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Bush Blows Katrina

Bush Blows Katrina
Following the media trail of Dubya's disaster: Doesn't anyone at the White House read National Geographic?

by Chuck Taylor

Thursday, Sept. 1: Relatives anguish over an 89-year-old woman who is near death at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

President Bush had that My Pet Goat look last Friday, Sept. 2, as he was briefed in an airplane hangar in Mobile, Ala. The clenched jaw, the grimace, the thousand-mile stare. Was this the expression of a man who was about to finally take charge, or a man in over his head? He stood before the cameras while the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, who just four years ago was essentially fired from his post as the judges-and-stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, described to the commander in chief in alarmingly simple terms the disaster that covered the map spread before them. This was for show. The president already knew exactly how bad it was. Which made it an incredibly stupid photo op, an unintentional symbol of his weeklong failure. If you took this event at face value, the president of the United States ostensibly was just then getting up to speed on the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which had swept through five days earlier.

Beside Bush and Brown were Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, two governors, and U.S. Coast Guard officials. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama, a former Republican U.S. representative, praised the federal response, apparently having watched only Fox News, where commentary and coverage in the early going were deferential to the official version of reality. Then the governors and Bush praised the Coast Guard—getting that right, at least. By actually saving lives with a fleet of 43 orange helicopters flown in from around the country—some 11,000 people have been rescued by air—the Coast Guard was the only non–local government entity that seemed to be actually doing anything before National Guard troops and supplies poured into New Orleans later that Friday, just in time for the president's visit. Time writer Nancy Gibbs this week nailed it: "Somehow Harry Connick Jr. could get to the New Orleans Convention Center and offer help, but not the National Guard."

Today we're the only developed nation with refugee camps—there's really no other term for them—and there's going to be hell to pay. For those of us who have always regarded George W. Bush as an incurious lightweight who has never lost sleep or had a real job, the president's inaction last week was tragic but not surprising. For everyone else but the most delusional Republicans, one hopes Katrina will be a watershed of realization in the months ahead if not immediately. Hundreds of stories will continue to emerge—of heroism in the absence of government, of suffering, of heartbreak. Hundreds of thousands of people without homes or jobs will look elsewhere for a future, touching every state somehow. The count of bodies will rise as quickly as the price of gas, and neither closely watched statistic will encourage people to spend money this fall. Noted Slate business writer Daniel Gross: "Economically speaking, Katrina is no 9/11. It may be much worse." There will also be a 9/11 Commission–caliber investigation, although, as New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote, if 9/11 is any guide, full disclosure will come only "after the administration and its apologists erect every possible barrier to keep us from learning the truth."

Friday, Sept. 2: National Guard soldiers assist stranded New Orleans residents outside the convention center.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The Katrina aftermath might have been the best-covered disaster in history. But so far, no journalist has been able to satisfactorily answer what everyone wants to know: How could the response have been so botched? No disaster is more predictable than a hurricane, and this one was anticipated years ago. How can you screw up a tropical storm relief effort in the age of satellites, after all the lessons we've learned from dozens of previous storms? If you review what experts have been saying about Louisiana for years and what they predicted the weekend before the storm hit, and if you think back at what obviously needed to be done in the aftermath based on what we all saw on television, and when you consider that numerous journalists were getting downright combative with government officials as those officials insisted on remaining clueless, it's hard to understand how the president, that Friday in Mobile, could have said to the FEMA chief: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Just two hours earlier at the White House, as he was about to head for the Gulf Coast, Bush had conceded to reporters, finally, that the government's response to Katrina was not acceptable. In Bush's brain, which assessment was true?

The contradiction was emblematic. Said Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline the day before the president's tour of the devastation: "To hear federal and local officials describing what is happening on the ground in New Orleans is to know that one group or the other is seriously out of touch or incapable of confronting the truth."

Last week, as New Orleans sank, I remembered a story about Louisiana in the October 2004 issue of National Geographic and pulled it from a stack on my shelf. "Gone with the Water," said the headline. "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." I remembered the subject of the story—how oil and gas extraction, dredging for vessel navigation, and flood-control measures that prevent silt replenishment were destroying the marshes and barrier islands of the Mississippi River delta, which help absorb the surges of storms. But I had forgotten how writer Joel K. Bourne Jr. had begun this quintessential NG account of man vs. nature. When I began reading the opening anecdote, about a hurricane hitting New Orleans, my jaw dropped.

