The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Friday, September 30, 2005


 
If Bill Bennett had been aborted, Las Vegas would be bankrupt.

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Immoral Majority
 
From the Washington Post

Theirs is a greedy, small-minded conservatism. In their policies, they seek not to improve government, and certainly not to shrink it, but to ruin it -- to starve the regulatory agencies with tax cuts, then spend so wildly on pork that there's nothing left to pay for actual government work such as, say, preparing for a hurricane.

The Republican Party's "small government" rhetoric is hilarious, but while you're laughing, keep a grip on your wallet. Since 2000, the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled, to an astonishing 34,750. That's a lot of mouths at the trough.

DeLay and Co. don't just want to bankrupt the government, they want to force the whole country to conform to their "moral" prescriptions. On private matters such as abortion, homosexuality, religion, even end-of-life decisions, they demand that all of us do as they say. When it comes to the millions who lack health insurance, though, or to persistent poverty in the inner cities -- well, those problems are for individuals and "faith-based" institutions to grapple with as best they can.

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"Are we the only ones with political instincts? This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS. Not only do you kick him, you kick him until he passes out, then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug, and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below." - Tom Delay


Here's hoping that the Democrats take the Bagman at his word, and get out the bat and the old rugs.

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Tom DeLay quotes
 
1) "So many minority youths had volunteered…that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself." --Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War(Source)

2) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" –Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005 (Source)

3) "I AM the federal government." –Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building, May 14, 2003 (Source)

4) "We're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper power." –Tom DeLay, explaining why America must topple Saddam Hussein in 2002 interview with Fox News (Source)

5) "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes." –Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003 (Source)

6) "Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills." –Tom DeLay, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999 (Source)

7) "A woman can take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure. To provide stability. Not that a woman can't provide stability, I'm not saying that... It does take a father, though." -Tom DeLay, in a radio interview, Feb. 10, 2004 (Source)

8) "I don't believe there is a separation of church and state. I think the Constitution is very clear. The only separation is that there will not be a government church." –Tom DeLay (Source)

9) "Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996] are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist." –Tom DeLay, during a debate in Congress on increasing the minimum wage, April 23, 1996 (Source)

10) "I am not a federal employee. I am a constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of the United States, I am not a government employee. I am in the Constitution." –Tom DeLay, in a CNN interview, Dec. 19, 1995 (Source)


Remember: The Republicans in Congress are such unprincipled lunatics that they VOTED this unprincipled lunatic into power.

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Judith Miller is testifying today.
 
And there is no way of knowing if this will be the thing that finally breaks that dam, and just a total nothing.

However, the one thing that IS clear is that Fitzgerald's case is just about concluded.

By next week, we may actually find out if Karl Rove does the Frog March.

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"Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog." - Ronnie Earle

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A Blow Against The Machine
 
For a solid explanation of the Tom Delay thingee, check out E. J. Dionne.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005


 

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Miller Freed
 
Judith Miller is out of jail after agreeing to testify.

It turns out that her source is Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

Are these folks falling like dominos?

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The Times doesn't get it.
 
Not that that's any surprise.

The imperious Texan is an increasing embarrassment to his party, turning its majority into an undisguised fountain of patronage and an ideological cudgel while skirting the bounds of campaign law. The underlying deed that prompted the Texas indictment is reason enough for him to relinquish leadership. Mr. DeLay was open in his stratagem of using his federal clout to game state elections in Texas and force an unusual and legally dubious gerrymander to cushion the Republican Congressional majority. Mr. DeLay's tooth-and-claw tactics taint his whole party.

The New York Times thinks that DeLay is an embarrasment because of the above.

No, actually, it's why the Republicans like him.

Because the whole PARTY is corrupt.

YES, he has given the "an undisguised fountain of patronage and an ideological cudgel while skirting the bounds of campaign law." And what, exactly, has it cost them? They got a "fountain and patronage" and "an ideological cudgel" - and LOST NOTHING.

YES, he "used using his federal clout to game state elections in Texas and force an unusual and legally dubious gerrymander to cushion the Republican Congressional majority." And what, exactly, has it cost them? The got "gamed elections" and a "Republican Congressional majority" - and LOST NOTHING.

DeLay's corruption has been the goose that laid the Republican eggs.

They like DeLay BECAUSE he's corrupt. If he WASN'T corrupt, they'd have less money and power.

Pretty damned obvious, and you'd think a major newspaper would get it.

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Neat new toy
 
Click here and have fun. If he gets stuck, just pull him around with your mouse.

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Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos
 
NEW YORK A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of "rape and murder" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were "blatantly sadistic."


For the Bushies, the bad noew just keeps on coming.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


 
Well, Dreier looked like a lock, but I guess the GOP decided a closet case was just too much and went for Blunt instead.

Blunt picked to replace DeLay as US House leader

On the one hand, it's sort of sad. Dreier promised to offer nearly endless hours of amusement. On the other hand, it's sort of poetic for a self-loathing closet case to be rejected by his own gay-bashing party.

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The following statement was issued today by Tom Delay:

"Good afternoon. Pathetic justification, whine whine whine, deflection, several sentences of utter horseshit all strung together, blame blame blame, a mound of steaming manure that insults a sane person's intelligence, spin spin spin, a false and transparent show of ridiculous bravado that fools no one. Thank you very much, good day."


The Democrats, as usual, had no comment.

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Via Josh Marshall:

Texas sent seven new representatives to Congress this session:
Louie Gohmert (R-1st)
Ted Poe (R-2nd)
Al Green (D-9th)
Michael McCaul (R-10th)
Mike Conway (R-11th)
Kenny Marchant (R-24th)
Henry Cuellar (D-28th)
Of them, all five Republicans joined the delegation thanks to the DeLay fundraising/redistricting conspiracy. They are sitting in Congress today because of what the Travis County grand jury calls a criminal conspiracy.

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The Gift that keeps on giving
 
Frist Made At Least $2 Million on Insider Trade

Maybe as much as SIX million.

Martha Stewart went to the slammer for 50 grand.

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"I am SO FUCKED."

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Pennies from heaven
 
Frist Faces Heat as SEC Orders Formal Investigation

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a near-term ordeal unwelcome to anyone, particularly an ambitious politician: an official probe into his personal financial dealings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Scorecard
 
By Digby:

So, we have a federal probe implicating the president's number one political advisor and the vice president's chief of staff in the violation of laws protecting CIA agents and possibly lying to federal investigators.

We have a multi-pronged investigation into a lobbyist who happens to be a very close associate of Tom DeLay,Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove and the entire Republican leadership going back to their youth as members of the College republicans. This lobbyist is now implicated in a mafia murder plot and has been arrested on charges affiliated with that crime.

A member of the Bush administration who is a good friend and associate of all of the above was arrested this week for lying to the Feds about his good friend the lobbyist.

The majority leader of the Senate is now officially under investigation by the SEC and federal prosecutors for insider trading involving potentially many millions of dollars.

The majority leader of the House was just indicted by a Texas Grand jury for violating laws prohibiting the use of corporate money in campaigns.


I am so relieved that the Republicans restored honor and integrity to Washington. There hasn't been even one blow job in that town since they took power.

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Closet Queen
 
According to John Aravosis, Delay's replacement, Dave Dreier, is gay.

Well, isn't THIS a fine how-do-you-do.

As sung by Abba:

"You are the Clo-set Queen
Head of the GOP's spin mach-ine (oh yeah-eah-eah!)..."

