Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Saturday, 17 September 2005 at 15h 40m 4s|
The speech filled with Lies
Thanks to ThinkProgress.
Bush said: “The government of this nation will do its part as well. Our cities
must have clear and up-to-date plans for responding to natural disasters,
disease outbreaks, or terrorist attack.”
FACT — BUSH SAID DHS WAS PREPARED TO MEET TERRORIST THREAT: Bush,
3/2/04: “We’ll face the terrorist threat for years to come. Our government is
prepared to meet that threat. One of the most important steps we’ve taken is
creating the Department of Homeland Security, combining under one roof, with a
clear chain of command, many agencies responsible for protecting our nation…
You faced the challenges standing up this new Department and you get a — and a
gold star for a job well done.” Bush, 7/22/04: “We will work tirelessly to
disrupt and prevent terrorist attacks — and if an attack should come, America
will be prepared.”
FACT — FORMER DHS HEAD TOM RIDGE SAID COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN FIRST RESPONDERS
HAD IMPROVED: Ridge, 7/22/04: “We’ve committed unprecedented funding, training,
equipment and support to first responders at the state and local levels. We’ve
improved communication, coordination and cooperation between everyone involved
in our nation’s preparedness and response.” Bush, 9/13/05: “Katrina exposed
serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government.”
Bush said: “I also want to know all the facts about the government response to
FACT: BUSH DOESN’T SUPPORT INDEPENDENT PANEL: Seventy percent of Americans
support forming an independent commission, but Senate conservatives are working
to create a panel that will reflect “their dominance in Congress.” Bush plans
to “lead his own investigation of what went wrong.” [Times-Picayune, 9/14/05;
Orlando Sun-Sentinel, 9/15/05; The Guardian, 9/7/05]
Bush said: “We will not just rebuild, we will build higher and better. To meet
this goal, I will listen to good ideas from…state and local officials.”
FACT — WHITE HOUSE BLAMED STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS FOR FAILURES:
Headline: “White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials” [Washington
Bush said: “Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well
coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days.”
FACT — CRS REPORT SHOWS BLANCO DID HER JOB: A Congressional Research Service
report found “that the Governor did take the steps necessary to request
emergency and major disaster declarations for the State of Louisiana in
anticipation of Hurricane Katrina.” [Office of Rep. John Conyers]
FACT — DHS SECRETARY FAILED TO RESPOND AS HE SHOULD HAVE: Federal documents
obtained by Knight Ridder demonstrated that “even before the storm struck the
Gulf Coast, Chertoff could have ordered federal agencies into action without
any request from state or local officials.” [Knight Ridder, 9/13/05]
Bush said: “I consider detailed emergency planning to be a national security
FACT — FOUR YEARS AFTER 9/11, STILL NO NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS GOALS: On August
30, “as New Orleans was drowning and DHS officials were still hours away from
invoking the department’s highest crisis status for the catastrophe,”
department contractors were emailed the planned “national preparedness
goal.” “The checklist, called a Universal Task List, appeared to cover every
eventuality in a disaster, from the need to handle evacuations to speedy urban
search and rescue to circulating ‘prompt, accurate and useful’ emergency
information. … But the documents were not a menu for action in the devastated
Gulf Coast. They were drafts, not slated for approval and release until
October, more than four years after 9/11.” [Washington Post, 9/3/05]
Bush said: “This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. We are
going to review every action and make necessary changes, so that we are better
prepared for any challenge of nature, or act of evil men, that could threaten
FACT — BUSH CLAIMED TO HAVE LEARNED THE LESSONS OF 9/11: Bush: “I make
decisions based upon what I think is important for the security of the American
people. And I’m not going to forget the lessons of 9/11, September 2001.”
Bush said: “As all of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent
poverty in this region as well. And that poverty has roots in a history of
racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of
FACT — MILLIONS MORE AMERICANS HAVE FALLEN INTO POVERTY SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE:
1.1 million people fell out of the middle class and into poverty in 2004
1.4 million more children live in poverty since Bush took office
250,000 more African Americans fell into poverty over the last two years
500,000 more Hispanics fell into poverty over the last two years
Bush said: “And taxpayers expect this work to be done honestly and wisely – so
we will have a team of inspector generals reviewing all expenditures.”
FACT — BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEMOTED CORRUPTION WHISTLEBLOWER: The New York Times
on Bunnatine Greenhouse’s reassignment: “A top Army contracting official who
criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for
work in Iraq was demoted Saturday…” [New York Times, 8/29/05]
Bush said: “Hundreds of thousands of people from across this region will need
to find longer-term housing.”
