New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 4, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4 — Herald-Zettung—Tuesday, October 4, 2005
Bush has no one to blame for fiscal mess
The San-Diego Union Tribune, on Katrina’s costs:
President Bush occasioned surprise in some quarters when, seized by the spirit of the confessional, he accepted responsibility for Washington’s tortured response to the recent hurricane. Yet hardly anyone noticed when he revealed a few days later that his administration has presided over a truly astonishing level of needless spending.
With as much as $200 billion down the tubes, maybe.
Why did this shock so few of us? Maybe because Bush wasn’t wholly up front about it. Asked what the federal government is prepared to spend on rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, he had estimated it would mn to more than $200 billion.
Reporters next asked if that meant we should expect a tax hike. Absolutely not, the president responded. Then where would the money come from? “We ll get rid of unnecessary spending," he said. Unnecessary spending? Like what? The president didn’t specify. But let’s see. Bush has been president five years now so if he calculates we’re blowing $200 billion on things we don’t need, this extravagance must have occurred on his watch, no?...
Bush may enjoy pointing fingers, but if we’re to believe Congress tapped the U.S. treasury for billions beyond a frugal White House budget then how come this president didn’t veto their largesse? Amid such recklessness, why is George W. Bush the first president in a century never to utilize the most decisive power of his office? Yes, children, the veto.
By putting Katrina on a credit card, Bush II lays the load on future generations. The libertarian Cato Institute dispatched one of its younger staffers to predict, “There may be no more surpluses in my lifetime.”
Nor surely in mine. But like Scarlett O’Hara, Bush can worry about that tomorrow.
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2005. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 4,1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit.
On this date:
In 1777, George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was bom in Delaware, Ohio.
In 1931, the comic strip “DickTVacy,” created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps, where the Nazi leader sought Italy’s help in fighting the British.
In 1957, the television series “Leave It to Beaver” premiered on CBS.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first reigning pontiff to visit the Western Hemisphere as he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.
In 1970, rock singer Jams Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1978, funeral services were held at the Vatican for Pope John Paul I.
In 1980, some 520 people were forced to abandon the cruise ship Prisendam in the Gulf of Alaska after the Dutch luxury liner caught fire _ no deaths or serious injury resulted.
In 1985, Islamic Jihad issued a statement saying it had killed American hostage William Buckley. (Fellow hostage David Jacobsen, however, later said he believed Buckley had died of torture injuries four months earlier.)
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II arrived in the United States for a five-day visit.
Serving Ne*' Itraunfels and Comal CAunty since 1852.
New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852;
New Braunfels Herald was founded 1690 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958.
Editor and Publisher
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Blaming the local Red Cross chapter shows a lack of understanding
I am writing in response to the guest column in the Sept. 27 edition of the Herald-Zeitung. How big of you, Brother Collins, to write your column absolving the mayor of blame in your attempt to “unify" New Braunfels. Too bad you decided to take yet another pot shot at the Red Cross.
A few facts for you — our local Red Cross office has one paid staff member, Sharon McAllister. McAllister oversees Red Cross disaster relief for four counties: Comal, Kendall, Guadalupe and Gonzales. According to US Census Bureau statistics, these four counties represent a population of approximately 230,121 people.
The local office also has approximately 20 to 25 trained volunteers, mostly retirees, who work a few hours each week. The state office for Red Cross, not McAllister, administers the hurricane disaster relief plan for the entire state. McAllister did not have the authority, the resources or the manpower to open a local shelter for hurricane evacuees. The state office mandated that all resources, and therefore all evacuees, be routed to San Antonio, where help was available to the thousands fleeing Katrina, and later Rita. It is unrealistic to expect that our small local Red Cross, with one full-time employee, could possibly staff and run a shelter for literally hundreds of evacuees pouring into our area. We have only to look at the Superdome in New Orleans to see what can happen when a shelter is opened to masses of people with no plan in place to provide adequate food, water, shelter, bedding, medical assistance and care.
Would you have liked to see such a thing happen in our civic center or our high school gymnasiums?
There was a plan in place, and the Red Cross worked the plan.
As of Sept. 23, the San Antonio Area Chapter of the Red Cross reported that 448,678 meals had been served to Katrina victims, and 31,592
Kathy Karl is a New Braunfels resident.
meals had been served to Rita victims. They have raised nearly $854 million, and spent nearly $700 million for Katrina relief. 150,000 staffers have responded to relief efforts for Katrina alone, (source:
Board Week, American Red Cross, Vol. 6 Issue 35.)
The churches did an admirable job of assisting evacuees where they could. That is what a faith-based community does. I lowever, it is unreasonable to think that church members will provide long-term assistance to evacuees. They need homes. They need medical assistance. They need jobs. They need help finding missing relatives. They need clothing. They need household goods.
