Friday, September 16, 2005

Criminal Negligence

Who is going to prosecute the government officials that were criminally negligent in allowing this debacle in New Orleans to happen? Who shall we prosecute first? The Governor, the Mayor, the head of FEMA, the head of homeland security, the President? They all were negligent! How much money did our government spend “studying” the problem with the levees in New Orleans? Not only did they know that this could happen but they didn’t do anything about it.

I can not believe that people are hailing Bush for his speech where he said he was “taking full responsibility for the Federal Government’s poor response!” His media handlers realized that saying, “ no one could have predicted,” wouldn’t cut it so they reworded his response to say, “ no one could have controlled this event." Wrong President Bush, we could have controlled this. We could have spent money to fix the levee, instead of tax cuts for the wealthy. We could have spent money on a real evacuation plan instead of spending billions on infrastructure in other countries.

I heard one person say that Bush’s speech was a “defining moment” in his presidency and that it was up there with Franklin D. Roosevelt. (!!!) We are a nation of idiots if we believe on word Bush says. Bush is a hypocrite! He is the master of “bait and switch.” He has done this so many times. He will say one thing and do the exact opposite.
--The clean sky initiative/roll back pollution laws
-- Boys Club is doing a great job/cut funds
--Healthy Forests/open to logging


So some Republicans are upset about his proposal for the Federal Government to aide in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Don’t worry; he is just doing what he does best, say one thing and do the exact opposite.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Barbra Bush

I'm sure everyone by now has heard about Barbra Bush's comment, "Well, these people were underprivlidged people..."

My goodness, that was so classist.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bushs Trifecta plus one

Bush’s Trifecta plus one
The Internet Bubble bursting
September 11
The Iraq War
Unfortunately, all of these events played in to the hands of the conservative agenda and strengthened the Bush agenda. Now Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous responses of the government agencies are on the table. The conservatives' media-handlers are starting to define the debate. You can already hear the conservatives getting on message. The Cato Handbook to Congress gives you a peak into how this will be spun.

In the Cato’s Handbook to Congress, they spell out which “costly agencies” the Congress should cut. Among their suggested list are:

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Department of Agriculture
Department of the Interior
Department of Transportation
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
U.S. Information Agency
Tennessee Valley Authority
Small Business Administration
Corporation for National and Community Service
Legal Services Corporation
Appalachian Regional Commission
Peace Corps

We are already starting to hear the talking points for this disaster. The Right-Wing spin has already begun. The bureaucracies failed. Private business and citizens responded better than the government. The government has large budget and are not only negligence, but the are also arrogant.

You just wait, they will use this disaster to spin the argument of accountability in the direction of the Cato Institute’s doctrine, "
"Kill the Government."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rebuilding New Orleans

Here is an address from Chevron asking for input on energy issues.
The address is:

Here's a suggestion: Rebuild New Orleans as example in renewable energy sources, hurricane friendly designed buildings, and sustainable economic growth.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What kind of "god" do you serve anyway?

In the op-ed piece in the New York Times, "Neigh to Cronies," By MAUREEN DOWD on September 10, 2005 she writes:

"The Wall Street Journal reported that Representative Richard Baker of Baton Rouge was overheard telling lobbyists:"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

So let me get this straight.

Hurricane Katrina, was one of the most destructive tropical storms ever to hit the United States. It caused extensive damage to the coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, caused several sections of the levee system in New Orleans, Louisiana to collapse which caused flooding over most of the city, and resulted in widespread damage, deaths, and over a million people were displaced.

And your "god" did all of this just to clean up the public housing in New Orleans?


And this is the "loving god" you serve?

Pictures Courtsey of The Associated Press

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ouch and you thought I was critical of Bush!

Friday, September 9, 2005
Everyone is slamming poor Dubya. Everyone is saying, oh my God, he's more inept than we ever imagined, he has no idea what's really going on, he's oblivious and in denial and he pretty much let all those poor black people die in filth and misery, and he basically ignored the massive Katrina disaster for days before finally being pressured into cutting his umpteenth vacation short and actually taking action.

This is what they're saying. Kanye West was right, Bush doesn't care about black people, or the poor, or anything that doesn't directly serve his handlers' agenda or flatter his monochromatic ego or anything that isn't spelled out for him in nice simplistic pie charts and reassuring matronly tones.