FACT - ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO PUT PEOPLE IN TRAILER PARKS: Rather than
providing Section 8 housing vouchers, Bush has requested mobile-home
manufacturers to “supply tens of thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes”
for victims. [Washington Post, 9/5/05]
Bush said: “To every person who has served and sacrificed in this emergency, I
offer the gratitude of our country.”
FACT — BUSH ORDER ALLOWS FEDERAL CONTRACTORS TO PAY LESS THAN PREVAILING WAGE:
President Bush issued an order suspending application of the Bacon-Davis Act
which “set a minimum pay scale for workers on federal contracts by requiring
contractors to pay the prevailing or average pay in the region. Suspension of
the act will allow contractors to pay lower wages.” [Washington Post, 9/9/05]
FACT — BUSH WORKING TO SUSPEND WAGE SUPPORTS FOR SERVICE WORKERS: The White
House is working to “suspend wage supports for service workers in the hurricane
zone as it did for construction workers on federal contracts.” [Washington
|Saturday, 17 September 2005 at 15h 2m 50s|
Is this deliberate??
From the New York Times:
Thanks to BlahBlah for help with most of the summarization below.
FEMA - the same federal agency that botched the rescue mission - is faltering
in its effort to aid hundreds of thousands of storm victims, local officials,
evacuees and top federal relief officials say. The federal aid hot line
mentioned by President Bush in his address to the nation on Thursday cannot
handle the flood of calls...
James McGehee, the mayor of Bogalusa, a small Louisiana city near the
Mississippi border, could barely contain his rage in an interview on Thursday.
"Today is 18 days past the storm, and FEMA has not even put a location for
people who are displaced," he said. "They are walking around the damn streets.
The system's broke."
Federal officials are often unable to give local governments permission to
proceed with fundamental tasks to get their towns running again. Most areas in
the region still lack federal help centers...
FEMA...is an agency with limited federal money that must quickly expand its
operational capacity only after a major disaster strikes. It has not won a
large chunk of the new federal homeland security dollars, that have been
dedicated to terrorism.
The president of St. Tammany Parish, Kevin Davis, is praying that it does not
rain in his sweltering corner of Louisiana, because three weeks after the storm
severely damaged his drainage system, FEMA has yet to give him approval to even
start the repairs.
Up north in the poor parish of Washington, residents are sleeping in houses
that were chopped in half by oak trees. The promised wave of government
inspectors have not shown up to assist them.
In Tangipahoa Parish, the parish president, Gordon Burgess, said he called FEMA
officials daily to ask when they would arrive to assist residents with housing.
Mr. Burgess said the federal workers say, " 'I'll get to you next week,' and
then the next week and then you'd never hear from them again."
Indeed, almost every local leader interviewed - even those sympathetic to
FEMA's plight - complained that they could not get FEMA to approve their
contracts with workers, tell them when they would be opening help centers or
answer basic questions. Often, they say, the FEMA worker on the ground, eager
to help, has to go up the chain of command before taking action, which can take
"People on the ground are wonderful but the problem is getting the 'yes,' "
said Mr. Davis of St Tammany parish, who has a contractor ready to clean his
drainage system of the same trees FEMA allowed him to take off his streets, and
to repair parts of the sewage system.
"I'm saying, 'Wait a minute, you pick up debris on the road but not the
drainage?' If it rains, I've got real problems. I just need someone to tell me
make the public bids and I could rebuild our parish in no time."
Tempers are already flaring among many of the thousands of people displaced by
the storm who have had a hard time getting through to FEMA on the telephone or
finding centers where FEMA representatives can answer questions about various
federal assistance programs. Only 8 of 40 promised sites have opened in
Evacuees and local officials also complain that FEMA's request for them to
register on line or via phone is unrealistic, given that as of Wednesday
310,000 households in Louisiana were still without telephone service and
283,231 were still awaiting power, or nearly 30 percent of the state's
Meanwhile, truck drivers carrying tens of thousands of tons of ice and driving
water have been sent on a cross-country tour, from city to city, only then to
be told to wait for up to a week in a parking lot in Memphis, with their
engines, as well as their tabs as drivers running.