. . . 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. . . . As it reached 25 feet 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 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.

The prescience of this story from a year ago doesn't end there. Go read it. Then consider the award-winning coverage of this issue over the years by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans ( Just last May 31, reporter Mark Schleifstein told readers about revised plans to evacuate the city should a hurricane bear down on the Gulf Coast:

Those without transportation need to be planning now how they'll get to safety, New Orleans Emergency Preparedness Director Joseph Matthews said.

"It's important to emphasize that we just don't have the resources to take everybody out," Matthews said.

He said the viability of the bus plan depends on whether Regional Transit Authority and New Orleans public-school officials find enough volunteer drivers.

New Orleans is in an unusual situation, compared with neighboring parishes, because more than a quarter of its residents have no personal transportation. According to the most recent census data, about 134,000 out of the city's 480,000 people are without cars, said Shirley Laska, director of the University of New Orleans' Center for Hazards Assessment, Response & Technology.

A few days earlier, May 28, Times-Picayune reporter Sheila Grissett wrote that Congress four years ago gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers "permission to begin its study of structures that could stave off storm surge from the biggest of all hurricanes—but not the money to do the study." Local Corps officials had been pushing to get funding ever since, wrote Grissett, but "the efforts come at a time when Congress and the Bush administration are steadily reducing appropriations for both hurricane system improvements and flood-protection construction in the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project." Of course, had the president and Congress appropriated all the money—they ended up allocating about half of what was asked—it would have been years before that new infrastructure was in place to do any good. But the odds of a Category 5 storm hitting the Gulf Coast are no less in the future than in the past.

If early warnings by scientists and engineers had no effect, surely the ones that accompanied Katrina's approach did, right? On Sunday, Aug. 28, catastrophe seemed assured in this Associated Press account:

Experts expect Katrina to turn New Orleans into Atlantis, leaving up to 1 million homeless

By Matt Crenson

When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans on Monday, it could turn one of America's most charming cities into a vast cesspool tainted with toxic chemicals, human waste and even coffins released by floodwaters from the city's legendary cemeteries.

Experts have warned for years that the levees and pumps that usually keep New Orleans dry have no chance against a direct hit by a Category 5 storm.

That's exactly what Katrina was as it churned toward the city. With top winds of 160 mph and the power to lift sea level by as much as 28 feet above normal, the storm threatened an environmental disaster of biblical proportions, one that could leave more than 1 million people homeless.

"All indications are that this is absolutely worst-case scenario," Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, said Sunday afternoon.

The center's latest computer simulations indicate that by Tuesday, vast swaths of New Orleans could be under water up to 30 feet deep. In the French Quarter, the water could reach 20 feet, easily submerging the district's iconic cast-iron balconies and bars.

Estimates predict that 60 percent to 80 percent of the city's houses will be destroyed by wind. With the flood damage, most of the people who live in and around New Orleans could be homeless.

"We're talking about in essence having—in the continental United States—having a refugee camp of a million people," van Heerden said.

Let the record show that van Heerden was dead wrong about the French Quarter, which was relatively unscathed. But Katrina otherwise was every bit as bad as predicted, and FEMA knew it would be. "It's a very dangerous situation at this point," spokesperson Nicol Andrews told The Associated Press that Sunday. "We're ready and awaiting landfall."

As Katrina hit on Monday, Aug. 29, the president assured the nation, at stops in Arizona and California where he was traveling to pitch Medicare drug benefits, that the government would do everything it could to help residents in affected areas. "For those of you who are concerned about whether or not we are prepared to help," Bush said, "don't be. We are." Having dispensed with that obligatory though baseless assurance, behind the scenes the president was considering whether to release federal petroleum reserves to help refiners. Apparently assuming the people were taken care of, the president was poised to help the industry he used to work for, the companies responsible for the years of drilling, dredging, and drying that made Louisiana increasingly vulnerable to storms in the first place, as explained by National Geographic and other media in recent years.