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Delay indicted
 
WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.


I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you. Tom Delay is a fine, church-going fellow who loves God. And money. Excuse - make that money and God.

Update, 1:05pm: I just heard that Delay has stepped down. If you recall, earlier this year,the Republicans tried to pass a law saying that he WOULDN'T have to step down if indicted. They failed to do so and he had to step down.

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"America should be ashamed of this sentence. This is the best evidence that Americans have double standards. There are Iraqis in jail without any charge, just based on suspicion. But when it comes to Americans, the matter is totally different." - Akram Abdel Amir, Baghdad, commenting on Lynndie England

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Perjury
 
Yesterday, Michael Brown, ex head of FEMA, committed perjury under oath:

Today, while testifying under oath, Mike Brown claimed that Louisiana Gov. Blanco’s August 27th request to the President for a federal emergency declaration excluded Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquerines parishes. Here’s Brown today under questioning by Rep. Steve Buyer:

BUYER: So I’d like to know why did the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration of August 27th not include the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines?

BROWN: …[I]f a governor does not request a particular county or a particular parish, that’s not included in the request.

BUYER: All right.

Orleans Parish is New Orleans. I was listening to my colleague, Mr. Jefferson’s, questions about when they talked about, you know, they asked for this assistance for three days and then president responded the very next day, not the day that it was made — the request — but the governor of Louisiana actually excluded New Orleans from the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration?

BROWN: Again, Congressman, we looked at the request.The governors make the request by…

BUYER: Let me ask this. Since you went through the exercise in Pam, was that not shocking to you that the governor would excluded New Orleans from the declaration?

BROWN: Yes.

BUYER: When that request came in excluding these three parishes, did you question it?

BROWN: We questioned it. But I made the decision that we were going to go ahead and move assets in regardless because we have the ability to add those parishes…

In fact, Blanco requested the President to declare a disaster in “all the southeastern parishes,” which includes Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines. See the request for yourself HERE.




Is any Democrat going to call him on it?

This is not only perjury, but an admission of total incompetence.

Brown claims, under oath, that Governor Blanco didn't declare a state of emergency in New Orleans when her written order clearly specifies New Orleans.

Then he says that he didn't question the supposed omission of New Orleans. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole COUNTRY had been informed about the potential for disaster if Katrina hit New Orleans.

This guy shouldn't be fired - he should be jailed.

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Surprise, surprise
 
The Corporate Whores who currently own the Government are going to make a ton from the destruction of New Orleans, just like they made a ton from the destruction of Iraq.

Private sector poised to reap windfall
By JOHN M. BRODER
New York Times

BATON ROUGE, LA. - Private contractors, guided by two former directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other well-connected lobbyists and consultants, are rushing to cash in on the unprecedented sums to be spent on Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction.

From global engineering and construction firms like Fluor Corp. and Halliburton, to local trash removal and road-building concerns, the private sector is poised to reap a windfall of business in the largest domestic rebuilding effort ever undertaken.

Normal federal contracting rules are largely suspended in the rush to help people displaced by the storm and reopen New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts have already been let, and billions more will flow to the private sector in the weeks and months to come. Congress has already appropriated more than $62 billion for an effort that is projected to cost well over $100 billion.

Some experts warn that the crisis atmosphere and the open federal purse are a bonanza for lobbyists and private companies and are likely to lead to the contract abuses, cronyism and waste that investigations have uncovered in postwar Iraq.

"They are throwing money out, they are shoveling it out the door," said James Albertine, a Washington lobbyist and past president of the American League of Lobbyists. "I'm sure every lobbyist's phone in Washington is ringing off the hook from his clients."

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Is Delay about to be indicted?
 
Stay tuned:

WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury's recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments — possibly against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday into DeLay's state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.

Conspiracy counts against two DeLay associates this month raised concerns with DeLay's lawyers, who fear the chances are greater that the majority leader could be charged with being part of the conspiracy. Before these counts, the investigation was more narrowly focused on the state election code.

By expanding the charges to include conspiracy, prosecutors made it possible for the Travis County grand jury to bring charges against DeLay.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"We Have Lost Control of Our Deficit."
 
Breton: Greenspan says U.S. 'lost control' of budget deficit - Sep. 24, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told France's Finance Minister Thierry Breton the United States has "lost control" of its budget deficit, the French minister said Saturday.

"'We have lost control,' that was his expression," Breton told reporters after a bilateral meeting with Greenspan.

"The United States has lost control of their budget at a time when racking up deficits has been authorized without any control (from Congress)," Breton said.

"We were both disappointed that the management of debt is not a political priority today," he added.


Fiddling while Rome burns.

Playing air guitar while New Orleans drowns.

Glad-handing while the United States goes bankrupt.

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Dim Bulb
 
Received from a Libertarian friend of mine whom I think of as being on the right side of the political spectrum.

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a light bulb?

Answer: TEN...

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed,
2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb
needs to be changed,
3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb,
4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for
changing the light bulb or for eternal darkness,
5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for
the new light bulb,
6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor,
standing on a step ladder under the banner "Bulb Accomplished",
7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how
Bush was literally "in the dark" the whole time,
8. One to viciously smear #7,
9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George
Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along,
10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference
between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

And after all is said and done, no one will notice that they never
actually managed to change the light bulb.

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Armed Dolphins
 
Just when you think the world can't get any weirder.

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

by Mark Townsend Houston
Sunday September 25, 2005
The Observer

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

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Embarrassment
 
While visiting the hurricane command center in Texas shortly before Rita struck the Gulf Coast, Bush remarked, "I'm just here to observe.... There's a relationship between Federal and State government, and I need to understand what that is."


He's been President for five years. He was a Governor before that. And needs to understand what the relationship is between Federal and State Goverment?

He doesn't KNOW?

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Lynndie England - every young Republican male's wet dream - has been found guilty. Good. Couldn't happen to a sweeter girl.

But what's sickening is that no one in any actually position of AUTHORITY has had to answer for one of the biggest black eyes that America has suffered in my lifetime. All the shit lands on a PFC.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Cindy Sheehan arrested
 
A picture-perfect example of civil disobedience.

WASHINGTON - Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in
Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was handcuffed, then led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."

Others who were arrested also cooperated with police. Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said they would be charged with demonstrating without a permit, which is a misdemeanor.

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Tilman disliked Bush
 
SF Gate:

Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author....

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.”

Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry. ...


Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration — just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”...

His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as Ann Coulter, who called him “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.” His May 3, 2004, memorial in San Jose drew 3,500 people and was nationally televised.

Not until five weeks later, as Tillman’s battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by his fellow soldiers. ...

Baer told The Chronicle that commanding officers were to blame for the friendly fire because they split the platoon and ordered it to leave a secure location in favor of a region known as a Taliban stronghold.

“It was dumb to send us out during daylight,” said Baer, who was honorably discharged from the Rangers earlier this year and lives in the East Bay.

“It’s a well-known military doctrine that privates first learn going through basic training — if you are in enemy territory and you are stopped for a prolonged period of time, the best thing to do is to wait until nightfall. Why they thought that moving us out in broad daylight from our position, dragging a busted humvee slowly through a known hotspot after we had been stranded there all day was a good idea will forever elude me.” ...

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How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?
 
From TIME Magazine. It's about time somebody told the clown in the White House to stop paying off his cronies by risking American lives:

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Whatcha think? You think the clowns running the United States would love to institute something similar here? I do.

