Bush to New Orleans: Drop dead
The Battle of New Orleans
August 31, 2005
The Cost of War: Bye Bye New OrleansWhy didn't New Orleans have the money to fix the levee? After the storm went through, parts of New Orleans, including the French Quarter and the Uptown area, were not badly hit by water damage. But the levee was broken that holds the water out of the below-sea level city. And then the water started rising. No one yet knows how much will leak into the city, how much destruction there will be. The breach in the levee could have been avoided if the levee had been properly maintained.
It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.
-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.
For years now Bush and the corporate robbers have been gutting America's economy, draining out the country's financial resources to finance wars and put in the pockets of their rich friends like Halliburton and Bechtel. Most of the time the consequences are abstract to most people. They are taking money out of federal lunch programs, they are taking money out of homeless shelters, etc. etc. most of the time affecting faceless people out there somewhere. We know it's happening, but it doesn't touch us personally. Now it's starting to catch up to us. America is beginning to feel the pinch of being made destitute by Bush & Co.
According to Attytood, "Water continues to pour through a two-block-long break in the main levee, near the city's 17th Street Canal. With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until until it's level with the massive lake. There have been numerous reports of bodies floating in the poorest neighborhoods of this poverty-plagued city, but the truth is that the death toll may not be known for days, because the conditions continue to frustrate rescue efforts... The president told us that we needed to fight in Iraq to save lives here at home, and yet -- after moving billions of domestic dollars to the Persian Gulf -- there are bodies floating through the streets of Louisiana. What does George W. Bush have to say for himself now?"
Now the shattered city is falling under a cloud of unrest. What can anyone do? The Louisiana governor is calling for prayer. But it's going to take a lot more. According to CNN, "As parts of flooded New Orleans slip into chaos and Gulf Coast communities struggle to deal with the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's governor is declaring Wednesday a day of prayer. Officials in New Orleans have not even begun tallying the dead -- there hasn't been time. With waters rising from broken levees, all efforts have been focused on rescuing survivors. Those survivors are facing dire conditions -- no power, little drinking water, dwindling food supplies, gunfire in the distance -- with no way to get out." And where is the National Guard? Right. In Baghdad. Like George W., none of the vast new generation of the Bush clan is fighting in Iraq, or anywhere else, or even serving in the military. Buzzflash is posting a petition demanding that either some Bush kids go, or Bush should bring the other kids home. Meanwhile the poverty rate in America continues to climb. "Despite strong economic growth and low unemployment, the median household income stagnated, the Census Bureau reports... Family income stagnated last year and more Americans slipped into poverty, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in a report that raised questions about which Americans were enjoying the fruits of an economic expansion that began in 2001. It was the fourth straight year that the report found an increase in the U.S. poverty rate." LA Times
September 1, 2005
Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? Editor and Publisher takes a look at the record, as retained by the Times-Picayune, and shows that the money that had been designated to shore up the safety of the levees was robbed by the Bush administration and its followers in Congress. And guess where it went. "When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA. Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside. Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain."
After five years of the Bush pirates stealing everything in sight for their cronies, stripping all allocations for human needs and shoveling America's worth into the coffers of major corporations, we are beginning to see the result of these policies. Over and over again we hear about one outrageous cut after another. But the consequences seem remote, intangible. But here is New Orleans. Its security was neglected. Money was taken away to feed the voracious Bush war machine, as it has been from every quarter of American life. That beautiful jewel of a city was left like a sitting duck, and now it's irretrievably damaged. Much of it can never be recovered. What if that $250 million that was designated for New Orleans' ounce of prevention had actually been put there? How much would it have saved of the billions that will now be lost, the many lost lives, the irreplaceable historical and natural treasures of New Orleans?
All these disasters have been in the making for a long time. Perhaps it takes some really crushing catastrophes to wake people up. Under the Bush administration America is unraveling. The slow motion destruction is starting to gain momentum now. And it's becoming extremely urgent to knock this deathmobile off its tracks. It is literally becoming a matter of survival. We can't let a bunch of idiots like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld run us into oblivion. It is time for action.
