"That's what governors do."

Not presidents, apparently.

From the Presidental Debate on Oct 3, 2000.

MODERATOR: New question. We’ve been talking about a lot of specific issues. It’s often said that in the final analysis about 90% of being the President of the United States is dealing with the unexpected, not with issues that came up in the campaign. Vice President Gore, can you point to a decision, an action you have taken, that illustrates your ability to handle the unexpected, the crisis under fire?

GORE: When the action in Kosovo was dragging on and we were searching for a solution to the problem, our country had defeated the adversary on the battlefield without a single American life being lost in combat. But the dictator Milosevic was hanging on. I invited the former prime minister of Russia to my house and took a risk in asking him to get personally involved, along with the head of Finland, to go to Belgrade and to take a set of proposals from the United States that would constitute basically a surrender by Serbia. But it was a calculated risk that paid off. Now, I could probably give you some other examples of decisions over the last 24 years. I have been in public service for 24 years, Jim. And throughout all that time the people I have fought for have been the middle-class families, and I have been willing to stand up to powerful interests like the big insurance companies, the drug companies, the HMOs, the oil companies. They have good people and they play constructive roles sometimes, but sometimes they get too much power. I cast my lot with the people even when it means that you have to stand up to some powerful interests who are trying to turn the — the policies and the laws to their advantage. You can see it in this campaign. The big drug companies support Governor Bush’s prescription drug proposal. They oppose mine because they don’t want to get Medicare involved because they’re afraid that Medicare will negotiate lower prices for seniors who currently pay the highest prices of all.

MODERATOR: Governor Bush?

BUSH: I’ve been standing up to big business, big Hollywood, big trial lawyers. Was — the question about emergencies, wasn’t it?

MODERATOR: It was about — okay.

BUSH: You know, as governor, one of the things you have to deal with is catastrophe. I can remember the fires that swept Parker County, Texas. I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas. I have to pay the administration a compliment. James Lee Witt of FEMA has done a really good job of working with governors during times of crisis. But that’s the time when you’re tested not only — it’s the time to test your mettle, a time to test your heart when you see people whose lives have been turned upside down. It broke my heart to go to the flood scene in Del Rio where a fellow and his family got completely uprooted. The only thing I knew was to got aid as quickly as possible with state and federal help, and to put my arms around the man and his family and cry with them. That’s what governors do. They are often on the front line of catastrophic situations.

Pentagon scores Bush's failure to use USS Bataan

Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out

Criticism of the federal government’s response is also coming from some unlikely sources including the Pentagon. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, a Pentagon spokesman for Northern Command, revealed on the BBC that NorthCom was prepared to send in search and rescue helicopters from the USS Bataan almost immediately after the hurricane hit. He said, “We had things ready. The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so.” That authorization didn’t happen for days even though the ship was docked just outside New Orleans. On board the ship had doctors, hospital beds, food and the ability to make up to 100,000 gallons of water a day.

Read more

"What didn't go right?"

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush’s choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had “absolutely no credentials.”

She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.

“He said ‘Why would I do that?'” Pelosi said.

“‘I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn’t go right last week.’ And he said ‘What didn’t go right?'”

“Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,” she added.

Bush gang…

Forwarded by Carolyn Kay, MakeThemAccountable.com

The House has canceled the planned hearings on the Katrina response. This comes bare hours after the damning Brown Memo — which showed that Brown waited until the day AFTER Katrina had passed to his ass in gear — was released.

Also: Here’s georgia10’s diary, over at www.dailykos.com, explaining how FEMA — and Bush — are the ones responsible for the disaster in NO.
The Gist:

* There exists a National Response Plan that all governmental bodies, from local to Federal, are supposed to follow.

* The plan specificially states that once the situation is dire enough (such as when the President declares a State of Emergency), FEMA is allowed — actually, EXPECTED — to be proactive and to jump into the situation without waiting to be invited in by the local authorities.

* The plan also states that FEMA is expected to work with anyone — government or non-government — that offers to help out. (In other words, no turning back the Red Cross trucks!)

So whenever you hear Bush or his surrogates say that “bureaucracy” or the locals are to blame, know that they are LYING. If Mike Brown or George W. Bush cared about knowing how to do their jobs, they would have been proactive in their handling of Katrina — meaning that C-130s and Army trucks loaded with sandbags would have been sent to the areas in Katrina’s path the second Bush declared a State of Emergency for those areas.

Please, cut and save this and send to every reporter you see discussing this. Look up and write down their e-mails, or even call them up.

Don’t let Bush and his people get away with the blame game.


You tell 'em, baby!

