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September 07, 2005


I would bet you anything that the policewomen is a Republican who was listening to Rush Limbaugh, or someone like him on her way to New Orleans, and now believes her job is to protect her parties image.

We see the same thing with any totalitarian idealogy.

I would argue instead that this is spillover from our overseas adventure. Everyone is primed to respond to this disaster as Iraq-but-here.

What are they hiding? If they deny access to the press, we have the full right to speculate away. What is so dangerous for the American people to know, that automatic weapons are used to keep reporters away?

Genocide of poor blacks?
Mass Looting by FEMA Officials?
Assassination of LA Government Officials?
Gang rapes of children by Bush Cabinet Members?

Over the top? They are pointing rifles at reporters with notebooks. Does anyone wonder anymore about the stories of murdered reporters in Iraq?

And I warned people. You send soldiers for long multiple tours in combat zones, the survivors become Roman Legionaires, callous hardened brutes. Useful for domestic crowd control. So to speak.

Rumsfeld didn't break the army. He created the army they need for the job at home.

you scare me sometimes Bob...not saying you're wrong, but...

bob, your last line is from my nightmares. Combine that with the newly battle hardened mercenaries home from Iraq, and the billions of missing dollars to keep them in pay. A private little army -- no need to even overrule posse comitatus...

And the predictable totalitarian impulse: control the information. I'm going to have a beer or six.

I'd say "needless to say," but it's apparently not, that you could have read the Reuters FEMA piece here a couple of hours ago and the Brian Williams post a couple of hours before that here.

I only mention this in light of the fact that Josh Marshall is not lacking for readers and attention and links, nor does he, unless he's under a pseudonym, post here that I've noticed.

But otherwise, obviously I agree, and carry on.

"What are they hiding? If they deny access to the press, we have the full right to speculate away."

I realize I suffer a deficiency of paranoia, contrary to my choice of blog name, but I expect you and I balance it out, Bob (he said, meaning it in utterly friendly fashion), so for me, simple desire to avoid politically embarrassing photos of grotesquely dead Americans is more than sufficient explanation.

I don't think that the refusal to allow photos of coffins/bodies returning for Iraq is because of a desire to conceal secret Iraqi alien-based terrorist weapons, either. But, to be sure, Occam's Razor doesn't always deliver the correct answer.

What we did on our vacation

Pat & Teresa Hayden marshall some evidence.

You know, I should say: I flatly don't buy what Bob is saying.

I would guess they are hiding the bodies of those who died from drowning, dehydration, lack of insulin, and the rest, because they know the images of them are very politically damaging, reminding people of what happened and of its cost. And they are hiding their confrontations with the people who remain in New Orleans. And I think the Iraq-but-here phenomenon is real.

"The truth is bad enough" as my journalism prof used to say. "If the facts are on your side, pound the facts"--not the table.

(I don't disbelieve that story by the way. But it is not evidence of

"Genocide of poor blacks?
Mass Looting by FEMA Officials?
Assassination of LA Government Officials?
Gang rapes of children by Bush Cabinet Members?"

or that creating an army willing to carry out domestic oppression was one of the motives for the Iraq war.

It is evidence that, as she says "the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives were lost that did not need to be lost."

The truth is bad enough. If the facts are on your side the thing to do is make people aware of the facts. I can't imagine what purpose it serves to hide them under a pile of dark, unsupported, and not-believable-even-to-me speculation.

Read the Hayden piece. Please.

I watched the Shepherd Smith-Geraldo segment live, some of the very little TV I did watch.
I remember Smith saying they need food & water, and were not allowed to walk out of town. He was tearfully confused, not understanding how whatever was happening was happening in America.

Of course I was hyperbolic. I have a reputation to uphold. But no matter how pissed you are, I don't think you are pissed off enough. The ugliest event in the last fifty years just occurred in America, and of course we don't want to look at it.

Read the Schmitt article. They can get away with a ton because people never want to believe it can be that bad.

Katherine, you read the Hayden piece. Is it inconceivable there are bodies with bullet holes, or enclosed rooms that people were forced into?