Thursday, Sept. 1: The refugees wait at the convention center. The scene brought Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera to tears.
(Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

We all know what happened next. On Monday night, Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, the first of the levee breaches was reported. The next day, AP was unequivocal about the disaster that was developing. Wrote Adam Nossiter: "Helicopters dropped sandbags on two broken levees as the water kept rising in the streets. The governor drew up plans to evacuate just about everyone left in town. Looters ransacked stores. Doctors in their scrubs had to use canoes to bring supplies to blacked-out hospitals. New Orleans sank deeper into crisis Tuesday, a full day after Hurricane Katrina hit."

On NBC's Meet the Press later, Chertoff implied that no one could have known how bad it was about to get. "I think if you look at what actually happened," he told Tim Russert, "I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet,' because if you recall the storm moved to the east and then continued on and appeared to pass with considerable damage but nothing worse." (Secondary headlines that day in The New York Times and The Washington Post said, respectively: "New Orleans Escapes a Direct Hit" and "No Direct Hit in New Orleans, But Extensive Destruction.") "It was midday Tuesday," Aug. 30, Chertoff continued on Meet the Press, "that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city. I think that second catastrophe really caught everybody by surprise."

Everybody but those who subscribed to Louisiana newspapers or National Geographic.

By Wednesday, Aug. 31, things were very bad in New Orleans. Conditions at the Louisiana Superdome, where thousands of people had ridden out the storm and awaited transportation out of the city, were deteriorating, with reports of death and violence. And another crisis was developing at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which wasn't an official gathering place but for some reason was attracting thousands of displaced residents who were without food and water. All of this, of course, was being reported on TV, in Web logs, and in newspaper stories.

As the president returned to Washington, D.C., from the West, Air Force One swooped in low to see the damage. "It's devastating," Bush was quoted by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan as saying. "It's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

In Washington and in Baton Rouge, the state capital where the response was being coordinated, officials like Chertoff and Brown were telling the media that thousands of this and millions of that were in the affected areas or on the way, that the government was pulling out all the stops. Ships, soldiers, meals ready to eat, water, buses. But journalists, some of them uncharacteristically emotional, were reporting something quite different from ground zero. Here's what AP's Nossiter wrote on Thursday, Sept. 1:

NEW ORLEANS—Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law-enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. "This is a desperate SOS," the mayor said.

Anger mounted across the ruined city, with thousands of storm victims increasingly hungry, desperate and tired of waiting for buses to take them out.

Monday, Sept. 5: One of many victims, the covered body of Alcede Jackson was respectfully left on the front porch of his New Orleans home.
(Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

By midweek, what was needed was obvious: a humanitarian shock and awe effort, with military boots on the ground and in the water to secure the city for rescuers, and convoys of food and water. Buses and supplies were trickling in, but, for the most part, the tens of thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans at the Superdome, in the convention center, and on elevated Interstate 10 were without hope. No one seemed to be talking to them except journalists. Numerous residents, when asked, said FEMA was missing in action. No one was in charge. Reporters were getting frantic. CNN's Anderson Cooper was aggressively questioning every official he interviewed, including Democratic Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. By Friday, even after supplies began arriving in the city in meaningful volume, Fox News correspondents Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera were livid because the people in trouble weren't getting that help. Rivera, in tears, held up an infant for the camera.

Thursday night, Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline finally laid it on the line for FEMA Director Brown, a small-time lawyer from Oklahoma and Colorado, the former horse-show rules enforcer who had ridden the coattails of a patronage appointment and risen to be in charge of this mess.

Koppel: Mr. Brown, some of these people are dead. They're beyond your help. Some of these people have died because they needed insulin and they couldn't get it. Some of the people died because they were in hospitals and they couldn't get the assistance that they needed. You say you were surprised by the fact that so many people didn't make it out. It's no surprise to anyone that you had at least 100,000 people in the city of New Orleans who are dirt poor. Who don't have cars, who don't have access to public transportation, who don't have any way of getting out of the city simply because somebody says, "You know, there's a force five storm coming, you ought to get out." If you didn't have buses there to get them out, why should it be a surprise to you that they stayed?

