September 2, 2005
The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
Subject: Condoleezza Rice and Katrina
Also, why was Prez, playing golf on Monday, in San Diego??
Go to the Manchester Union Leader, this is a very very conservative pro-Republican Newspaper, well the editoral blasts the Administration, on what is happening down south. Question: "This is what our taxes are being used for?" Also, questions the race issue.
Boy, I would love to hear mumbles, Rush's take on this. But, he like the Administration infuriates me.
The federal government was not ready for any kind of disaster, despite the repeated warnings that the disaster was on its way. And the media acts sooo surprised.
We'll just send out Rush and Sean and Ann and let them slander somebody to get the ever willing cameras and their tawdry talking heads pointed elsewhere! That way, Georgie and Dickie et al can take care of the important things, like building that pipeline between the Treasury and the corporate offices of Halliburton. Speaking of Halliburton, did somebody say that the clean up of New Orleans would be a multi-billion dollar job? Once they get hold of that contract it will be a multi-trillion dollar job! And the hired help won't get shot at - as much, anyway… Forget about impeachment. Murderers should be arrested and put into jail, preferably in Texas.
Michael J Fowler
Subject: Property over people
In the wake of the New Orleans disaster, Bush sure is showing his true colors. After several days of non-action, what's his first response? To come out and say "Zero-tolerance for the looters."
Excuse me, but what about rescuing people first? Who really cares about property when there are lives at stake?
Oh, I forgot, this is President Bush talking, King of the Republicans. To them, it's much more important to protect property than it is people.
I forgot. My bad.
Subject: How much will the oil companies make?
Over the course of the next few weeks, it would be interesting to see what level of contributions to Katrina relief will be made by the Oil companies that are making tremendous amounts of profits off of the rapid increase in oil prices.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: A letter to Rick Santorum
You and the supposed "leaders" in Washington are a disgrace. Five days after this hurricane hit people are still stranded and dying in New Orleans and the Federal Government has done nothing. Nice of you to thank Bush in your little speech on the front page. He did cut his vacation short and fly over the destruction.
You are the same people that took a vote to save Terry Schiavo at 2 in the morning, but are letting thousands of people die while you do nothing. Where is the National Guard? Where is FEMA? Where is the relief effort?
You and every last politician in Washington, Republican and Democrat, have sat on your asses while this crisis unfolded. Is this what would happen if there was another terrorist attack?
It's like none of you care. You seem to really care about people halfway around the world, but don't give a second thought to your fellow Americans. Is it because they are poor? They don't contribute enough? They don't have any oil?
I will never vote for you. I will never vote for any current member of Congress. You and your colleagues are an embarrassment to this country.
And to the bootlicking flunky reading this, please pay attention. I do not want to receive another "Thanks for your Support" letter, I might get impression the Senator doesn't care about the people of Pennsylvania, who could imagine that?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: An ode to Shrub II
Lives in his own little land
At the storm on the horizon
As the waves raised the rooftops,
So it was not surprising,
After a strong pot of coffee,
So shrub II
A BuzzFlash Reader
If Grey Davis could be recalled for basically Enron's sabotage, why for God's sake can't we recall this administration? I've signed about a dozen impeachment petitions, but we need mass circulated recall petitions. Impeachment is too slow and unlikely even if somehow the Dems regain Congress. Recall may not be in the Constitution, but what other peaceful means can be employed? Now is the time to act while the country is pissed - George strums, Condi shops while thousands drown and starve.
These words from President Bush are not intended to be the confession they should be. Instead, they are a methodology, probably an invention of presidential adviser Karl Rove, designed to distance Bush from the total failure of his administration to respond to the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
That failure to respond includes Bush's inexcusable delay in returning from his vacation in Crawford until almost four days after Katrina's landfall.
The man whose tax cuts have weakened necessary funding for so many programs, whose war in Iraq has received his priority in funding and military manpower including National Guard troops, whose deficit spending has created the greatest national debt in our history, and whose lack of compassion for those suffering in New Orleans and other areas on the Gulf Coast was so apparent in his speech to the nation upon his tardy return from Crawford, is now attempting to pose as the "great leader" who will bring all of the desperation and anguish to an end.
