America Needs A Plunger ...
After the last few days of combing other blogs and clicking various media websites they link to, I think I know what's going on here with the Bush Administration and it hails from the very bowels of Straussian philosophy: there is both a "public" version of their position and a more "private" version of their position and the "private" version is something The Bush Administation can't afford for the public to realize because it'll blow all of their asses out of the water. The "private" version has been alluded to in the Press and the 24/7 news, but in a carefull way as to not offend the viewer. By doing this, the Bush Administration is banking on the fact that those media ventures that are alluding adroitly to the "private" version can be easily dismissed as being "typically liberal".
That shit isn't going to fly here because I'm going to call the "private" version of their position by using simple, honest, direct words -- words that the Press wouldn't dare use. Before that happens, let's try to wrap our heads around the "Public" version, which is the Bush Administration, FEMA, and the DHS is trying to their damndest to pin all the incompetence and blame on the local figures, predominately Gov. Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Nagin. The problem is they're lying like hell -- you've watched the lies unfold on national TV, and read it from the same exact blogs (and then some) on my Blogroll to the left as well as from any print media. You've also seen, heard, and read all the contradictions that are being unearthed on the hour by the very same media and blog sources. Lastly, you've been reading, watching, and listening to report after report of general incompetence. Let's take a look at some of most recent lies, contradictions, and reports of incompetence.
First one comes from The Chicago Tribune under the "General Incompetence" banner where a NAVY ship in the Gulf of Mexico rode out Katrina and then awaited orders to help with the aide and rescue efforts:
The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore.
The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents.
But now the Bataan's hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty. A good share of its 1,200 sailors could also go ashore to help with the relief effort, but they haven't been asked. The Bataan has been in the stricken region the longest of any military unit, but federal authorities have yet to fully utilize the ship.
Captain ready, waiting
"Could we do more?" said Capt. Nora Tyson, commander of the Bataan. "Sure. I've got sailors who could be on the beach plucking through garbage or distributing water and food and stuff. But I can't force myself on people.
"We're doing everything we can to contribute right now, and we're ready. If someone says you need to take on people, we're ready. If they say hospitals on the beach can't handle it ... if they need to send the overflow out here, we're ready. We've got lots of room."
FEMA's orders? "Fuck New Orleans!"
Then the Bataan was ordered to move to the waters off Biloxi, Miss., and LCU-1656 was ordered to return. The landing craft was 40 miles from New Orleans, but it wouldn't be able to deliver its cargo.
"It was a disappointment," Fish said. "I figured we would be a big help in New Orleans. We've got electricity, and the police could have charged up their radios. We've got water, toilets. We've got food."
Also under the "Incompetence" banner comes this report where there's only one single paragraph worth giving a damn about:
A convoy of food and supplies provided by Hyatt hotels in Atlanta and Houston arrived at Hyatt Regency New Orleans on Wednesday of this week.
This is worth giving a damn about because it busts The Bush Administration, FEMA, and the DHS in another incident of incompetence for why is it that they were not to able to get food, supplies, and other Federal relief efforts down there to save New Orleans as early as Wednesday -- TWO DAYS AFTER KATRINA HIT -- when the Hyatt Corporation had no problems at all redistributing resources from Atlanta and Houston to their hotel in New Orleans? The Hyatt Corporation was ready to save lives on WEDNESDAY while Bush was still on vacation and FEMA was doing nothing but tossing empty promises -- empty promises that directly resulted in a drowning death as told to us by a very upset Aaron Broussard, President of the Jefferson Parish of LA in a video of NBC's "Meet The Press" (a very tough video to watch). The answer, of course, is Bush Administration cronyism -- both Chertoff and Brown were appointed to their positions not because of skill or experience; but because they were friends of George W. Bush and, as friends, they're going to protect Bush every step of the way, including passing the buck and lying. Of course, we knew cronyism was the Bush Administration's forte long before Katrina, especially with defense contracts awarded to their favorite companies such as this courtesy of the Houston Chronicle:
The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.
KBR was assigned the work under a "construction capabilities" contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees.
Apparently, Dick Cheney's former company hasn't made enough money bilking the tax-payers in the guise of the "War on Terror" and will bilk them further thanks to the NAVY. But it isn't cronyism that has Chicago mayor Daley fuming mad. Once again, it is incompetence on the part of FEMA/DHS who rejected Chicago's generosity:
A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.
That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.
"We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.
Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.
Mayor Daley is just one person among a long, long line of concerned people both rich and poor, foreign and domestic, that have had their help and generosity turned away by Bush and the incompetent bureacracies of FEMA and the DHS over the past few days but, then again, that's to be expected when Bush is so full of pride and vain arrogance that can't risk being shown up by anyone and FEMA Director Robert Brown was shitcanned from his previous job for being as much of an "unmitigated, total disaster" to the International Arabian Horse Association as hurricane Katrina was to the cities of New Orleans and Biloxi.
As a result, all three groups -- FEMA, the DHS, and the Bush Administration -- are working overtime to spin the incompetence onto the local figures instead of themselves. Another article by the WaPo does a great job of busting them in the lies and spin as well as peeling more of the incompetence onion, especially the one most of the Freepers and Bush loyalists keep ranting about: that the DHS didn't absolve local agencies from their responsibility ...
From the day [the DHS] came into existence on March 1, 2003, the department of 180,000 employees and a nearly $40 billion annual budget was tasked by a presidential directive with developing a comprehensive new plan for disasters. The National Response Plan was supposed to supersede the confusing overlay of federal, state and local disaster plans, and to designate a "principal officer in the event of an incident of national significance." An accompanying new National Incident Management System would integrate all the cascades of information.
