and (2) , I do not want to see (3) ! as there are too many people I care about in the US .

I'm not usually superstitious but this is too much, something should be done. ..what do you think ?

My prayers go today again to all the victims of violent death in the world. Amen

23 comments:

smokey spice said...

Highlander, about half the country here knew he would be a curse. As soon as it was determined that there would be no recount (as the first sign was the actual election), many people knew that the US would be at war within a few years and that the war would likely involve oil.

I would add to your list of bad omens the suspicious elections in 2000 and the attacks of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, the polarization of American society. Contrary to the 'United We Stand' schbeel, the country is quite divided.

smokey spice said...

And please don't give any more reason to worry about an earthquake in San Francisco... because that's the third thing he was warned about. Like New Orleans, we here know that he'd love to see us gone.

programmer craig said...

Highlander, I completely agree about the "bad things come in threes" saying! I've seen it go like that in my own personal life a number of times!

Smokey, I wrote a long reply to you pointing out where I disagree, but then I deleted it! Suffice it to say, I do disagree :)

The "third" thing I worry about, is a nuclear weapon being used in a US city. I fear that more than the long awaited "big one" (earthquake) in California, even though I'm a Californian.

Twosret said...

Wesh Omo Na7s we Fa2r.

smokey spice said...

Well Programmer, I respect that you disagree...even if you don't want to post the reasons.

Twosret...lol. Qaweeya hay.

programmer craig said...

Hey there, Twosret! Long time no see! Are you two making fun of me?

Twosret said...

Hey PC,

Thanks :) I have been in rehab treating my blogging addiction hahahhaa! we are not making fun of you not at all. I had to sum up the lovely post of Highlander into two arabic words that is all.

Highlander forgot to mention the death of Arafat, King of Saudi, UAE prince, Harriri, Tsunami etc... LOL!

Smokey Spice, Mesa2 el fol unfortunately the arabs are at the receiving end of this BAD OMEN :)

removedalready said...

Did you watch the news, there's another hurricane, forgot it's name it's category one & presently roving around the atlantic ocean & may hit any us cities in the east coast anytime. so watch out bush. hope you've learnt your lesson. too bad this is your last term. But I think I can predict what will happen if he plans to run as president again!...

Highlander said...

Redenclave ...yes I watched the news..hope it is not serious.

Twosret habibti walahi wahshitini ya bint bas wesh 'omo fa'r di kanet laziza 'awi as Smokey was saying ;)

By the way Smokey kanna ktabet bil huruf al3arbiya tigdri tagriha?

P-craig, whatever no. (3) is I hope to God it does not take place ! And I can vouch that Twos and Smokey were not poking fun at you but really did summarise my post in the most effective manner.

Anonymous said...

Why does the media and so many other people keep comparing Katrina to 9/11? What an insult to all the people that lost loved ones on 9/11. Katrina is mother nature there is no way to prevent that from happening. 9/11 was a planned out attack against the usa that could have been prevented if we had a better government. Katrina lost a few hundred people but it was their choice to stay. 9/11 over a thousand people were brutally murdered. You can't bring your loved ones back, but you can get your house back. My heart goes out to the people that were effected by Katrina

smokey spice said...

Highlander, yes, itha ktabtee bil 7uruf il 3arbiya (but not too much) nigder nagraha.

To the anonymous poster, I think the reason the two catastrophes are compared is to demonstate how unprepared the government seems to be to handle any kind of major event. Of course there's a major difference between the two as you stated, but in both situations the government apparently either dropped the ball or was star gazing while the American people were left vulnerable to massive destruction.

But if you lost someone on 9/11, I daren't say that this logic ought to alleviate anything.

programmer craig said...

Smokey,

"American people were left vulnerable to massive destruction."

Do you think that's going to change? I don't... things could have been done better in New Orleans, but thinsg would have still been bad. The government can only help with recovery, the govbernment cannot prevent "massive destruction" and the government cannot prevent human suffering. No government can. The lesson people should be taking from this is: don't rely on the government to be there to help you during an emergency! If they are, great! But be prepared, in case they are not.

Were you in California during the 93 quake? We were without power and running water for 3 days in Glendale. I didn't see a cop, a fireman, or any other ity/state official the whole time. The freeway overpass on Interstate 5 through the Newhall Pass fell down. That was my route to work. For over a year, I had to detour around the mountains for my commute, a 2 - 3 hour drive instead of 45 minutes.

That was a small earthqauke. Shit happens. If we really do get the "big one" in California, it's going to be BAD. And we are all going to be on our own, for quite a while.

aliandra said...

Smoky;

You said “I would add to your list of bad omens the suspicious elections in 2000”

I’m sorry the elections didn’t turn out the way you wanted. But Gore did have a statewide machine recount and Bush came out ahead. Later, some other agencies went down there to do re-counts and Gore still lost. Heck, even the New York Times, a newspaper not exactly friendly to the Republicans, admitted that Bush had won fairly.

