Charles Krauthammer pens a piece that will have people talking (or, as it is here, yelling at each other incoherently):
In less enlightened times there was no catastrophe independent of human agency. When the plague or some other natural disaster struck, witches were burned, Jews were massacred and all felt better (except the witches and Jews).
A few centuries later, our progressive thinkers have progressed not an inch. No fall of a sparrow on this planet is not attributed to sin and human perfidy. The three current favorites are: (1) global warming, (2) the war in Iraq and (3) tax cuts. Katrina hits and the unholy trinity is immediately invoked to damn sinner-in-chief George W. Bush.
This kind of stupidity merits no attention whatsoever, but I’ll give it a paragraph. There is no relationship between global warming and the frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. Period. The problem with the evacuation of New Orleans is not that National Guardsmen in Iraq could not get to New Orleans but that National Guardsmen in Louisiana did not get to New Orleans. As for the Bush tax cuts, administration budget requests for New Orleans flood control during the five Bush years exceed those of the five preceding Clinton years. The notion that the allegedly missing revenue would have been spent wisely by Congress, targeted precisely to the levees of New Orleans, and that the reconstruction would have been completed in time, is a threefold fallacy. The argument ends when you realize that, as The Post noted, “the levees that failed were already completed projects.”
Read the whole thing.
As the facts come out, look for Katrina coverage to decline proportionately to the amount Bush can no longer be blamed.
Which brings us back to Iraq. As Charles also noted the other day, after all the caterwauling by progressives claiming sharia law meant Iraq was going to be a theocracy, sharia is now quietly being adopted in… Canada.
Does this mean the Iraqi theocracy meme has jumped the shark? Only time will tell, but I’m going to laugh out loud every time I see it from now on.
Krauthammer makes a misleading statement about hurricanes. The relationship between hurricanes and global warming is currently not well understood, period. No serious scientist would claim that Katrina was definitely or even probably a result of global warming. However, there are very simple thermodynamic arguments for global warming increasing _something_ about hurricanes. Unfortunately we don’t have enough satellite data or model resolution to say whether these arguments are true, or what the final effect will be.
The scientific arguments will probably be resolved within 5-10 years, at which point we will have locked ourselves into a few more degrees of guaranteed warming.
As for the statements about inefficiency of government under this administration, it is hard not to agree, but K is doing the Republicans no favors by pointing this out.
There’s certainly no conclusive proof that there’s a link between global warming and Atlantic hurricanes, but the scientific debate is ongoing. Krauthammer is talking out of his ass here.
Yeah, the “Bush caused the levees to fail!” thing is stupid, but Katrina certainly highlighted some shortsighted funding decisions (and not just on the part of this administration).
TallDave, the fact that sharia law might be adopted in Canada – you think that’s a good thing, then?
I am one of those liberals who reads your site, John, because I appreciate the attempt at balance in your posts. This is the first time I’ve commented. Here is the reason: you get people here because you offer thoughtful posts, and then you treat them as if they aren’t welcome, aren’t serious about trying to engage with you. But I think they are. While your commenters are not as thoughtful as those at, say, Obsidian Wings, you seem to find them far more distasteful than I do or than is probably good for anyone. Again and again I see you respond in the comments to the least interesting point, and I see you make attacks on the commenter rather than responding with interest to what people write about. It’s like you’re two different people. If the blog is just to post your ideas and not to engage with comments that follow, then maybe you just should not post responses to comments?
Maybe the “yelling incoherently” was a joke. It was funny, but in light of some of your recent writings, I thought you might be serious. Anyway, thanks for the site Try to embrace your readers. (Even if it’s just in that shoulders- barely-touching-lightly-patting-the-back way.) My perception is that they respect you quite a bit. I think if you could initiate more productive engagement with their ideas, you’d have lots of great interaction.
Later in the piece, he writes:
Even he can admit the PResident fucked up.
After reading this article, the first 3-4 paragraphs seem really disconnected from anything. It sounds more like a rant.
The later parts i agree with, except where he blames the American people for this:
This is just dumb.
Ah, Dr. StrangeK. If it’s not some idiot plan to turn the Middle East into a (great)Kubrick film, it’s decisive statements that miss the mark of most criticism. Have people made overwrought claims about X or Y’s responsibility? Yeah – welcome to a disaster. (Some of your readers at home may remember that Clinton was offered Bin Laden, and he decided to fellatiate the terrorist rather than kill or jail him. This strikes me as unlikely to be a precise picture of what happened, but whatever.)
1. Infrastructure matters. We don’t know and probably never will how much effect it would made in New Orleans. Maybe none. Maybe a lot. But a lot of people made many attempts to get infrastructure money for this area (Landrieau, Jindal, etc.) and for this purpose, and were rebuffed.
2. Guns or butter. Maybe in Magikal Jeebus-land you can simply divide dollars without end, splitting a five into two fives, and pay for everything. In this world, you have to make choices.
3. Tax cuts mean less money to spend on infrastructure. How is this controversial? Maybe this is more Magikal Jeebus stuff.
