Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 5 September 2005 at 13h 44m 45s|
FEMA is supposed to manage, not finger point
From Ed Kilgore [SOURCE]
Anyone who's been involved in a disaster response episode will tell you the
first few days are characterized by absolute chaos. Basic logistics are fouled
up; communications systems are paralyzed; a thousand urgent needs must be
triaged; a vast welter of well-meaning but tunnel-visioned federal, state and
local agencies, plus private charitable organizations and volunteers, rush in;
local elected officials are forced in front of cameras to inform and reassure
the affected population. Somebody has to be in charge of the chaos, and that's
[Michael]Brown's ticket to FEMA was Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000
campaign manager and an old friend of Brown's in Oklahoma. When Bush ran for
president in 2000, Brown was ending a rocky tenure at the horse association.
Brown told several association officials that if Bush were elected, he'd be in
line for a good job. When Allbaugh, who managed Bush's campaign, took over FEMA
in 2001, he took Brown with him as general counsel.
"He's known Joe Allbaugh for quite some time," said Andrew Lester, an Oklahoma
lawyer who's been a friend of Brown's for more than 20 years. "I think they
know each other from school days. I think they did some debate type of things
against each other, and worked on some Republican politics together."
From 1991 until 2000, Brown earned about $100,000 a year as the chief rules
enforcer of the Arabian horse association.
He was known as "The Czar" for the breadth of his power and the enthusiasm with
which he wielded it, said Mary Anne Grimmell, a former association president.
Brown's old friend Lester said the progression from horse shows to hurricanes
"A lot of what he had to do was stand in the breach in difficult, controversial
situations," Lester said. "Which I think would well prepare him for his work at
The article also says Brown made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1988. This
means he's just a good-ole boy trying to get in on the profits.
-- thanks to Joshua Micha Marshall at Talkingpointsmemo for this
|Monday, 5 September 2005 at 9h 57m 27s|
The spinning begins
So they have to play word and mind games in
From Joshua Micah Marshall [LINK]
Did Newsweek get spun too?
One way or another, let's get this straightened out once and for all.
As we've discussed over the course of the day, the Washington Post ran an
article today in which they reported, on the say-so of an unidentified "senior
Bush official", that as late as yesterday Louisiana Gov. Blanco still hadn't
gotten around to declaring a state of emergency. This, allegedly, had prevented
a more rapid federal response.
Only this claim seemed to be belied by a copious public record, not least of which was the actual declaration of a state of
emergency dated August 26th, 2005, available on the state of Louisiana
The falsity of what the "senior Bush official" told the Post apparently turned
out to be so patently obvious that before the day was out the Post issued a
correction, noting Blanco's declaration on the 26th.
Yet the new issue of Newsweek says this of Blanco, as of September 1st, almost
a week later ...
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco seemed uncertain and sluggish,
hesitant to declare martial law or a state of emergency, which would have
opened the door to more Pentagon help.
Now, all the rights and wrongs of this tragic debacle will turn on weightier
facts than the day on which Blanco issued this declaration. But this claim,
which appeared in two major national publications, seems to be patently false.
In both the Post and Newsweek the anecdote appears as an illustration of
Blanco's dawdling which prevented a more rapid federal response.
The Post got played by a senior administration official. Pretty odd that
Newsweek would come up with the same false anecdote on their own, right?
Who's Newsweek's source?
|Monday, 5 September 2005 at 10h 8m 35s|
FEMA ... to the rescue?????
FEMA director Michael Brown is the old
director's (Joe Allbaugh) college
charge to get fat contracts for his good buddies. It's called privatizing --
because it's better to get big government off your back by giving the money
away to your business partners.