"If the facts are on your side the thing to do is make people aware of the facts."

The facts are being buried and burned as we speak. Maybe. Katherine, you go ahead, give this administration and the NOPD the benfit of the doubt. I suggest you ignore the suicide of the NOPD PIO while you are at it.

Don't mistake me, I think it's apalling and I want the press to kick and scream about it. The worst event in the last 50 years in America? Probably. It's the worst in my lifetime; I'll leave the prior stuff to other people. But that is true even if all of your dark speculations are false.

Note that I am NOT saying this out of some sort of attempt to preserve my moderate cred. I do NOT believe in bipartisanship for its own sake, I believe in it less than anyone who has ever posted here. I am angry because I think this is directly counterproductive. Credibility matters, truth matters. If you're out of power and outnumbered that's really the only thing you have going for you. If the truth is being hidden, you find it; if they won't let you find it you throw a fit on the evening news about how they've locked you out of New Orleans and are pointing guns at you. What you don't do is start making stuff up. It won't help. It's a distraction. It's directly counterproductive. People in denial about proven facts are not going to be persuaded by speculative conspiracy theories. Credibility, truth, facts--these are the things we have, and they do not.

(when I say "anyone who has ever posted here" I mean as one of the authors, not the commenters.)

What I really can't believe is that I can't say that I don't believe this, or even that it surprises me all that much. I seem to be inured to surprise, in a way I hate: no completely appalling new development surprises me, except on aesthetic grounds (e.g., the too-perfect-to-be-believed fact that Brown had been asked to resign from the International Arabian Horse Association for The surprise wasn't that he was an incompetent unqualified idiot; it was that his lack of qualifications took such a delightfully ludicrous form.)

I'm with Katherine, though. And, for the record, I don't believe in bipartisanship for its own sake. Fairness and honesty and generosity for their own sakes, yes; not bipartisanship. And since I also think Katherine is right about the tactics available to political minorities, I've never felt I had to choose between doing what's right and doing what works. (Though most of the time I don't manage either.)

I'm more or less with Katherine too.

I'm not commenting lately, civility not something my tongue is capable of at the moment, and maybe not for a while yet.

But I want to observe that Katherine's disagreement with Bob McManus, if you examine closely what they have both written tonight, is only slight.

Katherine's is an utterly devastating critique with hope attached that we live in a system which will, in the end, peacefully apply the voting booth's paper-cut guillotine to the crowd who have blessed us with the last five years of ... some say incompetence ... some say cronyism... some of us have other words.

Bob, on the other hand, in a comment the other day, let us know that rhetoric makes the world go around, and implode, and sometimes explode. He is, as am I, what happens when a secretive, paranoid, destructive, cadre sieze a government. He's upping the ante to see what happens. Believe me, Bush and company want the pot and they will see Bob and raise him.

One thing, and maybe more later. It seems minor. But I think everyone has it wrong on the Bush vacation, conservatives and liberals alike.

The month-long vacation for George W. Bush is not because dumb-ass boy-king likes to kick-back and clear a little brush from the homestead. It is ceremonial in its essence; it is undertaken with the identical solemnity of the President of the United States placing a wreathe on the tomb of the unknown soldier; with the pomp of the smoke emerging from the Vatican; with the symbolism of the shellacked rictused corpse of Lenin lying in his tomb.

It is to let us know that the Federal Government is a dead thing; it will not be there, it is dismantled; it is bankrupted; it is wormed through now with political appointees who want its plundering and its death.

Not one funny thing there.

Everyone really should read the Hayden piece, btw.

(Also, in the interest of preventing a round of comparisons between this and 9/11--I'm a New Yorker. I lost a lot, a lot more sleep over September 11; it hit much closer to home. And I don't know which event will prove to have a higher death toll, though more and more I think it's this. I'm talking about in the oh-my-God-is-this-really-my-country-and-my-government sense.)

"Brown had been asked to resign from the International Arabian Horse Association"

All I have heard was that it involved "lawsuits over supervision". Are you certain it was incompetence and not corruption? Do you know the details?