China Wants Only 'Healthy' News on Web

BEIJING - China said Sunday it is imposing new regulations to control content on its news Web sites and will allow the posting of only "healthy and civilized" news.

The new rules take effect immediately and will "standardize the management of news and information" in the country, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.

Only "healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress" will be allowed, Xinhua said.

"The sites are prohibited from spreading news and information that goes against state security and public interest," it added.

In the name of "security," of course. It's ALWAYS in the name of "security."

Keep in mind that Bush regime has done its damnedest to whitewash "unhealthy" news and control content right here in the U.S.

The silver lining is that bureaucrats are idiots, and probably don't even GET the fact that anyone in China can access anything in the world - government approved or not, and their petty laws can't stop it. They may as well decree that the sun will no longer rise in the East.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005


 
"NorthCom [the Pentagon's Northern Command] is the main entity that interfaces, that uses federal assets, federal troops to act with federal and state government. It's an important relationship and I need to know how it works better." -Bush


This is after FIVE YEARS in office.

Perhaps I shouldn't be too harsh. As God is my witness, it's the first time I've ever seen the boy show any interest in actually learning ANYTHING.

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Friday, September 23, 2005


 
"In the Bible there are stories about seemingly unimportant, insignificant, seemingly powerless people who out of nowhere landed in the kingdom where the king was out of control and emerged as a prophet and said to the king you have lied to your people and led them astray and Cindy Sheehan is one of those prophets." - The Very Reverend Jim Kowalski, Dean, Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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IS the man drinking again?
 
Because this is flat NUTS.

Mr. Bush said he had been "thinking a lot" about the comparisons between the response to the attacks in New York and Washington, and the storm devastation. "We look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break," he said. Turning the subject to terrorists, he said: "They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We're in a war against these people."


WHAT?

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Flip-flop. One that COUNTS.
 

Associated Press, 9/21/05:

President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia…for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.

Just a year ago, we were told things would be different. President Bush, 7/16/04:

Human trafficking is one of the worst offenses against human dignity. Our nation is determined to fight that crime abroad and at home.


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Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"

"What a marvellous train!"

"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

"The Emperor is naked," he said.

"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.

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The FBI is now inside the White House
 
Pasted whole from MyDD:
by Jerome Armstrong



Whoa, even the cynic whose watched these crooks in action for 5 years has to step back a bit with the latest:

Last Monday, David Hossein Safavian, a high-ranking White House official and pal of GOP powerbroker Grover Norquist, was arrested in a federal corruption case involving lobbying bad boy Jack Abramoff. According to the FBI, Safavian repeatedly lied to federal investigators in order to cover up Abramoff's shady dealings. He not only bent ethics rules to accompany Abramoff on a 2002 golf junket to Scotland; he also used his position as chief of staff at the General Services Administration to deliver GSA-managed land into the lobbyist's hands.


But Safavian's not just tied to a dirty lobbyist. He's also tied to a convicted terrorist and a suspected terrorist supporter. Lobbying disclosure forms revealed last year that he has been in the employ of Abdurahman Alamoudi, an avowed supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. Prosecutors have discovered evidence that he has links to al-Qaeda. At the time, Safavian waved aside any affiliation to Alamoudi. He insisted that he was really lobbying for a client named Jamal al Barzinji. That revelation did little to clear Safavian's name: A federal affidavit identifies Barzinji as the ringleader of a group suspected of aiding terrorists.


Via Jesse at the DCCC (and he's got lots more), to Frontpage. This is a good timeline of Safavain, if you are just hearing about it and want to catch up. Granted, FrontPageMag is a rag Horowitz joint, but this is factual stuff. I bet John Conyers is feeling a bit used by now, and Carl Levin, wtf? The patron Norquist and his old pal Karl Rove hear footsteps.

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Stoned again.
 
From yesterday's press conference:

BUSH: Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.

Q I'll follow up.

THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?

Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

Q Just a quick question . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.



What the hell is this? A planted reporter with a planted question who failed to show up?

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Iraq disintegrating?
 
Saudi Minister Warns U.S. Iraq May Face Disintegration

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 - Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.

"There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters at the Saudi Embassy here. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart."

Prince Saud's statements, some of the most pessimistic public comments on Iraq by a Middle Eastern leader in recent months, were in stark contrast to the generally upbeat assessments that the White House and the Pentagon have been offering.

Prince Saud, who is in Washington for meetings with administration officials, blamed several American decisions for the slide toward disintegration, though he did not refer to the Bush administration directly.

Primary among them was designating "every Sunni as a Baathist criminal," he said.

Prince Saud said he met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week and added that American officials generally responded to his warnings by telling him that the United States successfully carried off the Iraqi elections and "they say the same things about the constitution" and the broader situation in Iraq now. On Thursday, in fact, the senior administration official said, "The forward movement of the political process is the best answer."

Prince Saud argued: "But what I am trying do is say that unless something is done to bring Iraqis together, elections alone won't do it. A constitution alone won't do it."

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“Brownie [FEMA head Michael Brown] is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq, what George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence, what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad, what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy, what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning, what Tom DeLay is to ethics and what George Bush is to ‘Mission Accomplished’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’” - John Kerry


Thank you, Senator. Better late than never. Now keep it up.

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IDIOTS
 
"Texas officials scrambled to reroute several inbound highways to accommodate outbound traffic, but many people were waiting so long they ran out of gas and were forced to park."

"We know you're out there," Houston Mayor Bill White said of the congestion that extended well into Louisiana. "We understand there's been fuel shortages." - AP


So they are all trying to evacuate like they were told to do, and (surprise) the highway has turned into a parking lot. So then they ran out of gas, and now it's LITERALLY a partking lot.

So now they are now parked far away from their homes, waiting for the storm and waiting for someone to show up with gas, and wondering which one will get there first.

In four days will they be waiting for someone to show up with food, water AND gas?

Lord, I hope not.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Disgrace
 
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Heh.
 
Bob Herbert

"The president is Lucy, and he's holding a football. We're Charlie Brown."

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How's Iraq Going?
 
This graph from Steve Gilliard (via Left End of the Dial) pretty much says it all:


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Reid will oppose Roberts
 
I haven't written anything about the Roberts confirmation because:

1) I don't think that there is a damned thing the Democrats can do to stop his confirmation.

2) Although I don't like him, I think Bush could have chosen somebody worse, and probably WILL if Roberts DOESN'T get confirmed.

However, that doesn't mean that I'd prefer the Democrats spineless. I think they should fight against every single piece of ideological trash that the White House proposes, becuse it's just the principled thing to do, and consulting polls instead of principles has hurt the Democrats DRASTICALLY.

So it's nice to know that Harry Reid is going to oppose someone - and oppose him for good reason.

RAW STORY has Reid's speech. Go read it.

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You know, right-wing extremists have been saying for several years now that the majority should always "win," regardless of the issue - the Pledge of Allegiance, Iraq, whatever.

Well, according to these CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll results, I guess that means that:

*Bush should voluntarily resign
*We never should have invaded Iraq in the first place
*We should get someone else to handle post-invasion Iraq
*The Democrats should be put in the White House in 2008.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Liberal Media
 


Got that? Bill Clinton helps out with Hurricane Katrina AND has pointed criticisms of the way Bush has handled things, so he has "two faces."

