Tuesday, September 13, 2005


by Paul Craig Roberts
The raison d'etre of the Bush administration is war in the Middle East in order to protect America from terrorism and to ensure America's oil supply. On both counts, the Bush administration has failed catastrophically. Bush's single-minded focus on the "war against terrorism" has compounded a natural disaster and turned it into the greatest calamity in American history. The United States has lost its largest and most strategic port and thousands of lives, and 80 percent of one of America's most historic cities is underwater. If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history. Prior to 9-11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) in order to protect the strategic port, the refineries and the large population. After 2003, however, the flow of funds to SELA were diverted to the war in Iraq. During 2004 and 2005, the New Orleans Times-Picayune published nine articles citing New Orleans' loss of hurricane protection to the war in Iraq. Every expert and newspapers as distant as Texas saw the New Orleans catastrophe coming. But President Bush and his insane government preferred war in Iraq to protecting Americans at home. Bush's war left the Corps of Engineers only 20 percent of the funding to protect New Orleans from flooding from Lake Pontchartrain. On June 18, 2004, the Corps' project manager, Al Naomi, told the Times-Picayune: "The levees are sinking. If we don't get the money to raise them, we can't stay ahead of the settlement." Despite the dire warnings delivered by the 2004 hurricane season, the Bush administration made deep budget cuts for flood control and hurricane funding for New Orleans. The U.S. Senate, alarmed at the Bush administration's insanity, was planning to restore the funding for 2006. But now, it is too late. Many multiples of the funding that would have saved the city are being spent to rescue it. Not content with leaving New Orleans unprotected, it took the Bush administration five days to get the remnants of the National Guard not serving in Iraq, along with desperately needed food and water, to devastated New Orleans. This is the slowest emergency response by the U.S. government in modern times. By the time the Bush administration could organize any resources for New Orleans, many more people had died and the city was in total chaos. Despite the most dismal performance on record, Bush's homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, said on Thursday that the Bush administration has done a "magnificent job." The on-the-scene mayor of New Orleans sees it differently: "They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning, and people are dying." "They're thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal." It is a major deal, one that will affect Americans far beyond New Orleans. According to reports, 25 percent of our oil and gasoline comes through the New Orleans port and refineries, all out of commission. Needed goods cannot be imported, and exports will plummet, worsening an already disastrous deficit in the balance of trade. The increased cost of gasoline will soak up consumers' disposable incomes, with dire effects on consumer spending. U.S. economic growth will be siphoned off into higher energy costs. American lives far from New Orleans will be adversely affected. The destruction of New Orleans is the responsibility of the most incompetent government in American history and perhaps in all history. Americans are rapidly learning that they were deceived by the superpower hubris. The powerful U.S. military cannot successfully occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport -- and this against an insurgency based in only 20 percent of the Iraqi population. Bush's pointless war has left Washington so pressed for money that the federal government abandoned New Orleans to catastrophe. The Bush administration is damned by its gross incompetence. Bush has squandered the lives and health of thousands of people. He has run through hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars. He has lost America's reputation and its allies. With barbaric torture and destruction of our civil liberty, he has stripped America of its inherent goodness and morality. And now Bush has lost America's largest port and 25 percent of its oil supply. Why? Because Bush started a gratuitous war egged on by a claque of crazy neoconservatives who have sacrificed America's interests to their insane agenda. The neoconservatives have brought these disasters to all Americans, Democrat and Republican alike. Now, they must be held accountable. Bush and his neoconservatives are guilty of criminal negligence and must be prosecuted. What will it take for Americans to re-establish accountability in their government? Bush has gotten away with lies and an illegal war of aggression, with outing CIA agents, with war crimes against Iraqi civilians, with the horrors of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture centers, and now with the destruction of New Orleans. What disaster will next spring from Bush's incompetence? To find out more about Paul Craig Roberts, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.
Originally Published on Tuesday September 6, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005


By Jeremy Schulman and Raphael Schweber-Koren, Media Matters for America. Posted September 9, 2005.