And the default assumption of incompetence in the last weeks events is simply not plausible. 5 days to move a truckload of water 20 miles...no, "screwups" simply does not fly.

How should I react to the liberals on this board buying that story line? Especially since "incompetence" has been the consistent sotte voce explanation of most of the disasters of the last five years?

Thanks John.

I am going to bed.

They let babies die of thirst and exposure on National TV. It is a real stretch to say they didn't know it was happening, or were incapable of doing anything about it.

Real and rational is that they let it happen. On National TV. Think about it.

JT--I don't think my position requires all that much faith in our system. People have taken that position, and had it eventually work, in places that didn't have anything even resembling fair elections. Have you ever read Havel's "Power of the Powerless"? And then there's the Civil Rights movement here. Of course it's a lot harder to do it in those situations--I've risked nothing, they risked everything.

I'm pretty sure Seymour Hersh can outmatch even bob for lack of faith in our government in general & current leaders in particular, and yet--I would say he's clearly in the "truth is bad enough" camp.

Bob: the Boston Herald said: "Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures." (I was reading supervision as management.) He also seems to have had some fairly serious personality problems with some of the people he worked with (e.g., members of his board), and the lawsuits cost the IAHA a ton of money. This interview with the Secretary of the IAHA describes the final straw, which was that Brown had been supposedly raising money for a legal defense fund for the IAHA, but: "he had commitments of a great deal of money for IAHA’s Legal Defense Fund which never materialized, and then it turned out he’d been out soliciting funds for his own, personal, legal defense fund."

It's actually Nielsen Hayden. [/nitpick]

Interesting that you'd bring up 9-11 Edward. If I remember correctly the press decided then not to show photos of the dying or dead. Why now is it OK?

The only problem is that Seymour Hersh's exposes ultimately accomplished nothing. Bush remains in office. No officials with decisionmaking authority on Abu Ghraib have been punished. Gonzalez is Attorney General and Bybee is a circuit court judge. Torture of Muslims continues unabated.

Rest assured: the right wing will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means bringing the country down with them. Are you ready to do the same? If not, you've already lost.

Well, incompetence. As with the myriad justifications for the invasion of Iraq, I imagine different people have different motives. At the top of FEMA, we have political operatives whose main goal is to make George W. Bush look good. At the middle levels, there are managers who have various concerns, including a desire to protect their jobs and fiefdoms. In the trenches, there are people trying to deal with their often unreasonable and incomprehensible bosses as well as the overwhelming facts on the ground.

bob m, I often feel you are channeling my darkest fears, and I remember that "even paranoids have enemies." Still, I am a little more optimistic than you, I think.

The Making Light / sfsocialists post also appeared as a Daily Kos diary. Very troubling, as is the Falls Creek "FEMA detainment camp" description pointed to by Gary, although it appears to have been placed on standby. (hat tip to discourse.net.)

"screw ups"? Some, but also deliberate action. I hold no illusions about the malevolence and mendacity of the Bush administration, but there is incompetence and sheer disconnection from reality as well. I am with Katherine -- the facts are on our side. Pound them.

flc--show me your detailed strategy, or I will assume this is careless macho talk signifying nothing. Show me what you've done that's come as close to working as what Hersh has done, or tell me what you're planning to do.

bains--there were not many bodies to film. They did go easy on the footage of people leaping to their death. But surely you see the difference between the press deciding not to show images, and them being ordered not to take certain pictures by people pointing large guns at them?

Sleep well, Bob.

Also this, because too much agreement on the Internet leads to MSM schlerosis (so I'm told by the those who believe this new medium is so wonderful).

Shepard Smith and his tears and his pleading are those of a sinner in some lower level of Dante's Inferno. Repentance sought too late, demons snapping at his well-coiffed visage, savaged, immersed in some New Orleans hellish mud coagulant, Murdochean levees breaking, subsumed in his own Foxy vomit.

FFFF him.

On preview: What Katherine said.

Two things, bains.

First, the issue isn't "pictures of the dead" so much as it is not allowing the press any access to the area at all. We're hearing stories of the military treating people very harshly, of people being rounded up and taken to undisclosed locations, of aid being withheld altogether.