TD appears really think the arbitration which must conform to the laws of Canada is what they are talking in Iraq. This is precisely how we got both the Iraq war and Katrina: people basic understanding of the lay of the land deciding that X must be so because X makes them feel good.
Thanks for the last five years, guys.
Any other suggestions for rational discourse, Leslie? Not sure that this place is living up to its reputation.
Of course, Tim my boy, the dollar amount of tax revenue collected went up after not only Bush’s tax cuts, but every other round. Learn basic economics sometime.
Once again- I don’t disagree with the assessment. I think he looked stupid in the flyover, and I think he should have, if for nothing else other than appearances, cut his vacation short.
I don’t think that his not being in Washington had any appreciable difference on the situation, though.
I really think you guys take me rebutting unreasonable criticisms of this Preisdent, mix it in with what you read elsewhere, and come out both barrels blasting at me.
I do engage those who try to, well, engage. It is the ones who just come in and start flinging crap at me who I throw elbows back at. See Joe Albanese’s reaction to the post right above this for an example of the sort of stuff that gets launched at me for little to no reason whatsoever.
Yes, Bush was just some Jew trying to mind his own business when the angry mob showed up…
That’s absolutely revolting. Thanks for reminding me why I don’t read Krauthammer.
Cole, do you swallow this shit or are you just trolling again?
According to this your statement is not true. Tax revenue went down every year since Bush has been in office. (Aside from a small bump in 2004 corporate tax revenue.)
The chart is from the Brookings Institute. I’m open to it being the wrong statistic, but i’d like to see the source for your statement.
I have an economics degree and nothing frustrates me more than people making 2-dimensional, ill-informed statements about how economics work. Yes, there is a dynamic where lowering taxes can raise tax revenue, but there is a break point where it ceases to occur. I’m pretty sure the current tax code is past that point.
IF you believe in Global Warming, then you believe that Global Warming has increased the temperature of the oceans and the Gulf of Mexico in the past few decades. The Gulf IS warmer, the cause may be debatable. Hurricanes are produced by warm waters, hence the hurricane season starts when the waters get warm. Warmer waters have a tendency to produce stronger hurricanes.
I am not a climatologist or a conservative theology scientist, so I don’t know what the answer is. But, to say GW does NOT cause an increase in hurricane intensity is something the Hammer has no qualifications to speak so certainly about. Unqualified; maybe he should be appointed hurricane czar.
If you believe GW is real, and if you believe it is caused by man, then there is a reasonable link between intensity and GW. Obviously Bush isn’t responsible for it, but we could use this as an opportunity to listen to real scientist about a real problem. Maybe even think about changing the way we do things. Instead, the pundits are telling us that it is not related, ‘period.’
That’s not true. Scientists say ther may be a relationship. But why is Krautjackoff talking about global warming? Shouldn’t he be calling it “climate change” and claiming that there is no “sound science” to support it?
In any case, this is no time for the blame game. This is the time for gaving a freedom march with no media access to honor those who died in 9/11.
So is “slide” really Joe? I wondered why his pathetic posts make less sense than Margo Kidder at the Jack Daniels factory. I think I made the mistake of responding to one of his horrible posts — I would’ve ignored him had I known.
In some of your posts you do tend to paint with kind of a broad brush, though – I’m sure some people get the impression you’re blasting all of the “lefties” here when really your ire is directed at just a few (I think). Touchy-feely libs are more sensitive to that kind of thing, ya know.
I would argue that it isn’t a matter of tax rates and revenue, but pork-barrel spending and attention. Over the last several decades, Congress has shown a propensity to waste an enormous amount of money on bullshit (like the 6,3xx earmarks in the transportation bill). If there happened to be more revenue, deficits would be lower or Congress would just waste more of our money in order to get re-elected. Congress doesn’t care about infrastructure because it isn’t sexy and doesn’t help them get re-elected… they are much more interested on what you are doing in your bedroom. Maybe a disaster like this will change that and we will have fewer pork barrell projects and more of what government is supposed to do.
Gawd, I love the If’n brigade. Assume that you are right about the amount of revenue received. Economics attempts to predict what will happen or explain what did happen (here, to tax revenues). You seem to be suggesting that tax cuts lead to increases in revenue. This is supply-side economics, which AFAIK no economist believes. I think the word you were searching for is “accounting”. Learn basic English sometime.
Still waiting on some facts supporting yer condescending statement…
If the religious right could, they’d be burning fags at the stake.
I don’t know if Global Warming has anything to do with some of what’s going on, but ignoring it is just plain stupid. Watching the way this administration, and many in the GOP, have attempted to sweep it under the rug as well as outright change their own findings is infuriating. The oil lobbiest who changed reports should have been a wake up call to any thinking Republican. You don’t change government reports because they may hurt some sacred part of your
I think here is where I’m supposed to attack Republican John for posting something by a Republican.
Give me a minute, I’ll think of something.
Maybe there isn’t a link between global warming and hurricanes, who knows. Is there a link between the extent of the flood damage and the destruction of wetlands in southern Lousiana? I’m pretty sure that’s a yes.
For years, liberal environmentalists worked to protect wetlands, only to be ridiculed as hippie tree-huggers. But wait, it’s not time to play the blame game.
