Thursday, September 08, 2005

Peaktalk on Katrina

Peaktalk by Pieter Dorsman, is "a weblog about international politics and economics. Some of Peaktalk’s posts have appeared in the National Post, one of Canada’s largest newspapers."
Smart, international, well-educated. CV here.

The global view of the hurricane tragedy is sympathetic but cold. Writers from outside the country don't have the same axes to grind as politicians with American constituencies. There may be conflicting viewpoints, but not for the same reasons.

His posts for today are very much worth reading. There are two.

The first basically says that the president needs to get to work. Quit being a symbol and cheerleader, roll up his sleeves and get involved.

George Bush came to the presidency with neither the imagination that a visionary head of state should carry with him, nor did he seem to be the managerial wizard that some had projected him to be. And while trying hard to unravel it, ...there’s still no explanation for his poor communications skills...his management style, if therewas one, was deeply flawed. The terrible weakness of his opponent and the strength of the war on terror message allowed Bush to claim a second term, but already doubts were raised - righty or wrongly - about the many mistakes made in post-war Iraq. The inability of Bush to hold his staff directly accountable deprived him of the most basic of tools any CEO needs: firing the incompetent. His loyalty is commendable, but it isn’t a trait that you would normally find among effective CEOs and certainly not among Chairmen who are increasingly held accountable by skeptic shareholders.

The Katrina debacle brought all of this into sharp focus. The White House staff was holidaying and failed to resurrect the man that can unite the nation, the de-facto head of government was away in Wyoming and the president himself failed to grasp that it was upon him to be both the Chair and the CEO at this critical juncture. Bush doesn’t have enough weight in either department to compensate for a shortcoming in the other like a Reagan or even a Clinton. As discussed earlier the affair has put his very presidency on the line and to lead the nation both as Chairman and CEO he will need to roll up his sleeves and get at it. It requires a lot of work, a revamped team and time. He has three years to do it.
Ouch! And this from a guy who basically respects and likes him.

The second post tears the Louisiana leadership to ribbons. The legendary political corruption of Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular, reaching mythic proportions in prose and film, is laid out for all to see. The connection between that corruption and the catastrophe we are now witness to is a clear as the link between unprotected sex and STD's.
As former congressman Billy Tauzin used to say, “half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under indictment.”
The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city.
...without a moral compass, ethical boundaries and a profound understanding that public servants should serve the public, our leaders simply occupy positions of power to serve themselves. It is evident in the establishment of 30+ years of deliberate inadequate curriculum and teaching in New Orleans public schools. It is evident in decades of enormous amounts of corruption throughout the city’s political construct. It is evident in the prejudiced and criminal judges that headed the region’s judicial system. It is evident in the area’s corrupt cops.

These are all snips from verious sources he quotes. Together they really pour on the criticism. I am impressed that no one has been exempted from liability.

So how did I come by this site?
Glad you asked.

I was trying to learn something about one Adrienne McPhail whose piece in Arab News I am about to cite. She is a journalist who has been all over the place, written English articles for the the Arab News, and is currently living in Japan. In other words, she is an international journalist.

After Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim on the streets of Amsterdam last November, the Dutch reacted in part by producing a video about living in Holland with the intent of helping immigrants learn how to become better Dutch citizens. Well, showing images of topless sunbathers on beaches - or homosexual weddings - is not the most effective way to appeal to conservative Muslims who find such practices reprehensible.

Anyway, Mr. Dorsman linked to one of Ms. McPhail's articles in his post. This turned up in a Google search. For me it has been a double-good discovery. Both of these are clear thinkers and excellent writers.

Now to the next post...

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