FEMA has always done this job successfully. But this is what you get when you
put someone in charge
who has no experience, and is more interested in nickeling and diming the
agency, more interested in public relations press conferences -- than helping
Bush put Joe Allbaugh [ read more about him here and here.] in charge of FEMA in 2001 when they decided to no
make FEMA a cabinet level program. Allbaugh was Bush's campaign manager in
2000, and the FEMA appointment was his "reward". He also had no disaster
He "downsized" the agency and then left in November 2002 to become a consultant
to help corporations do business in Iraq. In other words, get fat contracts and
make lots of money.
Brown replaced Allbaugh in November 2002. FEMA was then folded underneath the
Department of Homeland Security headed by lawyer Michael Chertoff who also has
no disaster experience. He was appointed to make sure the contracts go to all
of the right people.
In the past, whenever a storm comes into the gulf that might become a CAT ONE,
they start getting supplies ready in Houston. This has been so as long as I can
remember. After Camille and Betsy (in the 1960's pre-computer era) the
government was there the next day with help.
This time they didn't set up a distribution center in Houston when they knew
this would be a hurricane on Friday. They knew it would hit somewhere. It the
past FEMA always did this. This time they sat on their hands.
Where was Bush on Tuesday and Wednesday? Answer: giving a speech in San Diego
explaining "we are in Iraq to keep the oil wells from getting into the hands of
When Terri Schivo was on the verge of death, he cut his vacation short and
immediately flew back to Washington. When Katrina hits and destroys the gulf-
coast, it takes our president 3 days to get to Washington D.C.
On Saturday, the cameras show Bush, Brown, Chertoff, and Rumsfeld all have
their press conference. Apparently, they were getting briefed on the situation
(looking mighty presidential too) on Saturday. Why wasn't this done last
weekend? Why wasn't our President on the god damn phone last Sunday, making
sure everyone was preparing for this catastrophe?
The Governor and Mayor both notified FEMA of their needs by Saturday, as they
were supposed to do. FEMA did nothing. The Governor and Mayor both put all of
their efforts into saving people Monday and Tuesday while the waters rose.
because property that is looted can be replaced, but dead people cannot. Had
FEMA acted and coordinated ("managed") the needs of the city when the city and
state detailed its needs on Saturday, the situation would not have gotten as
bad as it did.
This is why there is a Federal Emergency Management Agency in the first place.
That's what "Emergency Management" means. According to the agency's own
website, it is the "Agency of the US government tasked with Disaster
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery planning."
Government programs do work, and have worked in the past quite well. Except
when you have presidents and presidential appointees who look at government as
a way to line their friend's pockets, and who know nothing about the position
This current administration is DUMB. All they care about is politics and making
sure their friends get some of the government contracts.
And these folks are supposed to defend us from a ... terrorist attack? Maybe
they act so lackadaisical because they spent their time planning on how to take
political advantage of the disaster when they had plenty of evidence the
disaster was coming.
|Tuesday, 30 August 2005 at 16h 50m 9s|
Yes, he really said this today in San Diego
"We are in Iraq to prevent the oil fields from getting into the hands of the
Meanwhile, New Orleans is flooded when 2 levees break that were not able to be
completed because of 52 million dollars in cuts by this administration to pay
for Iraq. And 300 plus Lousiana National Guards units AND THEIR AMPHIBIOUS
EQUIPEMENT watch this disaster in Iraq.
|Sunday, 28 August 2005 at 20h 9m 35s|
Bye, bye New Orleans
This one is real. A few of y'all who didn't call need to call me and tell me
how you are doing.
There have only been 3 category 5 storms to hit the United States since these
things have been recorded. Katrina is now the fourth. This thing has
hurricane force winds at 45 miles from the eye. At 11 mph that is 4 hours long
one way, followed by 4 hours of the end of the storm. The storm surges will
probably inundate the city, and lord help those downtown buildings when the
160mph winds start hitting them.
This is the worst storm I've ever heard of, and recall that I grew up in New
Orleans. I know hurricanes all to well.
Good god, what will be left of the city. The French Quarter has never been
completely underwater. No one knows what could happen should this thing really
hit at 20 feet high.
