Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Editors' notes by Brandon and Advocate 1

Like most Americans, we are outraged by the poor performance that we have been reading about and watching on our televisions screens. Moreover, we have just about reached the saturation point when it comes to the continuous flow of excuses that this administration offers on a regular basis for its growing ineptitude.

To paraphrase an old political joke: Why do George and Laura always make love with Laura on top and George on the bottom? Because George always screws up. All right. We had to clean that one up a little bit. But we're sure you get the drift. We used to say that the only way this Admiistration would ever tell the truth would be if it were to do so by accident. Now, we are half way certain that the only way it could ever do anything right or beneficial would be if it were to do so by accident.

Something has to give. And as much as we hate to say it, Hurricane Katrina may prove to be the tipping point in so far as the Bush Regime is concerned. Which in a way is ironic. First Bush suffered because of the efforts of a Gold Star Mother. Now he is suffering because of Mother nature. The irony here is that this over-masculinized, woman-hating regime is being brought down by motherhoods of different types in ways that it never could have imagined. The tragedy is that thousands of people will have to die to prove just how inept the crowd in Washington truly is.

Brandon G
Advocate 1






I assume you have all heard the latest excuses to come from the Bush administration.

In yet another attempt to avoid responsibility for its dismal performance during the New Orleans debacle, the right wing is now trying to blame the state government of Louisiana and the city government of New Orleans for the woefully inadequate response that we saw to the New Orleans tragedy, Maybe it’s me, but the Bush Administration trying to blame others for the mess that it created from the top down through its imbecilic fiscal and foreign policies, is a little like taking your dog for a walk, letting it take a dump on your neighbor’s front stoop, and then asking your neighbor to clean up the mess.

I’m sorry, but this is another sorry example of this inept administration refusing to take personal responsibility for the consequences of its actions and inactions.

Let’s get something straight right off the bat. There is only one city in this country that could have performed adequately during a natural disaster (or for that matter even a terrorist attack) and that city located in New York State. It’s called Lower Manhattan. Whether you like it or not, lower Manhattan is the only city in the country which could make the Bush Administration’s Department of Homeland Security look in any way good because Lower Manhattan is the only city in the country which can match governmental services. If a natural disaster such as Katrina were to strike another American city you would not only have the tragic consequences of the disaster itself, but the extra added burden of a sloppy, local response. So let’s stop kidding ourselves; when you’re faced with a disaster of this magnitude the federal government as a duty to take the lead. And if the federal government doesn’t want, or can’t step in on a timely basis then the leaders who are running the federal government need to stop pointing fingers and practice some of the personal responsibility about which they so frequently lecture.

Of course the Bush Administration might—just might—have a feeble leg to stand on if it hadn’t made a hash out of the situation in the days following 911. Let’s face it. In retrospect I think we can all see that melting FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security was a mistake of the first magnitude. By depriving FEMA of its independence and making it a second tier player in a bloated bureaucracy, the Bush Administration all but set us up for the situation that we now see in New Orleans. You really need to wonder. Did it occur to anyone that FEMA was created to assist during a natural disaster? At some point did someone, anyone, bother to mention that the agency which was designed to assist during a natural disaster might need a free hand to react as efficiently as possible? By demoting FEMA, by placing it in the Department of Homeland Security, the Bush Administration essentially stripped it of its efficiency, although a viable argument might be made that the real demotion had taken place sometime earlier when Bush appointed Michael D. Brown to head the organization. I mean really, we’re talking about an individual whose previous experience was a position with the American Arabian Horse Association, an organization which—surprise, surprise—ultimately fired Brown. Beyond that the only other qualification that he seemed to hold, was the fact that he had been a room mate of W’s first campaign manager—which is interesting. Here in Wisconsin, the Chippewa Saint Croix Tribal Environmental Protection Agency has been looking for someone to serve as its Emergency Management Coordinator. The qualifications for which the Chippewa are searching are as follows: eight years of experience on top of a four year degree in emergency risk management. Now you would have thought that in its infinite wisdom, the Bush Administration would have assumed that the Bush administration would have searched for someone who actually knew what he was doing instead of caving in to the forces of nepotism, but as we have seen in the past week, that was expecting too much from this crowd.