In the past week, Bush administration officials and conservative commentators have repeatedly used the national media to spread misinformation about the federal government's widely criticized response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
1. Bush: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"
On the Sept. 1 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America, President Bush told host Diane Sawyer, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that protected New Orleans from flooding. As Media Matters for America has noted, Sawyer did not challenge Bush's claim, despite numerous, repeated warnings by government officials, experts and the media that a major hurricane could cause levee breaches resulting in catastrophic flooding. A September 2 New York Times front-page article repeated Bush's false claim without challenge -- even though a Times editorial the same day declared, "Disaster planners were well aware that New Orleans could be flooded by the combined effects of a hurricane and broken levees."
A Sept. 5 CNN.com article reported that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff falsely told reporters that "planners" did not predict a breach of the levees that would flood the city. As CNN.com reported, Chertoff said, "That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight." But unlike the Times, CNN.com noted that "officials have warned for years that a Category 4 [hurricane] could cause the levees to fail." The CNN.com article added that in an August 31 interview on CNN's Larry King Live, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown said, "That Category 4 hurricane caused the same kind of damage that we anticipated. So we planned for it two years ago. Last year, we exercised it. And unfortunately this year, we're implementing it." But in the same Larry King Live interview, Brown responded to complaints that rescue efforts were not moving quickly enough by insisting, "And I must say this storm is much, much bigger than anyone expected."
Additionally, as journalist Joshua Micah Marshall noted on Talking Points Memo, National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield "talked about the force of Katrina during a video conference call to President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas" on August 28 [St. Petersburg Times, 8/30/05]. The Washington Post quoted Mayfield on September 6: "They knew that this one was different. ... I don't think Mike Brown or anyone else in FEMA could have any reason to have any problem with our calls. ... They were told ... We said the levees could be topped."
2. Chertoff strained credulity in defense of Bush, claimed levee breaks and massive flooding came as a surprise -- more than 12 hours after local media reported them
On Sept. 4, Chertoff appeared on NBC's Meet the Press and attempted to explain Bush's discredited claim that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." After host Tim Russert asked Chertoff how the president could "be so wrong, be so misinformed," Chertoff suggested that Bush had been referring to newspaper reports the morning after the storm that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet" because the eye of the storm had passed to the east of the city. But more than 12 hours before the appearance of those headlines in print, a post on the weblog of the New Orleans Times-Picayune -- dated August 29, 2 p.m. CT -- reported, "City Hall confirmed a breach of the levee along the 17th Street Canal at Bellaire Drive, allowing water to spill into Lakeview." This initial report on the Times-Picayune weblog was followed throughout the afternoon and evening of August 29 by reports of other levee breaks and massive flooding.
While Chertoff said he recognized that the city's levee system failed sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning -- in fact, the first breaks occurred earlier, as noted above and as Think Progress noted in its detailed Hurricane Katrina timeline -- he insisted that "it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake [Pontchartrain] was going to start to drain into the city." According to Chertoff, this "second catastrophe really caught everybody by surprise" and was a major reason for the delay in the government's emergency response.
Questioning Chertoff further, Russert pointed out that the Times-Picayune published a five-part series in June 2002, in which it warned that if a large hurricane hit New Orleans, the city's levees would likely be topped or broken -- resulting in catastrophic flooding and thousands of deaths. Russert added that "last summer FEMA, who reports to you, and the LSU Hurricane Center, and local and state officials did a simulated Hurricane Pam in which the levees broke. ... Thousands drowned."
Chertoff then clarified, "What I said was not that we didn't anticipate that there's a possibility the levees will break. What I said was, in this storm, what happened is, the storm passed and passed without the levees breaking on Monday. Tuesday morning, I opened newspapers and saw headlines that said 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet,' which surprised people. What surprised them was that the levee broke overnight and the next day and, in fact, collapsed. That was a surprise."
Even accepting as true Chertoff's incredible suggestion that he -- the secretary of Homeland Security -- and the president of the United States relied on the print media for their information on the situation in New Orleans, as Think Progress points out, had administration officials "bothered to read the full text of the three articles they found with favorable headlines, they would have realized that federal government help was needed immediately." Moreover, while Chertoff did not indicate which headlines he was referring to, many newspapers -- in addition to the Times-Picayune -- did report on broken levees and significant flooding. For example, on August 30, the Los Angeles Times reported that a levee break had occurred by late morning August 29, with water from the break "spill[ing] through the area, flooding the town's two main shelters and swamping the local National Guard armory, leaving even public safety officials homeless."
Or Chertoff could have turned on the television. On the August 30 broadcast of NBC's Today, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams reported at 7:05 a.m. ET, "There has been a huge development overnight ... the historic French Quarter, dry last night and it is now filling with water. This is water from nearby Lake Pontchartrain; the levees failed overnight."
Indeed, Chertoff's and Bush's professed ignorance notwithstanding, the federal government was well aware of the continuing threat of the levees breaking. Just hours after the storm passed on Monday, August 29, FEMA director Brown confirmed that the potential for catastrophic flooding remained. In an interview with Brown, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer noted, "In New Orleans, in particular, they're worried about the levees giving way or the canals not holding, and they're worried about toxic runoff." Brown responded that even though the storm had weakened, there was still a 15- to 20-foot storm surge causing "the water out of Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf and the Mississippi continue to converge upon Louisiana." Brown added, "So we're still ready for a major disaster."
3. Brown: "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day"
On the Sept. 2 broadcast of NBC's Today, FEMA director Brown told host Katie Couric, "We've provided food to the people at the [New Orleans' Morial] Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day." Couric did not challenge this statement.
But on Sept. 1, NBC News photojournalist Tony Zumbado reported on MSNBC Live:
ZUMBADO: I can't put it into words the amount of destruction that is in this city and how these people are coping. They are just left behind. There is nothing offered to them. No water, no ice, no C-rations, nothing, for the last four days. They were told to go to the convention center. They did, they've been behaving. It's unbelievable how organized they are, how supportive they are of each other. They have not started any melees, any riots. They just want food and support. And what I saw there I've never seen in this country. We need to really look at this situation at the convention center. It's getting very, very crazy in there and very dangerous. Somebody needs to come down with a lot of food and a lot of water.
4. Chertoff: "Apparently, some time on Wednesday, people started to go to the convention center spontaneously"
On the Sept. 1 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Brown claimed, "Every person in that convention center, we just learned about that today [Thursday, September 1]." During a September 4 interview with Chertoff on CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, host Blitzer replayed Brown's comments. In response, Chertoff said:
CHERTOFF: Well, I mean, this is clearly something that was disturbing. It was disturbing to me when I learned about it, which came as a surprise. You know, the very day that this emerged in the press, I was on a video conference with all the officials, including state and local officials. And nobody -- none of the state and local officials or anybody else -- was talking about a convention center. The original plan, as I understand it, was to have the Superdome be the place of refuge, of last resort. Apparently, some time on Wednesday, people started to go to the convention center spontaneously.
Chertoff's claim that hurricane survivors sought refuge in the convention center under their own initiative echoed his September 4 Meet the Press interview, in which he suggested, "We became aware of the fact at some point that people began to go to the convention center on their own, spontaneously, in order to shelter there." Chertoff's statements were false, but neither Blitzer nor Russert challenged them.
Though scenes of thousands of hurricane victims awaiting water, food, and buses at the convention center were not broadcast on television until Thursday, Sept. 1, Chertoff and Brown would have had access to media reports about the convention center before then. As early as Aug. 29, Times-Picayune staff writer Bruce Nolan wrote an article for the Newhouse News Service in which he reported, "City officials said they might open the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as a temporary refuge to shelter an estimated 50,000 people made homeless by the storm." Nolan's article appeared in the Times-Picayune on August 30.
Beginning Aug. 31, other reports of survivors at the convention center emerged:
Knight Ridder, Aug. 31: "Derwin DeGruy had been kicked out of two hotels, the first on Sunday right before the storm hit, and the second one on Tuesday morning after it hit. He and about 50 other people found makeshift shelter on a ramp leading to the mall and parking garage at the New Orleans Convention Center. They rigged places for people to go to the bathroom, pooled their water for the babies, placed some blankets on the concrete and decided to wait and see what happened."