We will soon discover the power of mother nature, within 24 hours.
|Saturday, 27 August 2005 at 16h 8m 48s|
Two military expressions I thought were cool
Fubar: F**ked Up Beyond All Repair.
Bohica:Bend Over Here It Comes Again.
|Friday, 26 August 2005 at 13h 58m 7s|
The wisdom of Star Trek
[thanks to Bill in Portland, Maine.]
Kirk: Well there it is...war. We didn't want it, but we've got it.
Spock: Curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do
|Thursday, 25 August 2005 at 16h 24m 15s|
Citizens, protect yourself
Wear it whenever you have to hear Mr. Bush speak.
|Wednesday, 24 August 2005 at 18h 38m 0s|
Fuel standards and loopholes
From Think progress.
With the Bush administration asleep at the wheel, states have been forced to
take the lead in combating global warming. Last year California adopted rules
which “will require a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and
light trucks by 2016, a target that will most likely be met by big increases in
The approach is gaining popularity. The New York Times reported last Sunday:
"The Bush administration hates the California plan, and industry has challenged
it in court. But George Pataki of New York and other Eastern governors have
pledged to emulate it — which means the states may end up carrying a ball that
Congress dropped. That would not be a bad thing at all."
Yesterday, the Bush administration released new federal fuel efficiency
standards. (Not surprisingly, the standards will do little to increase fuel
efficiency and may actually encourage automakers to produce bigger, more
Buried on page 150 of the draft rule is a provision that would totally
undermine state efforts to curb CO2 emissions:
[A] state may not impose a legal requirement relating to fuel economy, whether
by statute, regulation or otherwise, that conflicts with this rule. A state law
that seeks to reduce motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions is both expressly
and impliedly preempted.
In other words, no state can have a fuel efficiency rule any different than the
federal government. So much for state’s rights.
So it's another hoax cloaked in a progressive mantle. Read every word and
|Wednesday, 24 August 2005 at 11h 55m 47s|
The lie behind the push to repeal the estate tax
You need to get nervous when the corporatist monarchist Rethuglican's talk
reform. Calling the "estate tax" a "death tax" the attempt has been to make
this tax seem an onerous burden to hard-working middle-class families who
scraped their way to little piece of economic pie. Although possible in rare
cases, the estate tax only affects 1 to 2 percent of all estates. This tax can
easily be adjusted to affect an exemption beneath a reasonable level (currently
1.5 million) to ensure against encroachment on the middle class -- rather than
eliminating the tax entirely.
But elements of the spoiled vile aristocracy (and their groveling minions)
don't care. Either through ignorance, pompous insular arrogance, or borderline
misanthropic apathy, the result of eliminating the estate tax will only shift
the costs of government onto the wage and sales taxes paid predominantly by the
very middle classes the "death tax" is supposed to be damaging -- according to
the lies of the orchestrated false (heavily-financed) grass roots campaign.
Here is a snippet from a recent New York Times article:
"But despite the populist rhetoric and oft-repeated horror stories about
families being forced to sell their farms in order to pay estate taxes, the
battle is over a very large amount of money held by a very small number of
families. A report last month by the Congressional Budget Office found that in
2000 only 2 percent of all estates - about 52,000 - were subject to any estate
tax. At that point, taxes were imposed only on estates worth $675,000 or more.
The limit rose to $1.5 million in 2004, and if that limit had been in effect in
2000, only 13,771 estates - fewer than 1 percent - would have been subject to
the tax. All but 740 of them would have had enough in liquid assets to cover
estate tax liabilities, the office estimated."
"At the moment, taxes are imposed only on estates worth more than $1.5 million.
Under Mr. Bush's tax cut of 2001, the estate tax is set to shrink steadily over
this decade and disappear in 2010. But the 2001 bill called for the estate tax
to reappear in full force in 2011."
New York Times, 14 August 2005 LINK
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