And lo, the darts are slinging in from around the world, according to SF Gate's own World Views column: "Maddening incompetence ... reminiscent of a drought-stricken African state," says Britain's Daily Mail. "Can't get it together," says a major paper in Italy. "A plethora of grim tales of disaster," says the Scotsman. "Superpower or Third World?" asks the Spanish daily Noticias de Álava. Why did BushCo fail its first great national-security test since Sept. 11, despite having two days' advance notice of Katrina's wrath? asks Le Monde. And on it goes, the world's powers looking on in one part shock and one part disgust and all parts repugnance for Bush's rampant ineptitude and America's apparent inability to take care of its own.

But it's so unfair, isn't it, to attack poor Dubya like this? Just a little misplaced? After all, Bush has always been the rich white man's president. He is the CEO president, the megacorporate businessman's friend, the thug of the religious right, a big reservoir-tipped condom for all energy magnates, protecting against the nasty STDs of humanitarianism and progress and social responsibility.

He has always been merely an entirely selective figurehead, out of touch and eternally dumbfounded, a hand puppet of the neoconservative machine built and fluffed up and carefully placed for the very specific job of protecting their interests, no matter what. Repeat: No. Matter. What. Flood hurricane disaster war social breakdown economic collapse? Doesn't matter. Corporate interests über alles, baby. Protect the core, reassure the base, screw everyone else unless it begins to affect the poll numbers and then finger-point, deflect, prevaricate. All of a piece, really. Because Bush, he was never actually meant to, you know, lead.

So maybe it's time to stop with the savaging of poor Dubya. He is, after all, doing a simply beautiful job of kowtowing to his wealthiest supporters while slamming the poor and running the nation into a deep hole and creating the largest deficit in American history, all while his cronies in oil and industry and military supply and Big Energy gain immense and staggering wealth and pay less and less tax on it. This is what he was hired to do. This is why he is in office. Hell, the day after Katrina, Bush flew right by Louisiana and headed straight to San Diego to party with his Greatest Generation cronies. Reassure the masters, first and foremost, eh Shrub? Understood.

Is this not what we all expected? Can you reasonably say you thought it would be different? Just look. All major social services are being gutted. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is a joke, second in line only to the ungodly useless Homeland Security Department, which has become about as reassuring and trustworthy and humane an organization as a prison in Guantánamo.

The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans just last year. The White House hacked that down to about $40 million, even as it passed the most bloated and nauseatingly pork-filled $12.3 billion energy bill in recent history, one that guaranteed we'd be sucking at the tit of foreign oil and kneeling before Bush's pals in Big Energy for decades to come, even as more and more teenagers die in Iraq for Bush's inept and failed war. Yay politics.

Why didn't National Guardsmen from Louisiana and Mississippi march into New Orleans immediately after Katrina exited to take charge and keep the peace? Why, because most of them are serving in that same violent and brutally costly war in Iraq, silly. Fully 30 percent of the guard is stuck over there, along with 50 percent of their equipment. Yay Vietnam 2.0.
Why did FEMA chief Michael Brown wait hours after Katrina struck to timidly plead with his parent company, Homeland Security, for some backup, not to actually get their hands dirty but rather to help "convey a positive image" about the government's response to the victims? Why, because he's an incompetent lackey Bush appointee who was fired from his former job as head of something called the International Arabian Horse Association. Yay pathetic nepotism.

Just look. Senate majority leader Sen. Bill Frist, icon of hollow self-righteousness and the energy magnate's friend, has already leveraged the Katrina nightmare to argue for more drilling in Alaska, much in the way BushCo whored Sept. 11 to cram the Patriot Act down the nation's throat and make fear and xenophobia a national pastime. And let's not forget trusty profit-sucking sidekick Halliburton, which has already scored a sweet deal to help repair Katrina damage, thanks to the fact that the former director of FEMA is now a Halliburton lobbyist. Ah, war and death and tragedy. They are just so goddamn profitable, right, Dubya?

And then, the kicker. Then you read that Bush has actually ordered an official probe into the botched Katrina relief efforts, a formal federal investigation into what went wrong, which is a bit like a shark ordering an investigation into what happened to all the fish. Unless this probe starts and ends in the White House, unless it hangs Bush himself up by his monkey ears and dangles him over a river of toxic Louisiana sewage, it's merely useless and insulting and more than a little sad.