Never mind the fact that DAMNED NEAR EVERYONE ON EARTH would help out with Hurricane Katrina AND have pointed criticisms of the way Bush has handled things. Including the jackass who wrote the headline.

Does the press even THINK before they repeat a script?

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Police forcibly break up Cindy Sheehan rally
 
I just received this email from a friend:


The New York City Police Department forcibly broke up this afternoon's rally for Cindy Sheehan, moving in as Cindy was speaking at about 3 p.m. in Union Square. The rally had been underway for about an hour, and was about to conclude as Cindy spoke following several other speakers, including a few who are traveling with her on her caravan.

As Cindy was speaking, a large platoon of police massed behind from the interior of the park, then formed a circle behind her, the speakers' area and a few dozen people who were deployed in an arc behind her.

Overall, about 200 people were in attendance, with the crowd steadily increasing in size as the rally progressed. As the police formed their arc just behind, the men and women immediately behind Cindy linked arms.

A captain made a cutting motion at his throat, signalling he wanted no more free speech. He waited about 30 seconds, then the police moved in. They didn't dare arrest Cindy, but they immediately moved in and grabbed zool, the event's organizer and one of the main organizers of Camp Casey-NYC, pulling him away and arresting him. I do not believe anyone else was arrested; at least I didn't see any other arrests. I was nearby, and there was no hesitation on the part of the police in specifically targetting zool.

The police also took the microphone and sound system. The crowd shouted "Shame! Shame!" at the police and asked what they were so afraid of, but made no response. There was a moderate press presence, even a bit of corporate media there, although the only television crew covering the rally was RTV from Russia.

No warning of any kind was given, and this was a permitted rally. Other than the captain making his cut motion, 30 seconds before forcibly breaking up the rally, there was no warning, verbal or in any other fashion. The police had massed perhaps three or four minutes before moving in. Until then, the rally had gone smoothly, starting just after 2 p.m. as scheduled. Cindy and the rest of the caravan arrived sometime after 2:30; the rest of the rally was comprised of speakers from the caravan. Many groups were in attendence besides Camp Casey-NYC, including Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, the Troops Out Now Coalition, the No Police State Coalition and the Green Party, among others.

As several people confronted the police in the minutes following the arrest of zool and the stealing of the sound equipment, a woman from the caravan said they had done more than 100 events in 51 cities, and nothing like this had ever happened to them. There is no free speech in Crawford, Texas -- Camp Casey has been under attack there -- and there is no free speech in New York City. The police have attacked Camp Casey-NYC on at least two previous Mondays, have taken the camps's tents, confiscated banners and made arrests. This is merely the latest example of Bloomberg's contempt for opinions that challenge the authorities, particularly Republican Party authorities. And where are
our supposed policital leaders? Nothing but silence.

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Bush's Four Point Plan
 
From Booman Tribune, via Left End of the Dial

Despite all the bullshit that comes out of President Bush's mouth, the simple facts are these:

1. Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to be spent under the direction of the White House's chief political operative, Karl Rove.

2. The agencies responsible for that money have a history of incompetence in the handling of far smaller sums of money.

3. The corporations brought into the rebuilding effort with be those with the closest political connections to the Republican Party and the Bush Administration.

4. Those corporations will include many of the same companies that have stolen unaccounted billions from the United States in Iraq.

That is Bush's Four Point Plan for the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast.

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Thank you for saying it, Mr. President
 
Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."

__________________________

"When James Lee Witt ran FEMA, because he had been both a local official and a federal official, he was always there early, and we always thought about that," Clinton said, referring to FEMA's head during his 1993-2001 presidency.

"But both of us came out of environments with a disproportionate number of poor people."

____________________

"What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts," he said.

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else.

"We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense."

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North Korea
 
BEIJING -North Korea agreed Monday to stop building nuclear weapons and allow international inspections in exchange for energy aid, economic cooperation and security assurances, a breakthrough that marked a first step toward disarmament after two years of six-nation talks.


Well, THIS at least appears to be good news.

Notice how much differently Bush behaves when the press stops giving him a free pass, and when he actually has something to lose.

It FORCES him to do the right thing and behave like a human being who is capable of compromise and negotiation. Instead of like the divisive guy who has been saying "screw you" to everyone for five years. And look at the result - actual progress.

Some of the right-wingers are beside themselves that Bush has behave like such a flip-flopping little wimp. Those lunatics WANT him to antagonize everyone and start more wars.

Bilateral talks? We USED to be against them. Now they are OK.

Light water reactors? Well, we said that they couldn't have them in 2002. But that was then, this is now.

Energy assistance for North Korea? Yep.

A guarantee of security? For a member of the Axis of Evil? Sure, no prob.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

OUCH.
 
From Rasmussen, the poll that consistently shows Bush doing better than every other poll in America.

Bush Katrina Ratings Fall After Speech

September 18, 2005--Thirty-five percent (35%) of Americans now say that President Bush has done a good or excellent job responding to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

That's down from 39% before his speech from New Orleans.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 41% give the President poor marks for handling the crisis, that's up 37% before the speech.

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Just for fun
 
Go to google.

Type in "failure" without the quotes.

Click "I'm Feeling Lucky."

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Roving Incompetence
 
We just had a gigantic disaster aided and abetted by having someone with no qualifications appointed to oversee emergency response efforts. So Bush has decided that that was such a great idea that he should appoint someone with no qualifications to oversee the rebuilding efforts. Who better than his campaign manager?

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary ...indicated that Mr. Bush would not use the speech to name a "reconstruction czar" to oversee the effort. A number of White House officials have advised the president to name such a czar, with Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of forces in the 2001 war in Afghanistan, being a favorite of Republicans who are pushing the idea.

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort.


One thing about these guys is that they are brazen. Bush doesn't even TRY to hide the fact that his chief concern with New Orleans is the POLITICAL side of it. Who gives a crap about all that human suffering? Look at my poll numbers!

10 Americans Who Could Head the Reconstruction Better Than Karl Rove

Ah, well. Maybe I'm being a bit unfair in saying that he has no experience at rebuilding. From what I understand he's actually an old hand at plugging up leaks.

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Whistleblower
 
Worker: Decision-makers lack disaster experience

As Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast three weeks ago, veteran workers at the Federal Emergency Management Agency braced for an epic disaster.

But their bosses, political appointees with almost no emergency management experience, didn't seem to share the sense of urgency, a FEMA veteran said.

"We told these fellows that there was a killer hurricane heading right toward New Orleans," Leo Bosner, a 26-year FEMA employee and union leader told CNN. "We had done our job, but they didn't do theirs."

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Asshole
 
Here.

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FEMA Official Says Agency Heads Ignored Warnings
 

Morning Edition, September 16, 2005 ·

In the days before Hurricane Katrina hit land, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director Michael Brown and other top Homeland Security officials received e-mails on their blackberries warning that Katrina posed a dire threat to New Orleans and other areas. Yet one FEMA official tells NPR little was done.

Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.

In daily e-mails -- known as National Situation Updates -- sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength -- and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.

But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA's D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response."We could see all this going downhill," Bosner said, "but there was nothing we could do."


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Friday, September 16, 2005

To the Republicans:
 
George W. Bush has admitted that the Federal Government response was slow and inadequate.

So all of you sheep now have his permission to stop making total, public fools out of yourselves by insisting that it was just fine.

Bush has declared that you are all now allowed to stop spreading total, transparent nonsense.

