Katrina takes a toll on Bush

Sunday, September 4, 2005
Katrina takes a toll on Bush

From L K Sharma DH News Service, Washington:

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the lives and livelihood of thousands of poor Americans and has made President Bush vulnerable.

The natural disaster that wiped out a coastal city and was compared by a few Americans to “Hiroshima

US South drowns in bitterness

Sunday, September 4, 2005
US South drowns in bitterness

New Orleans, reuters:

Louisiana Gov Kathleen Blanco said engineers and crews rebuilding the levees symbolised the beginning of the end of the nightmare.

The desperately sought arrival of government help was bringing a measure of hope to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans on Saturday but officials warned the city faced a long, difficult climb out of crisis.

After days of waiting that magnified their despair, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina greeted military convoys arriving in the flooded city to confront rampant lawlessness and bring desperately needed food, water and medical care.

Bush panics and sends in the marines

Bush panics and sends in the marines


A PANICKED George Bush yesterday ordered elite troops on to the streets of New Orleans in an unprecedented attempt to stop violence in the disaster-struck city spiralling out of control.

The deployment, nearly a week after Hurricane Katrina struck, will see 7,000 marines and airborne troops sent to the emergency zone, where they are expected to crack down on the gun-toting gangs terrorising survivors.

Despite a blitz of TV appearances, Bush faces mounting criticism for failing to act fast enough to avert the crisis affecting millions on the Gulf Coast.

Compounding the tragedy

Sunday, September 4, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Compounding the tragedy

The Bush administration came close to a failure of leadership, communication and organization in its response to Hurricane Katrina. The government was too slow in helping thousands of people left stranded, hungry and dying — the sick, elderly and poor.

A measure of any government is how it responds in a crisis. When the richest nation on Earth cannot get water and food to stricken citizens for three or four days — our citizens, our people — something is wrong. New Orleans' mayor grew so weary of waiting for federal help that he issued a "desperate SOS" for aid. President Bush conceded results have been unacceptable. One New Orleans emergency official called the federal response a national disgrace, and it is.

Bush sends marines as flood fury grows

Bush sends marines as flood fury grows

· 20,000 still trapped in burning city
· We let citizens down, admits President

Julian Borger and Jamie Doward in Baton Rouge
Sunday September 4, 2005
The Observer

President George Bush ordered an extra 17,000 troops - including 7,000 elite airborne troops and marines - into New Orleans and the devastated Gulf Coast yesterday to try to bolster the stumbling flood relief effort and salvage the reputation of his presidency.
The order was announced after it became clear that National Guard troops sent into the city on Friday were no match for the scale of the disaster unleashed by Hurricane Katrina and the consequent collapse of the levees around the city. Within two days the number of military personnel in the area is hoped to reach some 54,000 people.

Waiting for the National Guard...

Milvertha Hendricks, 84, waits in the rain with other flood victims outside the convention center in New Orleans Thursday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It's appears only poor black folks and not rich campaign contributors get to wait in the rain while a third of the Louisiana National Guard that might have helped with recovery is stationed in Iraq.

Falluja Floods the Superdome

Falluja Floods the Superdome
Published: September 4, 2005

AS the levees cracked open and ushered hell into New Orleans on Tuesday, President Bush once again chose to fly away from Washington, not toward it, while disaster struck. We can all enumerate the many differences between a natural catastrophe and a terrorist attack. But character doesn't change: it is immutable, and it is destiny.

As always, the president's first priority, the one that sped him from Crawford toward California, was saving himself: he had to combat the flood of record-low poll numbers that was as uncontrollable as the surging of Lake Pontchartrain. It was time, therefore, for another disingenuous pep talk, in which he would exploit the cataclysm that defined his first term, 9/11, even at the price of failing to recognize the emerging fiasco likely to engulf Term 2.

Master of Disaster George Bush Made Fatal Changes to Render FEMA Ineffective in Responding to Disasters in America.

By Frank James and Andrew Martin
Washington Bureau
Published September 3, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Government disaster officials had an action plan if a major hurricane hit New Orleans. They simply didn't execute it when Hurricane Katrina struck.

Thirteen months before Katrina hit New Orleans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill that Ronald Castleman, then the regional director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called "a very good exercise."

More than a million residents were "evacuated" in the table-top scenario as 120 m.p.h. winds and 20 inches of rain caused widespread flooding that supposedly trapped 300,000 people in the city.

"It was very much an eye-opener," said Castleman, a Republican appointee of President Bush who left FEMA in December for the private sector. "A number of things were identified that we had to deal with, not all of them were solved."

Still, Castleman found it hard to square the lessons he and others learned from the exercise with the frustratingly slow response to the disaster that has unfolded in the wake of Katrina. From the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans to the Mississippi and Alabama communities along the Gulf Coast, hurricane survivors have decried the lack of water, food and security and the slowness of the federal relief efforts.

