Saturday, September 17, 2005

W's Plans

Bush's insistence that his plans for reconstructing the U.S. gulf coast won't entail rolling back any past or proposed tax cuts shows that nothing really has changed and that the real power in Washington remains Grover Norquist and his Americans For Tax Reform. Norquist group reports that in addition to W himself, 221 US Representatives and 46 Senators have signed the so-called "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which "solemnly bind[s]" them "to oppos[ing] any and all tax increases." If you want to get an idea of how these sleazeballs operate check out Elizabeth Drew's Selling Washington. Drew observes:

Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed. The head of a public policy strategy group told me, "It's not about governing anymore. The Congress is now a transactional institution. They don't take risks. So when a great moral issue comes up— like war—they can't deal with it." The theory that ours is a system of one-person-one-vote, or even that it's a representative democracy, is challenged by the reality of power and who really wields it. Barney Frank argues that "the political system was supposed to overcome the financial advantage of the capitalists, but as money becomes more and more influential, it doesn't work that way."

It's time for the Dem's to get out front and make it clear that responsible reconstruction of the gulf region cannot be achieved under this regime.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Of Course

From Brian Williams via Daily Kos:
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
Incompetence or Complicity?

The Guardian is reporting that former members of the Sept. 11 commission are denying that the Pentagon knew that Mohamed Atta was a terrorist for two years before 9/11/01 and destroyed loads of documentation that would have been mighty difficult to explain after 9/11/01.
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.

I think I'm going to need a bathroom break to throw up.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago
After a wrenching debate that reopened 37-year-old wounds, Chicago on Wednesday became the nation's largest city to demand an "orderly and rapid withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Impeachable Offense #1899

How Michael Brown Helped Bush Win Florida

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered emails from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims.
But the most interesting charge against Brown is that he helped speed up payments in Florida and purposely bypassed FEMA's lengthy reviews process for distributing funds in order to help Bush secure votes in the state during last year's presidential election.

Read it and weep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The Roberts Hearings continue. It ain't lookin' good.
The Blame Game (cont.)

With Brownie gone, it's time to move on up the ladder of responsibility. The Wall Street Journal reports that "internal documents and emails from FEMA and other government agencies dating back to Aug. 31 and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the extent to which the federal government bungled its response to the hurricane. The documents highlight serious deficiencies in the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan, a post-Sept. 11 playbook on how to deal with catastrophic events. Mr. Chertoff activated the National Response Plan last Tuesday by declaring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina an 'Incident of National Significance'" AND . . .

"Some Homeland Security officials are already starting to acknowledge significant weaknesses in the national response plan, which was completely disregarded at times during the crisis.

'We at the department are not well prepared, and unfortunately, recent history has shown that that's the case,' Lee Holcomb, the department chief technology officer told a breakfast meeting of Information Technology executives on Wednesday in Washington."

Specific failures cited by WSJ include delays in activating health and safety workers, delays in coordinating with the NIH, ordering the wrong number of buses . . . Chertoff, Chertoff, bo bertoff . . .

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's For You

When the federal government can overlook entire cities, don't count on them to worry about the smallest citizens. Who is overseeing the childcare in the emergency shelters set up around the country to aide NOLA evacuees? I certainly hope it's not FEMA. Monica reminds us that someone needs to make sure the kids are alright.

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