If these stories are true, they need to be covered. This is America. Military control of a city, and military abuse of the citizens of that city, are deeply unAmerican. Preventing the media from reporting on an ongoing American disaster, one that affects everyone in the country, is also deeply unAmerican.

The second point is somewhat of a correllary to the first. The decision made on 9/11 to not show photos of the dead and dying was out of respect for the dead and dying and their families. That was an appropriate decision.

However, since then, journalists have been embedded, managed, distracted, and lied to about every policy and action the Bush Administration has undertaken. To their eternal shame, most journalists were OK with that. But we should not be OK with that, because journalism's job is not to protect the powerful; it is to inform the citizenry of issues that affect the well-being of the citizenry, so the citizenry can make informed decisions come election time.

It is remotely possible that some journalists are awakening to this, and have figured out that their professional responsibilities are not served by being willing, unquestioning conduits of propaganda. It is remotely possible that some journalists recognize where their 5 years of being manipulated and used has led: to an Administration that refuses to be held accountable for anything it does, including criminal negligence and depraved indifference to human life in the face of the worst natural disaster in the nation's history.

That's why denying reporters access to New Orleans is unacceptable. Because, unlike in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we know how the Bush Administration operates: it likes to control information, withhold information, distort and falsify information.

"Pat & Teresa Hayden marshall some evidence."

Um. There are few things Patrick hates more than being called "Pat," (at least, such was the case from 30 years ago through 5 years ago) and their last name is "Nielsen Hayden" (being the former Patrick Hayden and Teresa Nielsen).

A little bit of evidence towards the press just possibly http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001055403>waking up a little. We can hope.

Still, what happens if Bush's approval drops under 40%? What would the Nixon administration have been like with three branches of government? Thullen and mcmanus' suggestions that this administration is willing to raise the stakes seem pretty plausible. Katherine is right that you pound the facts. They are right that backlash should be expected though.


Am I disagreeing with you? No.

Let's leave McManus out of this, since he's to bed. Look, you're right and you will prevail. But, my rhetoric, and flc's macho rhetoric, and like rhetoric, including Hersh's more effective rhetoric and action, will put you and Hilzoy into the position of changing what's happening. (He said, with incredibly inflated rhetorical bushwah).

Are you telling me that macho rhetoric does not work? Then, you don't give the Republican Party, the most successful, ruthless, organized, and macho bunch of talk-radio, Limbaugh-Schwarzenegger-swaggering-Bush-gunslingers to swing into town since Liberty Valence, any credit.

Which you must do. First. Before they go to jail.

You pound the facts. Great. We'll pound the rhetoric. If I get there first, I'll hand you the keys and disappear into the shadows.
I promise.

You're Jimmy Stewart. McManus is John Wayne. I'm Poppy. Rent the movie. Everything turns out O. K.

Huge :) to you Katherine even though I'm not in the mood.

There is a huge difference between chosing not to print photos of human carnage and being forced not to take such photos, Katherine. You'll note I did not make that arguement, nor is it my point.

I'm just wondering why those photos were too horrific and disturbing, and these latest faces of death, evidently are not. Admittedly, that comparison is premature until editors chose to run the photos.

Casey, having the military in control of american soil is disturbing. Ironic that these are the same forces many were screaming for just a few days ago. And just what nefarious 'truth' are you suggesting a police officer (normally under the direction of local officals) is trying to hide? That the Corp of Engineers purposefully bombed the 17th street levee as some Kos commenters have suggested?

Sadly, there is a position between Bob and Katherine. From the linked piece:

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and
managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The
sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to
get us to move.

There was evidently little or no flooding on the West Bank (Which is really to the south of the city) I wonder how many people tried to leave from the Superdome and Riverwalk, but were actively prevented from doing so. There were ferries that went from Canal street over to Algiers point, a 5-10 minute trip. I've seen nothing about ferrying the elderly and the sick to Algiers, the Convention center apparently evacuated by helicopter. I'm afraid there are going to be some stories that might not match Bob's imagination, but will still make the stories that have come out seem tame. If we hear them.

