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September 02, 2005

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But I need to channel my anger so I don't lose rilkefan's respect. Presuming.

I can't take Bush's promises of long-term aid seriously.

He promised $5 billion per year to fight AIDS in Africa. That was, what, 2 years ago? Last I heard, we hadn't kept even one year's worth of that pledge. And if you're thinking, 'Well, that's foreign aid; this time, it's America in need', his Administration still hasn't kept its post-9/11 promise to the NY police and fire departments. Nor has it fully funded NCLB.

He'll talk big for the cameras, and fail to deliver. It's his MO.

And I'm sure it's deliberate. Grover Norquist's vision is alive and well, and NOLA is the tub the government was drowned in.

Just caught David Brooks in the round table discussion on The News Hour, and he is pissed at Bush. He calls this the "anti-9/11" for the administration.

Regarding the "they're looters" narrative, a stirring story on the FEMA board. Because the permalink doesn't seem to work, I've copied it onto my own blog.

Anyone catch the telethon? Kanye West and Mike Myers were standing there reading copy, and Kanye West said, ON LIVE NBC TELEVISION, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." They cut off of him so fast I heard the electrons snap like a whip. I wish I had Tivoed it.

Phil -- yes, I saw that. And yes, they did cut away to someone else who asked earnestly for help, and they did it with breathtaking speed.

They have now gotten National Guard troops, food, and water to the convention center, but have not yet managed a single bus to take people away.

He promised $5 billion per year to fight AIDS in Africa.

And very little of the $18 billion for Iraqi reconstruction has been spent either.

And then there is the monies pledged for tsunami relief.

Money promised and never delivered is not just an American phenomena, sadly.

FYI,

Chertoff means devil in Russian.

Just caught David Brooks in the round table discussion on The News Hour, and he is pissed at Bush

Other than the true believers, who isn't? This crap is ridiculous. My grandfather could do a better job as leader during this disaster and he passed away a decade or so ago. Dig him out of his grave, prop him up in a chair, stick a sign in his hand that says "private donations to support the victims of hurricane Katrina are welcome", and damn, you've got a more effective response than Bush has provided.

Worst president ever. Sorry but seeing my countrymen dying for no reason pisses me the hell off.

I mean really...who here, other than the true believers, is not pissed at Bush?

Yes, people are furious at Bush now (hell, even Tony Blankley wasn't willing to go along with the "people who chose to stay" talking point this morning), but my bet is that within a week he's going to have a popularity bump out of this. I hope I'm wrong, but that's what I expect.

I remember 9/11 and the couple of days after, and I remember how Bush appeared (or didn't appear) then (This Modern World has a reminder). But within a week I had liberal friends telling me what a great guy Bush was, and he'd been transformed into the hero of 9/11.

The PR machine is just kicking in, and the press will gradually get back to its usual obsequiousness. We'll see soon enough whether I'm right.

With that, I'd better go make another donation.

Say what you will about Bush's initial reaction to September 11--it did not cause or contribute to any deaths.

I don't think it's just Bush, though. I feel like something bigger has gone wrong with our government and our country, and this administration is a symptom of it as well as a cause.

The husband of a friend of mine is a career FEMA manager. I don't know his exact job title but he is based in Wasington DC, has travelled the world to direct relief efforts, and the organization of relief is his life's work.
He nearly quit last year because of job stress and frustration. Ever since Bush got into office in 2000, according to this man, FEMA has been run more as a cult than a professional organization. People are promoted or hired based on loyalty to Bush and passed over, avoided, or encouraged to leave if known to be Democrats. FEMA's last two heads have been unqualified political appointments but the rot goes deeper than that: unqualified political appointments have been made throughout the organization. Andrea's husband has been talking about this for years.
The same sort of thing has been going on in the EPA, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service. It's parallel to the decision to send a bunch of Heritage Foundation adolescents to tell the Iraqis how to rebuild and, of course, reminescent of the botching of nearly every aspect of the war itself. It's Bush's management style; reward loyalty and punish expertise.

TAXES = THEFT

I hear that from a lot of right-wing Christians. I mean, they mean "THEFT" on par with murder and not regonizing the Sabbath.

When bad things happen, the righteous will prevail and the wicked will be punished.

The Senate Republicans want to pass another tax cut for rich people. BullMoose has a good essay about the current stae of Republicanism in the US. The only solution is for people to just stop voting Republican for awhile, until the party gets the nuts and wackos out of the leadership.