Its Real Name: Global Warming -- Hurricane Katrina is also a catastrophe of great enough magnitude to cause Americans once and for all to focus on the environmental catastrophe that is happening right now, and is largely about the corporate oil megamachine. Ross Gelbspan, writing in the Boston Globe, nails it. "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming." There is no longer any excuse for letting the oil industry and the coal industry force global warming down our throats because they are focused entirely on next quarter's profits. This is mass insanity. Time to wake up from the suicide stupor.
Save America -- "A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina arrived. But former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged US President George W Bush to send more troops. 'We have to send the army to stop this or we will lose New Orleans and we will lose 80,000 people,' Barthelemy told CNN. 'If we can spend the monies that we are spending to help the people in Iraq, then we can do the same thing for New Orleans.' Stuff.co
Brace for More Katrinas, Say Experts -- "For all its numbing ferocity, Hurricane Katrina will not be a unique event, say scientists, who say that global warming appears to be pumping up the power of big Atlantic storms.... More and more scientists estimate that global warming, while not necessarily making hurricanes more frequent or likelier to make landfall, is making them more vicious." Agence France, via Truthout
Why Neoconservatives Won’t Back Down -- Because they're crazy. "When will they admit their mistakes and grave errors to the families of the dead on all sides and to the people of America? Homer Simpson answers for them, 'I don't apologize. I am sorry Lisa, that's the way I am.' And so it is with the neoconservatives who clamored for war and cakewalks and slam-dunks. You will hear the inconsistency in their voices. You will see their pain in the Sunday morning talk shows. But you will never hear those responsible for designing a flawed policy in the Middle East, destroying the U.S. Army and its Guard and Reserve system, and Iraq as a nation ever say they’re sorry." Karen Kwiatkowski at Lew Rockwell
War Crimes -- "Former Navy LT. and JAG officer Harvey THARP, made his first major speech at the San Luis Obispo County Library July 21st, 2005 to the HOPE DANCE Group of about 70–100 citizens. Mr. Tharp calls Ohio home and is working his way east spreading his view, as a former Navy JAG, that President BUSH is guilty of international violations of law amounting to "war crimes." MR. Tharp refused to be a part of "war crimes." Yet, he was proud of his military service as a JAG officer. He knows the law and was not going to violate international law or the U.S. Constitution for President Bush or anyone at NSA." Lew Rockwell
Sheehan and Sheen, and Sharpton at Camp Casey -- Guardian, Yahoo
Dumb Billionaire? NY Mayor Bloomberg lamely tried to dodge the Sheehan question saying it's "not a local issue". No way that billionaire is dumb enough to believe that. Can he expect us to be? No local issue. No New Yorkers in Iraq? "The mayor's response, or lack thereof, elicited an emotional reaction from Carmen Depompeis, whose brother, Pfc. Hernando Rios, 29, was killed earlier this month in Baghdad. The father of three, who lived in Woodside, was one of 10 members of the Manhattan-based Fighting 69th Army National Guard regiment killed in Iraq. 'He was born in Manhattan, he was raised in Queens, he was a local issue,' said Depompeis, 40, who opposes the war and supports Sheehan. 'Many soldiers from his unit have died. That's a local issue.'" Newsday