Here, then, is the new American motto, as reimagined by BushCo: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and we'll let them die in a filthy and decrepit storm-ravaged American football stadium while our president languishes on vacation and ponders his oil futures and fondly remembers his good ol' days of getting drunk at Mardi Gras before going AWOL from the military. God bless America.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Consequences of a Radically Uncompassionate Conservative Agenda

Here's a great article by none other than Thomas Friedman on the conservative agenda and the consequences of it on our country.

Published in September 7 New York Times
September 7, 2005
Osama and Katrina
On the day after 9/11, I was in Jerusalem and was interviewed by Israeli TV. The reporter asked me, "Do you think the Bush administration is up to responding to this attack?" As best I can recall, I answered: "Absolutely. One thing I can assure you about these guys is that they know how to pull the trigger."

It was just a gut reaction that George Bush and Dick Cheney were the right guys to deal with Osama. I was not alone in that feeling, and as a result, Mr. Bush got a mandate, almost a blank check, to rule from 9/11 that he never really earned at the polls. Unfortunately, he used that mandate not simply to confront the terrorists but to take a radically uncompassionate conservative agenda - on taxes, stem cells, the environment and foreign treaties - that was going nowhere before 9/11, and drive it into a post-9/11 world. In that sense, 9/11 distorted our politics and society.

Well, if 9/11 is one bookend of the Bush administration, Katrina may be the other. If 9/11 put the wind at President Bush's back, Katrina's put the wind in his face. If the Bush-Cheney team seemed to be the right guys to deal with Osama, they seem exactly the wrong guys to deal with Katrina - and all the rot and misplaced priorities it's exposed here at home.
These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending "intelligent design" as a theology than practicing it as a policy.

For instance, it's unavoidably obvious that we need a real policy of energy conservation. But President Bush can barely choke out the word "conservation." And can you imagine Mr. Cheney, who has already denounced conservation as a "personal virtue" irrelevant to national policy, now leading such a campaign or confronting oil companies for price gouging?

And then there are the president's standard lines: "It's not the government's money; it's your money," and, "One of the last things that we need to do to this economy is to take money out of your pocket and fuel government." Maybe Mr. Bush will now also tell us: "It's not the government's hurricane - it's your hurricane."

An administration whose tax policy has been dominated by the toweringly selfish Grover Norquist - who has been quoted as saying: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub" - doesn't have the instincts for this moment. Mr. Norquist is the only person about whom I would say this: I hope he owns property around the New Orleans levee that was never properly finished because of a lack of tax dollars. I hope his basement got flooded. And I hope that he was busy drowning government in his bathtub when the levee broke and that he had to wait for a U.S. Army helicopter to get out of town.

The Bush team has engaged in a tax giveaway since 9/11 that has had one underlying assumption: There will never be another rainy day. Just spend money. You knew that sooner or later there would be a rainy day, but Karl Rove has assumed it wouldn't happen on Mr. Bush's watch - that someone else would have to clean it up. Well, it did happen on his watch.
Besides ripping away the roofs of New Orleans, Katrina ripped away the argument that we can cut taxes, properly educate our kids, compete with India and China, succeed in Iraq, keep improving the U.S. infrastructure, and take care of a catastrophic emergency - without putting ourselves totally into the debt of Beijing.

So many of the things the Bush team has ignored or distorted under the guise of fighting Osama were exposed by Katrina: its refusal to impose a gasoline tax after 9/11, which would have begun to shift our economy much sooner to more fuel-efficient cars, helped raise money for a rainy day and eased our dependence on the world's worst regimes for energy; its refusal to develop some form of national health care to cover the 40 million uninsured; and its insistence on cutting more taxes, even when that has contributed to incomplete levees and too small an Army to deal with Katrina, Osama and Saddam at the same time.
As my Democratic entrepreneur friend Joel Hyatt once remarked, the Bush Team's philosophy since 9/11 has been: "We're at war. Let's party."

Well, the party is over. If Mr. Bush learns the lessons of Katrina, he has a chance to replace his 9/11 mandate with something new and relevant. If that happens, Katrina will have destroyed New Orleans, but helped to restore America. If Mr. Bush goes back to his politics as usual, he'll be thwarted at every turn. Katrina will have destroyed a city and a presidency.Yellow Dog's Comments: Best op-ed piece yet on Katrina!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

If it ain't broke...

