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Vonnegut on "Shock and Awe"

05:27 PM ET (US)
Americans, at least some, seem to react like the Catholic Church when Galileo came up with the quaint notion that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and not vice versa. We are not the center of the world. 9/11 was a huge incident to us yet it pales in comparison to the Union Carbide gassing in Bhopal, India, in the 1980s, when thousands died in their sleep as the escaped gas crept along the ground. Kurt Vonnegut was a remarkable American who tried to keep the world in perspective, and the ordering of priorities in his own country in perspective in terms of our enormous (though not shared) wealth. I want to add that Mark Twain was preeminently the great American writer of all time, to whom no one before or since quite compares.
__xPerson was signed in when posted
04:01 PM ET (US)
Labeling facts as "conservative" rhetoric? That is your proof for how the Clinton admin "tried" to deal with a seriously mismanaged municipality? I feel so refuted. Ouch.
And OK, I will capitulate, the WTC were only two of the world's largest buildings. (Wanna check my spelling too?)

I will spell it out for you a little more clearly and maybe that will help you to fashion a better argument:
The haircut thing was a power move, to Clinton's credit they never did anything without thought and calculation to public reaction, to show all the competing agencies who was in charge.
The Hubble payments along with huge investments into Raytheon by administration officials and their agents, and the awarding of government contracts to them, simply show a pattern of what happened in both healthcare and education, which was evident exploitation rather then legislation to better these municipalities. These are facts, not made up to get you to "Go Bush". But to understand what is at stake today. Remember Al Gore running on the "I am going to fix education" platform? That was absolutely an indictment of his own parties failure to make any progress in 8 years of power. If you are the flippen' President of the United States then you can attempt to fix a bureaucratic mess like the FAA, no matter what party you're in, but there is just no evidence that anything was done. That coupled with the security breaches and mismanagement of security organizations like the CIA and FBI by the puppet Reno are clearly contributors to 9-11.

And psyork, why do you start with "honestly", does that mean you usually are dishonest? Dereg' was part of the problem too, Reagan even admitted the mistakes his admin made in the first four years. I have not heard any admonitions from Mr.Clinton.

I am not a Republican, I am an American. We have to hold our government responsible for it's success and failures, not play pin the tail on the donkey for partisan politics. I want airports that work and are safe, and never see anything like what happened on September 11 repeated. Mr. Vonnegut's statements are intellectually poor. And Stefan and psyork want to argue politics instead of facts. I don't expect that to change, I admit my comments are somewhat of a troll on a primarily liberal blog like, and I usually remain silent on debatable issues out of courtesy for the liberal readers and authors. However, some things are over the top like Vonnegut's statement, and Mr.Jones' assertions. I think that despite our political difernces that we should all have a commitment to intelectual honesty, and not become so anti this or anti that, that we begin to ignore facts.

There needs to be a new emergent ideology that is niether right nor left. Smart people will invest in that.
psyorkPerson was signed in when posted
10:18 PM ET (US)
Honestly, does the Republican party send out these tired old talking points to its members on post cards every month? We see them overandoverandover. The Dems explain and refute, they bring them up again. Hmm, why don't we drag out the Reagan admin's deregulation as a root cause? Nah, he was a Repblican, he was incapable of doing anything wrong.
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
07:58 PM ET (US)
Yes, I'm sure that haircut was directly responsible. That and the other conservative hot-button talking-point issues. Web Hubble + LAX = Boston Logan letting guys with boxcutters through security. Yeah, all very convincing.

The tallest buildings in the world are in Indonesia, last I recall. You got some inside information on a counter-attack?

Whoops, make that MAYLAYSIA.
Edited 05-14-2003 08:24 PM
__xPerson was signed in when posted
07:35 PM ET (US)
Stefan Jones:
"They tried. The airlines weren't keen on it, because they would have to pay the bill. Create a new federal agency to monitor airport security? Conservatives wouldn't have liked that one."

tsk tsk Mr.Jones, if your going to bother to argue a point show up with more than strong feelings. I am sure you would like to believe they tried. But let us hear some evidence? Hmmn lets see if I remember right, Reno was all over security like a dog...and not busy with home invasion and defending the Whitehouse's criminal actions.

• 93' Clinton hikes up taxes hard on general aviation over next five years
• Clinton appoints a string of buffoons to head up the FAA. Several important long time executives continue to walk.
• Clinton admin shifts important FAA and NSBA issues towards "discrimination" to coincide with his new appointments.
• Holds up traffic to get a haircut. (I know he was trying to help, right?)
You wanna talk Los Angeles Airport Commission payments to Web Hubble? Didn't think so.

One frame of reference to recall here folks is that aviation and related business account for 50 percent of the Gross National Product and now it is in the hole. I don't care if you are right or left, the Clinton admin slept walked through their assignments, the FAA, CIA, FBI breakdowns equaled a breach in national security. It's obvious, the facts cannot be hidden. Just look.
You don't like taking your shoes off? How about when your chompin' macadamias and your plane goes into the tallest building in the world? I think I will go with some inconvenience.
Stephen BronsteinPerson was signed in when posted
04:48 PM ET (US)
The biggest problem I see here is a lack of logic. If you consider the Internet bubble to be the result of 'fraud and piracy', which I gather he does (an arguable but certainly fairly defensible position), then the *source* for much of the original $20M was in fact the 'fraud and piracy' that he bemoans - corporations taking advantage of sky high stock prices to raise more and more cash, which they were then free to use for items such as donations to the Mark Twain museum. Charitable donations boost the CEO's ego and raise his profile in the community, but generally do very little for investors. Much better, IMHO, to have the rich individuals give directly (ala Rockfeller, Carnegie, etc) rather than through their firms.