Journalists didn't bother vetting Iraq war rationale, writes Michael Ryan: "The news media are failing to acknowledge their own responsibility for the invasion of Iraq, even as they report with glee Cindy Sheehan's antiwar protest outside George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford. Americans are told all about Sheehan's son, Casey, a soldier killed in Iraq, and her call for the president to explain his reasons for invading Iraq and to outline his plan to leave. But the news media ought to explain why they broke their moral covenant with the American people to provide complete, balanced, fair and accurate information about the charge to war. Coverage of the administration's high-profile pitches to promote war was so blatantly unbalanced, the media sometimes looked like an arm of the Bush propaganda machine." Houston Chronicle
Bush urges patience as war protests intensify -- Bangkok Post
A trifecta of terrible prospects for the GOP (Iraq disaster, Plame indictments, rising oil prices.) Says Paul Mulshine: "As for politics, Bush's skills remain formidable but he is up against his own views in his 2000 campaign: 'A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam,' he said then. 'When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.' As usual, he captured perfectly the deeply held feelings of the great mass of Americans. Unfortunately for him, those feelings remain deeply held. The cause may be just in the instance of Iraq, but the goal remains vague and the victory has been underwhelming, to say the least. I don't do polling, but if the e-mail I receive is any indication, the only people still buying the Bush spin on the Iraq debacle are a handful of neoconservatives here in the East and a dwindling crowd of Rush Limbaugh listeners in the Heartland." Star Tribune
September 1, 2005
ConsequencesAfter thousands of deaths, so much destruction, the unraveling of the American dream, the rise of poverty alongside of record corporate profits, loss of morale in the heartland and prestige abroad, after standing up and lying openfaced to the American people to bamboozle them into war, and then smirking about it arrogantly, George W. Bush, the reigning prince of the Bush clan, has managed to live a life entirely without consequences. He's never had to pay for a mistake, never even admits to one. He's exempt, out of reach of the normal processes of human civilization. How long can this go on?
Utterly singleminded and relentless, never giving an inch, the Neocon regime has seen to it that every ounce of American muscle be channeled toward its cruel agenda, which benefits only a tiny portion of the population, and even to those the ultimate benefit is dubious. America is being destroyed, friends. Arguably America's most beautiful, distinctive, historic city is becoming a part of the Gulf of Mexico.
Add New Orleans to Baghdad, Fallujah, Kabul, etc. as a casualty of the mad Bush-neoconservative rampage. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration, writes in Counterpunch, "Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush's Iraq war. There were not enough helicopters to repair the breeched levees and rescue people trapped by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana National Guards available to help with rescue efforts and to patrol against looting. The situation is the same in Mississippi. The National Guard and helicopters are off on a fools mission in Iraq... Now the Guardsmen, trapped in the Iraqi quagmire, are watching on TV the families they left behind trapped by rising waters and wondering if the floating bodies are family members. None know where their dislocated families are, but, shades of Fallujah, they do see their destroyed homes." And he adds, "All Bush has achieved by invading Iraq is to kill and wound thousands of people while destroying America's reputation. The only beneficiaries are oil companies capitalizing on a good excuse to jack up the price of gasoline and Osama bin Laden's recruitment." Not a Surprise -- According to Salon, "In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war... A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken." Waiting for a Leader -- One of the best New York Times editorials in a very long time: "George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end. We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril."