Comments By Martie
You know that old saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, something in our government is definitely broken. The last estimate of the dead was: 10,000! Probably more will die from the health issues. And what happens a year from now when the national attention has moved on to something else? How many of these people will get lost in the system and left high and dry?
Larry Kudlow on CNBC says that government should step aside and let the market create initiatives for business to go in and build. Give them incentives like no taxes for the business. Larry Kudlow says that the oil companies "are doing the Lord's work." The evacuees need to go camp out on the door steps of the churches. The right wing, moral majority helped to elect this administration. They elected people that want to down-size government, right? OK, so we should ask those citizens who supported the economic policies of the anti- government crowd to shoulder the burden of this situation.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bush tours New Orleans then plays golf

By Martie
Ok so our dear President tours New Orleans from the air, does a few photo ops. What does he do the next very day?
Didn't he just get back from vacation?
Wasn't that one of the excuses given for the slow response to the crisis; his cabinet was scattered around the country on vacation.

Why Government Matters

By Molly Ivins
Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, September 1, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas -- Like many of you who love New Orleans, I find myself taking short mental walks there today, turning a familiar corner, glimpsing a favorite scene, square or vista. And worrying about the beloved friends and the city, and how they are now.

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives.

This is not "just politics" or blaming for political advantage. This is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do about their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for those policies.

This is a column for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who ever said, "I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics," or, "There's nothing I can do about it," or, "Eh, they're all crooks anyway."

Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my life, nothing I can do about any of it. Look around you this morning. I suppose the NRA would argue, "Government policies don't kill people, hurricanes kill people." Actually, hurricanes plus government policies kill people.

One of the main reasons New Orleans is so vulnerable to hurricanes is the gradual disappearance of the wetlands on the Gulf Coast that once stood as a natural buffer between the city and storms coming in from the water. The disappearance of those wetlands does not have the name of a political party or a particular administration attached to it. No one wants to play, "The Democrats did it," or, "It's all Reagan's fault." Many environmentalists will tell you more than a century's interference with the natural flow of the Mississippi is the root cause of the problem, cutting off the movement of alluvial soil to the river's great delta.

But in addition to long-range consequences of long-term policies like letting the Corps of Engineers try to build a better river than God, there are real short-term consequences, as well. It is a fact that the Clinton administration set some tough policies on wetlands, and it is a fact that the Bush administration repealed those policies -- ordering federal agencies to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands.

Last year, four environmental groups cooperated on a joint report showing the Bush administration's policies had allowed developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands.
Does this mean we should blame Bush for the fact that New Orleans is underwater? No, but it means we can blame Bush when a Class 3 or Class 2 hurricane puts New Orleans under. At this point, it is a matter of making a bad situation worse, of failing to observe the First Rule of Holes (when you're in one, stop digging).

Had a storm the size of Katrina just had the grace to hold off for a while, it's quite likely no one would even remember what the Bush administration did two months ago. The national press corps has the attention span of a gnat, and trying to get anyone in Washington to remember longer than a year ago is like asking them what happened in Iznik, Turkey, in A.D. 325.

Just plain political bad luck that, in June, Bush took his little ax and chopped $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans CityBusiness at the time, that meant "major hurricane and flood projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."

The commander of the Corps' New Orleans district also immediately instituted a hiring freeze and cancelled the annual Corps picnic.

Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as "Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and the Republican right, and gutted years ago.

In fact, there is now a government-wide movement away from basing policy on science, expertise and professionalism, and in favor of choices based on ideology. If you're wondering what the ideological position on flood management might be, look at the pictures of New Orleans -- it seems to consist of gutting the programs that do anything.

Unfortunately, the war in Iraq is directly related to the devastation left by the hurricane. About 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard is now serving in Iraq, where four out of every 10 soldiers are guardsmen. Recruiting for the Guard is also down significantly because people are afraid of being sent to Iraq if they join, leaving the Guard even more short-handed.

The Louisiana National Guard also notes that dozens of its high-water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators have also been sent abroad. (I hate to be picky, but why do they need high-water vehicles in Iraq?)

This, in turn, goes back to the original policy decision to go into Iraq without enough soldiers and the subsequent failure to admit that mistake and to rectify it by instituting a draft.

The levees of New Orleans, two of which are now broken and flooding the city, were also victims of Iraq war spending. Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said on June 8, 2004, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq."

This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives

Words to describe Bush and his response

Comments By Martie
Just for fun, I'm going to keep track of the words used to describe Bush in the next few weeks as this tragedy continues to unfold.

The Washington Post:

"Local officials, some in tears, have angrily accused the administration of callousness and negligence. It seemed clear that the White House had no on-the-ground network within the African American community that could have alerted the president to the deepening crisis in a more timely way."