Brown: Well, Ted, you know, we're, I'm not going to sit here and second-guess why or when evacuation orders were given or why or why not the city didn't have buses available. You know, that's just not the thing that we need to do right now. Frankly, if they, if they had, if they had put buses there . . .

Koppel: Not the city, not the city. I'm not asking you, Mr. Brown, why the city didn't have buses available, I'm asking you why you didn't have National Guards in there with trucks to get them out of there. Why you didn't have people with flatbed trailers if that's what you needed. Why you didn't, you know, simply get Greyhound buses from as many surrounding states as you could lay your hands on to get those people out of there. Why you haven't done it to this day?

Brown: Ted, we're doing all of that. We're moving all of those things in there, and what people need to understand is that when you're doing these life-saving and life-sustaining kind of operations, then if I move rescue workers into harm's way and they become victims themselves, it just makes the problem doubly worse. So, yes, we move in when it's safe to move in. We move in when we can do that. We work closely with the state government. The federal government did not come in here and just tell this governor how or what to do. We came in here and said what do you want us to do? We will help you. We are now taking it upon ourselves to do things that we think need to be done, and we will continue to do that, because that's our job.

If the administration hoped the finger-pointing would die down once the National Guard and regular Army moved in over this past weekend, it was disappointed. On Meet the Press, Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, a municipality adjoining New Orleans, ripped into FEMA for being a hindrance. He was not the first person to say so.

Saturday, Sept. 3: Some were still awaiting rescue from the stench of the convention center.
(Ron Haviv / Vii via Associated Press)

"We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water," he told Russert. "FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, 'Come get the fuel right away.' When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. 'FEMA says don't give you the fuel.' Yesterday—yesterday—FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, 'No one is getting near these lines.' Sheriff Harry Lee said that if American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

"Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a Cabinet-level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do."

Broussard concluded by summing up, between sobs, the feeling of local officials and residents alike last week: "Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary [of Homeland Security] has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences," he said, echoing an earlier expletive-rich rant by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. "For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody."

Denise Bottcher, press secretary for Louisiana Gov. Blanco, who is certain to be accountable to some degree for this tragedy, told The New York Times: "We wanted soldiers, helicopters, food, and water. They wanted to negotiate an organizational chart."

In the first detailed attempt to explain what went so wrong with FEMA's management of the crisis, The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Sept. 6, examined, among other things, the 2003 creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which absorbed FEMA. Homeland Security defanged the agency, the Journal and others have noted, scaling back its mission and reducing its status from a Cabinet-level organization answering directly to the president to one of dozens inside Homeland Security, where the emphasis on disaster response has been almost exclusively on terrorism. Bill Waugh, an expert on emergency management at Georgia State University, told the Journal: "What the events of the last week have shown is that over the last few years since 9/11 we have slowly disassembled our national emergency response system and put in its place something far inferior."

Still unexplained, however, is why somebody with authority last week didn't do something about what the world saw on TV, bureaucracy or no.

Wednesday, Aug. 31: President Bush saw the devastation during a flyby on Air Force One while en route to the White House.

(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

As this week began, you would have thought that the federal government finally got it. But even as late as Monday, Sept. 5, the days-long delay of rescue was being downplayed. Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the U.S. Northern Command—the full-time military inside the homeland—told reporters: "From our perspective, aid was moving before the storm hit. From the perspective of those folks who were without food and water for a couple of hours, maybe overnight into the next day, in Louisiana and Mississippi, that's a long time." A couple of hours? The next day? Astonishingly, another government official without cable TV.

In his Sunday column, Sept. 4, Seattle Times executive editor Michael Fancher correctly called the reporters who covered the Katrina aftermath unsung first responders, and he singled out The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, which had to relocate and published for a couple of days only on the Web. The paper's journalists joined the national correspondents and bloggers who couldn't believe what they were seeing— an unresponsive U.S. government, which supposedly knows how to help people on a massive scale when disaster strikes. An editorial titled "An Open Letter to the President" summed up the nagging disconnect that remains unexplained more than a week after the storm: "Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

"Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city. . . . Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid, were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach."