Associated Press, August 31: "The 37-year-old banker -- who admitted to looting some food from a nearby supermarket -- said the hotel guests were told they were being taken to a convention center, but from there, they didn't know."
Associated Press, Aug. 31: "After several hours, a small fleet of rented moving trucks showed up to take the people to the downtown convention center so they could be taken out of the city. Police herded people up metal ramps like cattle into the unrefrigerated boxes."
By Sept. 1, when Brown claimed FEMA first learned about the situation at the convention center, TV networks were broadcasting footage of thousands of survivors waiting for water, food, and evacuation buses. Despite Chertoff's later insistence that New Orleans residents "spontaneously" converged on the convention center, the September 1 broadcast of ABC's Nightline included footage of a law enforcement official instructing survivors to go there:
SURVIVOR: Ain't nobody helping us.
SURVIVOR: No, ain't nobody doing anything for us.
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL: Y'all got to go to the convention center.
5. Chertoff pointed fingers: "New Orleans officials and the state officials ... called for the Superdome to be the refuge of last resort"
In his Sept. 4 interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Chertoff attempted to place blame for the conditions at the Superdome solely with state and local officials. Chertoff asserted, "My understanding is, and again this is something that's going to go back -- we're going to go back over after the fact -- is the plan that the New Orleans officials and the state officials put together called for the Superdome to be the refuge of last resort."
But this claim is misleading at best. As The Washington Post reported on September 3, a FEMA official acknowledged participating in meetings in which the plan to use the Superdome as a shelter for thousands of evacuees was discussed:
Brown, the agency's director, told reporters Saturday in Louisiana that he did not have a sense of what was coming last weekend.
"I was here on Saturday and Sunday, it was my belief, I'm trying to think of a better word than typical -- that minimizes, any hurricane is bad -- but we had the standard hurricane coming in here, that we could move in immediately on Monday and start doing our kind of response-recovery effort," he said. "Then the levees broke, and the levees went, you've seen it by the television coverage. That hampered our ability, made it even more complex."
But other officials said they warned well before Monday about what could happen. For years, said another senior FEMA official, he had sat at meetings where plans were discussed to send evacuees to the Superdome. "We used to stare at each other and say, 'This is the plan? Are you really using the Superdome?' People used to say, what if there is water around it? They didn't have an alternative," he recalled.
Moreover, the plan to use the Superdome as a shelter for evacuees was widely known. The 2002 Times-Picayune series on the potential for a catastrophic hurricane reported that of the estimated 200,000 New Orleans residents who would likely remain in the city, "[s]ome will be housed at the Superdome, the designated shelter in New Orleans for people too sick or infirm to leave the city."
6. Chertoff falsely minimized federal government's role in Katrina response as subordinate to states
The Bush administration has responded to criticism of its role in the Katrina disaster by attempting to deflect blame onto state and local officials in Louisiana [The New York Times, 9/5/05 ]. One way they are doing that is to claim that the federal government's role in a natural disaster of this magnitude is to provide support to state and local governments and work at their behest. Conservative media figures immediately fell into line, echoing the administration's claim that the federal government's role was subordinate (see here and here). In fact, the Department of Homeland Security's December 2004 National Response Plan clearly indicates that in these situations, the federal government will pre-empt state and local efforts and provide immediate assistance to the affected area.
On Sept. 1, two days after the levees were breached, Chertoff, at a press conference announcing the start of "National Preparedness Month 2005," characterized the federal role in response to Katrina as that of providing support to state and local officials: "The Department of Homeland Security will continue to work with federal, state and local partners to support efforts on the ground in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. We are working tirelessly to make sure that federal resources are being applied where they are needed all across the Gulf" [Federal News Service, 9/1/05]. But on Sept. 2, Chertoff told reporters that the situation had changed and that federal agencies would now take over the primary role: "The fact of the matter is, this set of catastrophes has broken any mold for how you deal with this kind of weather devastation, and so we're going to break the mold in terms of how we respond. The federal government is not going to play merely its customary role in giving all necessary support to first responders. The federal government is going to step up and take a primary role, working with state and locals to deal with the outcome of this tragedy." [National Public Radio, 9/3/05]
But Chertoff's Sept. 1 statement ignored the administration's own homeland security response plan, which directed the federal government to act on its own authority to quickly provide assistance and conduct emergency operations following a major catastrophe, pre-empting state and local authorities if necessary. According to DHS' December 2004 National Response Plan (NRP), "catastrophic events," such as what occurred in New Orleans, call for heightened and "proactive" federal involvement to manage the disaster. The response plan listed "guiding principles" to govern the response to these major events. The "Guiding Principles for Proactive Federal Response" make clear that, in these "catastrophic" cases, the federal government will operate independently to provide assistance, rather than simply supporting or cajoling state authorities:
The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure, property, and the environment; contain the event; and preserve national security.
Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of catastrophic magnitude.
Identified Federal response resources will deploy and begin necessary operations as required to commence life-safety activities.
Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal response.
State and local governments are encouraged to conduct collaborative planning with the Federal Government as a part of "steady-state" preparedness for catastrophic incidents."
The NRP also says that, when responding to a catastrophic incident, the federal government should start emergency operations even in the absence of clear assessment of the situation. "A detailed and credible common operating picture may not be achievable for 24 to 48 hours (or longer) after the incident," the NRP's "Catastrophic Annex" states. "As a result, response activities must begin without the benefit of a detailed or complete situation and critical needs assessment."
A Sept. 5 Los Angeles Times article quoted former FEMA chief of staff Jane Bullock saying that "[t]he moment the president declared a federal disaster [on Aug 29], it became a federal responsibility. ... The federal government took ownership over the response." Moreover, DHS' own website declares that DHS "will assume primary responsibility on March 1st [2005] for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort."
7. Wash. Post, Newsweek, Gingrich falsely claimed that Blanco did not declare a state of emergency
In recent days, two news articles falsely reported that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco had failed to declare a state of emergency, which had supposedly hampered the federal response. An article in the Sept. 13 edition of Newsweek claimed that "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." Likewise, a Sept. 4 Washington Post article incorrectly claimed that "As of Saturday [Sept. 3], Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency," citing an anonymous senior Bush administration official. (The Washington Post's article was later corrected, although Newsweek has yet to correct its article.) Fox News political analyst Newt Gingrich repeated the point on the September 5 O'Reilly Factor, saying, "As you [O'Reilly] point out, the governor [Blanco] failed to call the emergency. And initially, it was the governor who had to call an emergency." In fact, as the Post later noted, Blanco declared a state of emergency (PDF) on August 26.
8. Gingrich falsely claimed that Nagin could "have kept water pumped out" of city had he ensured that pumps worked
On the Sept. 5 O'Reilly Factor, Gingrich also claimed that if New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin had been able to keep the New Orleans pumps working, the flood waters could have been pumped out of the city. "[F]irst of all, the mayor of New Orleans had a real obligation to make sure the four pumps could work. Three of them didn't. It would have kept water pumped out." In fact, New Orleans has 22 "notoriously fickle" pumping stations, according to an Aug. 31 New York Times article. The Times also reported that, according to Dr. Shea Penland, a coastal geologist, "When the pumping systems are in good shape, it can rain an inch an hour for about four to six hours and the pumps can keep pace. More than that, the city floods." The Times also noted that "[e]fforts to add backup power generators to keep [the pumps] all running during blackouts have been delayed by a lack of federal money."
A June 2002 Times-Picayune article, part of a series exploring the probable consequences of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans, indicated that New Orleans' pumps would have been overwhelmed by the rapidly rising floodwaters:
Soon waves will start breaking over the levee.
"All of a sudden you'll start seeing flowing water. It'll look like a weir, water just pouring over the top," [Louisiana State University engineer Joseph] Suhayda said. The water will flood the lakefront, filling up low-lying areas first, and continue its march south toward the river. There would be no stopping or slowing it; pumping systems would be overwhelmed and submerged in a matter of hours.
"Another scenario is that some part of the levee would fail," Suhayda said. "It's not something that's expected. But erosion occurs, and as levees broke, the break will get wider and wider. The water will flow through the city and stop only when it reaches the next higher thing. The most continuous barrier is the south levee, along the river. That's 25 feet high, so you'll see the water pile up on the river levee."
Jeremy Schulman and Raphael Schweber-Koren are members of the research department at Media Matters for America.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Questions for Dick if the Media really had balls!!!