In his 4-1/2 year term as our 43rd President, George W. Bush has done all that he could to ensure that the vision of people like Grover Norquist will come to pass. Tax cuts and deficit spending are doing to the federal government just what Norquist had wanted, to "starve the beast until you can drown it in a bathtub." Little did anyone know that the bathtub would be the contaminated waters in the flooded streets of New Orleans.
When the Department of Homeland Security was forged out of once-independent federal agencies, it was presented to us as having two basic functions.
One was prevention--to ensure, by coordinated intelligence gathering and analysis, the best use of our national resources to prevent disaster from striking on American soil.
The other was preparedness. No thinking person could imagine that total prevention in a nation of our size and complexity was possible, so the Department of Homeland Security was also conceived to ensure that our national resources could be brought to bear quickly and efficiently to respond when a disaster did strike.
Those Americans who still approve of Mr. Bush's performance in the anti-terrorist arena need only watch events unfolding in New Orleans to see how good a job he's done of fulfilling these responsibilities. What they will see is a complete lack of readiness; sluggish and reluctant movement; chaos on the ground; a crippling lack of coordination and command; thousands of desperate people essentially abandoned to their fate; the National Guard rolling in (finally) with plenty of stern talk about how good they are at lethal violence, mentioning relief only as an afterthought. This is what our citizens might expect to see should a major terrorist strike occur in their own cities.
If this connection seems outlandish, consider a relatively minor change in the New Orleans scenario. Let's imagine that the storm itself was not as severe as Katrina turned out to be--perhaps not even severe enough to warrant an evacuation--but that just as it made landfall, terrorists had managed to blow the levees at critical points. Different cause, somewhat--but the same disaster, or perhaps worse, with almost the entire population of the city caught by surprise and trapped, screwing plywood to their windows as two-story walls of water thundered down their streets.
Can we imagine that the response we're seeing now would have been different--quicker, more efficient, more coordinated--had terrorism somehow been involved? The answer, of course, is no. If the Bush administration and Homeland Security had developed the capability to respond better than this, they'd have brought that capability to bear in the face of a human (and potentially political) disaster of this magnitude. Karl Rove would have insisted on it.
So the question must be why such a capacity hasn't been developed--and the only answer is a catastrophic neglect by this administration of the central responsibility of national government. By comparison, the federal response to 9-11 shines--but it must be remembered that 2001 was four years of politically motivated budget cuts, sweetheart appointments, abandoned studies, and shifted priorities ago. The bureaucracy that responded to 9-11 was still Clinton's bureaucracy, and the elder Bush's, and Reagan's; the bureaucracy that's responding now--ostensibly on full alert and streamlined and coordinated and flush with money--is George W's.
A classic Republican argument, going way back, is that you don't solve problems by throwing money at them--you solve problems with efficient management, and forethought, and expertise. And sure enough, despite the vast expenditures of borrowed money that have been thrown at the Department of Homeland Security, the results are laid bare for all to see in the devastated streets of New Orleans. What's lacking can only be the management and forethought and expertise. (It's worth noting here, too, that despite a defense budget larger than the rest of the world's put together, what we have achieved since 2000 is a desperate, threadbare, ill-equipped military, almost entirely committed to keeping the lid on one small already-conquered third-world country--does that reflect good management, forethought, and expertise?) That money's gone somewhere, folks--it's in someone's pockets, for sure--but where it hasn't gone is into effective government.
The neo-cons and their fellow travelers have long reminded me of a gaggle of pimply adolescents, huddled around a strategy game laid out on a rec-room ping-pong table somewhere, triumphantly trying out their pet theories and never imagining that reality and adult responsibility are immensely more complex and difficult than the scenarios developed on their game board. You can put people like that in charge of the real world, to strut around thumping their chests and telling us how hot they're going to make it for their enemies, as long as nothing actually happens--but when something does happen, you're going to see them for whom they really are.
That's what we're seeing now, folks. Wake up and look--and pray to God nothing does happen in your hometown until we really do have some grown-ups in charge.
Washington DC 9-2-2005 The Mall Street Journal
Halliburton Subsidiary Brown & Root Awarded Exclusive Contract to Re-build New Orleans.
Expect restoration of fresh water and electricity by second quarter 2006.
Bechtel official complains: "This is not like Iraq - I'm all in favor of people profiting from their inventions - this is a nature supplied opportunity…"
Company recruits mercenaries to restore order and hungry locals to cleanup the dead bodies.
A BuzzFlash Reader