Bob Schieffer on CBS's Face the Nation addressed the disconnect from the perspective of the Beltway: "As scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality. As the floodwaters rose, local officials in New Orleans ordered the city evacuated. They might as well have told their citizens to fly to the moon. How do you evacuate when you don't have a car? No hint of intelligent design in any of this. This was just survival of the richest."

He wasn't to blame, but President Bush is responsible for it all. His hands-off handling of Katrina has been every bit as dumb as Bill Clinton's handling of Monica. The difference is Monica didn't kill anybody. Wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik: "George W. Bush is known for never admitting his mistakes. Consequently, he never learns from his mistakes. The chances are dismal that he will learn from this one. We're on our own."

Just like the people of New Orleans.

But wait—this just in from the White House: "What I intend to do is to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong," Bush said Tuesday, Sept. 6.

It's going to be a long 40 months until the president leaves office, for him and us.



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WMR has discovered that the Department of Homeland Security has, in addition to steering millions of dollars of FEMA money to GOP-connected firms, reallocated important disaster recovery funds to Israeli security and information technology contractors. DHS has even sponsored high tech fairs in Jerusalem that have provided a fast track for Israeli firms to grab a large portion of DHS's $47 billion annual budget. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's wife Meryl worked for FEMA when the agency was undergoing severe budget cuts during Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's and Joseph Allbaugh's tenure. In addition, critical DHS funds earmarked for state disaster preparedness were instead re-steered to Israeli firms that landed lucrative contracts with state homeland security offices, especially in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.

mchertoff.jpg (1580 bytes)

Chertoff's wife Meryl worked for FEMA's Legislative Liaison Office during drastic FEMA budget cuts

What is more interesting is that Meryl Chertoff worked in FEMA's Office of Legislative Affairs from 2002 to 2003 during FEMA's absorption into DHS and the reduction of its budget. Meryl Chertoff also briefed Congress on FEMA's disaster preparedness at the same time Louisiana's congressional delegation was pleading for funds for levee strenghtening and flood control. Meryl Chertoff is an attorney who is currently a consultant. The web site for Nancy H. Becker Associates, a Trenton, NJ public relations and lobbying firm, has on its home page a Homeland Security certificate that clearly shows the name "Meryl Chertoff."

Why is a foreign country involved in my Homeland Security????? These
Contracts should only go to Americans for security reasons... I do not understand the thinking here...cronyism is bad enough but a foreign country does not have allegience to my this Patriotic???

To all those who pee themselves whenever they see a black person: Before you post to this thread about how the welfare state is to blame for your leader's ineptitude, I thought I'd insult you now and get it over with.

And this time, please supply one scrap of rational evidence to bolster your point of view. No Bible quotes. No FOX news feeds. No strong gut feelings. No rhetoric from your KKK friends. Explain to us how you arrive at your conclusions. If we're so wrong and you're so right, you should have an easy time demonstrating it. Your near-mastery of third-grade spelling and grammar should be more than sufficient to the task.

Here, I'll show you one technique: providing an example. For instance, there are welfare states of all kinds in Europe, and while far from perfect, at least they don't have people drowning to death on live TV.

Here's another: cutting through rhetoric. You probably have a great deal of pride in what you call American individualism. Yet in spite of your Creationist views, American individualism is another way of saying "survival of the fittest," which is PRECISELY the problem here. Those who had the resources got out of harm's way. Those who didn't, didn't. American individualism at its finest.

Before you call me a communist and traitor, I might point out that your religion teaches you that you must always protect those who need the most, even the "crack heads" and "looters," from those who want it all. If you don't, you aren't a Christian. Nothing your leader tells you makes it otherwise. I might also remind you that the only Bush mentioned in the Bible was the one that was on fire.

Bush's environmental policies destroyed New Orleans and killed black people

Bush Drinks Blood From Hurricane Victim's Skull

Read More:

This disaster is the President's fault? Are you kidding me? You people are unreal and obviously will find anything to blame on the Right. Well just so you know it isn't working...People in the REAL WORLD know that is a preposterous statement.

This anonymous below me is an idiot. Bush's enviro policies destroyed N.O. and killed BLACK PEOPLE!?!?!?!? Buddy, you need a leg to stand on and your site is blantant BS.