KCinDC:

For the first time since godknowswhen, I'd be surprised if Bush can rise out of this so easily. Psychologically speaking, 9/11 really did come out of the blue. While there was arguably criminal mismanagement in Bush's neglect of antiterrorism prior to the event, it wasn't something that was publicly known, and in the shock of the moment there wasn't much interest in investigating it until much later. By that time Bush's people had established a narrative. Additionally, the country had not yet been so harshly polarised by the subsequent four years of Bush's divide-and-rule governing style, so people were prepared to cut him some slack.

This is very different. The disaster has happened slowly, and people have expected him from the start to step up to the plate. It has been obvious from the beginning what the government should have been doing, and that it hasn't been doing it. So unlike 9/11, the narrative has already been established. This time, the deaths are clearly being seen as Bush's responsibility, at least in part. And scarred by the experience of the last four years, the public is far, far less willing to be trustful of him than they were four years ago.

And to give him about the only credit I am prepared to in his entire term in office to date, after the first few days his response to 9/11 did hit most of the right rhetorical notes, I thought (for about 3 weeks, until it started degenerating into crusades and axis-of-evil stuff). This time, by contrast, he seems to be phoning it in; barely even trying.

There seems to be a kind of horrific symmetry about this; for the second time, W is confronted with a catastrophe eight months into his term. The first time, innocent of how divisive he would turn out to be, people were able to support him. I'd be astonished if that were the case now. He'd actually have to really do his job rather than just try to look funky while pretending to; on the available evidence, this is beyond him.

Andrew, you make some good points, and I really hope you're right. But we both know that there's a large segment of the population whose perceptions of Bush are very different from yours and mine. I can only guess what things are like on their planet. Bush may be able to manage enough hugs and emotional speeches in the next few days to turn things around.

I got a dose of one person's thinking on "their Planet" this morning at work. I was talking to my secretary about how the Bush adminitration has destroyed FEMA and I made the statement that Bush was directly responisble for the screwed up relief services because of the the politicizing of FEMA, when my "pro-life" co-worker entered the room. She immediately started in about how the people who chose to stay in the city were to blame for their own situation. Of course this is the woman who is always telling us about how she prays to God for His intercepions in her life. For example, she asked God to arrange a dental appointment for her son. She was trying to get the appointment in order to screw up a vacation her ex-husband had planned for their son. Asked her once why she thought God micromanged her life when He didn't rescue six million Jews. She said that God helps her because she is a Christian.

I would like to see a discussion on how various governments would have handled a catastrophe like New Orleans.

I would like to offer three examples:
1) New Orleans, Louisiana
2) Antwerp, Belgium
3) Dhaka, Bangladesh

I anticipate that the New Orleans response would occupy a space between Antwerp and Dhaka that would be uncomfotably close to Dhaka for many people's taste. I do believe that the distance between the proper response of a first world nation and that demonstrated by The Good Old USA to date is very uncomfortable to this commenter.

Crooks and Liars has the Kanye West video. You can see his heart breaking onstage.

Well I don't think anyone blamed the Bengladeshi people for not getting out of town. The Texas Republican Party platform called for the dismantling of FEMA. It has become one of the sort of underground goals of the Republican party to destroy institutions for the commnon good mostly through underfunding but also by staffing those institutions with people who don't support the institution's mission. Putting Anne Gorsuch incharge of the EPA, for example. Or Gail Norton in charge of the Dept. of the Interior. This is Bush's mess because he put people in charge of FEMA who were not qualified and who did not even believe in the importance of FEMA. His appointment decisions were intended to undercut the agency and they did.

bob, silence conveys assent. More silence:

"bob, silence conveys assent. More silence"

rilkefan, it has been a long day
you really helped;thank you

I don't know why anybody hasn't posted the obvious,if the Democrats had been in office the storm never would have happened! The NY Times had some good pieces yesterday,yes I gritted my teeth and forced myself to read it.There is plenty of blame to go around,the Army Corps of Engineers which oversees the leeves,state and local gov't,and even FEMA from whose bureaucratic fingers the rays of the sun did once issue forth,before savage budget cuts caused by republicans who like to see people suffer. Gotta keep playing the children's game. This is a failure of government at all levels,all parties and higher taxes would have been spent on whatever pressure groups screamed the loudest. This was one of the things pointed out in the Times articles,who lobbied for more disaster spending and what kind of clout did they have? This is government in action four years after 9/11,this is what you pay for and it doesn't matter at what level or what the funding is. Have your fun with Bush but if you think a man who did focus groups on where to take himself and his rotund wife on vacation would have done better then let me sell you some confederate war bonds. I've seen that there is anarchy and even rape in N.O.,speaking of Clinton anybody know his whereabouts? Off to the playground of the rich for the weekend. There are tax cuts to be discussed and cocktails to be consumed.