“Also, the polarization of American society. Contrary to the 'United We Stand' schbeel, the country is quite divided.”

It really isn’t polarized at all. The country is moving to the political right, as evidenced by the increase of Republicans in Congress and in the Senate after the last election.

“I think the reason the two catastrophes are compared is to demonstate how unprepared the government seems to be to handle any kind of major event”

A major blackout 2 years ago that had a good part of the eastern seabord in the dark was handled very well. So were the Mississippi floods a couple of years ago. The US government cannot control hurricanes. They are natural events. As for Spet 11, that was planned way before Mr. Bush took office.

Government is neither psyshic nor perfect. It handles some bad things well, and others not so well.

The prize for government mismanagement goes, of course, to the French, who let 15,000 people die in a heat wave.

smokey spice said...

Alright guys, this is going to be brief because my internet connection is down and because I'm on someone else's computer. I'll try to resond more tomorrow during work if I find the time.

PC-

Frankly, I think you're taking what I said out of context. When I said "American people were left vulnerable to massive destruction," I was simply replying to the anonymous comment that complained of the comparison.

However, since you raised the question--yes, I do think that should change. I think the priorities of the government (in terms of allocating resources) should be geared towards at least minimizing the threats that are known. Of course the government can't prevent human suffering or tragedy if it's out of nowhere, but this wasn't. This was something studied, warned of, and yet still completely ignored and underfunded not to mention other buearacratic screw-ups (i.e., putting FEMA under HLS).

Answer me this: If a government knows that a huge water shortage (not a drought, but maybe one) is due, should it ignore it and assume the recovery efforts will be enough?

Maybe we just disagree on how public policy should be guided, but I do hold the government and politicians to the standard of public service. If they're not doing that, then what are they doing?

I'd like to point out that I'm apparently not the only person that thinks that the way this situation was delt with was awful. Mike Brown's resigation probably had nothing to do with my comments.

And someone hopefully better qualified is taking his place. That's what should be happening, which is why I don't think criticizing the government on this is as heretic as you seem to think.

Having said that, I do agree that people and local governments (both state & city) should also be prepared for the recovery. And I'm sorry that the 93 earthquake wasn't like that for you.

Aliandra-

Sorry that you find it hard to accept some proven facts about that election, but it doesn't mean that they are not facts.

People's names were taken off the list of registered voters and physically prevented from reaching the polls. Also, the recounts did show one thing--that Bush's victory was due to a few hundred rather than thousands of votes. Overall (and not that I really care at this point), Gore won the popular vote. In this case, 'fairly' is subject.

As for the country moving to the right... maybe. Is senate your only evidence of that? Because the presidential election was pretty damn close and if that doesn't indicate polarization, I'm not sure what does.

I'm seeing people a lot less tolerant of opposing view points and willing to attack people at the drop of a coin. I do call that polarization. There is a rightward movement as well, but the two can occur simultaneously. You can also elect to overlook dissent...See Germany WWI.

As for the comparison explanation, see my above response to it. Again, I was speaking within a certain context in response to another comment and am not interested in bickering bipartisan matches.

And I would disagree with the 'of course' in your reference to the French government winning the prize for mismanagement. I have a list of others that out-do the French and the US, put together. Want to hear it?

aliandra said...

Smokey;

“People's names were taken off the list of registered voters and physically prevented from reaching the polls”

Physically prevented? Yeah, I heard that too, but I never saw any evidence.

There’s irregularities in EVERY election. They’ve also found numerous cases of people voting multiple times, of "dead" people voting, of non-citizens voting, etc … These things came out because the 2000 election was so close, but they’ve been going on for decades. There obviously needs to be some clean-up.

“that Bush's victory was due to a few hundred rather than thousands of votes. Overall (and not that I really care at this point), Gore won the popular vote. In this case, 'fairly' is subject.”

Yes, it was certainly true that Bush won by a few hundred votes and Gore did win the popular vote. However, our system is designed to give the victory to the winner of the most electoral votes. By the current rules, Bush won. If people don’t like the electoral system, they should vote to get rid of it. That’s fine by me. But you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game.

“As for the country moving to the right... maybe. Is senate your only evidence of that? Because the presidential election was pretty damn close and if that doesn't indicate polarization, I'm not sure what does.”

Republicans also increased their majorities in the House. A Republican pres, a majority Republican House and Senate – all show the country is indeed shifting to the political right. There’s book out there called “Right Nation” by two British authors which document the US trend and how it compares to Europe. It’s a very informative read since it’s written by non-Americans.

“I'm seeing people a lot less tolerant of opposing view points and willing to attack people at the drop of a coin”

That’s coming from both sides and it’s getting to be a turnoff. It’s rare to watch civilized political discussions on TV these days.