Want to blame someone? Read this:

The state and local goverments are responsible to protect its citizens. Not sure if you knew this but at our countries founding each state was set up as an independent self-regulating government. Hence the reason state laws can supercede the federal government's.


Richie "The Right Wing Kook" Rich

Gee, Ritchie, your erudite simplification of a complex issue is sure gonna save the law professors and the courts a lot of time and unnessary jurisprudential efforts in the future. Some of them seem to have been laboring under the silly notion that it may be just a little more complicated than that -- like the Georgetown Law Journal for example.

Gee, Arvie, by reading your lovely site it still seems rather simple. The Congress and federal government need a pretty good reason to supercede the State laws. So why does anything go through local and state judiciaries before hitting the US Supreme Court????? Why not just go right from your home to the High Courts? Because the States are supposed to take care of THEMSELVES before wasting the High Courts time with gay marriage and issues like that. California might just pass gay marriage, what then??? Can the fed say no???? Not without Amending the Constitution you knucklehead...

It is funny no Libs can explain what the federal government did wrong in N.O. or give a reason in a constructive manor, you just say the PRESIDENT of all people is to blame? So Bush showed up a little late, I'll admit that, but the federal government has no right to push into the LA and tell the govenor and mayor of each state and city what to do. LA has a well developed plan for situations like this but the Mayor of N.O. and the govenor of LA dropped the ball but Bush is to blame? Had Bush last week declared Federal Marshal Law on N.O. you libs would have went crazy saying that Bush is trying to push the poor BLACK population out of their homes to build refineries or something idiotic like that. You people just point fingers but have no feet to stand on. Again, no facts or reason, just hate and jealousy. You socialists are hilarious. I can't even call you libs, your socialistic mentality isn't fooling me.

Who's idea was the department of Homeland Security? The Democrats, not Bush. You socialists love more government. Who put FEMA under DHS? Democrats did, not Bush. So who is to blame? The libs in Congress, if you want to start looking back at history as to why things are the way they are. Shouldn't I be pointing the fingers and are the liberal Dems in Congress? The one's that truly killed the POOR BLACKS in N.O.????

Huh, Arv, what do you think?

"A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll of 609 adults taken September 5th and 6th: 13% said that George W. Bush is 'most responsible' for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane; 18% said federal agencies are most responsible; 25% said that state and local officials more responsible; 38% said nobody is to blame; 6% had no opinion, and 29% said the top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired; 63% said they should not."

And you are the majority?????

Richie "The Right Wing Kook" Rich

Well, we could start with the appointment of a fired horse show overseer to head up FEMA, the downgrading and reallocation of federal resources away from its natural disaster preparedness, etc. But I know that I won't change your mind.

The MSM is actually doing a reasonably good job on this disaster and even Republicans are asking some very hard questions about the response. So don't worry. I'm quite sure it will become even more clear to most of the public before very long.

Bush said it himself on several occasions.

I heard on AAR last night that when bush was asked about the mistakes that were made he replied - what mistakes?

Or something like that - the audio link would be great if anyone can post it here.

You are right - the MSM is actually doing a decent job on this - which is why I think that this could spell the end for Bush. But since Bush is just a dimwitted figurehead, the problem(s) we have will still remain.

I hope a fair investigation and assessment are forthcoming. As I've stated elsewhere, there is more than enough blame to go around. The federal, state and city governments must share the blame. In the midst of tragedy and hysteria, people need to blame someone or something, even global warming. I would even say an "Act of God" could absolve some human failings, but some heads should roll.

Love watching you left and right mirror images go after each other.

It reminds me of the time Bill O'Reilly had Joseph Califano, (LBJ's "Welfare Czar")On his show; you'd think the fur would fly, but it did'nt. They were all but hugging and kissing, which did'nt surprise me, because I, as can any libertarian,see the abject superficiality of your so called "disagreemnts".

You silly people aren't disagreeing, your just fighting over what your god, which you one and all worship so devoutly,should do to solve all the problems he creates for you.

You think your All-Mighty Lord Big Brother is the answer to everything.