1. How was your vacation? Did you go fly fishing? What else did you do, day-by-day last week?2. Why did you stay on vacation during the worst natural disaster in our country's history?3. Why did you stay on vacation over the weekend when everyone was warning us that Hurricane Katrina was going to be an unprecedented natural disaster?4. Why did you stay on vacation on Monday when Katrina devastated three states and the levees in New Orleans were breached?5. Why did you stay on vacation on Tuesday when the flood waters were rising and thousands were dying and hundreds of thousands were made homeless?6. Why did you stay on vacation on Wednesday when New Orleans sank into anarchy?7. Why did you stay on vacation on Thursday when even conservatives were calling Bush's response to this disaster a national disgrace?8. Why did you stay on vacation on Friday and only bother to show up in DC on Saturday morning for a photo op?9. While you were on vacation, did you check out that lavish mansion in the exclusive, wealthy environs of St. Michael's on Chesapeake Bay?10. When did you close on that mansion? Reports say it cost $2.5 million to $3 million. How much did it cost? Don't you think it shows a cruel disregard during this national tragedy to be purchasing a lavish estate when hundreds of thousands of people have just watched their homes be destroyed...while you were on vacation.11. How many bedrooms does this lavish mansion have? Most of the time you'll be living in DC, right? So how many American citizens who had their lives destroyed will you take in and give shelter in this lavish mansion? Or will you just leave it empty?