Katrina: Predictable, preventable, ignored

Katrina: Predictable, preventable, ignored

Posted by Matthew Wheeland at 1:24 PM on September 2, 2005.

Right now, looking back is easier than looking forward.

Joel K. Bourne Jr. writes in National Geographic:

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.

Nowhere to Run

Nowhere to run
Posted by Jan Frel at 8:45 PM on September 1, 2005.

New Orleans is no distraction for George Bush -- it's the summation of his failures and bankrupt ideology.

Unlike, say, the death of the Pope, the recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina offer no distraction for George Bush -- indeed, he can find the effects of his falied and bankrupt policies from the past five years in the facets of this disaster. And a lot of it spells mass political alienation, even from the most die-hard of Southern Red State suckers. Much of this is now blogged about/public knowledge ...

--A third of the Louisiana National Guard that might have helped with recovery is in Iraq.

Meanwhile...another recess appointment from Bush

Meanwhile...another recess appointment from Bush

While most of us were paying attention to Cindy Sheehan's efforts to get to the truth about why her son Casey died in Iraq, the impending Supreme Court appointment hearing on Roberts and the most devastating natural disaster in the century, Bush was making another sneaky recess appointment. The Associated Press:

President Bush has used a constitutional provision to bypass the Senate and fill a top Justice Department slot with an official whose nomination stalled over tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility.
Bush used a "recess appointment" Wednesday to name Alice S. Fisher to lead the agency's criminal division. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., had blocked the nomination because he wants to talk to an agent who named Fisher in an e-mail about allegedly abusive interrogations at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo.

How long until the Bush Administration starts blaming the media?

Friday, September 02, 2005
How long until the Bush Administration starts blaming the media?

We know it's inevitable. When will it happen and who will it be? I predict it will happen on one of the Sunday morning shows. But who? Will Cheney be back from vacation?
Craig Crawford:
It was tough to watch President Bush and the assembled politicians congratulating and applauding each other today shortly after Air Force One touched down. I guess it's a good thing that so many victims have no elecricity to operate their televisions, or homes still standing where they can watch TV. Or they might just lose their minds at the Orwellian sight of politicians pretending that they are doing a "heck of a job."

Monument to a Rotten System

Monument to a Rotten System
By Dave Zirin, AlterNet. Posted September 3, 2005.

Governmental hypocrisy is personified painfully in the monument to corporate greed that has rapidly become the earth's most damnable homeless shelter: the Louisiana Superdome.

There is nothing "unnatural" about the disaster of New Orleans. When politicians smirk at global warming, when developers look at our wetlands and dream of mini-malls, when billions are flushed in the name of war and tax cuts, when issues of poverty and racism don't even register in presidential debates, all it takes is wind, albeit 145 mph wind, to expose a sturdy superpower as a house of cards.

Can't impeach for negligent homicide? Bust Roberts; Block Rehnquist replacement

Can't impeach for negligent homicide? Bust Roberts; Block Rehnquist replacement
by glennwsmith [Subscribe]
Sat Sep 3rd, 2005 at 21:06:07 PDT

"White House Shifts Blame" says the WaPost headline over a story that details Bush's efforts to strip the Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor of authority and absolve himself, FEMA, or any of his loyal lackies of any responsibility.

Thousands dead. Bush fakes photo op; food, construction props removed when cameras leave. Northcomm says it waited days on Bush order to enter New Orleans. Quarter million refugees. Iraq war rages. Now Rehnquist has died. Roberts nomination up. Estate tax repeal up. We must bury this monster in defeat at every turn.

As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis

As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis

Published: September 4, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 - Faced with one of the worst political crises of his administration, President Bush abruptly overhauled his September schedule on Saturday as the White House scrambled to gain control of a situation that Republicans said threatened to undermine Mr. Bush's second-term agenda and the party's long-term ambitions.

President Bush delivered his weekly radio address from the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday.
In a sign of the mounting anxiety at the White House, Mr. Bush made a rare Saturday appearance in the Rose Garden before live television cameras to announce that he was dispatching additional active-duty troops to the Gulf Coast. He struck a more somber tone than he had at times on Friday during a daylong tour of the disaster region, when he had joked at the airport in New Orleans about the fun he had had in his younger days in Houston. His demeanor on Saturday was similar to that of his most somber speeches after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

When we desperately need more troops in Iraq, they won't send enough. When we desperately need troops in New Orleans, they won't

THE TROOPS: James Taranto is doing his usual best to defend anything the Bush administration does and points out that the deployment in Iraq is not a reason for the lack of troops to restore order in new Orleans. He cites a NRO article that makes this point:
Take the Army for example. There are 1,012,000 soldiers on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard. Of them, 261,000 are deployed overseas in 120 countries. Iraq accounts for 103,000 soldiers, or 10.2 percent of the Army.