The guys who founded this country understood the NATURE of government;that it is a unique institution, in that we,by consensus, sanction it's use of coercive force to impose it's will.That therefore it logically follows that we must be highly judicious and cautious about what we mandate it to address.

It seems you rightys have self-righteously thrown caution to the wind, while you leftys have turned judiciousness into "just gimme".

Do us all a favor, when you get through ripping each other.Take a look at what we see from our prespective when we look towards N.O.:

This is by Walter Block, a teacher of economics at Loyola University in N.O.

And this is by me: , I'm a Miami bikemessenger.

We wrote these at about the same time, unbeknown to each other.

---Thank You
The bikemessenger

I have some news for you, I don't go to church and never will. Never have either. So I serve no one but myself and what I beleive in my heart and with REASON is right about every situation. You libs and dems do nothing but point fingers at Bush for situations that there is no way he can control. If you think his response to this will be his downfall you people are just, yet again, jumping onto a fantasy that will not come true. What happened to Iraq? I thought that was going to be the downfall of Bush? Or wait was it Cindy Sheehan, isn't she going to be the downfall of Bush? Or wait, now it is Katrina, that is now going to be the downfall? Or wait, the DSM's are going to be the downfall of Bush? Or is it now that "whistleblowers" that are going to bring down Bush? Do you see a pattern here? And in a month it will be something else and then something after that.

Again, I challenge ANY lib, dem, socialist to give us a plan for anything? The only thing you people know how to do is complain. You are very good at articulating your problems but NEVER articulate a solution. THAT IS WHY YOU CAN'T WIN ELECTIONS!!!! Do you not see that? 2004 was a we hate Bush campaign and you got beat. There was nothing in Kerry's campaign about what to do about anything. Now that he got beat he offers no solutions to our problems, I thought he said he could fix our dependence on foreign oil???? Without Soros you would have got beaten even worse. Boy he must be pissed about wasting 100 million dollars? Did you know that he invested $100 million into the Carlyle Group too?????? He must see the profit potential of oil too...

You people, keep up the hate speech and the mindless chatter. I'll be here to read your rhetoric and be ready for the 2006 elections.

Richie "The Right Wing Kook" Rich

"I have some news for you,I don't go to church and never will."
That's GOOD NEWS to me,I don't either!
"...I serve no one but myself..."
More good news! I just hope you understand that's an attitude mandated to you by your nature as a human individual and not just some arbitrary tradition you happened to pick up.
When I refer facetiously to myself as "Raging Lib", the "Lib" refers to libertarian, not liberal.
Libertarians oppose Bush based on what he does, but we are more concerned with the excesses of power vested in the presidency,rather than the particular misdeeds of the person who happens to hold the office at a given time.An excess that the liberals,are quite comfortable with, after all centralized authority was their idea, so it's kind of fun to hear them whine when the facsists usurp their power structures.
" you see a pattern here?..."
Yes, as a matter of fact, on the superficial level where the liberals focus we see the same pattern of wrong doing more or less, that the liberals see. But libertarians look a little deeper and note the perverse excesses of power in the hands of so few makes negative results inevitable. That of course, does not absolve the current fascist war criminal of his crimes, any more than it absolves the socialist war criminals that got the U.S. into WWII, Korea and Vietnam.And yes, the evidence against Bush is damning and conclusive.
"Again, I challenge ANY lib,dem,socialist to give us a plan for anything?"

Ok, I believe I made reference to our strategies for dealing with natural disasters at
and .Please read these before suggesting libertarians only know how to complain and "NEVER articulate a solution".While you're at it please also note how our solutions are fundamentally distinct from both what the facsists are doing and what the socialist are proposing;and how that exposes their underlying sameness and the superficiality of their "differences"

I can't speak for the liberals and democrats, but the reason we "can't win elections" is that the repubs/dems stack the ballot access laws in each state to shut out third parties and at the federal level, pass "campaign finance reform" laws to make it difficult for anyone who does'nt already have a broad base of support to gain ground.

You're absollutely right about Kerry's "me-too-ism", but did you scrutinize our candidate,Michael Badnarik's position on issues? You might not agree, but you could'nt say he did'nt address the issues with his own distinct positions.

so I hope you'll read our "rhetoric", as noted above, comments are welcome

The Bikemessenger

Hey, Kookie you made it out of 77 Sunset Strip I see. Posters of my generation will know what I am referring to from the late 50's early 60's.