“And I would disagree with the 'of course' in your reference to the French government winning the prize for mismanagement”

Feel free to post examples if you like, but keep them to first world countries, so we compare apples to apples, ok?

programmer craig said...

Hi Smokey,

Yes, I'm sure we DO disagree, quite a bit, on how public polciy should be guided, as you put it. I'm a civil libertarian, which means (among other things) that I like small (and weak) federal government. That may also be why I put most of the blame for Katrina on State and Local officials. That's the way our government was set up. The federal government was always supposed to be *primarily* concerned with foreign affairs, with the states of republic semi-autonomus.

I realize that recent events have changed the role of the Federal Government. But, I still believe that the states should be running the show, with the Feds providing assistance. We'll probably never agree on this, because you seem like a fan of big government (though I could be wrong!)

I thought it was very big of Bush to take the blame for Katrina, because I really don't believe that he was (primarily) at fault. But, people were angry and wanted somebody to point the finger at, and the Governor was still trying to pretend the problems had nothing to do with her. Bush took the hit, whether he deserved it or not.

removedalready said...

I'd like to quote Aliandra

"There’s irregularities in EVERY election. They’ve also found numerous cases of people voting multiple times, of "dead" people voting, of non-citizens voting, etc … These things came out because the 2000 election was so close, but they’ve been going on for decades. There obviously needs to be some clean-up."

This is true. It happened in my country as well. It was pretty much very controversial as you can see. We want the truth. We want a change of leadership. We want to end nepotism, cronism, corruption etc. But those at the top can't seem to let go of their power. So they end up violating our rights to vote. Some of the voters could not vote because their names were not found in that constituency or there were some technical error etc. Some of the ballots box were reportedly exchanged so that this person would win etc. It's a terrible world we live in. Some wouldn't want to vote at all due to the action taken by the controlling party. However, i will vote to chose the best govt to represent us. A caring govt not a self-centered & corrupted one!

smokey spice said...

"There’s irregularities in EVERY election."

We agree. Good.

But when irregularities aren't evenly across the board, then perhaps we should consider a systemic problem.

And I would argue that the elimination of approximately 57,700 voters from Florida’s vote registries isn't such a small problem. I frankly don't see how anyone isn't alarmed by that.

"But you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game."

I wasn't arguing that point. But okay, given the 57,700 mostly black mostly democrats registered voters that were taken off the list plus the numerous other barriers to voting including highway check points that you didn't see, Bush won 'fairly'.

But we agree that changes in the system are called for. I'm just not entirely clear on what they should be.

"Republicans also increased their majorities in the House. A Republican pres, a majority Republican House and Senate – all show the country is indeed shifting to the political right."

Yes, it's true that Republicans have increased their political clout in the federal government, but you can't absolutely deduce from this that the whole society is moving towards the right.

To view stats of D vs R in the gov:[http://clerk.house.gov/members/congProfile.html]

There are other possible reasons and explanations. I'm sure you've heard of 'protest' voting. I think it partially explains what's going on in the US. The Democrats have gotten extremely lazy. They've relied on their traditional allies being there rather than actually serving or even courting them. It's also quite possible that what we're seeing is a back-lash.

Only time will tell what exactly is going on, but I find it a far stretch from reality (since 2000) to insinuate that everything's been fine and dandy. From your post, Aliandra, it seems that you're trying to make that point. Are you?

I'll check out "Right Nation" though from the reviews I've seen so far, it's very much in your face conservative Repulican. FYI, I'm generally not interested in highly controversial books whether liberal or conservative. The shock factor generally turns me off.

On the issue of unity versus polarization, yeah, that's a turn off too.

"Feel free to post examples if you like, but keep them to first world countries, so we compare apples to apples, ok?"

Why thank you for your gracious invitation. I'll think about it and get back to you if nothing more pressing comes up. And I'll be sure not to mention oranges as they are so completely different, ok?


PC-

Why do you think I'm a fan of big government? Furthermore how do you define 'big'?

I will say that I am happy to pay my taxes when I know they're benefiting me and society. I'm even happier to do so when I know that there's some social safety net being sustained. I look at that as a societal responsibility, however, and the government is there to administer.

Perhaps you can elaborate on the definition of civil libertarians. As far as I know, it's about as far right as anarchists are far left (I may be wrong as well).

Ok, it's way past my bed time now. I'm sure we'll continue this tomorrow. Highlander, I hope you don't mind.

aliandra said...

G’day Smokey;

You said “. But okay, given the 57,700 mostly black mostly democrats registered voters that were taken off the list”

When one registers to vote, one is not asked their race. So how could only black people could be taken off the list? And if it was a mostly black Democratic district, that would shift the blame to the Democrats or the Blacks running the district.

“I'm sure you've heard of 'protest' voting”

I’ve been voting 3rd party for the last few years.

