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New Orleans as the Victim of AIDS Research Funding By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I have discovered the reason for the sufferings of the many victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and in the neighboring states.  They are suffering because the United States spends money on AIDS research.   Had the US not been spending so much of the federal budget on AIDS research, then at least $200 dollars could have been saved over the past 16 years to be used to help out the victims of natural disasters and for emergency relief.

Ok, I admit it, I am only being facetious.  I am merely spoofing what has become the unanimous position of the demagogues of the Left.  Seems like every new absurdity to be pronounced by a leftist pundit over Hurricane Katrina instantly becomes the uniform chant of the Left’s totalitarian choir.

The above position blaming the suffering of hurricane victims on AIDS research funding is at least as plausible as the position we have been hearing from the Left and the Liberals.  By now, countless liberal media commentators have claimed that the problems and alleged slowness in coming to the rescue of the New Orleans hurricane victims are all because the Bush Administration supposedly had its spending priorities mixed up and – more specifically - because of money going for the war in Iraq.  Spending on the war in Iraq is the only budget item that could have been used to rescue the hurricane victims, insist the liberals.

While a complete list would bust our web site’s computer, among those making such claims have been Paul Craig Roberts (who was once Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan but then ran bonkers out to Far-Left field), Evan Jones, Ron Jacobs, David Stocker,  Alexander Cockburn (who is hard at work searching for a way to blame the hurricane on the Jews), Norman Solomon,  Jason Leopold, Mike Whitney, Seth Sadronsky (who blames the hurricane on capitalism, since – as you know – Cuba has never been hit by one), and people like Harvey Wasserman, Michael Tisserand and Lee Sustar, who join Jesse Jackson and similar moonbats in claiming that the Bush Administration wants the New Orleans population to suffer because it hates black folks.

Now the basic fungibility of budget dollars is a concept that your average lefty just seems incapable of grasping.  Every dollar spent on anything is a dollar that is not spent on something else.  That is as true of federal fiscal dollars as it is of those in your cookie jar.  So it is not only dollars spent on the war against Islamofascism and Middle East terrorism that could be used to fund emergency disaster relief.   So could the budget for schools, hospitals, and Congressional aides.  The liberals are pointing their unanimous finger at the spending on the war in Iraq.  But why not fund emergency relief by taking budgets away from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment of the Arts, Aid for Families with Dependent Children, unemployment insurance payments, bilingual education, whole math education, farm subsidies, mortgage subsidies, Medicaid, and countless expenditures for pure “pork”.

Besides, AIDS research is as good a place as any to start.  Since 1989 the federal government has been spending as much on AIDS research as on either cancer or heart disease, and spends MORE on AIDS research than it does on other major killers.  By the end of the Clinton years, the Department of Health and Human Services in the US was spending over eight and half billion dollars a year, and spending ROSE after that, until it was 19 billion dollars in fiscal 2004.  While the US has only 7% of the world’s population and has less than 1% of all HIV/AIDS cases, it provides more than two thirds of AIDS research funding worldwide.

How much of that spending was unnecessary and should have been used elsewhere?  As Michael Fumento has been arguing for years, we are spending far too much on AIDS research.   Why spend billions of dollars on a disease that can be easily prevented in the first place?

I guess that the only positive thing one can say about the countless liberals and lefties chirping that the Hurricane’s damage was all because of the war in Iraq is to observe that they are not as whacky as the people claiming that the hurricane was caused by global warming and by the fact that the US did not sign the Kyoto Accord.  That too is becoming the totalitarian consensus position of the Left.  These pseudo-arguments are perfect illustrations of what James Schlesinger recently termed "The Theology of Global Warming."   Writing in the Wall Street Journal on August 8, Schlesinger defines the theology thus:

"In referring to the theology of global warming, one is not focusing on evidence of the earth’s warming in recent decades, particularly in the Arctic, but rather on the widespread insistence that such warming is primarily a consequence of man’s activities — and that, if only we collectively had the will, we could alter our behavior and stop the warming of the planet."

In particular, Schlesinger points to the enormous number of serious scientists who reject the theology.  While much has been made of the assertion that "the science is settled" on the matter, supposedly based upon a  "scientific consensus," in the "Oregon Petition" between 17,000 and 18,000 signatories, almost all scientists, made manifest that the science was not settled, declaring: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate."

Even seemingly respectable leftist outfits like “The Nation” were ranting like lunatics about the hurricane.  First, it repeated the absurd claim that the hurricane had something to do with global warming.  The article by its Washington editor David Corn insisted that Hurricane Katrina is all the Bush Administration’s fault.  Why?  Well, because Bush is spending money in Iraq.  In addition, the Bush and the Mississippi Governor had opposed the Kyoto Accords and we all know that there would be no hurricanes if the US had signed that!

But that is only the start.  This same Corn then goes on to express his support and administration for the looters in New Orleans.  Now every time there is looting, the Left insists with a straight face that the looters are starving and oppressed people and so looting is an act of protest against social injustice and inequality.  That is supposedly why the looters started looting when the power went off in that massive outage on the east coast a couple of summers back.  And that is why the Left celebrated the looting in the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King affair.  Leftists think looting is progressive, if not downright fun.   Historically, the Left also always thought anti-Jewish pogroms were progressive. After all, the "masses" were out there using violence against the capitalist system!

Here is “The Nation’s” Corn:

"But if I were stuck in New Orleans, waiting for help from a government that had failed me, and my family was without water, food or clothes, I’d grab what I could from where I could. I’d worry about payment later. Sure, some looters are criminals exploiting the emergency. But many are people trying to survive. Who would watch their kids go hungry rather than break a window at a Winn-Dixie? Not me. Call me pro-looting-when-it’s-necessary."

Now it goes without saying that few of the looters in New Orleans were stealing tofu and wheat germ from the local bodegas, nor milk.  We can all see on CNN and Fox just what they are stealing.  Same stuff they stole in New York in the outage and in the Los Angeles intifada.  And many of the stores being looted by Corn’s role models belong to low-income struggling people, many of them members of ethnic minorities. We would sure like to see Corn and his Nation comrades-in-crime invite some of the looters over to their homes to display their progressive commitment to social justice over lattes and martinis!

The Nation” behaved so moronically in the Hurricane coverage that several people have been making puns that I wish I had been fast enough to think of myself.  Rush Limbaugh has been calling the storm Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel, named for editor at “The Nation”.   (The other editor, Victor Navasky, seems to be on sabbatical preaching anti-Americanism and Marxism over at the Columbia University School of Journalism.)  National Review's Jonah Goldberg blogged, "The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive. The poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel."

And of course from overspending on AIDS research.

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Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.


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