"It is a sad experience," said Frank Link,, who was sent from to Missouri, then
to Mississippi, then to Alabama and then to Tennessee - all with the same load
of 41,580 pounds of ice that he had loaded in Chicago. "I went down there to
help. All I did was get the runaround from FEMA."
|Saturday, 17 September 2005 at 14h 38m 29s|
Ruled by 180 year old court decisions
''We are now arrived at the inquiry--'' continued the Chief Justice, ''What is
this power? It is the power to regulate; that is, to prescribe the rule by
which commerce is to be governed. This power, like all others vested in
congress, is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and
acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the
constitution . . . If, as has always been understood, the sovereignty of
congress, though lim ited to specified objects, is plenary as to those objects,
the power over commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, is
vested in congress as absolutely as it would be in a single government, having
in its constitution the same restrictions on the exercise of the power as are
found in the constitution of the United States.''
-- Chief Justice John Marshall, Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824)
|Saturday, 17 September 2005 at 14h 31m 50s|
The commerce clause
Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the
Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress "To regulate Commerce
with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian
Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas as a
separate power granted to Congress. It is therefore common to see references to
the Foreign Commerce Clause, the Interstate Commerce Clause, and the Indian
Commerce Clause, each of which refers to the power granted to Congress in this
The use of the Commerce Clause by Congress to justify its legislative power
over citizens has been the subject of long, intense political controversy.
Interpretation of the sixteen words of the Commerce Clause has helped define
the balance of power between the federal government and individual states. As
such, it has a direct impact on the lives of US citizens.
According to the Tenth Amendment, the federal government of the United States
only has the power to regulate matters specifically delegated to it by the
Constitution. Other powers are reserved to the States, or to the people. The
Commerce Clause is one of those few powers specifically delegated to the
federal government and thus its interpretation is very important in determining
the scope of federal legislative power.
Early years 1824-1935
In Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), Justice John Marshall ruled that the power to
regulate interstate commerce also included the power to regulate interstate
navigation: "Commerce, undoubtedly is traffic, but it is something more—it is
intercourse ... [A] power to regulate navigation is as expressly granted, as if
that term had been added to the word 'commerce' ... [T]he power of Congress
does not stop at the jurisdictional lines of the several states. It would be a
very useless power if it could not pass those lines."
In Swift v. United States (1905), the Court ruled that the clause covered
meatpackers; although their activity was geographically "local," they had an
important effect on the "current of commerce" and thus could be regulated under
the commerce curve. The Court's decision halted price fixing. Stafford v.
Wallace (1922) upheld a federal law regulating the Chicago meatpacking
industry, because the industry was part of the interstate commerce of beef from
ranchers to dinner tables. The stockyards "are but a throat through which the
current [of commerce] flows," Justice Taft wrote, referring to the stockyards
as "great national public utilities."
The clause was the subject of conflict between the U.S. Supreme Court and the
Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935-37 when the Court struck down
several of the President's "New Deal" measures on the grounds that they
encroached upon intrastate matters. After winning the 1936 election by a
landslide, FDR proposed a plan to appoint an additional justice for each
unretired Justice over 70. Given the age of the current justices this permitted
a court population of up to 15. Roosevelt claimed that this was not to change
the rulings of the Court, but to lessen the load on the older Justices, who he
claimed were slowing the Court down.
There was widespread opposition to this "court packing" plan, but in the end
the New Deal did not need it to succeed. In what became known as "the switch in
time that saved nine," Justice Owen Josephus Roberts and Chief Justice Charles
Evans Hughes switched sides in 1937 and upheld the National Labor Relations
Act, which gave the National Labor Relations Board extensive power over unions
across the country.
In 1941 the Court upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated the
production of goods shipped across state lines. In Wickard v. Filburn, (1942)
the Court upheld the Agricultural Adjustment Act, stating that the act of
growing wheat on one's own land, for one's own consumption, affected interstate
commerce, and therefore under the Commerce Clause was subject to federal
The wide interpretation of the scope of the commerce clause continued following
the passing of the Civil Rights Act, which aimed to prevent business from
discriminating against black customers. In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United
States (1964), the Court ruled that Congress could regulate a business that
served mostly interstate travelers; in Katzenbach v. McClung (1964) the Court
ruled that the government could regulate Ollie's Barbecue, which served mostly
local clientele but sold food that had previously moved across state lines; and
in Daniel v. Paul (1969), the Court ruled that the government could regulate a
recreational facility because three out of the four items sold at its snack bar
were purchased from outside the state.
The Rehnquist Court
In 1995, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, delivered the opinion of the Court
in United States v. Lopez (later clarified by United States v. Morrison).