The three Duke University students were on CNN and showing some of their home movies, with empty buses being taken out of the city.

One could take Bob's comments two ways. The first would be as actually what happened. The second would be as hyperbolic, but revealing an underlying truth. Looking at the latter, we just have to think of all the stories (drug paraphenalia hanging from the Clinton WH christmas tree, faked suicides, lesbian tendencies of the first lady, Kerry's self inflicted wounds) to realize that dumps of these kinds of accusations are simply the way the game is played now.

For my part, I just wish everytime an administration official appeared in public, everyone would start chanting 'Katri-na, Katri-na' like the union troops supposedly did when they chanted 'Fredricksburg, Fredricksburg' as Pickett's men were setting off on their charge.

Or not. All this mind-reading makes my head hurt.

On preview, I see JT has said it better than I could. I'm off to find a copy of Ballard's Drowned World.

That the Corp of Engineers purposefully bombed the 17th street levee as some Kos commenters have suggested?

some history

Several reports on the poor situation in the refugee camps, including one by the Colored Advisory Commission by Robert Russa Moton, were kept out of the media at the request of Herbert Hoover, with the promise of further reforms for blacks after the presidential election. When he failed to keep the promise, Moton and other influential African-Americans helped to shift the allegiance of black Americans from the Republican party to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Democrats.



The situation in Greenville is dire. Thirteen thousand African Americans are stranded on the levee with nothing but blankets and makeshift tents for shelter. There is no food for them. The city's water supply is contaminated. The railway has been washed away, and sanitation is non-existent. An outbreak of cholera or typhoid is imminent.

Will Percy decides that the only honorable and decent course of action is to evacuate the refugees to safer ground down river and arranges for barges to pick up and transport the refugees. Many people are reluctant to abandon Greenville, despite the fact that their homes have been submerged. The planters, in particular, oppose Will's plan, fearing that if the African American refugees leave, they will never return, and there will be no labor to work the crops. LeRoy, placing his business interests above his family's tradition of aiding those less fortunate, betrays his son and secretly sides with the planters. Boats with room for all the refugees arrive, but only 33 white women and children are allowed to board. The African American refugees are left behind, trapped on the levee. Later, Will Percy will write that he was "astounded and horrified" by this turn of events.

As has been related by a number of other people, the riverboat played 'Bye, bye Blackbird' as it pulled away.

Unfortunately, lest you think Will Percy was a good guy (Walker Percy was his adopted son), there is this

Black work gangs and their refugee families resented being held as virtual prisoners in dreadfully squalid ''concentration camps'' set up along miles of the Greenville levee. Water, food and medical supplies were inadequate. Percy's subordinates held him in contempt, and his equals, including his own father, undercut his authority and ignored his decisions.

And now a black man had been killed by a white policeman for refusing to go back to work on levee repairs after having labored all night. The black community seemed certain to explode. To prevent this, Percy, whose family prided itself on its amicable, if typically patrician, relations with black people, addressed a mass meeting of blacks and launched into a diatribe that could have spewed from the likes of Theodore Bilbo. He had ''struggled and worried and done without sleep in order to help you Negroes,'' Percy whined. In return, he said, they had demonstrated a ''sinful, shameful laziness,'' and because of that, ''one of your race has been killed. You sit before me sour and full of hatred as if you had the right to blame anybody or judge anybody. . . . I am not the murderer. That foolish young policeman is not the murderer. The murderer is you! Your hands are dripping with blood. Look into each other's face and see the shame and the fear God set on them. Down on your knees, murderers, and beg your God not to punish you as you deserve.'' link

from the previous link

The torrent has moved south. With the river almost at the levee tops, New Orleans dynamites the Poydras levee, creating a 1500-foot break at an estimated cost of $2 million, to direct the flood waters away from the city and its half million inhabitants. Movie cameras are on hand to record the momentous scene. The New York Times reports that many people refuse to quit the area to be flooded by the levee break. One woman living in a lighthouse "says she won't quit her post unless Uncle Sam comes to take her away."

