Friday, September 02, 2005

Bold Leadership in the middle of The Vacation 

Karl Rove Shifts Gears

After a day of a ridiculous CYA operation which showed the Directors of Homeland Security and FEMA practically bragging about their incompetence, Karl Rove gave Bush new marching orders:
Several hours later, President Bush headed to the devastated region to survey the damage. As he was leaving the White House, Bush told reporters that he believes the relief operations so far "are not acceptable."

But he said he wanted to "assure the people of the affected areas and the people of this country that we'll deploy the assets necessary and get the situation under control."
A day late and a dollar short Mr. President . . .

New Orleans Officials Blast Feds


Mr. Compass said the federal government had taken too long to send in the thousands of troops - as well as the supplies, fuel, vehicles, water and food - needed to stabilize his now "very, very tenuous" city.

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."

"We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," Colonel Ebbert said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane." FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.
A Brief Timeline of the Berlin Airlift

June 24, 1948: Blockade of Berlin begins.

June 25, 1948: Berlin airlift begins.

May 12, 1949: Blockade ends.

September 30, 1949: Airlift ends.
This event is emblematic of Republican governance. It encompasses every fuck-up they've perpetrated since they took over the entire national governament --- failure to plan, embracing only the best case scenario, lagging response, ignoring the experts, slashing funds and endless, endless happy talk that we can SEE WITH OUR OWN EYES is bullshit. (They are already saying that nobody is reporting all the "good news.")

The fact that most of these refugees (a word that I can hardly believe I'm typing) are black and poor residents who were unable to leave and were therefore, left to die, is emblematic also.

No, this is all about politics. It is about a GOP era of massive tax breaks for very rich Americans, billion dollar a week elective wars that we are losing while more and more people fall into poverty and the infrastructure of this country crumbles around our ears.

This failed experiment in free-market magical thinking can be summed up entirely by pictures of dead elderly Americans on the streets of New Orleans.
If the worst case for global climate change comes to pass, the environmental and economic losses will dwarf, many times over, the costs of Hurricane Katrina. They'll also reduce into insignificance the price tag on the Kyoto Treaty -- which itself may be too little, too late. If Shrub really thinks that doing something about climate change would "wreck the economy," he should spend some of his unused vacation time thinking about what just happened to New Orleans.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Change of Focus 

Time for me to take another one of those sabbaticals. In the short term I'll be busy setting up house in a new location, finding furniture, and cleaning all the stuff out of the car I'm been more or less living in for the past 6 months.

But in the longer term, I going to be running for a local political office. This is a race that has historically been decided in the primary. That means I've got about a year to plan, organize, staff, finance, and run a campaign.

That's going to take up some time. So if I'm not blogging (much), it will be because I'm actually in the trenches, doing the deal up close and personal instead of from behind a keyboard.

If anything especially interesting happens out there on the campaign trail, I'll let you know.

Be good. Make mischief. Have fun.



Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Help Out 

The American Red Cross.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Stupdity has consequences 

I'm on the road today, so blogging will be light.

But I couldn't help but notice that much of the Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq, just when their friends and neighbors need them at home. Thanks to AMERICAblog for the link.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

More Diplomacy? Too late for that 

Wes Clark had an op-ed piece in yesterday's WaPo that he has been touting on his WesPac web site.

Personally, I like General Clark's political style, and he's been at the top (slightly ahead of Governor Dear) in the last few Daily Kos presidential straw polls.

But I think his take on Iraq is pretty shallow. It's the basic do more better strategy, with lots of regional diplomacy thrown in.

Clark needs to read the headlines. The Shia and Kurd representatives are signing off on a constitution that a third of the country (the Sunnis) view as a recipe for disaster. Iran's clerics are barely able to speak, they're so busy drooling over the prospect of an Islamic Republic on their western border, one they will be able to dominate religiously, politically, and (eventually) militarily. And the whole place is about to explode into a 3-way civil war.

Clark understands that a US pull-out will leave the country in chaos. What he's missing is that Bush, Cheney, Rice & Rumsfeld, Inc. have screwed the pooch so badly that nothing will save it at this point.

Clark undoubtedly is guided by what a great job the US and her allies did in the Balkans (once Clinton was able to overcome the resistance of congressional Republicans to committing assets to the conflict). The Balkans were an ugly and complicated affair. But that ongoing effort was a walk in the park compared to Iraq.

Iraq is bad ugly. Candidates like pretty solutions. When a situation is that ugly there are no pretty solutions.


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