There, the Court ruled that Congress only had the power to regulate:
the channels of commerce, the instrumentalities of commerce, and action that
substantially affects interstate commerce.
Thus the government did not have the power to regulate relatively unrelated
things such as the possession of firearms near schools, as in the Lopez case.
This was the first time in 60 years, since the conflict with President Franklin
Roosevelt in 1936-37, that the Court had overturned a putative regulation on
interstate commerce because it exceeded Congress's commerce power. Justice
Clarence Thomas argued that allowing Congress to regulate intrastate,
noncommercial activity under the Commerce Clause would confer on Congress a
general “police power” over the Nation.
The Court found in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996) that, unlike
the Fourteenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause does not give the federal
government the power to abrogate the sovereign immunity of the states.
Many described the Rehnquist Court's commerce clause cases as a doctrine
of "new federalism". The outer limits of that doctrine were delineated by
Gonzales v. Raich (2005), in which Justices Scalia and Kennedy departed from
their previous positions as parts of the Lopez and Morrison majorities to
uphold a federal law regarding marijuana. The court found the federal law
valid, although the marijuana in question had been grown and consumed within a
single state, and had never entered interstate commerce.
You can visit here if you are interested in more details about the
landmark court cases surrounding the commerce clause in the US constitution.
|Friday, 16 September 2005 at 20h 8m 25s|
A cruel facade he calls leadership
This is from Brian Williams
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last
night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but
the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on
for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update
edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago
cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty,
roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit
no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more
than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area
was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make
some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
|Friday, 16 September 2005 at 19h 44m 0s|
Your kidding, right?
This story came out the day before the "big speech" -- give me
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 - President Bush is to pledge in an address to the nation
from New Orleans on Thursday night that the federal government will provide
housing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina and also help reimburse the
states for costs they have absorbed in taking in evacuees, a White House
official said Wednesday.
The commitments are part of a series of initiatives that the president is
expected to announce as he tries to recover from the political fallout over the
government's handling of the storm.
. . .
White House officials also played down the notion that Mr. Bush would offer
a "Marshall Plan" for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, as the Senate Republican
leadership called for in a letter to the president on Wednesday. "We stand
ready to work with you to lay out a comprehensive approach to the coordination
of relief and development efforts through a 'Marshall Plan' for the Gulf Coast
as soon as possible," said the letter, signed by Senator Bill Frist, the
majority leader, and others.
Instead, administration officials and a Republican close to the White House
said Mr. Bush would offer some general principles about "building a better New
Orleans" with stricter construction standards to try to avoid a replay of the
recent catastrophe. Republicans said Mr. Bush would not mention a price tag, in
large part because of budget and political pressures from House Republicans and
other supporters angry about administration spending.
Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr.
Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort,
which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct
involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
Who is in charge of the reconstruction effort ?
I'll let Ed Kilgore speak for me on this one.[SOURCE
After all, Karl Rove is (a) the man most responsible for the entire strategy of
partisan and ideological polarization that has poisoned the atmosphere of
American politics, and (b) a consistent practitioner of a form of politics that
relentlessly focuses on the conjunction of money, ideology, and (in his mind,
at least) purchasable voter blocs, and (c) the potential object of a federal
indictment for violating national security policies, and his own security
clearance, by "outing" an undercover CIA agent to punish her politically
|Tuesday, 13 September 2005 at 22h 1m 1s|
Do you remember?
Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger makes copies of federal
documents and stuffs the copies in his pocket so he can remember the documents,
and Dennis Hastert orders a full fledge investigation (during the heat of the
2004 election -- coincidence???) which comes out and quietly says that no
documents were taken, and no wrong doing was found.
Just like the whitewater hoax. No wrongdoing ever occurred.
Oh but the roar of false indignation.
Back to 2005.
Two lawyers representing the Bush administration go into the Federal documents
of recent Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and remove 2 federal documents --
ie, they are gone, vanished, no longer in existence -- and ...
There is no investigation??? Not a word.
Is this the same reason why the Bush administration redacted , what was it, 36
pages of the 9-11 commission report which detailed the Saudi involvement?
Or why when it was discovered that Republican operatives were hacking into
Democratic computers from the offices of Robert Frist ... suddenly an envelope
with the poison Rincin arrives at Frist's office, and the investigation of
Frist's computers comes to a halt.
Can you say Anthrax in envelopes to Congress?
Can you say Medicare bills signed at 3:30 in the morning after Hastert bribed
congressmen on the floor of Congress -- for a bill that is a sop to the
Insurance industry that pays the politicians well.