Anyway, thanks so much for you contribution to the discussion. We liberal lefties really need to be energized by the likes of you. I know it keeps me pumped up when such intelligent, thought provoking commentary comes from the right. Who knows Kookie, maybe you are now qualified to take Brown's place at FEMA! You are the consummate suck-up! I'm sure Bush is checking his dossier on you right this very minute. I bet the check list includes, inter alia: mindless loyalty, ability to speak falsehoods on cue, ideological purity of "thought", and fundamental "Christian" dogmatic tendencies. etc.

If your "contributions" weren't so vile and sickening in these dire times for this country, I might find you amusing. Unfortunately, this country and this administration is so corrupt and so incompetent that nothing is amusing, only frightening. You are a clear symptom of the cancer that has afflicted the country in epidemic proportions since 2000.

If you are of service age, why are you not banging on the recruiter's door to sign up and volunteer to fight in Iraq for your hero's "noble cause". Remember, consistency is a highly prized human character trait. Consistently bad conduct however usually finds the perpetrator held criminally responsible. We liberal lefties will be happy to discuss the fate of your hero and his date with historic destiny in the not too distant future.

Richie, sign up and fight Bush's illegal war...They need soldiers, and it sounds like you support the cause. Don't be a chickenhawk...

You are a right wing kook who hasn't a clue. As for states rights and sovereignity, Bushco cares little about that where most things are concerned.


Copied from cartel always trying to escape from their mistakes with lying.... I signed the petition.

It is important that the Bush administration not get away with shifting their responsibility to local officials. Here is what actually happened.


Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.

Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of Levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be "uninhabitable" after Hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.

Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees but giving them two days to arrive on site.

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor's earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock Hurricane news.

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Tens of thousands trapped in New Orleans including at Convention Center and Superdome in "medieval" conditions. President Bush finally returns to Washington to establish a task force to coordinate federal response. Local authorities run out of food and water supplies.

Thursday, Sept. 1: New Orleans descends into anarchy. New Orleans Mayor issues a "Desperate SOS" to federal government. Bush claims nobody predicted the breach of the levees despite multiple warnings and his earlier briefing.

Friday, Sept. 2: Karl Rove begins Bush administration campaign to blame state and local officials—despite their repeated requests for help. Bush stages a photo-op—diverting Coast Guard helicopters and crew to act as backdrop for cameras. Levee repair work orchestrated for president's visit and White House press corps.

Saturday, Sept. 3: Bush blames state and local officials. Senior administration official (possibly Rove) caught in a lie claiming Gov. Blanco had not declared a state of emergency or asked for help.

Monday, Sept. 5: New Orleans officials begin to collect their dead.

(Adapted from: Katrina Timeline, )

Those are the facts. State and local officials BEGGED for help as people in their city suffered. The Bush administration didn't get the job done and when their failure became an embarrassment they attacked those asking for help.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Karl Rove and White House communications director Dan Bartlett "rolled out a contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina." The core of the strategy is "to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana."

This is the same pattern of smearing that the Bush political machine has used for a decade. John McCain and John Kerry had their war records smeared. The CIA cover of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was blown after he criticized the Bush Iraq policy. Now, Hurricane victims are attacked when the Bush administration failed to do their duty to help them.

It isn't just the Bush administration. Republican Senator Rick Santorum blamed victims in a TV interview and House Speaker Dennis Hastert suggested New Orleans should not be rebuilt.

We can't let them get away with this. Please sign our petition today and do your part.

This is just the first step. We need to continue to help those in need directly and make sure our government does their job. There will be a time to figure out who specifically to blame and what to change. In the meantime, the Bush administration needs to get to work helping those in need.

Katrina Timeline,

Editorial: No time for turf wars. The Times-Picayune, September 7, 2005.

Editorial blasts federal response. CNN, September 4, 2005.

"Bush Blows Katrina"...Hmmmmm...

Is that anything like Monica blows Bill?

---The Bikemessenger

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