Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Real Bush? Where he has always been!

In the wake of hurricane Katrina , the chorus of “How could this happen in America?” has be reworded by some of President Bush’s supporters to read “How could this happen with Bush?” They wonder, where was the decisive, firm, no BS leadership that wooed them to the voting booth. They wonder what happened to the tough guy who kicked Saddam Hussein out of power and is “protecting “ us from the terrorists?

Well, folks, both Bushes are one and the same! In this disaster there has been no metamorphosis from the President Bush of 9-11 and the Iraq war—to the President Bush of hurricane Katrina.. Bush has been absolutely consistent in the pattern of who he is and what he stands for. It is just that voters and the mainstream media have not been very bright in figuring it out!

Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” only floats in the wake of corporate wealth and privilege. The fact that the poor (of any color) are not high on the Bush radar screen , should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention in the last six years.

The “true” Bush has a consistent record of cutting taxes for the wealthy and cutting programs for the poor. The “true” Bush has been trying to take the Social Security safety net out from under the elderly poor for the past year. The “true” Bush has been cutting health care for the elderly. The most recent “true” Bush appeared after the disaster, when he awarded huge no-bid contracts to Halliburton and subsidiaries—then gave those companies a legal exemption that allows the lowest wages to be paid to victims who work for the reconstruction.

George W. Bush’s hubris has been a lifetime lens through which he assesses the world. It is the measure against which most other ideas are found wanting and are of tainted origins. It is a construct where only parallel goals contribute to his comfort zone. He confuses fact with fantasy—“Mission Accomplished!”----and justifies decisions based on the certainty of his personal suspicions. It is a pattern deeply rooted in privilege. Should it really be a surprise that he cited the loss of Trent Lott’s house to epitomize the disaster of the Gulf Coast

He lives in a world of the “haves” nourishing a fantasy best described by columnist Maureen Dowd as being “born on third base but thinking he hit a triple.”

So, if Bush The Bold needs a war to fulfill his fantasies of hubris, and he can do it by unleashing the world’s most powerful military against a third world two-bit dictator, why not? And if Bush The Privileged has tunnel vision for the wealthy—let the poor eat cake, if they can find their way out of the Superdome.

Anyone besides me for impeachment? Bill Sanders

Kathleen Parker meets reality

Since I took Kathleen Parker to task for her column defending Bush from his Katrina critics, I must give her credit for the 180 degree turn in her latest column. She has finally seen Bush’s failure as a leader, pointing out " As commander in chief, Bush should have helicoptered into New Orleans, parked himself next to the Superdome and started ordering his generals to get the job done."

In flash of insight, she added, "By his performance in this time of extreme stress, Bush may have revealed a truer self than we were meant to see."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Columnist Kathleen Parker's straw man defense!

Kathleen Parker’s recent column chastising administration critics regarding hurricane Katrina, misses the point completely! She tries to neutralize the outcry by saying you can’t blame "mother nature" and that even though critics (read, liberal democrats) try----" not even George Bush can take the fall for this one!" She then adds her coup de grace, "Some things cant be helped. Nature, ever untamable can’t be thwarted."

True, the administration can’t "thwart" a hurricane. What any administration can and should do, is everything within its power to limit the human toll of suffering and death. Clearly this administration failed miserably!

1. President Bush, his Director of Homeland Security and his Director of FEMA were briefed by the Director of the National Hurricane Center--- prior to landfall— on the severity and possible impact of Katrina on the levees. Yet Bush claimed after the disaster, "I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

2. FEMA Director Michael Brown waited five hours after landfall on August 29, to ask Homeland Security ( via a memo) to send 1,000 employees to the region within two days. Then suggested another 2,000 after seven days.

3.President Bush waited five days before setting foot in the stricken area. When he did, he joked about his drinking days in New Orleans and then said of his FEMA Director, "...and Browne, you’re doing a heck of job. The FEMA Director is working 24 hours a day."

If the President is serious about investigating "what went wrong", he should re-read his own National Response Plan which claims to "help save lives and protect America’s communities by increasing the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of incident management." Then he should measure it against himself and the actions of his administration

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Pussyfooting about accountability

To hear Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FEMA Director Mike Brown tell it, the delayed response to the devastation of hurricane Katrina was simply that they were ambushed by unforseen (infer unpredictable) events —i.e. the severity of the storm and the New Orleans levee collapse. That is sheer baloney!

Days before Katrina slammed into the gulf coast, the National Hurricane Center advised FEMA and Homeland Security that the expected storm surge could top the antiquated levee protecting the city. More than thirty-six hours before landfall, the NHC marveled at the historic dimensions of the storm and reported winds of 100 mph at the edges of the hurricane—---some one hundred miles from its eye!

As for President Bush, he appeared to be more worried about the rising resentment of the Iraq war than the potential destruction of a monster hurricane poised to strike the most venerable city in America.. Katrina ripped into the gulf coast on Monday. Tuesday, Bush flew to California for a fund raising dinner and another rote speech on “staying the course” in Iraq. (Contrast that to standing amid twin towers rubble the day after 9-11.)

There are many hard questions that demand answers. Why didn’t President Bush federalize the disaster effort and immediately send in the elite 82nd Airborne unit from Ft. Bragg, who’s mission is being ready for “instant” deployment? Why didn’t he tap into the Helicopter units at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky? Why didn’t he order the Navy and Marines to immediately dispatch their small water craft loaded with food and water? Why did he wait four days to set foot on the gulf coast ground?

The call for accountability by the Bush Administration for its shameful response to the human suffering left in the wake of Katrina, floats like a bloated corpse in the flood waters of New Orleans–---untouched and largely not confronted by the hordes of television commentators and politicians who speak on the subject.

Oh, there is plenty of cursing the darkness----everyone speaks loudly and clearly there—but few are willing to name the person who’s finger is on the switch.

For example, New York times columnist David Brooks put it this way, “On September 11th Rudy Giuliani took control. The Government response was quick and responsive. Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective.” I wonder who Mr. “Nobody” was? I wonder who Mr. “Authority” was?

The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin , in a rare departure from political protocol, demanded the Federal Government “get off your ass and let’s do something!” Interesting. Even hunkered down in the stench, suffering and isolation of his own people he could not bring himself to pronounce the words “President Bush”.

As the horrific scenes of death and suffering give way to more visual space of evacuation, rescues and food and water distribution—it is vital that specific accountability move to the front on our national consciousness.

Politicians aspire to the pinnacle of our system because it where the power lies for their agenda for our country and their personal ambition. They embrace the responsibility for running our government and protecting our people. And “we”—including the media—should not be timid about calling them to account when they screw it up! The collective “we” elected George Bush—who appointed Michael Chertoff—who was approved by Congress

The last thing we should do is accept “The dog ate my homework!” .

Friday, September 02, 2005

Humanitarian in action! Posted by Picasa