And what about Jack Abramof and Tom Delay scamming by diverting funds from
profits and use front organizations and fake businesses to funnel cash into
political slush funds? What about the way Ohio Republicans used the State
Worker Retirement fund as a conduit to raising huge amounts of cash under the
disguise of investing in the same investments of the trust fund?
How many cost-plus contracts will Halliburton and Bechtel get at the expense of
the tax payers?
Will Ken Lay ever serve time, or will all his suggested
appointments to the Federal bureaucracy ensure that Enron-onomics will be with
us for an uncomfortably long time -- that means you Patrick Wood III.
Of course Bush doesn't flout the Geneva Conventions in Guantanamo, thats why
Bush refused to join the World Criminal Court and why the ABM treaty was ended,
and why longtime Bush lawyer Gonzales wrote a legal memo stating that the
Geneva Conventions were "cute" and non-applicable.
Why is Tom Delay soon going to be criminally indited, and
why did the Republicans all gather together and change their rules about
prohibiting a majority leader who is indited for a federal crime?
How about gerrymandering Texas after it was legally redistricted, so that you
create 5 seats for Republicans by deftly slicing the Democratic areas to shreds?
Need I say more?
Now I forget, what was it that Clinton did?
|Saturday, 10 September 2005 at 13h 16m 15s|
Other FEMA appointed officials
There is a list provided by David Allen here.
|Saturday, 10 September 2005 at 14h 23m 42s|
The media double standard
From the Rolling Stone :
. . . The press also went into a tizzy over Gore's casual comment during that
first debate that he had traveled with James Lee Witt, head of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, to Texas during a spate of wildfires. As vice
president, Gore had traveled with Witt seventeen different times, but not on
the date in question. Gore corrected the record the next morning, but the press
treated his slip of the tongue as wildly important.
. . . During the debates, though, Bush made a handful of blunders regarding
military operations in the Balkans and Haiti, about the facts surrounding
Texas' most celebrated hate-crime trial and about his own tax plan. Bush was
free to botch facts about central policy issues and the press wouldn't question
his intelligence. But if Gore were to misstate nonessential details, such as
how long a student had to stand in a crowded Sarasota classroom, he was tagged
a liar who couldn't be trusted.
Few journalists saw anything wrong with this double standard. In fact, some
found it amusing. "You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you
really get in the weeds and get out your calculator, or you look at his record
in Texas," Time magazine columnist Margaret Carlson told radio morning man Don
Imus at the height of the campaign. "But it's really easy, and it's fun, to
disprove Gore. As sport, and as our enterprise, Gore coming up with another
whopper is greatly entertaining to us."
Who decided that covering presidential politics was supposed to
be "entertaining" and "fun" for journalists?
Answer: the corporate exec's and proprietors who got the word out : make Dubya
look like an easy-going honest man of integrity, and make Gore look like a
stiff, humorless, slick bureaucrat. Those who heeded the call got the big spots
and the promotions.
|Saturday, 10 September 2005 at 12h 12m 31s|
Can you tell the difference?
Thanks to Billmon.
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking
extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with
the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who
does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.
The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the
Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be
lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said
Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.
The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to
victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving
in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known
for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll."
Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.
Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk
September 9, 2005
Pyongyang, North Korea -- Organizers of the Democratic People's Republic's
memorial Slavery Walk are taking extraordinary measures to encourage
participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined
with secret police, and the event closed to anyone who does not have the
slogan "Long Live Dear Leader, Glorious Light of the Proletarian Masses"
tattooed on his or her forehead by 4:30 p.m. today.
The march, sponsored by the Ministry of Defense, will wend its way from
People's Tractor Factory No. 438 to the People's Palace of Democratic Torture
along a route that is classified as a state secret and will be lined with 16-
foot concrete walls topped with broken glass and razor wire to keep
it "ideologically pure," Dear Leader Kim Jong-il said.
The event, the We Will Gladly Lay Down our Insignificant Lives for Dear Leader
Slavery Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of imperialist aggression and
a show of support for those serving in the People's Army, topped off with a
concert by folk singer Klint Black-il, known for his pro-government
anthem, "Without Your Brilliant Dialetical Thought, Our Petty Lives Are Empty
and Meaningless, O Wonderous Dear Leader."
Organizers said they expect 30 million to 100 million participants.
Unprecedented Freedom Allowed
For This Year's Slavery Walk
All Hail Dear Leader!
September 9, 2005
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