That’s all? Yes, 10.2 percent. That datum is significant in itself, a good one to keep handy the next time someone talks about how our forces are stretched too thin, our troops are at the breaking point, and so forth. If you add in Afghanistan (15,000) and the support troops in Kuwait (10,000) you still only have 12.6 percent.

So where are the rest?

'My Pet Goat'--The Sequel

'My Pet Goat'--The Sequel

This time, during a catastrophe, the president did not merely dither for seven minutes, but for three days, and his top advisors followed suit. While the media has done a good job in portraying the overall failure of leadership in this weeks hurricane's disaster, it has not focused enough on this deadly dereliction of duty.

By Greg Mitchell

(September 03, 2005) -- While a rising chorus in the press has taken the White House, FEMA and the Pentagon to task for performing miserably in their response to the human disaster on the Gulf Coast, few have focused on the most telling aspect of the entire failure. It’s not just incompetence. It’s a shameful lack of concern: The 9/11 “My Pet Goat

Possible New CoSponsor for Resolution of Inquiry

From Gregory Robles

In a town hall meeting, held today in Fraser, (Grand County) Colorado
after being questioned on the Downing Street Memo(s) and Ms. Lee's
H.Res. 375, Mark Udall said that he will be signing on to the
Resolution on Tuesday September 6th upon his return to Congress. He
seemed quite sincere in his response. A round of applause rose from the
some 43 attendees (my early count of attendees).


George Fails again or still

(Editor's note: This article was original submitted as a post to afterdowningstreet.org.)

George Fails again or still
Submitted by Susan Carr (not verified) on Sat, 2005-09-03 15:33.

When I was growing up this was a term my dad used all the time when I could have prevented problems. Mr. Bush has never learned that lesson not only about Katrina and its aftermath, but about all the budget cuts of services for Americans that can come back and haunt us later. That money is being used to fight a losing war and or is put into a Homeland Security Department that still doesn’t offer the protections it should for our citizens. Whether in the Iraq War or in a home crisis Bush is graded

Babes in Warland

Babes in Warland
By Victoria Harper
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 02 September 2005

The toddlers were at the pizza parlor to celebrate Kristina's 3rd birthday. A dozen youngsters jumped and clapped their hands as a giant rat, Chuck E. Cheese, came out to greet them. The Iraq War was far from my mind.

If you have never been to Chuck E. Cheese, it is a mix of carnival and play park, with so-so pizza, lots of video games, coin operated kiddie rides, and arcade games like ski ball. The place is designed for 2- to 10-year-olds, with occasional adults playing the games. There is even a designated play area for babies. I was escorting 4 little boys for the evening, to free their parents for a night out without the children.

The Story Of The Hurricane Cowboy Who Fiddled While New Orleans Drowned

The Story Of The Hurricane Cowboy Who Fiddled While New Orleans Drowned

By Amanda Lang, PhD

09/02/05 "ICH" -- -- Why did Bush vacation – cut wood, clear brush, bike, and read -- for days while the world watched Katrina develop, then slam as a category 4 hurricane into the Gulf Coast? Just as he did on September 11, 2001, he froze. They don’t have cable or telephones in Crawford? The unfolding catastrophe has Bush leadership skills, or lack thereof, written all over it. He treats his own citizens with the same contempt and callousness as he does the Iraqi civilians – as “collateral damage.

Guard Sees Parallels to Iraq in Louisiana

Guard Sees Parallels to Iraq in Louisiana
September 3rd, 2005 @ 7:18am
AP National Writers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A month ago, this steamy riverfront offered Michael Rogers a much-needed vacation after a year's tour in Iraq. His head was spinning when he returned in his National Guard uniform, unable to shake the similarities to his time on the streets of Baghdad.

An angry crowd. A hot blazing sun. A murky mixture of resentment and gratitude.

He took a break in the shade Friday, smoking a cigarette as hundreds of newly homeless lined up outside the downtown convention center for the basics they'd gone without for days _ food and water. Emergency shelter was uncertain, and home either gone or underwater.

Frankenstein's monster is on the loose

Frankenstein's monster is on the loose

By Luciana Bohne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

September 2, 2005—Well, yes, there is a kind of shocking distillation of meaning in the catastrophe that hit the city of New Orleans. It's as if the belly of the beast that is the US imperial leviathan has been turned over—its underbelly exposed. There, you can see the reality: two nations, one rich, one poor; one televised, the other invisible—until now.