In that quote is that damnable word "supersede", which means to preempt, override, and/or replace something antiquated and obsolete. In other words, Bush created the DHS and brought FEMA under its umbrella to develope and depoly THE measuring stick of responding to a national crisis -- whether it's another terrorist attack or a natural disaster like a hurricane -- and to be the primary agency responsible for those actions. Therefore, as Larry C. Johnson points on in detail, all the spin from the Bush Administration, Chertoff, Brown, and the diehard loyalists regarding the brunt of the responsibility falling at the Local instead of Federal is blatant scapegoating. Bush created this "Big Daddy" beauracracy for the American people to rely on from day one... and it failed miserably. Now their trying to save face by lying and shirking that responsibility as Chertoff goes on the Press Conference circuit repeating the lie that he nor anyone else anticpated the levees breaking as well as the lie about him not knowing about the hundreds of thousands of survivors in the Superdome without food and water as we see here from Dr. Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center:
Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, told the Times-Picayune Sunday afternoon that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA Director Mike Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, listened in on electronic briefings given by his staff in advance of Hurricane Katrina slamming Louisiana and Mississippi--and were advised of the storm’s potential deadly effects.
So much for that "we never anticipated/knew" excuse ...
I don't know if any other blog is catching this or not but I believe what's going on here through the sea of lies and instance upon instance of incompetence and arrogance on the parts of Bush, Chertoff, and Brown is the same old Rovian media game where the Bush Adminstation's players deliberately say one thing, do the other, spin like pinwheels when their hypocritical lies and inconsistancy is given sunshine and shoved in their faces by what little courage remains in the MSM, and this sets off the domino effect of outrage between political party lines where ultimately -- ultimately -- the usually free-thinking moderates that really make-up the majority in this country are hit with such a blitzkrieg of information and contradictions that they get frustrated trying to sort through it all and their minds give up. They furiously turn off the news, the bloggers, etc. and instead pop in a DVD, play a little Tiger Woods on their PC, or pluck a couple of spines in Mortal Kombat: Deception just to get away from the din. As a result, the for-profit corporate media loses their Neilsen spikes and migrate back to the tried-and-true formula of shark attacks and runaway brides to win 'em back. As always been the case the last 5 years that this game has been played, the players in the Bush Administration dodge the bullet that would otherwise tear an IED-sized hole into more competent administrations in history's memory hole -- including Reagan.
They're acting like as if the entire state of Louisianna seceded from the Union the moment Katrina made landfall. Bush knows he's lying. Chertoff knows he lying. Brown knows he's lying. And they're all banking on the media frenzy to desensitize the people into a bubble of apathy. VIOLA! Accountability takes another vacation.
It's deplorable since we're witnessing two distinct clashes of mentality here among the local and federal figures. On one side, we've got the September 10th mentality and on the other the September 12th mentality and, the way I see it, the September 10th mentality is being displayed the most by the Bush Administration, Brown, Chertoff, and their loyal spindoctors for it was Bush and the Republican "ownership society" that created these very bureacracies and then marketed them to the American people as THE responsible agencies we can rely on and take charge in a post-9/11 America. But now that the incompetence and lies have been exposed, they want to backpedal on that whole idea of Americans relying on their creations by deflecting blame & responsibility in a furious attempt to avoid accountability (I would've said "vain attempt" there but, with our media, that remains to be seen whether or not that's accurate).
That's the "public" version of the Bush Administration's standpoint and the kicker is the Rovian game I outlined isn't the "private" version at all. Far from it -- the Rovian media game is out there in the forefront dancing along with the "public" version, functioning as the shadow to it all like a caricature of Fred Astaire and, when we watch Fred Astaire in those classic movies, our attention is on him and his elegance and grace instead of the shadow on the fuckin' ballroom floor where it should be with this sorry-assed administration and its corrupt-as-all-hell GOP "ownership society".
And yet off to the side of that ballroom is the "private" version of the Bush Adminstration's standpoint that only Jack Cafferty could merely allude to it because calling it by name would have been as too much for CNN as Kayne West was too much for NBC. Time and time again, it has brayed for attention and the nation gave it none. It brayed during Election 2000 with the mess in Florida, brayed yet again almost year ago in Ohio during the 2004 Election, and is braying much louder now because a crying Geraldo Rivera held it front the cameras the other night on FNC in front of millions of viewers the world over while yelling, "LOOK AT THIS!!" over and over.
America, your President and his "ownership society" hates poor non-Republican minorities.
That's the "private" standpoint and it can no longer be denied. The "Culture of Life" has transmogrified into the "Culture of Fuck 'Em Because They Don't Vote For Us Anyway!" Afterall, they made it near impossible for them to vote in 2000. They made it near impossible for them to vote in 2004. Now, they're making it near impossible for them in New Orleans to even live. And it's no cliche to say that last week will live in infamy in our history books. It's the week where every single toilet in Washington DC backed up, giving us all a strong whiff of what we're paying for.
NOTE: This post could've not have been possible without the fine job of just about every single blog on my blogroll as well as the two new comers -- Daily Dissent and No Quarter. I've watched these two blogs over the past few months and have come to love their work as much as the usual suspects (e.g. AmericaBlog, Daily Kos, C&L, Billmon, etc.) and in no way can this wrag of mine can ever reach the sheer levels of determination and dedication to the American people they show every hour on the hour. Their coverage is just undisputable and it is their excellent work that was the inspiration for dragging me away from the last week of carnage long enough to put something on this blog that's hopefully worth a damn (I lost all sense of perspective myself around the 3rd paragraph).