Refugee tentsMay: Slowly word of the abuses in the refugee camps reaches the Northern press. Once the situation in the refugee camps hits the national press, Herbert Hoover initiates an investigation of the reports. His investigators confirm numerous instances of abuse, but Hoover chooses to suppress the report. Hoover, known as "the Great Humanitarian," has his eyes set on the presidency. He has ridden a wave of good publicity from his flood relief efforts, and is determined to maintain his positive image. Hoover forms a Colored Advisory Commission of influential African American conservatives, led by Robert Russa Moton, to further investigate the camps. The commission confirms the initial findings. In exchange for keeping the report quiet, Hoover promises that if he wins the election, he will support the advancement of African Americans, including possible agrarian land reform. Moton agrees, and Hoover is never called to account for the treatment of African Americans in Washington County.link

Those silly Kos commentors, where the hell could they have gotten such a notion??

Before I check your link, LJ, I assume you're talking about 1927.

Just some loose ends, probably irrelevant:

Since LJ brought up Herbert Hoover, I was thinking the other day of Hoover's studied indifference to the 1929 crash. He was a patient man and thought we ought to wait for the market to settle. And that misery, privation, and death were short-term accounting details.

A little like Louis XIV and the court and the well-meaning Chancellor-of-the-Exchequer Necker, who finally got the totally rational idea of deregulating bread production into practice and waited for the market in bread to settle, only to find out that the market in very close hair-cutting technologies settled first.

Or like Stalin, can you believe it, who thought maybe imposing an Ideology on the Ukraine could be measured in bodies stacked like cordwood. A guy's got to think long-term.

Also, via Steve Gilliard, quoting author Leone Gavier (sp?): "Modern conservatism was midwifed by resistance to the civil rights movement."

Apropos of nothing, but pithy nonetheless.

This is what we're spending a billion dollars and far too many American lives a day to preserve? This third-world banana republic sort of repression? Poorly trained thugs with weapons, threatening reporters in our own country...reporters armed only with notepads and cameras?

Watch it, Edward, you sound like an Iraqi.

Why would it occur to that police officer for even a second that pointing her weapon at reporters was an appropriate response? Where on earth does she think she lives?

As I wrote back in in February:

Journalists who report on what's happening - who are courageous enough to go out into dangerous territory and see for themselves what is going on - deserve more respect than, it appears, the rightwing blogmob is willing to give them.

The dangers that media workers face in Iraq have been an issue from the beginning to the present day. It's not only important because these people are non-combatants: it's an issue because media workers are attempting to report accurately on current events. Kill journalists, and you don't just kill an individual: you kill the story that journalist could have told.

Al-Jazeera has been banned from reporting in Iraq. Abdel Kader Al-Saadi, Al-Arabiya's reporter in Falluja, was arrested on 11th November and held prisoner by US forces till 23rd November.

It may be that every single media worker killed by US troops died by accident - that the US soldiers who killed them were firing hysterically, in panic, without thought, without judgement, carelessly - any or all of the above. We know this happens. We know noncombatants are killed as a result. Was it the case in every single incident above? No one really knows, because the Pentagon has in most cases declined to investigate, and in no case made its investigation, which just happened to find the US military innocent in all cases, open to the public.

We are expected, it appears, to accept the Pentagon's word for it that US soldiers only kill noncombatants by accident, and there's nothing the general public needs to know about why these "accidents" happen - and why they happen so often.


Walker Percy was my kind of Republican. Just saying. A remarkable man and writer.

Whether he was Republican or not is of no matter.

As to Clinton, since the name was invoked:

There was a man, even with Monica under his desk favoring him, who was able to pick up the phone and marshall whatever forces were required to do the best the country and the government was able to.

Naughty fellow, yes, but not one to pile up the bodies to further lessons on moral hazard.

"And that misery, privation, and death were short-term accounting details."