Don't you feel better now?

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

You know me, Dubya
 
By Molly Ivins

(If you've ever read Ring Lardner's "You Know Me Al" letters, this is a hoot.)

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Liars.
 
The New York Times' David Brooks (you know, the "liberal" New York Times) said on Hardball yesterday that Bush Administration officials have privately told him that lying was part of the administration's official policy when it come to sheilding themselves from having to admit mistakes.

Three questions:

1) Why isn't this big news?

2) Why hasn't Brooks said anything about this before now?

3) Why does the media acquiesce in this administration's attempt to paint itself as honest when they KNOW that it isn't the case?

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They get letters
 
From the New York Times:

President Bush's remarks - "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility" - do not indicate that he is taking responsibility at all.

If he felt he was truly responsible, he would level with the American people. He would say: "I'm sorry that I was too busy after the storm to pay attention to what was really going on, and it won't happen again.

"I'm sorry that I was so misinformed that I said nobody anticipated the breach of the levees, and it won't happen again.

"I'm sorry that I put rewarding my political allies by appointing unqualified people ahead of public safety, and it won't happen again."

But it just keeps happening again and again, and all we get from this president are meaningless platitudes.

Ilene Fader

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Civil War?
 
BAGHDAD, Iraq - More than a dozen highly coordinated bombings ripped through Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 160 people and wounding 570 in the capital's bloodiest day since the end of major combat. Many of the victims were day laborers lured by a suicide attacker posing as an employer.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attacks in the name of Sunni insurgents, saying it was a retaliation for the rout of militants at a base close to the Syrian border.

Al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, purportedly declared "all-out war" on Shiites, Iraqi troops and the government in an audiotape posted Wednesday on an Internet site known for carrying extremist Islamic content.


I believe that Iraq is now in a state of civil war; they just haven't called it that.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I don't believe that this is real.
 
From Reuters: The caption says: "U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005."

And the photo shows what he's actually writing to Rice:





"I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible? W."

No comment.

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Letter from Bill Maher
 
"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

"So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Compare and contrast
 
Do you realize that Bush has lowered the expectations for a President so completely that accepting responsibility is HEADLINE NEWS?

Headlines. Stop the presses! Extra, extra! Bush accepts responsibility! Polar Bears in Ecuador! Chickens grow lips!

Well, pardon me for pointing this out, but accepting responsiblity used to be EXPECTED of a President. It was part of the job description. Now, it's shocking.

And what a weaselly way to "admit responsibility":

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."


BOY, there are a hell of a lot of qualifiers there. Pretty damned mealy-mouthed for someone who claims to be a "straight talker," isn't he? "To the extent that it's my fault, it's my fault." Wow. How "tough-talking," "bold" and "blunt." THAT'S sure going out on a limb.

Compare that to Kennedy's reaction to the Bay of Pigs:
"President Kennedy has stated from the beginning that as President he bears sole responsibility for the events of the past few days. He has stated it on all occasions and he restates it now so that it will be understood by all."


No qualifiers; no shilly-shallying; none of what Rush Limbaugh likes to call "Pablum puking."

We'll leave the pablum puking to Bush.

He does it so well.

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New Script
 
As Bob Somerby keeps telling us, the press doesn't report, they repeat scripts.

The "Script" on John Kerry was that he was an upper-class flip-flopper. So no matter what Kerry actually did or said, the media filtered it through that narrative, and FORCED the facts to demonstrate the spin. Same for Gore: the Script said that Gore was an exaggerator. So everything Gore said was used by the media to support that pre-determined image.

Well, for four years now, the media script on Bush was that he was "decisive," "blunt," "a leader," but still a "regular guy." No matter that the facts never bore that image out - Bush has benefitted from the most fawning coverage and the most positive media script enjoyed by any President of my lifetime.

Well, the press now has a NEW script on Bush, and it is a BIG problem for him.

The new media narrative on Bush is that he is INdecisive, lazy, out-of-touch, and rigid. And everything he says or does will now be used to feed THAT narrative instead of the old one.

He has no one but himself to blame, for this of course. He has behaved that way for years, and the script finally caught up with the reality. The old script reached a point of such complete disconnect that it has become unsustainable. But now that the script on him has changed, he will have a very, very hard time getting his old image back.

Stick a fork in him.

He is now actually going to get called on all his lies.

Poor bastard - he thought the free ride would last forever.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Awful.
 
File this one under "How war completely perverts all sense of human decency."

Mississippi guardsmen in Iraq refused leave time

BAGHDAD - Scores of Mississippi National Guardsmen in Iraq who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina have been refused even 15-day leaves to aid their displaced families, told by commanders there are too few U.S. troops in Iraq to spare them.

Just sad.

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He's NAKED
 
The press has been covering for Bush for five years. For five years, they all have known that the carefully crafted image was tissue-paper-thin bullshit. And instead of telling the truth, they have dutifully repeated the spin.

With Katrina, the public's perception of Bush has changed, and the reporters are finally fessing up.

Is Bush the commanding, decisive, jovial president you've been hearing about for years in so much of the mainstream press?

Maybe not so much.

Judging from the blistering analyses in Time, Newsweek, and elsewhere these past few days, it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private. He yells at those who dare give him bad news and is therefore not surprisingly surrounded by an echo chamber of terrified sycophants. He is slow to comprehend concepts that don't emerge from his gut. He is uncomprehending of the speeches that he is given to read. And oh yes, one of his most significant legacies -- the immense post-Sept. 11 reorganization of the federal government which created the Homeland Security Department -- has failed a big test....

But for whatever reason, critical observations and insights that for so long have been zealously guarded by mainstream journalists, and only doled out in teaspoons if at all, now seem to be flooding into the public sphere.

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I have heard that the New Orleans locals have taken to calling the city "Lake George."

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four years ago.
 
September 11th is a day to remember, a day to mourn, a day to weep. Perhaps most importantly, it is a day to re-assert our commitment to democracy and to re-assert a belief in REAL liberty and REAL justice for all.

In New York City, it has become, to many, a day to celebrate New York City and re-assert a commitment to the city itself.

It is also four years since George W. Bush swore that he would capture Osama Bin Laden. And after four years, our dead and murdered are still unavenged.

Four years ago, George W. Bush stood on pile of smoldering corpses grandstanding with a bullhorn, and intoned "Osama Bin Laden, Dead or Alive!"

And he was LYING.

Even as he did it, he knew that he was going to use the greatest attack on America in history as an excuse to occupy Iraq, rather than deal with those who actually staged the attack.

He responded to the REAL attackers half-heartedly, because that wasn't what he really wanted to do. He went after Iraq instead, which had nothing to do with September 11th, and which he had planned to do before he even took office.

Let us remember and honor our dead. Let us remember and honor the unbelievably brave and decent men and women who ran into that building when everyone else was running out. Let us pray for those in New Orleans who are recovering from a disaster even greater than the disaster that took place four years ago.

Let us mourn. Let us remember.

Those whose job it is to protect us seem to have forgotten.

We haven't.

We won't.

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Al Gore saved a family.
 
Some right-wingers have been saying that the press should do more reporting on the "feel-good" stories coming out of New Orleans. Maybe they'll like this one:
Mark and Kenneth Bazile, residents of New Orleans and brothers of former Oakland City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Leo Bazile, told how former Vice President Al Gore rescued their entire family — 11 people, many elderly and ailing, and spirited them away on a plane he chartered.