Here is some rank inside-the-beltway Plame-related political infighting speculation, for those who need comic relief. As I said, how could freshman Rep Senator Vitter give the administration an 'F'. I had a theory, another one involves WH infighting and 2008 and not caring or even engineering Bush's collapse. Vitter may have chosen the winning side.

Where is Dick

Red State, I am sure on orders from above, is starting to make the LA Gov and NO Mayor the bad guys here. Here are a couple notes from Josh Marshall countering that:

"An article in the Post suggests the US military was ready to begin emergency food drops into New Orleans much earlier in the week. But they were waiting on a request from FEMA.

Lousiana Gov. Blanco accepted an offer of state National Guard troops from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday, just before the storm hit. But the paperwork from Washington, allowing the troops to deploy, didn't come until Thursday."

Marshall

BrianM, thanks for that link. Stirring stories indeed.

I don't think it's just Bush, though. I feel like something bigger has gone wrong with our government and our country, and this administration is a symptom of it as well as a cause.

There's never been a time when greed and fear haven't played a large role in public life.

But.

For the last five years we have been encouraged to elevate our darker impulses (greed, intolerance, fear) and to expect that behavior from those leading us. Crises that might have been used to draw us together and draw out our nobler impulses (shared sacrifice, tolerance, hope) have instead been used to divide us as a means of consolidating power and wealth. It's disturbing that we fall for it so readily.

Red State, I am sure on orders from above,

Heh. Pretty ironic how you say that and right after post something from a blog called Talking Points...

Hi Stan!

Boy, I don't approve of the tone of this link at all.

Driftglass

But I kinda liked this:

"And while there is a special place reserved in Hell for drunken idiots who plow their Caddy’s through crowds of innocent people, giggling as they die, and then stagger out of the car swearing it wasn’t their fault, there is a special, deeper, hotter place reserved for those that tossed the drunken, giggling idiot the keys to the car in the first place and said, “Go ahead. You drive.”"

Bob McManus, holy crap! You guys will really start slashing veins when a republican wins in 2008.

Pretty ironic how you say that and right after post something from a blog called Talking Points...

Are the points valid or not? Why are you ignoring them?

You guys will really start slashing veins when a republican wins in 2008.

What makes you think we aren't slashing our wrists right now?

Heh. Pretty ironic how you say that and right after post something from a blog called Talking Points...

Even more ironic when you realize the origin of the name...

And they said that "irony was dead."

This is me really kind of speechless...

There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF. link


Apparently, it wasn't just ZDF and it wasn't just in New Orleans. Tagesschau had a report as well if you want to work on German.

Vor 2 Minuten ist hier gerade der Präsident in seinem Konvoi vorbeigefahren. Was sich hier in Biloxi aber während des Tages abgespielt hat, ist wirklich unglaublich. Plötzlich tauchten hier Bergungstrupps auf, plötzlich waren hier Räumfahrzeuge, die hatte man die ganzen Tage hier vorher nicht gesehen, und das in einem Gebiet, indem es wirklich nicht notwendig wäre, groß aufzuräumen, weil hier lebt weit und breit kein Mensch mehr, die Menschen sind weiter innen in der Stadt. Der Präsident reist mit einem Pressetross. Dieser Pressetross hat damit sehr schöne Bilder, die da sagen sollen, der Präsident war da und die Hilfe, die wird auch kommen. Das Ausmaß der Naturkatastrophe hat mich geschockt aber das Ausmaß der Inszenierung hier heute schockt mich mindestens genauso. Damit zurück nach Hamburg

TRANSLATION

On the last state of things here's Christine Adelhardt live from Biloxi

2 minutes ago the President drove past in his convoi. But what has happened in Biloxi all day long is truly unbelievable. Suddenly recovery units appeared, suddenly bulldozers were there, those hadn't been seen here all the days before, and this in an area, in which it really wouldn't be necessary to do a big clean up, because far and wide nobody lives here anymore, the people are more inland in the city. The President travels with a press baggage [big crew]. This press baggage got very beautiful pictures which are supposed to say, that the President was here and help is on the way, too. The extent of the natural disaster shocked me, but the extent of the staging is shocking me at least the same way. With that back to Hamburg.

(via the comments of this Armando post at DKos)

The more I read about the aftermath of Katrina, the more shocked and stunned I am. One of the Dutch blogs I read likes 'visual comments' and photoshopped this. But that seems to be one of the lesser evils now.

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