I don't think that's really fair to Hoover. I think it's something of a bad rap, generated out of the entirely understandable feelings of those suffering (my parents' youth). Hoover's career was one of delivering aid to those in need, both in Europe in the post-WWI recovery, and later domestically, as in 1927. He had a pretty good idea of what suffering was. He simply believed in the view of the extremely limited powers available to the Federal government that was generally prevalent at the time, and that had a strong strain running back to the beginning of the country, although our history is also replete with equally early examples of government expansivism, such as, say, the Louisiana Purchase, speaking of.

Ballard's Drowned World apparently gone, lost one or two moves ago. *sigh*

Yes, Gary, 1927. The dynamiting of the Caernarvon levee was what I wanted to point out, but I couldn't leave out the Percy quote and the Greenville disaster. The media suppression (though it was voluntary) was a bonus. I'm guessing they will go after Geraldo and maybe Jack Cafferty first.

Hoover's philosophy of government is an interesting point. I think that his view of limited government powers was not that the government couldn't do it, but that it already had for the war and now was time (or should that read 'then was the time'? Ah, Those were the days) to pull back. Maybe he was decent, but he was a Republican, and there apparently is not such thing as a decent Democrat (Jimmy Carter, history's greatest monster, right?)

Walker Percy was my kind of Republican. Just saying. A remarkable man and writer.

Whether he was Republican or not is of no matter.

JT, I agree with the first part, but if we are really going to take up the cudgel, you are going to need to eliminate this giving exception stuff. Breaking eggs for omlettes and all. Unless we give them a little island in Hell, like Dante did for Aristotle and Plato et al. Just saying.

Interesting that you'd bring up 9-11 Edward. If I remember correctly the press decided then not to show photos of the dying or dead. Why now is it OK?

the answer is in your question...the press decided

this time it's the government.

As Marshall noted, the media don't want to record the faces or deliver the news of who is floating. They do want to record the scope of the tragedy. At the very least, they want access to go in and decide what to report. They were not banned from the WTC during the 9/11 clean-up as I recall...they exercised good taste in deciding what to show. I imagine they'd do so again (although I don't know how you call any of the images they're likely to find in good taste).

As Dorothy Parker said, "What fresh hell is this?"

As Donna reported yesterday, inept FEMA director Mike Brown told a reporter on Studio B that the removal of bodies from New Orleans was being handled by a company called "Kenyon". Kenyon International bills itself as "Worldwide Disaster Management." How convenient for GWBush to have a disaster management company that enriches his friends and supporters to clean up after him as he spreads disasters worldwide.

Kenyon is a wholly owned subsidiary of SCI Corp., "the largest provider of funeral, cremation, and cemetery services in North America." SCI Corp is owned by major Bush contributor and friend Robert Waltrip, who was at the center of the scandal known as "Funeralgate".


According to Jon Elliston's must-read A Disaster Waiting To Happen, published 9/28/04, Bush's

White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea -- that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided -- seems self-evident to me," he said.

In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."


LJ and Gary:

See, between the three of us, we can't let a rhetorical flood top the levees of civil discourse.

O.K., I'll harden a bit on Percy and simultaneously let up a bit on Hoover. But not much either way.

When I say Hoover, think Andrew Mellon. When I say Bush, think Grover Norquist ... and Bush.

Incidentally, great Dorothy Parker quote, LJ.

Imagine her blogging.

Walker Percy was my kind of Republican.

"The old Republican party has become the Knothead Party, so named during the last Republican convention in Montgomery when a change of name was proposed, the first suggestion being the Christian Conservative Constitutional Party, and campaign buttons were even printed with the letters CCCP before an Eastern-liberal commentator noted the similarity to the initials printed on the backs of the Soviet cosmonauts and called it the most knotheaded political bungle of the century--which the conservatives, in the best tradition, turned to their own advantage, printing a million more buttons reading "Knotheads for America" and banners proclaiming "No Man Can Be Too Knotheaded in the Service of His Country."

--Love in the Ruins.

Over the last week, I've wondered what Percy--or Foote--might've said about the current catastrophe. I think I'm just as happy neither lived to see it.

Silly Eddie. We're fighting for Freedom(tm) of course. For example:

"Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk"

"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 U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford."

"One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall."

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