September 2, 2005
Post Apocalyptic America under Bush
Heartless -- So typical of Bush. So little, so late. He saunters out after days of catastrophe. (See the Chinese report at xinhuanet.com) On the Gulf Coast civilization itself is threatened, sinking into a desperate struggle for survival. What does Bush offer? Not very consoling words, calls on Americans to give donations, and threats of "zero tolerance" for looting, which in many cases at this point is just a matter of people grabbing something edible or a bottle of water from a flooded Walmart. He calls on his pappy and Bill Clinton to lead fund raising drives. Fund raising drives? What about the billions going to conquer and suppress Iraq? But toughness, oppression, "zero tolerance", that's something he can talk about. He's in his element with that stuff, so that's what he immediately gravitates to, so he won't be tongue-tied and stammering around. A reporter asks Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan if there wouldn't be a little tolerance for people who are on the verge of starving to death grabbing something to eat. McClellan in his typically ivory tower fairy land says, there are plenty of legitimate ways of getting food. "Looting" is not the way. We'll keep bringing you food. Plays good on TV. But on the ground in New Orleans, in the water, there is no food. They are not bringing relief to most of the people whose survival is threatened right now. Why New Orleans is in Deep Water -- Molly Ivins: "To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives. This is not 'just politics' or blaming for political advantage. This is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do about their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for those policies. This is a column for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who ever said, 'I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics,' or, 'There's nothing I can do about it,' or, 'Eh, they're all crooks anyway.'" In an increasingly out-of-control situation, "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered police to drop rescue operations to fight looting and other crime that gripped the city," said a Reuters report. "A National Guard soldier was shot and wounded on Wednesday in the Superdome arena housing thousands of refugees in increasingly squalid conditions." Like Hell -- New Orleans is becoming more and more like hell, like a chaotic pre-civilized world. Scary. People shooting, people starving, calling for help. We've returned to the dark ages. This is the post-liberal world. No help for people, only for the major corporations. Houston Chronicle Superdome haven quickly becomes hellish -- According to the Star Tribune "The sick and disabled were the first to be led out. But late Wednesday afternoon, as the slow evacuation of the Superdome began, it was not easy to distinguish them from the rest of the 20,000 or more refugees who had steeped for days in the arena's sickening heat and stench, unbathed, exhausted and hungry. They had been crammed into the Superdome's shadowy ramps and corridors, spread across its vast artificial turf field and plopped into little encampments in the seats that rise toward the top of the dome. They had flocked to the dome seeking sanctuary from the winds and waters of Hurricane Katrina. But understaffed, undersupplied and without air-conditioning or even much lighting, the domed stadium quickly became a sweltering and surreal vault of horrors, a place of overflowing toilets and no showers. Food and water, blankets and sheets, were in short supply. And the dome's reluctant residents exchanged harrowing stories of violence, including reports, which could not be confirmed, of a suicide and of girls being raped. By Wednesday the stench was staggering. Heaps of rotting garbage in bulging white plastic bags baked under a blazing sun on the main entry plaza, choking new arrivals as they made their way into the stadium after being plucked off rooftops and balconies. The odor billowing from toilets was even fouler. Trash spilled across corridors and aisles, slippery with mud." Deja Vu -- We hear from one Echidne of the Snakes, that just like after 9/11, Bush told Diane Sawyer "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." It was demonstrably untrue after 9/11 and it's demonstrably untrue now. It was thoroughly predicted, and it's extremely well documented. These people are so bad, they use the excuses of ignorance and incompetence to make themselves look better. A Not Entirely Natural Disaster -- According to NBC 10 meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz, the flooding was both a natural and a man-made disaster. "Back when I was in the Hurricane Center 30 years ago, we were preaching about this as a potential disaster for New Orleans," Schwartz said. NBC10 No Surprise -- According to the New York Times, "The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years. Often leading the chorus was Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager for the corps and a 30-year veteran of efforts to waterproof a city built on slowly sinking mud, surrounded by water and periodically a target of great storms. Mr. Naomi grew particularly frustrated this year as the Gulf Coast braced for what forecasters said would be an intense hurricane season and a nearly simultaneous $71 million cut was announced in the New Orleans district budget to guard against such storms. He called the cut drastic in an article in New Orleans CityBusiness. In an interview last night, Mr. Naomi said the cuts had made it impossible to complete contracts for vital upgrades that were part of the long-term plan to renovate the system.... 