Actually there is a decent evidence, reported on in a recent issue of Nature, that indicates that hurricane intensity, but not frequency, has increased as a result of global warming. The climatology experts at real climate (http://www.realclimate.org/) have a recent post about Katrina and the new evidence indicating hurricane intensity is increasing. If you want a good summary of what this is all about check out the website run by people who actually study and understand these things. Charles Krauthammer doesn’t know squat about climatology and his opinion should be considered accordingly.
What annoys me about Krauthammer’s piece is that he starts off by saying that people used to attribute natural disasters to human agency, and then that progressives have not learned a thing since those superstitious days. Two of his three examples: the war in Iraq and tax cuts. He clarifies later, in the sense of changing the subject entirely, but shouldn’t someone have told him, “Uh, Charles, the war in Iraq and tax cuts pretty much are the result of human agency.” I don’t know if there’s even a name for this kind of fallacy in making an argument. Well, it’s not really an argument, more a general smear plus assertions.
Krauthammer is being somewhat ridiculous in the earlier portion (comparing George W. to people unfairly executed is insane).
Oddly, no one’s taken him up on the third point in the single paragraph – that Bush’s tax cuts were irrelevant, because Bush did request additional money that didn’t get approved. If I don’t give you money, I can then blame you for not having money when I ask for it?
Of course, then there’s the suggestion that Congress wouldn’t have given the money to him for that purpose anyway. If Bush had asked for money for the New Orleans levees, and if he’d worked to get it with our largely Republican Congress, he would’ve gotten it. That’s not a statement about the president’s priorities, which might not have been the best; it’s a statement about how Washington works.
As for the supposed “sharia law” – this is arbitration, an alternative to the court system that is a way to resolve disputes without going to trial. It’s voluntary (though community pressure might be great to submit to it), and judgments made there never supersede those of a court of law. There could indeed be difficulties with it that need to be worked out, but it could also be beneficial in one sense: many of those who use it would likely be consulting religious leaders to solve such disputes anyway, and this formalization makes that process more transparent.
when you put it like that it does sound stupid. Good conservative journalism there. However since the actual issue was that the National Guard units that are the ones that noramlly respond to these tragedies were in Iraq, his sentence is just a deflection. (what a surprise). No one said they were delayed because they were in Iraq. Just that since they were in Iraq they weren’t available to us. (Fighting a war using National Guard, interesting).
Before addressing the issue we first attack the side making the opposing argument.
Yep, an supposedly they blocked a number of CoE projects to enhance the protection provided by the levees and other flood control systems.
I read neither Krauthammer nor Sullivan, having made a New Year’s Resolution not to let people who are profoundly out of touch with reality dictate my reading habits.
I didn’t mean to post and run…but having come back would just like to say, John: I do see that the commenter you linked to was obnoxious. But, corresponding to what another poster said, when I am reading the comments there are all sorts of things written that I’m interested in hearing you (or any other conservative commenter) interact with. It too often seems that you come into the comments section only to deal with people like slide. Or, I read someone as being dismayed or outraged on principle, and you read them as being aggressive and obnoxious. Because I’ve agreed with them and haven’t found them obnoxious, I tend to see your anger as directed against everyone who disagrees with you.
I do think if someone writes something agreeable, we all tend to read it with more civility than if it’s an affront to our ideas and so can understand why you might perceive certain things more negatively than I, and the other liberal readers/commenters.
Anyway, I’ll stop trying to be the civility patrol, but I do hope you’ll just ignore the mudslingers. There are many of us on both sides, I think, who have recognized that more than anything else we need to learn to talk to each other and that the stakes are very high. Because you don’t seem to toe a partisan line, your blog offers a space for that possibility and that’s why people like me keep checking in.
What an obnoxious dumbass.
This at best only partly right. There is some debate on whether warmer oceans will result in greater frequency of the storms. However, temperature is a factor in intensity. Hurricanes draw their energy off of the warm water in tropical oceans. It’s why the storms quickly break up over land, they lose that source of energy. It’s also why you don’t see hurricanes in colder oceans. You need waters of something like 80 degrees F and up to sustain a hurricane. There’s all kinds of other factors affecting formation like wind shear, but in the Gulf we obviously already have conditions conducive to hurricane formation. Increasing the temperature of the water of the Gulf is like fuel on the fire.
The globe may be warming. However, the debate is, it is cause by human activity or by a natural earth cycle, given that there have been many ice ages and warming periods throughout the existence of the world. (My uncle from Germany kind of broke the theory of many ice ages many years ago. He was the smart one in the family.) How do we determine which it is? Until then, we don’t know if there is global warming that we can do anything about.
scs, In the scientific community there is no debate about human vs. “natural” forcings. It was settled long ago. Just like evolution. The only people who are “debating” are idiots like you who don’t care about science or what consensus means. Please read what scientists think before you pretend to know something. If you actually care good summaries of this and many other issuse needed to understand global warming can be found at http://www.realclimate.org
5-10 years, or never. I am willing to bet my house that there will never be a scientific study that will prove the global warming theory. It will never happen, and you know it.