This is, without a doubt, THE quintessential quote that has come out of the New Orleans disaster.
A huge round of applause for Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, who said this on the CBS “Early Show”:
“So I’m asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don’t give me the same idiot.”

Government !!!!

"The responsibility for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence.”- Winston Churchill


by: Ava In today’s political atmosphere Democrats are often seen as the opposition.They are made out to be tree huggers, hippies, communists, atheists, terrorists, andover all, the bad guys. However, Republicans are seen as god loving, patriotic, and thegood guys. So what is it about the Republicans that make them the good guys and howdo you become a Republican? Well it’s a lot simpler than you think. In reality, theRepublican Party can be summed up in one word. HYPOCRISY. So sit back, relax andenjoy your rules of becoming a Republican. Who needs Lincoln when you have Dubya?Below are some of the views and positions that Republicans stand for:Pro-Life: • A great tactic that many Republicans use is attacking their Democratic running mateas being an ungodly, pro-abortion baby killer- while you are a pro-life man of god.• Being pro-life doesn’t mean you have to be pro-“life”- it’s more like being a cheerleader forfetuses. • Being pro-life doesn’t mean you can’t take your mistress to get an abortion, it just meansyou can’t let anyone find out about it.• Make sure you use the term “pro-life” as often as possible. It just sounds better than“anti-abortion” or “anti-women’s rights.”Anti-Gay Rights:• Make sure when discussing gay rights you bring up that the bible says thatbeing gay is wrong. It doesn’t matter if you know the section of the bible says this becauseif you act like you read it, people think you read it.• When talking about gay rights make sure that you point out that giving the "homos"rights is an attack on families. Don’t bother to explain why, just as long as you make sureyou talk about how every child needs a mother and a father. This may not be the actual topicof conversation, but it is an old trick in the book that fools anyone.• Make sure that you talk about how if we allow gays to marry we might also have toallow polygamy, and various other types of marriage.Support Our Troops:• When we say “Support Our Troops” we don’t actually mean that you have to supportthe troops. We mean that you should support the war that they are in. If they die it’s their ownfault, because they signed up for it.• Yellow ribbons are a MUST! Make sure you have a yellow magnetic ribbon on all ofyour cars, right next to your old “Bush-Cheney ‘04” sticker.• Whenever some liberal begins to talk about how we need to bring our troops home,just talk about how we have to stay over there to finish the job they started. Make sure you throwin that this is the way to honor the troops.• If the mother of a soldier who died wants to meet with you- meet with her, but only if shesupports the war. You don’t have time to meet with the mothers who are against the war, becauseyou have a life to live: but you do have time to talk about how anti-war moms “weaken” America. Alsohave your aides dig up any dirt they can.The War on Terrorism:• Make sure that you call the War in Iraq the “War on Terrorism” or “Operation IraqiFreedom.” By doing this you make what we are doing over there seem noble. Also, talk about howterrorists “hate us for our freedoms.” • When someone brings up that no WMD’s were found, just say that they are there somewhereand just hidden. Talk about how Saddam hid them all, and it’s just a matter of time before they are found.• Talk about how evil Saddam was and how we are liberating Iraqis. Make sure that you don’tmention how more Iraqis are dying of violent deaths now, than they were before we took Saddam out ofpower. Mention that the Iraqis are happy now and they are free.• Make sure you mention how terrorists are in their “last throes”, and how it’s only a matter oftime before they give up.Tax Cuts:• When discussing tax cuts don’t bother to mention how they only cut the taxes for theupper class: and put more pressure on the lower and middle classes. If you don’t mention it, peoplewon’t know about it.• Make sure to bring up the fact that Democrats want to raise taxes. Remember to fail tomention that they want to raise it for the upper class. If you don’t mention this, people assume thateveryone gets a tax raise, and you’ve successfully fooled everyone.Stem Cell Research:• This issue ties in with being pro-life. Make sure to use one word over and over.Fetus, Fetus, Fetus.• Remember not to mention how stem cell research could save lives, but how it destroysthem. Formore, see “Pro-Life.”Christianity:• Make sure that religion is one of your big issues and associate yourself with the Religious Right.Try to get ties with some of the big Christian Organization Leaders. Most of them will sell out, it just a matterof how much you’re willing to pay.• Play off of people’s beliefs and the church. Make sure that you talk about how Christians areconservatives. If people talk about how Jesus taught love, just make sure to talk about how the bible is against"homos" and abortion and how Liberals support both. If you do this the right way, you can successfully changethe topic without anyone knowing. If you stick to the issues stated above, you can keep the discussion in your control and successfullymanipulate people to support and agree with you. If you have done this then you have successfully become aRepublican. Congratulations and good job. Remember… Hypocrisy = Democracy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Orleans and Bush's Administration Shredded !!!

-->Hurricane Katrina has shredded what was left of the Bush Administration's credibility. Now we watch the slow train wreck of America. By Scott O'ReillyOnce upon a time, when George W. Bush was young and irresponsible, our future Commander-in-Chief left the residence he was renting in a shambles. Well, the former frat-rat still has three years left on his lease to the Oval Office, but there is little doubt about the mess the Menace from Midland is making of America.In his presidential debate with Al Gore, Bush asserted that natural disasters are events that “test the mettle” of leaders. Bush has now overseen three national catastrophes -- 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina -- and it is now abundantly clear that Bush is all mush and no mettle.Bush -- who spent a good portion of his first forty years drinking, drilling dry wells as a failed oilman, and escaping his National Guard duties -- has no business being president. Is there any doubt that Bush overreacted on Iraq and under reacted on Katrina? Does anyone who has seen the devastation in New Orleans -- let alone Iraq -- still believe America is safer for having our National Guard troops patrolling Saddam’s slums rather than on call to protect America’s shattered cities? Once again Bush’s claims in response to a national tragedy ring hollow. As Bush explained to Diane Sawyer, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breech of the levees.” Nobody, that is, except the scientists and engineers who’d been warning about just this kind of catastrophe for decades. Even so the Bush administration allocated a mere $40 million for hurricane and flood programs centered around New Orleans, cutting $65 million from the paltry $105 million requested by the Army Corp of Engineers last year.“I don’t think anyone could have foreseen terrorists flying into buildings.” “Iraq will be a cakewalk.” “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breech of the levees.” It’s the same pattern of obliviousness and evasion repeated ad infinitum by Bush and his sycophants. But this time the public may be fed up with the administration’s lack of foresight as it appears money earmarked to improve New Orleans’ levees was “moved in the president’s budget," according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, “to pay for homeland security and the war in Iraq.”Money is not the only thing that was misappropriated. One third of the National Guard troops (and one half of its heavy equipment) that would normally respond to a crisis like Katrina, had been moved to Iraq to quell the looting and lawlessness that has followed in the wake of the administration’s disastrous invasion. The two disasters are compounding one another as National Guard units, already stretched to the breaking point in Iraq, are stretched even further as they face their traditional domestic responsibilities (of defending and securing the American homeland). This is just the kind of imperial overstretch that Dr. Henry Kissinger warned against when he wrote, “[America’s] insistence on predominance would unite the world against the United States and force it into impositions that would leave it isolated and drained.” He concluded, “The road to empire leads to domestic decay because, in time, the claims of [executive] omnipotence erode domestic restraints.” Is there any better description of the abuses and follies of the Bush Administration than this?The carousel of discredited rationales for invading Iraq -- of which the latest include: “we will dishonor those who have died if we don’t complete the mission” and “we are fighting the terrorists abroad so we don’t have to fight theme here at home” -- is coming apart. After all, what is left of the original mission, except to prevent Iraq from descending into a full-scale civil war? And what sense does it make to have our troops dying in a quixotic cause abroad when they were needed here at home to save lives? Hurricane Katrina has shredded what is left of the administration’s tattered credibility. And if you have any doubt, just ponder Bush’s endorsement of FEMA director Mike Brown -- “Brownie, I think you’re doing a heck of a job” -- in the days after Katrina hit. It’s an ominous sign when Bush’s rosy rhetoric seems to stand the test of time about as well as Iraqi Information Minister “Baghdad Bob’s” pronouncements.As a result, Bush’s approval ratings are sinking faster than a Russian submarine. And for good reason: our Captain Queeg’s policies seem about as well designed as one of the Kremlin’s "Widowmakers." Captain Queeg, by the way, was the incompetent commander in Herman Wouk's novel,The Caine Mutiny, who dispatched his men on a futile quest to find two quarts of strawberries he knew didn’t exist. Queeg’s feeble rationalizations, and his failure to take responsibility for obvious mistakes, finally led his subordinates to conclude that their commander had lost his marbles. I’m not expecting a Mutiny on the U.S.S. Bush anytime soon, but it’s not hard to discern that a lot of Republicans are looking for their life preservers these days. And if rodents (and other vermin) are always the first to abandon a sinking ship, consider what Newt Gingrich had to say on Bush’s response to the aftermath of Katrina: "[It] puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years.”In one fell swoop, Hurricane Katrina exposed the contradictions that lie at the heart of the Bush Administration: the illusion that society can afford disproportionate tax cuts for the wealthy while skimping on basic infrastructure and public safeguards; the conflation that fighting abroad in Iraq is tantamount to defending the homeland; and the delusion that Bush is a uniter not a divider.Katrina has revealed that the Emperor has no clothes and that the social fabric in America is badly frayed. The Bush Doctrine has collapsed, an acknowledgement that the anti-terrorism policy the administration has pursued for the last four years has been a catastrophic failure. Equally alarming -- in the wake of Katrina -- the administration’s negligence regarding global warming epitomizes their obtuseness; most climatologists have been warning for years that global warming will increase the frequency and intensity of tropical storms. The administration’s response to scientific evidence that challenges their ideological beliefs, of course, was to have the E.P.A delete any reference to global warming altogether.Fate often elevates fools and rogues, if only to see how far they will fall (remember what happened to Bush’s #1 contributor Ken Lay at Enron). When the political gods -- or the Supreme Court, if you prefer -- decided to trump the will of the American people (including the majority of Floridians who had cast their votes for Al Gore), I assumed it was because the gods prefer tragedy and farce. With Bush they get both: think Mission Accomplished, with Inspector Clousseau wearing a flight suit and celebrating his triumph over evil-doers, and you’ll find it’s hard not to laugh and cry at the same time.For the rest of us, watching what the Bush Administration is doing to America is the equivalent of witnessing a train wreck in slow motion. The time bomb that is the deficit is still ticking. Soaring gas prices will bleed American consumers while feeding Islamic extremists bent on America’s destruction. And the world is shocked and dismayed by how far America has fallen in five years. It may be along time before America is America again.Scott D. O’Reilly is an independent writer with degrees in Philosophy and Psychology who has been published in The Humanist, Philosophy Now, Think, and The Philosopher’s Magazine. You can e-mail Scott at neuroscott@aol.com.