'It would take $2.5 billion to build a Category 5 protection system, and we're talking about tens of billions in losses, all that lost productivity, and so many lost lives and injuries and personal trauma you'll never get over,' Mr. Naomi said. " Unbelievable -- This Chicago Trib columnist who should remain nameless, is saying, let New Orleans go back to the sea. And 79% of those who took his online poll agreed. Most of those who bothered to write a post, however disagreed, a large majority, in fact. Here is my Post: "Your comment suggesting letting New Orleans sink into the sea is an unbelievably smug and heartless thing to say at a moment of such deep tragedy in the U.S. It's also more or less irrelevant because when you consider where the money has been going in this country, billions upon billions to finance Bush's war of choice and to enrich Halliburton and other of his friends, there is no doubt that the money taken away from the project to strengthen the levees could have prevented this disaster. The hurricane itself did little damage. So instead of just writing off one of the greatest cities in our country, why not focus on the real problems that allowed this to happen and discuss ways to prevent such catastrophes in the future. You need to get out from behind your desk a bit and experience the real world. The trend of the U.S. to neglect all human needs in favor of military conquest of the world is leading to the decay of our civilization. We're reverting to the stone age. The tragedy is much deeper than even the devastation of New Orleans and the return to barbarism that is unfolding in the aftermath. There will be more of this. And people like you, grinning smugly from your desk in Chicago, are helping to bring it on." A Test for a Failure -- This will be a major test for Bush, writes David Sanger in the New York Times. "After initially stumbling through that disorienting day almost exactly four years ago, Mr. Bush entered what many of his aides believe were the finest hours of his presidency. But unlike 2001, when Mr. Bush was freshly elected and there was little question that the response would include a military strike, Mr. Bush confronts this disaster with his political capital depleted by the war in Iraq. Even before Hurricane Katrina, governors were beginning to question whether National Guard units stretched to the breaking point by service in Iraq would be available for domestic emergencies. Those concerns have now been amplified by scenes of looting and disorder. There is also the added question of whether the Department of Homeland Security, designed primarily to fight terrorism, can cope with what Mr. Bush called Wednesday 'one of the worst natural disasters in our country's history.'" It reads like Stephen King's The Stand, which is rapidly getting to seem not so far out anymore. Every day in BushWorld we sink deeper into a sci-fi/horror movie. An article in the Seattle Times says "Lawlessness, floating bodies as New Orleans deteriorates -- A major American city all but disintegrated yesterday, and the expected death toll from Hurricane Katrina mushroomed into the thousands. Bodies floated down streets. Defeated survivors waded waist-deep and ghostlike through floods. Packs of looters rampaged through the ruins and armed themselves with stolen weapons, and gunfire echoed through the city." Read the whole report, if you're steeled for it. "In one ghastly corner of the region, a flood unearthed and opened coffins. The stench of disaster lay heavy in the air."
September 2, 2005
The Dissolution of AmericaAs we observe the dissolution of America, the long way down of a great nation, the catastrophe of New Orleans will be a marking point. This is when the words "environmental disaster" begin to have vivid meaning. This is when the questions about what happens when all those billions of dollars are shoveled into the war machine begin to appear in starkly tangible realities. The ongoing disaster of America, both in Iraq and now at home, is looking ever more horrifying, ever more out of control.
Cheney, remember, is one of only a couple of congresspeople who voted against a resolution in favor of releasing Nelson Mandela from life imprisonment for opposing the apartheid regime. This is a cold, cold man. The fact that New Orleans is something like 80% Afro American, celebrates diversity, good music, tolerance and acceptance of gays -- all the things that the uptight white KKK-men-without-hoods like Cheney hate -- probably has something to do with the indifference and lack of federal action in New Orleans. These people don't care about things like this.
They've put together this monstrous bureaucracy called Homeland Security that took all the powers of agencies that are now under it, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but Homeland Security knows or cares little about managing emergencies. It's envisioned by the Bush-Cheney types as an agency through which they can spy on anti-war demonstrators and further consolidate their police state vision of control. They say they aren't for Big Government, but that only means government that serves the needs of the people. They want to cut those parts of the government and make the parts that serve their power-grabbing delusions bigger and more intrusive and oppressive than ever.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagle was interviewed by the local Air America affiliate, and he spoke out with impassioned pleas for help saying the federal government doesn't have any idea what is going on and has done almost nothing to help. Flying over in Air Force One is not going to show you what is going on down here, Mr. President.