Complicating the matter has been Donald Rumsfeld’s obsession with the Department of Defense—or should I say his personal obsession with his personal power over the Department of Defense? Thanks to post 911 reforms, the Defense Department as virtually isolated itself from the whole issue of homeland security. Not to coin a phrase, but they believe their duty is to protect America from outside threats. AS a result of Rumsfeld’s obsession, virtually anytime the Department of Homeland Security wants anything, whether it’s an analyst, or a helicopter, or a material in general, Rumsfeld has to personally sign off on the release. Ironically, the present situation was created because Rumsfeld himself believes that centralized power is a threat to his personal turf at the Department of Defense. But did he ever bother to figure out that he himself became a center of power and that the present arrangement provides a threat to both, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security as a whole? God only knows with this administration, but the results were entirely predictable. Again and again we heard stories if FEMA turning away helicopters, food, water, badly needed provision, ad infinitum. In how many ways can you say Bush Incorporated blew it?

And it gets even worse. The abysmal response time in New Orleans actually undermines the Administration’s argument that we have to fight the Bush War in Iraq to make us safer here at home. Someone should have reminded the Bush Administration that the primary mission of a state’s National Guard is to provide emergency relief during a catastrophe such as the one we have seen in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the Administration dropped the ball again when it began to send large numbers of National Guard Troops to the (Bush) War of Choice in Iraq. Well, incase no one told them, the National Guard is very often comprised of fire fighters, policemen, and emergency medical experts, just the kind of people who were in short supply during the aftermath of Katrina. Of course, the Bush supporters (all three of them by this point) will undoubtedly claim that we were able to use National Guard Units from other states, but that isn’t the point. The point of the matter is that the National Guard from a given state is more familiar with their own state than they will be with another. National Guard Units from your own state, or even from your own city, will know the terrain, the streets, the resources at hand, the unique situation that each situation will present. That cannot be said about National Guard Units from distant states who will be plunged into a new and unfamiliar setting.

Ultimately the question must be asked: Are we safer now than we were before 911? Well, friends and neighbors, after witnessing the imbecilic manner in which this administration responded in the aftermath of Katrina, I think it is safe to assume that we are not safer under this administration; far from it. Katrina gave us plenty of warning. We watched on, initially with fascination, and then with concern and dread, as she developed from a tropical depression, into a tropical storm, into a Category 1 Hurricane, and eventually into the Category 4 nightmare which struck the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans. A terrorist is not going to give us an advance warning the way Katrina did. A terrorist is going to strike out of nowhere. There will be no time for evacuations. Or to put it another way, if the Powers That Be can’t get their act together when they have an advance warning, what makes them think that they will perform any better when a manmade disaster strikes from out of the blue? Again the answer is obvious. They cannot. All the double talk that we have heard about the Bush administration making us safer from a terrorist attack is just that—double talk. It was interesting campaign rhetoric, and it served the Bush well for nearly four years, but now the truth has come out and we realize that Bush and his cronies have been whistling in the proverbial graveyard—hoping against hope that something wouldn’t happen while the American people gave Bush high marks for his ineffective efforts in the war on terror.

Sad to say, but it seems as if the Bush Administration is just as inept at handling the after effects a natural disaster (and quite probably a terrorist attack) as it is at waging a poorly planned war of choice in Iraq. But then again, what do you expect from an incompetent administration which can only tell the truth by accident and which finds a way to ruin everything it touches?


Daniel Gallagher said...

Even more interesting is the constituency that thinks we shouldn't rebuild New Orleans. This of course goes hand in hand with the idea that we shouldn't help them again in the event of another hurricane. Just one problem with their argument. A large share of the South can be struck by a hurricane durting any spring, summer of early fall. Do the closet racists who propose that we not rebuild New Orleans, which has a black population, propose that we never hekp another Southern city because the South happens to be in the wrong place? The stupidity of these people is astounding.

Better yet--we can stop helping Midwesterners because they might get struck by a tornado or a thundertsorm. We could turn our pack on the Western states because they might have an earthquake. And if the desrt states ever run out of water we could evacuate the states of Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, on the grounds that they are living in places where human beings shouldnm't be living in the first place.

Like I just said--the stupidity of these idiots is astounding.

Daniel Gallagher said...

shouldnm't--try shouldn't