by John in DC - 9/02/2005 03:27:00 PM
Two things have become clear.1. Fire FEMA Director Michael Brown.FEMA director Michael Brown is either incompetent or a liar, and his only job seems to be giving non-stop interviews on TV when he should be coordinating hurricane relief. It's time for President Bush to appoint someone else who can handle the job, and give the guy $60,000 bucks to hire a spokesman.2. President Bush needs to step aside.It's time we talked about the elephant in the room. Bush isn't presidential, he never was, and we all knew it. He won reelection because John Kerry sucked, not because the majority wanted him in office. As a caretaker president, he might be fine, but when disaster hits we need a real leader, not some guy who simply isn't smart enough, and doesn't have the backbone or instinct to lead. We are witnessing first-hand what happens when a weak leader responds to a crisis. The crisis worsens, and people die.I'd almost say that next time there's a terrorist attack we won't be so lucky, but in fact, we haven't been lucky at all. People are dying. An entire American city is gone from the face of the earth. And a good part of the blame goes to an "aloof" president (so says the Manchester Union Leader) who bullheadedly stayed on vacation two days after the storm hit (so says the Washington Times) and still hasn't been able to get his sea legs 5 days after the storm hit.And now, the disaster response is a disaster itself. It's a chicken with its head cut off, and seemingly only getting worse and worse while people are starving and dehydrating, waiting for someone, anyone, to lead.For those who are fans of the FOX TV shows "24." George Bush is the vice president who had to step in when the president was injured in a terrorist attack. The VP didn't want the job and certainly isn't up to the job, and basically, he just sits back in a wide-eyed panic. His aides say they need answers NOW, the country is falling apart as terrorists are striking, and the know-nothing scared-to-death but-proud-as-hell president just sits there and says "I'll have to get back to you."The nation can no longer afford George Bush as president. Bush ought to just resign and leave office before he breaks something else, and since Congress is unlikely to impeach him (though they should). But at the very least, if the frat boy who would be president cares one lick about our country, George Bush should step aside and pass the hurricane relief baton to someone with the intelligence and guts to get the job done.After this is all over, our country has a lot of hard thinking to do. We've got three more years of this president, and as New Orleans clearly shows, George Bush is not personally prepared to respond to a devastating attack on an American city, nor has he adequately prepared the nation with the four years he's had since September 11.The next time George Bush panics, ignores a national crisis, or simply is incompetent in the face of a clear and present threat to our people, even more Americans will die.And next time, Osama won't give us the advance warning we so graciously got from Katrina. WWW.AMERICABLOG.COM

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A God's Eye View of Recent Events!!!!

9/6/2005 This was written by the RUDE PUNDIT. It feels like he's sucked it out of my brain and put it into words, even language I'd use. I feel all should see it so it's on here.