September 3, 2005
What a weird parallel, a strange resonance, the two Gulf regions. Oh God, it's so bad. It really is the same stories you heard in Iraq. All the destruction, as much of it from stupidity as from viciousness or avarice. Good Lord deliver us.
Bush went down to New Orleans today. He strutted around doing his warm retail politician thing, hugging some black kids, then was shown in an indignant huff: "People are asking if we have enough troops, OF COURSE we have enough troops!" He struts with his arms out the way cops learn to walk when they are carrying heavy firearms on their belts. When he says, "Of course we have enough troops!" you want so much to believe. But in the silence is the unasked question, "Well, where have they been this week? When are you expecting them?" Of course they're here, they just not right here in this particular place at this particular moment, but they will be here soon. We just have to shift our resources around a little.
He radiates such total belief that it makes you believe, or almost believe. And if you really want to believe something you can live in peace of mind with, you can fill in whatever gap remains. Maybe that is what has gotten him so far. It's been a great performance. When he grabbed that bull horn in New York City after 9/11, his days as a cheerleader really paid off, and he made history. Or he started taking history in a very different direction at that moment.
Whether or not the administration did all it could to defend the country on the day of 9/11, it certainly went ahead full force to use the event as an opportunity to do everything the neocons wanted to do, to enact a radical rightwing agenda. And they have succeeded spectacularly, really. The audaciousness of the neocon takeover of America alone is monumental. The utter lack of moral restraint is even more spectacular as a historical event. Bush has taken that plain-speaking Texan personna a long way. With the backing of a huge bloc of corporate power, and sophisticated corporate media massaging his media and casting his every action in a historic and grand heroic setting, he's slipped through every known barrier to the extremes of human behavior. He's abused American legal tradition hideously. He's robbed from the poor to give to that top 5% to an extreme degree. He's deceived the country into war. He's busted the treasury, made us vulnerable to natural disasters the nation has demonstrated itself helpless before. One more time he disgraces America before the world with the pathetic lack of capacity to deal with the disaster of New Orleans. And he still holds office.
The world has never caught up with George W. Bush. He has eluded the consequences of his actions all his life. Here we go again, but George is dragging a lot of us in with him on this failure (check out his business history).
So when I saw him on TV and heard he was going to speak at the airport, I wondered, can he pull this out? Can he turn it into a historic triumph as his PR people somehow turned 9/11, which should have disgraced the administration, into a story of triumph. He flew around all day aimlessly like a big chicken, and that was after he spent the really crucial moments sitting before a classroom looking like he was thinking very hard, but doing nothing. And somehow they made him a big hero. I never figured it out.
With his ratings dropping even lower than they were Sept. 10, 2001, some people are worrying that another terrorist attack may be just what George's approval rating needs. Many have been watching for the terrorist attack that Cheney can use to justify attacking Iran. But instead this natural disaster came and blew to hell their credibility about their having "made us safer" (excuse me while I gag). And this one they can't use as a justification to bomb Iran, or anyone. Except maybe Exxon.
I couldn't help but imagine that they were probably sizing up the chances that another terrorist attack would help or hurt their cause. And as they were getting more desperate, they may have been leaning increasingly toward the most extreme measures. But they didn't figure for this. It has a whole different quality. They can't make hay out of it by using it to churn up hatred for an enemy they want to attack. They can't do anything with it. It has no PR value anymore unless someone really does something. And as Bush's former head of faith-based initiatives told us, this presidency is totally driven by politics and PR. They don't have policies. They just wing it as they go along. It's all driven by what plays well on TV to enhance George's image. The war was a political move. They knew it would play well. George saw his dad do it, and quite astutely, but he wanted to take it farther. George was going to be a war president one way or the other. That was how his presidency was designed.
What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is entirely consistent and very similar in many ways to what is happening in Iraq in terms of the competence to carry out basic objectives, or to even conceive of the need to attend to such matters. It took Bush days to do more than call a press conference and a photo op as he flew over on Air Force One. Bush's dirty underwear has been revealed to the people. It may not be so easy to smooth this one over.