"Al Gore saved my family; they evacuated us off the roof, including two 90-year-olds," Mark Bazile said. "When we arrived in Tennessee, the whole University of Tennessee medical staff met the plane. (Vice) President Al Gore is a saint."


Then again, maybe not.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bill Maher
 
Just thought you may enjoy watching Bill Maher brutalize Bush. This is fantastic:

Streaming Video in Real media format

Video in Windows media format

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina Timeline
 
Mark Crispin Miller has a timeline detailing the government's response and NON-response to the disaster. In the opinion of your humble correspondent, it is quite damning.

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Here's what gets me
 
Actually, here's what gets Miss Alli from This Is Not Over.

Please go read it.

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Heh.
 
Saw this on Left End of the Dial.


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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Team Hate America
 
From Oliver Willis:

These eleven congressmen, Republican conservatives all, just voted against the $51 billion package ( H. R. 3673) for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Horrible human
beings, all.

Rep. Joe Barton - TX

Jeff Flake - AZ

Virginia Foxx - NC

Scott Garrett - NJ

John Hostettler - IN

Steve King - IA

Butch Otter - ID

Ron Paul - TX

James Sensenbrenner - WI

Tom Tancredo - CO

Lynn Westmoreland - GA


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Poll
 
And now from Zogby:

If Bush ran against the following people, who would you vote for?

Bush - 42%
Carter - 50%

Right now, Bush would lose to CARTER.

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From Progressive programmer
 
Link here.


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Harry Ried of the Senate Floor
 
"Mr. President, there are many things we don’t yet know about the government’s response to Katrina, but two things are clear to us all: the federal government’s response was unacceptable and the victims and all Americans deserve to know why.

Following 9/11, preparedness for national emergencies was supposed to be a priority for this government. Americans were made to believe the government was doing everything it could to prepare for terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other national crises.

Katrina makes it clear this government has failed.

We must find out why immediately to make sure the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina never happens again. When we faced a similar situation after September 11, Democrats and Republicans came together and established an independent, blue-ribbon Commission.

Republicans now apparently want a different approach. Yesterday, the Republicans unveiled their proposal to investigate the events of last week. They called it a “bipartisan commission.”

Although I have no details on this proposal, what little I do know raises serious concerns about whether their proposal will provide Americans the answers they deserve.

One, it’s not bi-partisan. An investigation of the Republican Administration by a Republican-controlled Congress is like having a pitcher call his own balls and strikes.

Second, it does not provide a role for committees. We have a committee structure in place to investigate matters like this. After 9/11, these committees played a key role in investigating events. We have excellent chairmen and ranking members in the Senate, and they should be permitted to exercise their responsibilities.

Finally, we have seen what happens when this administration – or any administration - investigates itself. The American people will not get the real answers they deserve.

These are serious concerns about the Republican approach. Americans deserve answers independent of politics. That’s why Democrats and Republicans preferred an independent commission for investigating 9/11, and we should be following that model now."

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Things that do your heart good.
 
A citizens yelling "Go fuck yourself" at Dick Chaney.

Here's the video.


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Enough. It's Over.
 
by Hunter

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They used firefighters for PR
 
And they are pissed.

Firefighters: We Were Misused In Katrina Rescue Efforts

Firefighters Told Their Job Would Be To Hand Out Flyers

CHICAGO -- When a group of Indiana firefighters traveled to the Gulf Coast to help in the rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they thought their skills in rescuing people would be put to use.

But two firefighters came back to Portage because they learned their real skills weren't needed, NBC5's Phil Rogers reported.

In a document that went out from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency asked for firefighters with very specific skills and who were capable of working in austere conditions. When they got to a center in Atlanta, they found out their jobs would be public relations.

"Our job was to advertise a phone number for FEMA," said Portage Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lundy. "We were going to be given shirts and hats with a phone number on it and flyers, and sent to shelters, and we were going to pass out flyers."

Lundy and Calhoun said they don't want to bash FEMA or its mission, Rogers reported. They said they only want to help, and that there were plenty of other firefighters in the room who felt the same way.

"There was almost a fight," said Portage Assistant Fire Chief Joe Calhoun. "There was probably 700 firefighters sitting in the room getting this training, and it dawned on them what we were going to be doing. And then it got bad from there."

Lundy and Calhoun's first task was an eight-hour course on sexual harassment and equal opportunity employment procedures, Rogers reported. Neither firefighter would be involved in technical rescues of trapped people or any of their other specialties.

"We're trained in tactical medicine," Lundy said. "We weren't being used for that. We were being used to hand out flyers."

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What Kind Of Asshole Conservative Response Did You Have?
 
From Pandagon

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Imus and Russert
 
Imus in the Morning--- September 6, 2005

September 6- Tim Russert discusses Hurricane Katrina and the fallout from the response

IMUS: All right, here from Meet the Press, NBC news, is Tim Russert. Good morning Tim.

RUSSERT: Good Morning, Mr. Imus, welcome back.

IMUS: Uh, thanks, how are you?

RUSSERT: Working hard.

IMUS: So -- wh, what happened?

RUSSERT: We don't know, but we do know the following: that as this hurricane began to bear down on New Orleans, that people understood there was a very high probability it was going to be a three, four or five category storm, and it was going to hit, and hit hard.

And so an evacuation began. Then come the unanswered questions: why weren't troops prepositioned, why weren't supplies prepositioned, in a way, in a capacity that could deal with hundreds of thousands of evacuees. I think there's -- The one thing that government is supposed to do, the reason we have a government, is to protect its people. And the local, state and federal government has failed miserably in protecting its people. No one can question that. Now we have to find out exactly who did not fulfil their responsibility.

The perception is, after September 11th, we created a Department of Homeland Security, because we were told it's not a matter of if, but when there would be another terrorist attack. And this time we would be better prepared. There would be command and control; there would be communications, and there would be preparation. Guess what? No command and control, no communications, no preparation. The state, local, federals couldn't talk to each other. Nobody was in charge.

And I have -- we've talked to the head of the Hurricane Center at Louisiana State University, who one year ago, Don, did a simulated computer model -- tabletop exercise, called Hurricane Pam in which they predicted this almost to the letter. And he called FEMA and said on Saturday or Sunday, "You have to have tent cities set up outside of New Orleans, outside the state. You're going to have hundreds of thousands of evacuees. You have to be able to absorb them or they're going to die in the streets." And the FEMA said to them, "Americans don't sleep in tents."

That is what went wrong and that is what we have to find out -- who's accountable. This notion that we're all too busy now to look forward, so we can't look back -- we can do both. Because to ignore what happened in New Orleans is to guarantee it will happen again.

IMUS: You had the Homeland -- well, as you obviously know, the Homeland Security chief on Sunday Morning, and it, in my view, was just outrageous, in that he just, uh, wouldn't answer any questions. And his cop-out was that we had all of these issues that needed to be addressed now and there would be plenty of time to look back, but I, I and I bet a lot of other people agree with you that we need some answers now. I mean, the, the fundamental -- I was talking to Evan Thomas early this morning -- ah, the fundamental observation that many Americans are making is that if Beverly Hills or Westport, Connecticut were twenty feet under water it wouldn't have taken five days to get the people out of there. It wouldn't have taken five minutes.