Oh, sweet Christians, yes, the mighty winds and floods of Katrina are indeed the works of God, but, no, the hurricane and its vengeful aftermath are not God's penance on New Orleans and Biloxi for the sins of sex and gambling. For God is far wiser than that. No, Hurricane Katrina was God's way of wrecking the Republican agenda.Yes, you might say, and you might be right (this being about God, and, really, we are not meant to know God's ways), God could have been a little more subtle about it. Perhaps Tom DeLay caught fellating an illegal Mexican exterminator. But, no, God's tried subtle before - God's sent a plague of throat-lodging pretzels upon the President, but to no lasting effect. Bush has lived before with the oxygen cut off to his brain. And, in the realm of God stuff, eternity, worldwide floods, the like, a hurricane is not that big a deal. God's a big picture kind of deity.God is all about opportunities, not punishment. Choices, not condemnation. Jesus could have used all kinds of Christ-y magic to smite some motherfuckers when he was up on that cross, but he chose not to. Job could have said, "Yo, God, fuck you," but he did not. When God allowed 9/11 to happen, it was an opportunity, a glass is half full kind of moment, a chance to unify the people of the world, but, ah, yes, the Devil is always there, always waiting, shape-shifting and telling untruths as if they were the tablets from the Mount, for the Devil is, indeed, the Prince of Lies.So the chance at a kind of peace was shattered because the Devil is like the finest stripper at the cheapest joint: he knows how to dance so the people will be hypnotized by his tempting sashay and thonged ass, so they will not see the cold, calculating machinations going on in the back of the club. Or they will not care when someone opens the doors and says, "Look, see how they keep the Russian immigrants here enslaved, see how they threaten their families back in Moscow, see how they keep them addicted to drugs so they'll be willing to blow the owner's son to keep those hits coming." When the Devil shakes his pussy in your face, who are you, mere mortal, to deny the Devil a buck in his spangled g-string?Thus, God's hand was forced to bring out the biggest guns to drive into stark relief the images of God's poorest people, the ones that the rest of us are supposed to care about, the ones who got nary a visit from a presidential candidate last year, the ones who are supposed to disappear like ants into the hill after they've done their work: out of sight, out of mind. God's made this pretty fuckin' simple, God thinks: what you do to the least of these, you know. The last twenty-five years or so have shown that the American government wants God to live in shithole housing with no health insurance, no child care, bare bones job training, no welfare net, facing starvation, violence, and/or imprisonment at every turn. And that's a pretty shitty way to treat God. So how could a storm like this not give the message that it's time to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, motherfuckers, and stanch the arterial bleedout of tax dollars to reward the wealthy. Fuck, God must think, how many camels must be sacrificed through the eyes of needles to make a fuckin' point?The hurricane was God's way of telling the Republicans (and their Democratic enablers) that they have sorely fucked up God's work by undermining the environment at every turn in favor of business concerns so that the wealthy get wealthier, and, well, shit, there's already piles of steamy camel guts to wade through to make a point to them. The hurricane was God's way of telling Republicans that eternal war means no peace and here's a big fuckin' way to re-prioritize. The hurricane was God's way of telling Republicans that they are responsible for all screw-ups now, big and small, and that God is, indeed, watching.After the hurricane, God was surprised, though. Even God could not foresee how badly the Bush administration would botch its response, even God had to say, "Goddamn, that's some fucked up shit." But God knows that the Devil, ah, the Devil is always around, but the Devil can be defeated.So if you hear some preacher here or there declaim that God sent Katrina to New Orleans to stop the sinning, simply agree and then ask, "What sins are you talking about?" (Oh, and God's message to the Democrats is this: It's time to have a spine because God's got your back. And if you fuck with God, well, God can fuck you harder.)
// posted by Rude One @ 9:04 AM