New York Times:
"Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble. "

New York Times:
"White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides."

The Herald Tribune:
Democrats accused him of a sluggish response to the catastrophic flood...

The Guardian Unlimited:
Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, broke down in tears on Thursday during an interview on local radio, saying that federal officials "don't have a clue what's going on..."
"I'm outraged by the lack of response ..."
"I'm ashamed of our government"...

Bush postures while hurricane death toll skyrockets

Wiki News
President Bush was criticized for verbally "pandering" to public opinion, while little is done about the tragedy...

Wiki News
"The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better."
...we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity..

More will be added...

Killed by Contempt

New York Times
September 5, 2005
Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.

Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.
Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt.
Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died.

What caused that paralysis? President Bush certainly failed his test. After 9/11, all the country really needed from him was a speech. This time it needed action - and he didn't deliver.
But the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good.
For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?
. . .
For one thing, the undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's preparedness programs.

You might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.

But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor.

Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.

That contempt, as I've said, reflects a general hostility to the role of government as a force for good. And Americans living along the Gulf Coast have now reaped the consequences of that hostility.
. . .

A Failure of Leadership

New York Times

September 5, 2005


"Bush to New Orleans: Drop Dead"

Neither the death of the chief justice nor the frantic efforts of panicked White House political advisers can conceal the magnitude of the president's failure of leadership last week. The catastrophe in New Orleans billowed up like the howling winds of hell and was carried live and in color on television screens across the U.S. and around the world.

The Big Easy had turned into the Big Hurt, and the colossal failure of George W. Bush to intervene powerfully and immediately to rescue tens of thousands of American citizens who were suffering horribly and dying in agony was there for all the world to see.

Hospitals with deathly ill patients were left without power, with ventilators that didn't work, with floodwaters rising on the lower floors and with corpses rotting in the corridors and stairwells. People unable to breathe on their own, or with cancer or heart disease or kidney failure, slipped into comas and sank into their final sleep in front of helpless doctors and relatives. These were Americans in desperate trouble.

The president didn't seem to notice.

Death and the stink of decay were all over the city. Corpses were propped up in wheelchairs and on lawn furniture, or left to decompose on sunbaked sidewalks. Some floated by in water fouled by human feces.

Degenerates roamed the city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world didn't seem to notice.

Viewers could watch diabetics go into insulin shock on national television, and you could see babies with the pale, vacant look of hunger that we're more used to seeing in dispatches from the third world. You could see their mothers, dirty and hungry themselves, weeping.

Old, critically ill people were left to soil themselves and in some cases die like stray animals on the floor of an airport triage center. For days the president of the United States didn't seem to notice.

After days of withering criticism from white and black Americans, from conservatives as well as liberals, from Republicans and Democrats, the president finally felt compelled to act, however feebly. (The chorus of criticism from nearly all quarters demanding that the president do something tells me that the nation as a whole is so much better than this administration.)

Mr. Bush flew south on Friday and proved (as if more proof were needed) that he didn't get it. Instead of urgently focusing on the people who were stranded, hungry, sick and dying, he engaged in small talk, reminiscing at one point about the days when he used to party in New Orleans, and mentioning that Trent Lott had lost one of his houses but that it would be replaced with "a fantastic house - and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.

And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities.

Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.


White House intensified relief, PR Campaign

Comments By Martie

In an Associated Press article by Jennifer Loven, I quote: "The Bush administration kept its Hurricane Katrina response and public-relations campaign in overdrive Sunday, even as first confirmation came from Washington of a dreaded statistic: that the storm probably killed thousands of people.

Responding to accusations of racial insensitively!!!! Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "Nobody, especially the president would have left people unattended on the basis of race.

H-E-L-L-O !?!

Ok, would it be fare to say then that he might have a bias toward the category of rich vs poor? No? Well let's look at his economic policies. Who have they benefited?


When George Bush took office, the federal government had a 10 year projected surplus of $5.6 trillion. Now the Public Debt

As of September 5, 2005 is $7,948,923,361,663.45

This is a bill of $26,000 per citizen.

The debt goes up by $1.68 billion dollars a day. Who do you think will pay this? Tax cuts are for the wealthiest, not the low and middle class!!

Bush is pushing to resend the estate tax which the Republicans have cleverly termed, THE DEATH TAX

Who do you think that will benefit? How many of those people that are impacted by this storm and who are in the lower socio-economic categories are worried about paying estate taxes? How many of those people that are in the lower socio-economic groups are people of color Bush not insensitive to race/class? Condi, what planet do you live on?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The philosphy of the Neocons in action...