RUSSERT: You might think this was a deliberate, calculated plan to ignore poor people -- no. But the facts are, when you evacuate a city some people can get -- pack up their SUVs, some people can call NetJet, some people can get out. People who use public buses to transport themselves and their families aren't going to get out. So steps have to be taken to force that evacuation, when you see those pictures of school buses drowning that were never utilized. But the fact is Amtrak, Greyhound, Federal Express, UPS, cruise ships -- I mean, there are people capac-- with the capacity to evacuate people and then have a place to bring them. The question this morning has to be: Does anyone in this country have any confidence, if there was a terrorist attack or another hurricane, today or tomorrow, we would be it -- do it any better? That's the question we have to ask ourselves: what has gone on the last four years since September 11th? We were told that the preparation was being undertaken; the planning was in place; the bureaucracy had been created. And it reminds me so much of what happened after Iraq, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction. When no weapons were found, it was suggested then by the Administration: "Well, we're not gonn-, we can't talk about that now, we gotta keep looking forward we got to keep -- we got Saddam, we got rid of him, we now have to make sure this becomes a democratic state and we can't worry about that little issue of WMD."

Democrats and Republicans unanimously got together on Capitol Hill and said "No, no, we have to look into this." Because in the future whether it's a Republican President or a Democratic President. who goes before the world they have to be believed and trusted. And so too with this. It can't be brushed under the rug. It can't be well, you know how just some things just broke down. No, that's not what happened. There are probably close to ten thousand people dead. That's not communications breaking down. That's, that's a human disaster.

IMUS: Well, Kanye West said on Concert on NBC that George Bush doesn't care about black people, which I don't believe is the case; but I do believe that neither he nor anyone else cares enough about `em. And if you're a black person in New Orleans what else are you supposed to think? I mean, the facts are the facts.

RUSSERT: Well, I'm -- you can't say things like that, because you know, there's absolutely no evidence of that, and, and I think --

IMUS Well, the evidence is -- [chuckles] there's plenty of evidence

RUSSERT: Well, no -- the idea that somehow the federal -- the mayor of New Orleans is African-American. Okay. I mean, the notion that he somehow turned his back on his own people or the Governor, a Democratic governor, turned her back on her people, or the President turned -- but, but there was a level of bureau-- paralysis that is inexcusable. And we have to find out why. For example, when the President went on television and said: No one expected the levees be breached.

IMUS: It's not true.

RUSSERT: That is just so far from being the --

IMUS [in whisper]: not true

RUSSERT: -- from being so misinformed Who told him that? Why would he say that? Every computer model. Every one. And the one I talked about earlier, Hurricane Pam -- FEMA was there. The White House was there. There's a CD that exists -- says if there's a hurricane level three or more it's going to breach the levee. The levee was breached -- it was posted on the New York Times-Picayune [sic] website at 10 p.m. Monday night. And Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff told me that he didn't know until Tuesday afternoon. There were tens of thousands of people at the convention center without food and water and any security. On Thursday, Chertoff and the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, said they were not aware of that. Command and control? Communications? Come on! I mean, there's nothing disloyal or not being patriotic asking tough questions. It's why we're here! We have to call the government accountable particularly when there are bodies floating in water through the streets of New Orleans.

IMUS: See, I know this -- I'll be accused of being simplistic -- but I believe in my heart that not, that the right people didn't care enough about these people, period. I know what happened and I hear you, and I've read and tried to absorb everything I can absorb, but I think fundamentally it goes to the very fabric of how people think in this country and I just think that, and really I believe in, as I said, my heart, that they just don't care enough.

RUSSERT: Do you believe that if a hurricane was boring in on Miami, or there was a -- well, an earthquake you don't have that, as much warning -- but do you have any confidence now that the government, at any level, has the capacity to evacuate and protect people?IMUS: Well it depends on how many rich white people there are there.

RUSSERT: Oh, oh, take Manhattan -- do you believe if there was a terrorist attack today in Manhattan that the communications systems, command and control, and evacuation, are in place? Do you believe if, if they -- IMUS: No, no I don't, no.

RUSSERT: Do you think if they attacked the nuclear plant up there on the Hudson, people would know where to go and what to do? You know in Washington D.C. the local police in Washington, and the police in Alexandria, Virginia, where the Pentagon, in Virginia, you think they can talk to each other? This is what's been going -- the last four years, this is what we were supposed to be doing: preparing for a disaster that was inevitable, whether it was a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. And this, where someone has to step forward and say, "Damn right we're going to take accountability here, and if heads have to roll heads have to roll." And its not in any way going to detract from delivering services to these people. I mean, we are now demonstrating right now what the United States of America can do in fixing that breach and rescuing people with helicopters and going house to house. There's no one who's more humanitarian and efficient, when we're mobilized and focused. But the fact is for several days, maybe as many as three days, we were paralyzed.

IMUS: And we were paralyzed from the Oval Office on down, that's where it started. I mean, I was talking to Evan Thomas earlier and he said "you can't expect the President to be God" and I said, "No, but you can expect him to be Rudolph Giuliani."

RUSSERT: Heh, that's --IMUS: That's a fair criticism.

RUSSERT: I, I think criticisms are extremely fair at this point, we -- people have to be held accountable. People have to be measured on their performance.

IMUS: I mean, his initial response was like the road washed out at that stupid ranch of his!

RUSSERT: The fact is, on August 24 there was a sense the storm was building. That's why on Friday, Saturday, Sunday people were urging evacuation. That's why -- that was the critical time where the resources had to be positioned. How can you send people to a Superdome as a place, a safe haven, and not have the necessary supplies there to take care of them? How can be -- people be urged to go to the convention center with no food or water or cots or security? That, that's -- that's not idle criticism, that's fact.

IMUS: Superdome's an awful place to watch a football game. Why they ever, why they thought it would be a place to try to save these people lives, is inexplicable. And to tell these -- I mean -- to, to, and tell these people to evacuate the city and then to, as you said at the beginning of my conversation, they don't have an SUV or, you know, a NetJet or something to get out. I mean a --

RUSSERT: [sighs] It's so painful. And I don't, I don't -- the one thing that Secretary Chertoff said on Sunday I agree with, I don't think the country is prepared for what we're going to see this week. We're going to see body after body being pulled out of attics, pulled out of bedrooms, pulled out of basements, I mean I just -- . And we have to ask why. We have to ask why. The job of the government is to protect its people. And it's not finger-pointing, it is asking for accountability at all levels. I think the mayor, the Governor and the President all have to be asked these tough questions and all have to be held accountable.IMUS: Part of the police force there quit.

RUSSERT: Yeah. That's, you know, that's the biggest difference between what happened in New Orleans and New York . Well, obviously, one a terrorist attack and the other a natural disaster. But the attack on New York and Lower Manhattan -- the rest of the city and other boroughs were a -- still able to function. This just took out the entire region, and so, many of the police that were able to come so heroically from Queens and from Brooklyn and the Bronx and other places in New York, that didn't happen here. And a lot of policemen were off and will never be heard from again. The, tho-, the, it's the bre--

IMUS: The New York City firemen, I mean, going, and those people were going back in the building, not throwing their badges in the street but going back in the building.