Friday, September 02, 2005


New Orleans Residents: God's Mercy Evident in Katrina's Wake
By Jody Brown and Allie MartinSeptember 2, 2005
(AgapePress) - Two Christian leaders in New Orleans are testifying to God's mercy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One suggests that the death toll could have been much higher had it not been for God's mercy -- and the other that God may have used the hurricane to purge wickedness from the city.
Chuck Kelley is president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, with facilities located near the southern banks of Lake Pontchartrain and in Chalmette, east of the city. Baptist Press reports that Kelley now finds himself homeless and with only a few personal belongings following Hurricane Katrina's devastating blow to the New Orleans area. But the seminary leader says he is able to discern God's hand in the situation.
"Imagine what would have happened if [New Orleans] had taken a direct hit," he tells BP. "The levee did not break until after the storm was clear and the winds had died down and the rescue workers were able to get out." Had the levee given way during the hurricane, he says, "untold thousands of people" would have been killed.
"It's a terrible tragedy," Kelley says of the devastation in and around New Orleans, "and we still don't know the scope of it -- but the evidences of God's mercy are there. We rejoice in the fact that He has got the whole world in His hands, including the city of New Orleans and [the seminary]."
Kelley's faith, despite his personal situation, remains steadfast. He explains to Baptist Press that he is confident of God's provision. "When we get to the end of this story," he says, "the last paragraph is going to be a testimony to the greatness and glory of our God, who is able to do all things well, and able to provide every need."
Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.
The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt.
“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."
The New Orleans pastor is adamant. Christians, he says, need to confront sin. "It's time for us to stand up against wickedness so that God won't have to deal with that wickedness," he says.
Believers, he says, are God's "authorized representatives on the face of the Earth" and should say they "don't want unrighteous men in office," for example. In addition, he says Christians should not hesitate to voice their opinions about such things as abortion, prayer, and homosexual marriage. "We don't want a Supreme Court that is going to say it's all right to kill little boys and girls, ... it's all right to take prayer out of schools, and it's all right to legalize sodomy, opening the door for same-sex marriage and all of that.”
Shanks heeded warnings to evacuate New Orleans, and is currently staying with friends in the Jackson, Mississippi, area.
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Left Behind
by Hunter
Fri Sep 2nd, 2005 at 00:10:40 PDT
The last twelve hours of news coverage has been nearly overwhelming. Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, others, even unapologetic partisans like Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson -- everyone is asking where the government is. (No, I haven't turned to Fox News. I don't have the heart, today.) Anderson Cooper lost it interviewing Sen. Mary Landrieu, countering her litany of thank-yous to a series of politicians with his own encounter with rats eating a body that had been left abandoned in the street for 48 hours. Paula Zahn boggled at FEMA director Michael Brown's declaration that the reason about 15,000 shelter seekers at the New Orleans Convention Center have gone without food or water since the day of the hurricane is because FEMA didn't even know the refugees were there until today.
The common televised theme is of reporters traveling to hard hit areas in New Orleans or the smaller communities, and reporting no FEMA presence, no National Guard presence, no food, no water, no help -- and this is day 5. "Where is the government?" has been the predominant theme of the day. Apologists are being met with barely concealed disgust, in more and more quarters. Bush administration cuts to the levee system are being widely reported. FEMA inaction is being roundly criticized by ever-more-urgent live feeds from disheveled media figures with stunned expressions.
The Convention Center situation appears to be horrific, with deaths of elderly and infants due to dehydration already now occurring. It's not clear if anything can be or is being done tonight, or how many will die between now and the morning, or what will happen then.
The lawlessness is rampant. It's important to note, however, that the lawlessness wasn't rampant on Monday. It wasn't rampant on Tuesday. We heard only twinges of it on Wednesday. Today, from the sounds of the reports, a city devoid of all hope devolved into absolute chaos.
It is nighttime again in New Orleans, and after four days of no food, no water, no communications, no security forces, and no apparent discernible plan that they can see, trust and hope that rescuers will arrive seems all but gone. If the forces had arrived on Tuesday, things would be different.
It is simply too stunning, too shocking, too soul-draining. Nobody knows where the emergency relief has been. Nobody can quite understand why the response to the catastrophe only now seems shuddering to life.
The politics are omnipresent, but present only a hollow shell behind which a sea, an absolute frothing sea, of much worse realizations are crowding every mind. This was a disaster the country had been preparing for. This was one of the disasters most predicted, most feared, most planned for. There was two days of advance warning, as the massive, category 5 hurricane shifted purposefully towards New Orleans. This was no terrorist attack -- this time, there was warning. This time, there was knowledge.
And yet, the much-reshuffled domestic security resculpted as a result of 9-11 simply didn't show up. It wasn't there. FEMA, which has been hacked, shuffled, and gutted in the last few years, proved unable to respond to a catastrophic emergency situation. The catastrophic emergency situation, along the Gulf Coast, the one that sounded the alarms two days before landfall, the one that triggered the warnings of nightmare scenarios known for years in advance, and yet if there was any advance plan at all, any knowledge at all, any fathoming at all of how to respond in the fourty-eight hours most critical for the survival of the victims, it didn't show up. The roads were clogged, the islands were flooded, the levees were breached, and homeland security wasn't there, leaving each state, each town, each police force, each wrecked band of shell-shocked survivors to fend, and make do, while convoys were organized and strategies prepared with seeming obliviousness to the urgency of the numbers and clocks. There is... almost nothing meaningful to say.
The apparent and most likely explanations for the failure, known long before the fact, are almost shattering when reread today, while the ongoing catastrophe unfolds around us.
We have witnessed two disasters this week. The first was an act of nature. The second was not. The second disaster, still ongoing, is unforgivable.
That's the only word that comes to mind, a word I keep repeating to myself. These deaths, these men, these women, these infants dying now in these hours didn't have to happen. They did not have to die waiting for convoys to gather outside their city or for reservists to stand alongside their shattered police forces. They did not have to wait in darkness and fear for help to arrive, only to struggle for days without that help ever coming.
This is not politics. This is not partisanship.
This is unforgivable.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


The Louisiana bayou, hardest working marsh in America, is in big trouble—with dire consequences for residents, the nearby city of New Orleans, and seafood lovers everywhere. It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday. But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party. The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it. Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great. That's from this National Geographic article, 2004.

We will not be Silenced!!!!!


Category 4 Hurricane Determined to Strike U.S. -- Cont.
by Hunter
Thu Sep 1st, 2005 at 10:28:22 PDT
George W. Bush was once known as the C.E.O. President, a term his handlers eagerly coined in order to convey that the country would from now on be run like a business. That quickly evolved into the less flattering Enron President... then the War President... now it's looking like we can all finally settle on one. George W. Bush: the Disaster President.
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
He honestly said that. If that brings up more than a passing twinge of familiarity, being a more than remarkable restatement of Condi Rice's now-famous assertion to the Senate panel -- then I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.
But it does bring up something that we joke about often, but apparently have never taken quite seriously enough: our President is an idiot. I don't mean an average, run-of-the-mill idiot. I mean an idiot who apparently, for the entire duration of his presidency, literally was paying absolutely no attention to even the most life-threateningly critical tasks of government.
The administration specifically cut the funds to fix these specific levees, in order to specifically divert that Corps money to Iraq, despite urgent warnings and predictions of catastrophic disaster if the levees were breeched. The administration specifically cancelled the Clinton-backed flood control program to preserve and restore the wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf, instead specifically opening parts of that buffer zone for development.
Nobody anticipated this disaster? It was identified by FEMA as one of the top three likeliest major disasters to strike America. (That link, one of countless stories, was from 2001, by the way.) It has been a major disaster scenario for years. Everybody anticipated it, which makes this single statement by George W. Bush possibly the most dishonest, lying, craptacularly false thing he has ever said in his presidency -- even surpassing his now-infamous State of the Union Address. Truly, this is President Bush's blue-dress moment.
And yet, funneling the money into Iraq was more important. You better bet your crapulent, lying, one-track, drink-addled ass that's a political issue.
He also said today:
"I hope people don't play politics at this time of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen."
Oh, I'm touched. Utterly touched. After 9/11, the entire Republican Party went en masse to get Twin Towers ass tattoos. The Republican convention was a wholesale tribute to crass exploitation, the sets themselves designed to evoke the aftermath of the attack. Every domestic and international policy this administration -- no, this entire Republican government -- has produced has been heaved up before the public while waving the spectre of 9/11 as the catch-all vindication of every administration whim. Every tax cut, every civil rights issue, every budget cut, every budget expansion, no matter how tortured the logic must be, has some Republican senator standing on the Senate floor and proudly raping the corpses of that day as justification for their particular agenda item.
Oh, we've seen politicization of disaster. Every Republican campaign for the last four years has revolved around the politicization of disaster.
But Lord help us, George W. Bush is going to get the vapors if anyone asks him to explain his administration's active cuts of the very programs designed to keep New Orleans safe.
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