Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Different Questions - Same Answers
I've been loathe to blog about the Hurricane politics, it is partisan opportunism at its ugliest. In typical reflexive anti-Bush fashion the left immediately points the blame at Iraq, racism, global warming, and anything else, as long as it can be tied to Bush. It's just so transparently partisan. Clearly there were lapses at every level of government, but since we are a federalist country, the local government - the mayor and governor - should get the first hard look. Nevermind that President Bush called Gov. Blanco and urged an evacuation, two days before the hurricane hit. If we were really interested in constructive criticism, why not talk about the perfectly capable evacuation buses that were left unused to sit in the flood? Or perhaps we should point to Gov Blanco's embarrassing admission of "No one told me that I had to request that!" in reference to national guard troops. Apparently it is Bush's fault for not telling the governor what to do, for not personally educating her on the limitations of the federal government set forth in that obscure document known as the US Constitution. But what's the point? If an event does not carry some anti-Bush (or at the very least some anti-American) significance, then it carries no significance at all. Witness the question I asked here a few weeks ago.
Witness the media's hysterical predictions of tens of thousands dead in New Orleans, and survivors surrounded by a toxic stew of flood water near lethal to the touch! Or if we want to look at national disasters, how about that 2003 heat wave in Europe? Cliff May notes: (via InstaPundit)
579. That's the current death toll in Louisiana from the hurricane and catastrophic flooding.
Terrible for the victims, their family, their friends. But also much less than the 10,000 widely predicted.
And, BTW, much less than the more than 35,000 killed by a heat wave in Europe two summers ago.
You recall the debate that set off about European heartlessness, racism and discrimination? No, neither do I.
Me neither, because it is an article of faith that Europe is a more enlightened continent than us crass Americans who work so much for such luxury items as air conditioners. How dare we sacrifice government mandated 6 week vacation for such frivolities.
And uh-oh, here comes more reports of prisoner abuse, surely this will get some press play.
In the recording, Dargis matter-of-factly discussed for more than an hour how he used beatings to control a section of the jail and to extract information from inmates. He described breaking bones and leaving one prisoner so badly beaten he had "every color of the rainbow all over his body." This did not happen at Abu Ghraib, but rather in Chicago; thus it is merely systematic beatings of actual US Citizens in prison, not those noble school bombing head hacking terrorists. And of course, there is no anti-Bush significance to this story. Ho-hum.
...In the interview, Dargis characterized the beatings as "work" and said most of it was carried out on the basketball court or in the game room.
"We used to bring a brown paper bag [and] put it over the camera right away, so it's blocked," Dargis said.
On some occasions, the computer system that controlled the cameras would be "rebooted" by a sympathetic officer, giving the guards several minutes to administer a beating, he said.
Some inmates were beaten because they refused to divulge information or be informants, Dargis said. "They'd come in there and I'd talk to them; ask them what I want to know.
"And if they wouldn't tell me, then I'd proceed to physically use pain control . . . techniques . . . pressure-sensitive areas, most of the time, to get the information," Dargis said. "If I didn't get the information, I'd let my dogs hunt. In other words, beat the [expletive] out of the guy.
"And there was nothing ever said," Dargis said. "I'd just move a finger. And they'd go."
In one instance, Dargis said he badly beat an inmate who refused to talk. "I tore up his . . . ear . . . his nose. I broke his jaw. I broke four ribs," he said. "I lost my temper."
...Dargis said that some of the officers who backed him up when he worked over an inmate occasionally complained. "I usually did all the work myself," Dargis said. "And they . . . on occasion got upset with me. Like, `Sarge, you never let us have any fun.'" His crew, Dargis said, ranged from five to eight other officers and he estimated that over the years as many as 70 different officers participated.
The vocal left is so far on the fringe, that, if left to themselves, they seem to eventually fall victim to their own rhetorical hysteria. Take a look at the paranoia in this post from one of the most popular lefty blogs. Among other things, the speculation is that it was actually the Army Corps of Engineers that bombed the levee! Perhaps that kind of rhetoric plays well to the democratic underground, but given the results of recent elections, it doesn't seem to resonate with swing voters. The Pavlovian 'anti-Bush at all costs' strategy has been a failure, it is time to offer something prescriptive, some alternative beyond the glib partisan carping. It's almost enough to make a guy think that the opposition only cares about making one man look bad, even at the sacrifice of their own values.