Mike Luckovich cartoon
Mike Luckovich, 09/04/05
Comments by Martie
Haven't I read somewhere that the neocons would like to drown the government? The NEOCON, Right Wing Christian, Heritage Foundation, Neoconsevatives, are the majority in all three branches of government. Aren't we beginning to see the evidence of their political goals in action this week? Or should we say, inaction?

Meet the Press

Comments by Martie
I am appalled at what I saw on “Meet the Press" today. Tim Russert interviewed the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff today, September 4, 2005.

It has now been one week since the storm and people are still dying! It was apparent that he was parroting what someone told him to say. He kept saying the same thing over and over again which amounted to nothing but PR. He was "staying on message" but it was so apparent that he was clueless.

What I wanted Russert to ask him was what he had been doing for the last four years PRIOR to Katrina. What preparations he had made to get ready for this situation that had been predicted. I wanted to know if he could account for ANYTHING THAT HIS DEPARTMENT HAD DONE PRIOR TO THE STORM. PLEASE TIM ASK HIM , " NAME ONE THING YOUR DEPARTMENT DID PRIOR TO THE STORM?" It's not like you didn't have ample warning, Mike!

Photo from NY TImes

Talk, Talk,Talk!

Comments By Martie

Washington was warmed about the seriousness of the levee system in New Orleans. In 2001 the New Orleans Picayune ran a five day special series describing and predicting almost verbatim the situation that was pending that has now come to pass. The information was confirmed by group after group in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and even as recent as three months ago, the alarms were sounding again. And what did our government do? They talked, and debated and spent lots of money studying the situation. Despite the wide spread warnings, each time the alarm bells were sounded, our government brushed them aside and did little more than talk about it.

And the talk ain't cheap either. We've spent billions of dollars talking about Homeland Security. FEMA, thanks to Bush, is now a part of Homeland Security. Where did the money go? Was it easier to role the dice and bet against the chances of it happening and concentrate instead on short term political gains by waging war on homosexuals and unwed mothers who choose to have abortions? Is that what they were paid to do? Were we wrong to assume they could deal with infrastructure issues and preplanning for natural disasters?

"We didn't have the political will"... “As a nation, we typically have a short attention span"... these are the comments that I've have heard said in the news over the last few days. I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around. But my biggest fear is that nothing will change. Another problem will be identified and we will talk about it but nothing will be done.

I've already found plenty of Republicans who want to blame the looters and defend the administration's handling of the situation. I don't care if an administration is Republican or Democratic, don't we have a right to expect our government to do a better job? Don’t we have a right to expect results instead of just talk?

I am sick at my stomach over this. I can not believe what I’m seeing on the television. I am so appalled at the political spin of the Bush administration and his cronies. If the terrorists blew up one of our cities, I'll bet you would hear the same excuses, "no one could have known, and aren't we doing a great job."

Yeah, well, there are a lot of things we can't know in advance. We are supposed to have enough intelligence and thoughtfulness thugh to anticipate and prepare for those events and circumstances. PLEASE DON'T GIVE ME THE EXCUSE, NO ONE COULD HAVE KNOWN... This situation reeks with so much incompetence, that it's just so hard to fathom.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

No Rich Child Left Behind? The proof's in New Orleans!

Maybe we need to start a new "The Left Behind Series" for the non-religious. We can call it “The Left Behind in New Orleans.” I guess the Religious Right's “Man in the White House’s” economic policies and Home Land Security preplanning that has cost billions and billions of dollars, indivertibly left a few people behind.
Don’t you think?

More Excuses from President Bush

Excerpts from "United States of Shame" by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, Saturday, September 3, 2005:

... Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.

Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.

Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.

Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl. ...

Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.

Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." ...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Intelligent Design

To summarize an article that was reprinted in the Orlando Sentinel: Someone wanted to poke fun at the "Intelligent Design Theory" that is now being taught in Kansas. So they created an organization and website and started petitioning the Kansas Board of Education to include in the state's curriculum, the theory that Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.

This guy's website ( ) includes his open letter to the Kansas Board of Education and their responses along with letters from religious zealots...

Not to be irreverent during this sad time for the country because of the New Orleans crisis, but the fact that Kansas is even considering including this petition is amazing. (?-- loss or words) If you need a laugh, see article in comment section.