RUSSERT: Yeah, they went back in and up, they were going up the steps. They went back up the steps, carrying those huge tanks, trying to get people down. And yet, when you read those haunting tapes and transcripts, the breakdown in communications that happened on September 11. And we l-- we vowed, we pledged in their honor never to let that happen again. It, it, there's nothing more important than protecting our people. That's why government exists. Someone has to get control of this. Someone has to say there's going to be another hurricane. There's going to be another terrorist attack. And we need, you need to ex - to mobilize and exercise and train. There's no substitute for it, for preparation. None. That's why we have rehearsals, and that's why football teams practice. You got to get it right. And will something always happen that's unexpected? Of course! But then you play at least a level of 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% of predictability. That's not what happened in New Orleans.

IMUS: When I was -- I'm talking to Tim Russert of NBC News -- when I was watching Meet the Press on Sunday, and Aaron Broussard, ah -- we played the cut a couple of times this morning. I don't think I've ever -- well, I don't think, I've never seen anything like that on television or any place else.

RUSSERT: I've never, never in my life. And I cannot tell you how hard that man was sobbing.

I've seen my own dad cry twice in my life. And to see a grown man sit on national TV and just break down uncontrollably, and I, he couldn't talk any more and I tried to comfort him the best I could and let him gather himself and I know he appreciated that, but he, he was not to be consoled. He had been living through this past week in the harsh reality of his experience and it just conflicted so much with what he was hearing at news conferences.You know, there's a lot of issues in politics you can spin on. You can spin on tax cuts and spin on social security, and he said, she said, this view, that view, right, left, and center -- you can't spin on this. People see it, they feel it, it they smell it. And you can't say something that conflicts with the harsh reality of what happened there. And that's why it's imperative, I think, for everyone -- for their political survival -- for the mayor, the Governor, the President to step up and say "This was wrong, and we c-- we pledge it will not happen again, and this is what we're going to do." Maybe we need a disaster czar -- we need something, because the construct we have now did not workIMUS: People are dead --.

RUSSERT: In huge numbers, Don, huge numbers. And it, it was a gruesome, painful death. Gasping, trying to hold on, as the water kept rising. Think about it. I mean, that's someone's mother.

IMUS: I know.

RUSSERT: It just haunts me, it, I cannot tell you. But, um, we have to do our job and get it right.

IMUS: All right, man, well, thank you for taking the time to talk with us this morning, I appreciate it. Tim Russert.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Have you ever noticed...
 
...that Bush always says "Let's not play the blame game" whenever HE'S the one to blame?

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"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today. So I'm asking Congress please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top, give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot." - Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish president

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"No one could have anticipated that the levees would be breached" - George W. Bush.

"Youy're doing a heck of a job" - George W. Bush, to Michael Brown, who Bush had appointed to run FEMA.

"I'm satisfied with the response" - GW Bush at New Orleans Airport, Saturday, September 5.

"The federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today." - Bush's FEMA head Michael Brown, September 1.

"Have her removed." - Secretary of State Condi Rice to security guards, after a citizen questioned why Rice was shoe-shopping in New York during the midst of a major crisis that required coordination of international aid.

"Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house, he's lost his entire house, there's gong to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." - George W. Bush

"Many of them were underprivileged anyway. It's working out very well for them" - Barbara Bush.

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How would a REAL president react?
 
This is floating around cyberspace. If anyone knows who actually wrote it, let me know:

In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd -- a category 3 -- was bearing down the Carolinas and Virginia.

President Clinton was in Christchurch, New Zealand - meeting with President Jiang of China (you know, actually working). He made the proclamation that only Presidents can make and declared the areas affected by Floyd "Federal Disaster Areas" so the National Guard and Military can begin to mobilize. Then he cut short his meetings overseas and flew home to coordinate the rescue efforts. This all one day BEFORE a Cat-3 hit the coast. That is how you do it.

How about this dope's own father during Hurricane Andrew? Once again, President Bush (41) -- August, 1992 -- was in the midst of a brutal campaign for re-election. Yet, he cut off his campaigning the day before and went to Washington where he martialed the largest military operation on US soil in history. He sent in 7,000 National Guard and 22,000 regular military personnel, and all the gear to begin the clean up within hours after Andrew passed through Florida. 'Cause, you know, those people and their stuff was actually where it belonged, rather than being used for insurgent target-practice halfway around the world in a vain effort to make Iraq safe for Iranian takeover.

In August of 1969 when Cat-5 Hurricane Camille hit roughly the same area as Katrina, President Nixon had already readied the National Guard and ordered all Gulf rescue vessels and equipment from Tampa and Houston to follow the Hurricane in. There were over 1,000 regular military with two dozen helicopters to assist the Coast Guard and National Guard within hours after the skies cleared.

Bush 43 - August 2005 - Cat-5 Hurricane Katrina bears down on New Orleans and the Mississippi gulf. Both states are down nearly 8,000 National Guard troops because they are in Iraq -- with most of the rescue gear needed. Bush is on vacation. The day before Katrina makes landfall, Bush rides his bike for two hours. The day she hits, he goes to Johnnie McCain's birthday party; and lies to old people about the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company welfare boondoggle. People are dying, the largest port of entry in the United States (and fifth largest in the World) is under attack. Troops and supplies are desperately needed. The levees are cracking and the emergency 1-1/2 ton sandbags are ready, but there aren't enough helicopters or pilots to set the before the levees fail. The mayor of New Orleans begs for Federal coordination, but there is none, and the sandbagging never gets done. So Bush -- naturally -- goes to San Diego to play guitar with country singer and lie to the military about how Iraq is just exactly like WWII. The levees give way, filling New Orleans with water, sewage, oil and chemicals. Ten percent of all US exports, and 50% of all agricultural exports ordinarly go through this port. It is totally destroyed. Bush decides he'll end his vacation a couple of days early -- TOMORROW --BECAUSE HE HAS TICKETS TO A PADRES GAME! He goes back to the Fake Farm in Crawford, with every intention of doing something on WEDNESDAY about this disaster that happened starting
last Sunday night.

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Katrina Refugees United
 

Here is a website for victims and those searching for them.

"If you are a victim of Hurricane Katrina, register with this site to let the world know how to contact you. You can give as much detail as you'd like. Then anyone visiting refugeesunited.org can quickly find out how you are doing.

If you are looking for a victim in the Gulf Coast region, you can search for your loved one's name and location. In the very near future, you will be able to post your questions to this site so that your query will be visible to anyone visiting refugeesunited.org.

This site is designed to be a central collection point for information on anyone impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Tell everyone about refugeesunited.org. We're here to help."


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"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (she chuckled slightly)--this is working very well for them." - Barbara Bush


It is impossible to adequately describe how utterly callous and clueless these people are.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Dynamite commentary
 
From Keith Olbermann

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Nice FACE
 


The press is really starting to dislike this boy.

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As for John Roberts -

it took Bush no time at all to make a political decision, but it took him 5 days to decide that the people of New Orleans should be helped.

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Sunday, September 04, 2005


 
The post just below may not be accurate. The media have stopped saying that those shot were contractors. They have yet to offer any details on who they were, or what, exactly happened, though.

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Good God.
 
The Army Corp of Engineers says that the police shot some of thier workers dead as they were crossing a bridge to repair a canal.

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Times-Picayune:Fire FEMA Chief
 
An open letter to Bush from the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, 'What is not working, we’re going to make it right.' Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism."

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bush FAKED levee repair
 
This is DISGUSTING. Via Americablog:

From a press release LA Senator Mary Landrieu sent out today:
But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young and old - deserve far better from their national government.

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United States of Shame
 
MoDo

Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.

Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.

Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.

Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.

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