From Bill Shein:

The Issue of “Blame”

I’d like to respond to the many emails I’ve received that (a) suggest my recent column and blog postings are an effort to score “political points”; (b) that we must “support our president” in this time of crisis; (c) that everything is the fault of the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisiana; (d) that the massive death toll of poor and black people in New Orleans is a result of the “failed welfare state” (actually, I’ll let the absurdity of that argument crush it without my help); (e) that this is no time for satire critical of the government; (f) etc.

First, the irony of knee-jerk Bush apologists demanding the mayor and governor be excoriated NOW — while they work on the ground on relief efforts — while the president and his slow and incompetent response be “supported” is quite phenomenal. The notion that the president should be immune from comment and criticism is a byproduct of the years-long effort, as the horror and tragedy of the Iraq War continues, to challenge the “patriotism” (a topic for another time) of many Americans while shutting down debate.

If you want to defend the actions of your favorite politicians, fine. Go ahead. Anyone who’s read my work, including years of satirical commentary on President Clinton, knows that for me, this is not about politics or partisanship or parties. I don’t care if the president is George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Howdy Freaking Doody (Is he available? Hmmm). I make no apologies for my progressive — quite progressive — point of view on many issues, one that runs contrary on many issues to the opinions of both mainstream Democrats and Republicans. And I don’t pull punches because of the party affiliation of a public official.

When a massive, multi-state catastrophe unfolds, I want my federal government to bring all its resources and (cough, cough!) expertise to bear as rapidly as possible. If you read the governor’s letter to the president ON AUGUST 27 calling for federal help, which includes reference to the state of emergency declared ON AUGUST 26, you’ll see language that makes plain that response to the hurricane would be beyond the capabilities and resources of state and local government. (And puts to rest this oft-repeated lie — which was spun out of the White House on Satur! day night — that local officials failed to cross some t’s and dot some i’s, and that led to the slow response of the feds.)

Again, that’s the whole point of the federal government. If states, or cities, or each of us could do everything on our own, we wouldn’t need it. In this case, we did, in a big way. And the federal government, led by this president and his sub-standard appointees, failed us. Not a Republican president or Republican appointees, but rather, simply the President of the United States of America and the United States government.

If the mayor and governor and other local officials made mistakes, which they surely did, by all means we will take them to task and demand accountability. But to suggest the same is not required for presidential leadership in a national disaster makes a mockery of democracy and reveals the raw, ugly partisanship of the “support the president no matter what” crowd for all to see.

Like so many other Americans, I simply can’t wrap my mind or heart around the level of human suffering. I can’t walk down my road without imagining where a 20-foot waterline would fall on the homes of my friends and neighbors. I feel strange filling a glass with clean water from my tap. I get instantly sad while walking my dogs and remembering all of the people and children forced to leave their pets behind (in one emotionally crushing story reported by AP and CNN.com, a police officer pulled a dog away from a child who was being evacuated. The child wailed, screaming the dog’s name over and over! until he vomited). I feel helpless and am powerfully aware of the inadequacy of words.

As I have for years, I’m glad to receive emails and do my best to respond thoughtfully to them all. I want to read and hear other opinions. But I make no apologies for my anger and outrage, and you can be damn sure I will continue to express it.

The regime's atrocity propaganda

Murder and rape – fact or fiction?
Gary Younge in Baton Rouge
Tuesday September 6, 2005
The Guardian

There were two babies who had their throats slit. The seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in the Superdome. And the corpses laid out amid the excrement in the convention centre.

In a week filled with dreadful scenes of desperation and anger from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina some stories stood out.

But as time goes on many remain unsubstantiated and may yet prove to be apocryphal.

New Orleans police have been unable to confirm the tale of the raped child, or indeed any of the reports of rapes, in the Superdome and convention centre.

Read more.

FEMA's crime spree

From Andy and Nancy Johnson:

Can FEMA do anything right?

HOST NOTE: Thanks to Nancy in Jacksonville FL for sending these links. It’s more than incredible; it’s criminal. Many say race was the reason Bush’s team delayed. I believe it was more than that. Louisiana’s governor, Kathleen Blanco, is Democrat; New Orleans’ mayor, Ray Nagin, is Democrat. Mississippi’s governor is Haley Barbour, former Chairman of the Republican Party. Alabama’s governor is Republican.

So, yesterday Bush holds a press conference in Mississippi 50 miles inland from the devastation with Gov. Haley Barbour beside him; Karl Rove in background. Then he flies to Baton Rouge unannounced to meet with Governor Kathleen Blanco. The White House used the lame excuse the phone lines were tied up. The State of Louisiana denies it.