Abject poverty, criminal infrastructural neglect, opportunistic defunding of minimal preventive planning, disaster relief resources otherwise engaged abroad in protecting the interests of oligarchs, industrial poisons erupting at a mere shrug of nature from their thin disguise just beneath the urban surface of triumphant financial capitalism—a river of murderous toxins running free, running free in the streets of the city of sweetness, the city of food, the city of jazz like a Frankenstein's monster shaking loose his chains and going after its creator:

What I Want to Know Is

Can we hold fundraiser concerts for killing Iraqis but use public funds for protecting the public? Would that be less heart-warming? Would the concerts raise more or less than 700 billion dollars?

Is New Orleans part of the Homeland? Where exactly does the Homeland start?

If you send the guard to fight for oil, promote burning the oil, create storms, and then need the guard back, is everything the fault of the residents of New Orleans who earn $5.15 because the Louisiana Supreme Court said $6.15 was too much?

Or does the hurricane hate us because we're free?

And when you finally bring in the troops, should they help people or hunt them?

If you invested all of our money in renewable energy and mass transit instead of in the Pentagon, and you had fewer wars, fewer storms, and more public participation in our democracy, would we still be free or could people stop hating us then?

If everybody knew about the danger to New Orleans, if even CNN admits it, if Knight Ridder papers are reprinting an article about it from last October, if George Curry has documented scientists' warnings, if David Sirota has compiled evidence that Bush cut funds in the face of dire warnings, then who does this guy think he's fooling?

Bush Cut Funds in Face of Warnings

FYI - still away from my computer, but in light of the awful disaster on the Gulf Coast I wanted to pass on these stories about how much of the federal government's tragic failures in the catastrophe were long ago the subject of serious concern in Congress. I remember these debates very well when I worked at the Appropriations Committee - Democrats repeatedly noted that serious budget cuts to critical Army Corps programs were coming AT THE VERY SAME TIME THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS PUSHING TRILLIONS IN TAX CUTS. Former GOP Congressman/Army Corps Chief Mike Parker's warnings in particular were very troubling back in 2002. Sadly, he was not only ignored by President Bush, but actually fired for having the guts to voice his concerns.

Clean Up Workers in New Orleans dub it "Lake George"

Clean Up Workers in New Orleans dub it "Lake George", funds diverted to Iraq

Lake George

>From Wonkette:

That the Bush administration diverted funds from the rebuilding of the New
Orleans levees to Iraq is by now well-known. What you might not have heard
that the people cleaning up the mess are really pissed about it. A tipster
informs us that down in New Orleans, they have a name for the flood waters
have invaded the city: Lake George.

This is from a friend at the EPA:

"We're naming it Lake George, 'cause it's his frickin fault. Have you seen
all that data about the levee projects' funding being cut over the past

Bush Ignored Warnings

FYI - still away from my computer, but in light of the awful disaster on the Gulf Coast I wanted to pass on these stories about how much of the federal government's tragic failures in the catastrophe were long ago the subject of serious concern in Congress. I remember these debates very well when I worked at the Appropriations Committee - Democrats repeatedly noted that serious budget cuts to critical Army Corps programs were coming AT THE VERY SAME TIME THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS PUSHING TRILLIONS IN TAX CUTS. Former GOP Congressman/Army Corps Chief Mike Parker's warnings in particular were very troubling back in 2002. Sadly, he was not only ignored by President Bush, but actually fired for having the guts to voice his concerns.

Notes From Inside New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty
Friday, September 2, 2005

I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment
I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone
wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the
victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.

In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway,
thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud
and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily
armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it

The Questions a Shocked America is Asking its President

Published on Saturday, September 3, 2005 by the lndependent/UK
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington

Why has it taken George Bush five days to get to New Orleans?

President Bush was on holiday in Texas when Katrina struck. He then spent Monday on a pre-arranged political fundraising tour of California and Arizona, which he did not cancel or curtail. On Tuesday he surveyed the hurricane damage - but only from the flight deck of Air Force One, prompting criticism that he was too detached from the suffering on the ground. He didn't give a speech until Tuesday afternoon - 36 hours after the storm first hit - and didn't embark on a proper tour of the region until yesterday. Key advisers have come under fire for similar levels of detachment. As the full magnitude of the disaster unfolded, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was seen buying shoes in New York, and Dick Cheney remained on holiday.

New Orleans: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

By George E. Curry
NNPA columnist

I am angry. I am angry at the mayor of New Orleans. I am
angry at the governor of Louisiana. I am angry at the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I am angry at the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), now part of
the Department of Homeland Security. I am angry at
George W. Bush. I am angry because they were warned last
November that New Orleans was one of the "Disasters
Waiting to Happen" - and did nothing about it.
Consequently, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are
dead. Needlessly.

In an eerie prediction of what happened as a result of

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