“The Democrats have gotten extremely lazy. They've relied on their traditional allies being there rather than actually serving or even courting them. “

The Democrats lost the center. They catered too much to their far left base, while the country was moving right. If the Democrats want to regain the center, they have to do several things. First, put some distance between themselves and Hollywood. Even irreligious people are getting turned off by the vulgarity puked out by the movie studios. Those producers are big contributers to the Democrats. Michael Moore goes all around the world telling everyone how dumb his fellow citizens are. The Democrats, in their infinite stupidity, invite him to their National Convention and seat him next to Jimmy Carter, a Nobel prize winner. Not too wise of them.

Heck, even Hillary Clinton is starting to say there’s too much sex and violence on TV. She knows which way the wind is blowing and it’s to the right of her.

Second - The Democrats must acknowledge that the US is a religious country. Everyone wants seperation of church and state, but people get pissed off when the ACLU (seen as a creature of the left) goes around trying to tear down 100 year old crosses or remove every holiday decoration from public spaces.

Thirdly, accept that Americans don’t want socialism. Fourthly, disassociate from the trial lawyers association, whose frivolous lawsuits are screwing up the country, the healthcare system, and making stuff more expensive for everybody. Fiftly, distance themselves from the NEA, who’s really to blame for the sorry state of public education.

Had the Democrats focused on real issues like the debt and the deficit they would be in a diffferent position. Social Security needs reform and the Republicans are the only ones addressing it. The Democrats complain about Republican solutions, but don’t offer any solutions of their own. That’s been their modus perandi for the past decade. Complain but never offer any solutions.

“to insinuate that everything's been fine and dandy. From your post, Aliandra, it seems that you're trying to make that point. Are you?”

No, of course not. The country is in tremendous debt, has been for years. Americans have a negative savings rate. Alan Greenspan has already given several warnings on this account. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are addressing it. The Democrats have always been known as the Tax and Spend Party and that’s not going to change. The Republicans are looking more and more like them every year.

“I'll check out "Right Nation" though from the reviews I've seen so far, it's very much in your face conservative Repulican.”

I recommended it only because it was written by Europeans from a European perspective. The authors are not citizens so they are not registered with any party. They show how and why American society is moving to the right.

Their point was proved in the 2004 elections where the Republicans got all the political, social, and religious conservatives on their side. I’ve already addressed what the Democrats need to do to get those people back.


Highlander,

I apologize for such a long post.

Highlander said...

Be my guest everyone , I enjoy a healthy debate ...plus I'm getting educated in the process . For me this is a fast track to US politics!

programmer craig said...

Hi there smokey-

#Why do you think I'm a fan of big government?

Because of statements like the one you just made about wealth redistribution :)

#Furthermore how do you define 'big'?

Well, I don't! But I know it when I see it! And I've been seeing "big brother" sticking it's nose in my life for as far back as I can remember! To be fair, the Republicans have not been much better thn the democrats at reducing the size of the Fedearl government, but at least Republicans pretend that they want to!

#Perhaps you can elaborate on the definition of
#civil libertarians. As far as I know, it's about as far
# right as anarchists are far left (I may be wrong as
#well).

lib·er·tar·i·an (lbr-târ-n)
n.
1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.
2. One who believes in free will.

So, to elaborate... civil rights, human rights, individual rights, etc... these are my issues. To say that makes me right wing is... odd!

I should be a natural ally of Liberals, because Libertarian means pretty much the same thing that Liberal used to mean, before it became a synonym for "socialist!"

By the way smokey, where would you put yourself on the political spectrum? I'd say pretty far to the left based on the comments you leave. I put myself close to the center, because I don't really have much common cause with social conservatives and religious conservatives. I do tend to vote Republican... for some of the reasons Aliandra names. I don't trust democrats. I don't think they believe they believe in their own causes. All I see them doing is catering to special interest groups and minority voters, promising to take more and more of my tax money to fund social programs, etc.

By the way... I don't consider anarchists to be "leftists" because they want to tear down government, period. Therefore, I don't know how a political agenda can be attributed to them. They hated Bill Clinton as much as they hate George Bush.

aliandra said...

Hi Craig;

I’d say there’s a difference between libertarian and civil libertarian. Civil libertarians tend to be associated with the ACLU. A regular Libertarian would say that you, as a business owner, have the right to hire or not hire anyone you want, even if you discriminate against certain groups. A civil libertarian would disagree. There’s also a difference in the way the two see gun rights

programmer craig said...

Well, I'd agree with you, Aliandra, but I don't consider the "American Civil Liberties Union" to be any such thing! They are entirely too selective in those "liberties" they support and those they don't. That's not the way individual rights work. The ACLU is just another special interest group, now.

Maybe you are right though, I guess I should stop calling myself a "civil" libertarian. Yet another term, hijacked by crazy people!