So it makes more sense to look at the original $20M as the problem, not the lack of the additional $10M. After all, the main problem with corporate management isn't that they ran the economy itself into the ground - it's that, once the good times ended, they claimed that things at their company were great even as they were sucking, in order to keep the stock prices up for as long as possible.

Welcome to an economic downturn, Kurt. Unless you think that Wall St and America's CEO's are responsible for the economic cycle itself, then get used to reduced charitable donations when times are bad, and be thankful for increased donations when times are good.

(I will agree that the new 'improved' airport security as well as much of the rest of domestic security is a complete waste of time and money for all involved. There he is right on.)
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
03:24 PM ET (US)
"Yeah, because the former "liberal" administration failed to upgrade our airport security in 8 years we lost 3,000 people in a matter of minutes. Great joke."

They tried. The airlines weren't keen on it, because they would have to pay the bill. Create a new federal agency to monitor airport security? Conservatives wouldn't have liked that one.
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
02:33 PM ET (US)
> Yet Liberals want to raise taxes and let the Government take over MORE of our income... Whoopee!

The difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is a simple one to spot:

Democrats raise our taxes so they can spend it.

Republicans spend money we don't have and let someone else figure out where it's going to come from.

Both suck, but which is worse?
__xPerson was signed in when posted
02:12 PM ET (US)
"Vonnegut on "Shock and Awe"
Kurt Vonnegut's stirring address at Mark Twain house in Connecticut is a wry, sharp indictment of war and the Bush presidency."

Because we need more indictments of the war and Bush. There just has not been enough. So luckily this old (talented writer) and liberal has come to the rescue?

"I note that construction has stopped of a Mark Twain Museum here in Hartford -- behind the carriage house of the Mark Twain House at 351 Farmington Avenue.
Work persons have been sent home from that site because American "conservatives," as they call themselves, on Wall Street and at the head of so many of our corporations, have stolen a major fraction of our private savings, have ruined investors and employees by means of fraud and outright piracy."

Eeesh, that is poor, as if no "liberals" on Wall Street or in corporations are responsible for fraud and piracy? And where was the "liberal" administration for the last 8 years while all this went on? Shame on you Cory for posting such nonsense. I miss the "stirring" part of it. But hey it's your blog.

"And now, having installed themselves as our federal government, or taken control of it from outside, they have squandered our public treasury and then some. They have created a public debt of such appalling magnitude that our descendants, for whom we had such high hopes, will come into this world as poor as church mice."

Because Clinton was giving the money back to the people? Boo, hiss Mr.Kurt.

"What are the conservatives doing with all the money and power that used to belong to all of us? They are telling us to be absolutely terrified, and to run around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off. But they will save us. They are making us take off our shoes at airports. Can anybody here think of a more hilarious practical joke than that one"

Yeah, because the former "liberal" administration failed to upgrade our airport security in 8 years we lost 3,000 people in a matter of minutes. Great joke.

"Smile, America. You're on Candid Camera."

In similitude to Allen Funt who started out with a funny idea and then turned into a perv in his old age, Vonnegut had relevance in the McCarthy and Nixon era. Unfortunately, like most of the "liberal" whining "do-nothings" today, it is a pointless and outdated ideology. The world has changed, and partisan politics is just a way to divide the people of America, don't pander to either side of this nonsense. Be free.
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
02:04 PM ET (US)
Yet Liberals want to raise taxes and let the Government take over MORE of our income... Whoopee!

And the "Squandering" of the public funds has nothing to do with the recession, I'm sure, that started under Clinton. I mean, after all, you double the number of unemployed people, especially adding formerly highly-paid tech people to the unemployed, and what happens? They aren't paying taxes, so drop the tax contributions, and they are on unemployment or welfare, so increase the drain against our tax money, and what happens?

If the Recession never hit we'd still have a major budget surplus. The Republicans didn't start the Recession, and I don't even blame Clinton, I blame them BOTH because it was consumer confidence (caused by the bickering leading up to the election, lots of doom and gloom) plus overvalued stocks that lead to the recession, NOT anything either party did directly.
Hank, the Angry Drunken DwarfPerson was signed in when posted
02:02 PM ET (US)
Vonnegut seems to have an impressive degree of insight into the political leanings of various corrupt corporate officials. I wonder where he got that?
Brian CarnellPerson was signed in when posted
01:39 PM ET (US)
Actually, I'm shocked and awed by the pointlessness of it all. The Capital Fund for the Mark Twain House had raised $20 million by last December -- much of it from corporate contributors. That's a hell of a lot of money for construction of a museum dedicated to a single author.

And why did they begin construction on this addition last year if there was some question as to whether they'd be able to raise the remaining $10 million? (And that after spending millions in the 1990s restoring a house Twain lived in for just 20 years -- the funny thing is there are a number of Twain House/Museums that show up on a Google search. Better preserve every one!)
OogiePerson was signed in when posted
01:36 PM ET (US)
Gee, DaveW, with insightful assinine generalizations like that, you must be a Liberal...
Edited 05-14-2003 01:39 PM
DaveWPerson was signed in when posted
01:03 PM ET (US)
Hmm. With Vonnegut, that makes 17 Americans I've found who are not stark raving braindead insane. Keep that big mo going, America!

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