There are still several thousand refugees from the two storms in San Antonio today. Can you help them? Is your shelter still open? The Red Cross is still assisting today with all these needs. They are still working the plan. They are still open for business.
You deserve a pat on the back for opening your church to assist the evacuees. Now perhaps you might consider an apology to McAllister and all the Red Cross volunteers who continue to work very long hours while you write letters to the editor chastising them for their implied “un-Christian, big city ways.” They are our neighbors and our friends. They go to our churches, they shop in our stores, their children and grandchildren attend our schools.
They are a part of New Braunfels, not outsiders. And they continue to step up to the plate to assist when help is needed.
MOW TO CONTACT
United States Government
■ George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500
■ Kay Bailey Hutchison
Russell Senate Office Building Room 284
Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: http://hutchison.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753
■ John Cornyn
Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: http://cornyn.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701
Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569
■ Lamar Smith
Rayburn House Office
Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address:
http://lamarsmith.house.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947
■ Henry Cuellar
1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: http://www.house.gov/cuellar
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671
NOW TO CONTACT
m Rick Perry
State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711
Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849
STATE HOUSE N Carter Casteel
254 E. Mill St.
New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address:
STATE SENATE H Jeff Wentworth
1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800
WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 E-mail address:
jeff. Wentworth @senate.state.tx.us
N Judith Zaffirini
RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262FEMA has proven it can’t be trusted when an emergency strikes
had suffered no losses. Just a minor accounting hitch, I suppose. They even paid to bury people who had died of natural causes. But who cares about that? It’s taxpayers' money, and everybody in Washington treats taxpayer money as if it were play money.
Now, President Bush, who is the king of bad ideas, is contemplating asking Congress to change the laws so the U.S. military can step in and take charge after catastrophic events. Granted, the military is more competent than FEMA, but putting the military in charge means declaring martial law. The military doesn’t want that job, and it’s not really trained to do it. It has trucks and backs and bulldozers, but its primary training is in fighting a war. Besides, it s stretched thin as it is. A better idea would be to return the National Guard to state control and stop sending its members overseas.
The best performers in the second storm were the state and local officials. They got people evacuated — a great achievement despite the traffic jams.
ITiey secured the towns. Now, if FEMA would deliver food, water and fuel, they
could get on with cleanup and rebuilding.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, when liberals failed to achieve their agenda through the democratic process in state legislatures, they went to the federal courts and asked them to legislate by decree. It was at that time that liberals created the myth that federal was somehow superior to state and local. They created the impression that state and local officials were a bunch of country bumpkins, while federal officials were enlightened philosopher kings.
That’s total hokum. In the first place, nearly all federal politicians and officials come from the states. In the second place, a centralized government is unavoidably more inefficient than state and local governments, which are closer to both the problems and the people. The federal government, as it has grown to gargantuan proportions, has grabbed most of the revenue sources, more or less starving the state and local governments. The answer to that problem is devolution. Give the authority and the tax sources back to the state and local governments.
If the federal government obeyed the Constitution and did only what it author izes the federal government to do, it could get by on a comparatively small budget. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to involve itself in education, welfare and health care. That’s usurpation by the federal government of state functions, and in every case, the federal government ha; screwed up. Today, it can’t even fight a war efficiently without massive amounts of graft and patronage favors. We ought to call the Iraq War Halliburton’s War. That outfit, and Israel, are the only beneficiaries of the war.
Check out the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity and read some of its reports. That will shake your faith in the federal behemoth. What die federal government is about these days is lies, secrecy money, propaganda and incompetence.
That’s not to say you won t find some crooks and rascals in the state and local governments, too. But the whole point is that the local scamps are easier to find and get rid of. Good luck trying to find out what’s going on in Washington.
There is one clear lesson we can all learn from the two storms that battered Louisiana, Mississippi and East Texas: If you expect to have water to drink and food to eat after a major catastrophe, you’d better stockpile them yourself.
The aftermath of the second storm shows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency learned nothing from its first fiasco. People in Louisiana and Last Texas are, as of this writing, begging for assistance, and it’s not there. Oh, it’ll get there eventual-After all, FEMA has awarded a bunch of no-bid, non-
rnARi cvDKCt competitive contracts. And
ll T heesb Michael Brown, the incompe-
Charley Reese is a tent director who was removed
columnist for King Fee- from his duties and resigned, is
tunes Syndicate. You can still being paid as a consultant. write to him at PO. Box Only the government would
2446, Orlando, Fla. p3y a man jet gG for incompe-
32802 tence as a consultant.
Of course, after one of the Florida storms last year, FEMA paid out millions of dollars to people in Dade County who