But one thing is for certain and stood out to me yesterday: KARL ROVE was standing behind GEORGE BUSH at every event. I watched him. CBS tried to interview Rove, but he brushed them off. To me, that was clear evidence of what was behind the delay in aid to Louisiana. 10,000 died as a result.

For, it wasn’t only New Orleans neglected, it was all the Louisiana Delta parishes as well — WHITE areas. The math is clear: Mississippi and Alabama FAVORED; Louisiana UNFAVORED. Remember the posting I wrote two years ago, “PROTECTED & UNPROTECTED”? Well, it fits the same pattern.

The delay in rescue was POLITICAL, it’s clear. Everything Bush does is PARTISAN — from “town-hall” meetings where he excludes anyone from attending not Republican, to national disasters. You see, it doesn’t matter how many lives are lost in a war based on lies or a category 5 hurricane where rescue was delayed several days in a deliberate effort to smear state and local officials of the opposing party. It only matters, in Karl Rove’s way of thinking, that the Republican Party remains on track to one-party rule. That’s his stated goal. Read his own writings. So, national disasters, 9/11, Iraq, gays, abortions, religion or any and all nasty prejudices will be brought to center stage to fulfill his and George’s dream. Drive a wedge in the heart of America! All cards are on the table; the lives of thousands are irrelative.

If they handled Katrina in such manner, just think what they’ll do in case of another major terrorist attack? They hire only cronies to head jobs most important to the American people. A guy who ran the American Arabian Horse Association and was fired from that job was hired by Bush to head FEMA. Why? He was a friend of a friend. And now we see the effect.

The list of links below does not include the Canadian Red Cross from Vancouver BC whose planes were blocked by FEMA from entering the U.S. to aid New Orleans. Read their account, if you please; google it. It’s criminal.

Please click on the links and read each case where rescuers, including Wal-Mart, were blocked by FEMA from going into the devastated city. Then read our own Pat Lehmann’s account from Wichita where members of her union attempted to deliver aid and rescue to New Orleans but were blocked by FEMA. I know Pat; she and I met here in Fayetteville several years ago. So, this is not an imagined story created to smear the Bush cartel. It’s real, folks.

I realize your right-wing friends (and mine) will absorb the coming Rove spin and try to lay blame of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin. Remember, Rove and his pals always lie, always will. But our rescuers from NW Arkansas, Wal-Mart, and Kansas were BLOCKED by the sons-of-bitches! Let’s not forget it when we hear all the drivel from the other side. These are facts that can’t be erased.

Just take a look at this list:

FEMA won’t accept Amtrak’s help in evacuations

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters

FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks

FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel

FEMA won’t let Red Cross deliver food

FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid

FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board

FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck

FEMA turns away generators

FEMA: “First Responders Urged Not To Respond”

That last one is real —not satire but straight from FEMA’s website.

From R.Miller:

Two of my favorite women activists online, PhoenixWoman and Maia of Failure is Impossible, now have a blog.

Please note the picture of Bush as Marie Antoinette!

Over 10,000 dead, says GOP's Vitter

New Orleans Braces for Staggering Death Toll
Officials are preparing for thousands of dead
By Der Spiegel

09/05/05 — — Over the weekend, New Orleans’s rescue operation turned into a recovery mission to find the city’s dead. There are still no firm estimates for the exact death toll — but most agree it will be out of the ballpark, at least for a natural disaster in an industrial nation. United States Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt is expecting that 1,000 to 2,000 body bags will be filled. But the city’s deeply stressed out mayor, Ray Nagin, who infamously called on President George W. Bush to “fix this goddamned crisis,” offered up a staggering figure in interviews.

Here’s his equation: The city has close to 500,000 residents and if you conservatively assume that 5 percent remained in New Orleans after the flooding, the numbers could go through the roof. “So you probably have another 50-60,000 out there,” he said. “You do the math, man, what do you think? Five percent is unreasonable? Ten percent? Twenty percent? It’s going to be a big number.” Louisiana’s Republican Senator, David Vitter said he believes the figure will exceed 10,000.

Read more.

Bush's FEMA kills

Breaking News and Commentary from Citizens For Legitimate Government
04 September 2005


Aaron Broussard’s comments on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ –Tim Russert interviews Jefferson Parish President, Aaron Broussard 04 Sep 2005 “AARON BROUSSARD: We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA–we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, ‘Come get the fuel right away.’ When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. ‘FEMA says don’t give you the fuel.’ Yesterday–yesterday–FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, ‘No one is getting near these lines.'”