Things are getting really dangerous under this administration. They are already deadly in what was recently one of the busiest ports, the entrance point of most of America's oil imports. The economic effect of the shockwave of losing that source of oil is yet to be seen. And in large scale disasters, even the rich can get hurt.
This is a catastrophe caused by a combination of nature raging and human failure. The hurricane left less damage than the broken levees. But even the natural side of the equation had been predicted by scientists for many years and was probably preventable. People have lived in New Orleans for longer than there has been a United States. The ferocity of these hurricanes is something new. They are supercharged by the warm water in the gulf, getting progressively warmer.
The administration has been such an abject failure in marshalling the executive power of the state, that which the administration is supposed to administer, that it may not be able to recover its good PR face. A president can rally the nation behind a cause. Why wasn't Bush out there asking hundreds of bus companies in the region to come to New Orleans to help. Why wasn't he doing anything?
How much more will it take for a large number of people to see the need to remove him from power? The legal basis is there, but so far the political will has been lacking. How the New Orleans disaster will affect America still remains to be seen.
Check out these links:
'World stunned as U.S. struggles with Katrina,' reads a Reuters "The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society. World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid. 'Anarchy in the USA' declared Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun. 'Apocalypse Now' headlined Germany's Handelsblatt daily." The Can't Do Government -- "Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening. So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared?" New York Times Ho Hum -- "Vice President Cheney, who has spent part of August at his home outside scenic Jackson, Wyo., remains there today -- although his spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, doesn't call it vacation. 'He's working from Wyoming today,' McBride told me this morning. So what is his day like in Jackson? Any fly-fishing on the Snake River during his work day? "He's already had his morning briefings,' McBride said. 'He'll have some other internal staff meetings.' Beyond that, McBride said, she would have to check and get back to me. I missed her call back but will try to reach her again. And when is he coming back? 'He will certainly be coming back. I'm not able to tell you the day right now. I don't have that handy.'" Washington Post Got or has? "I assume the president's going to say he got bad intelligence... I think that wherever you see poverty, whether it's in the white rural community or the black urban community, you see that the resources have been sucked up into the war and tax cuts for the rich." -- Congressman Charles B. Rangel Can't Do -- Don't Care -- "Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center. Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: 'Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.' It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended 'Spamalot' before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode." Maureen Dowd Michael Moore to Bush -- "Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? ... No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days?" michaelmoore.com Five Days No Food and Water -- The National Guard arrives in New Orleans. News 24 Bush calls emergency response "unacceptable" News 24 Katrina According to Fox -- Salon 'Reminds me of Baghdad in the worst of times' -- The Guardian Feds refused Mayor Daley's offers to help -- "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." Reality seeps in to TV News Fantasy -- Check out this video clip. oliverwillis.com Bush's Perfect Storm -- History News Network Bush's Perfect Storm II -- "But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies - kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media - can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line." Chris Floyd Ending the Impunity of the Bush Regime -- Norman Solomon The Economic Shockwave Begins -- LA Times Preview the Future of the Bush Agenda -- Bush foreign policy and its effect at home: "Hungry and desperate people trapped in a destroyed city. A police department in what one official called 'survival mode.' Dead bodies on the streets, blankets flung over them -- sometimes." Monterey Herald Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorist Attacks -- "According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization--the 'Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)' will carry out secret missions designed to 'stimulate reactions' among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to 'counterattack' by U.S. forces." Counterpunch
September 4, 2005
Facing Up to Hard Realities -- Cindy Sheehan: "George Bush has been an incompetent failure his entire life. Fortunately for humanity, he was just partying his way through school, running companies into the ground, and being an alcoholic and cocaine abuser for most of that time - and his incompetence was limited to hurting the people who worked for him and his own family. The people in his life who were hurt by his incompetence probably have been able to 'get on' with their lives. Now, though, his incompetence affects the world and is responsible for so many deaths and so much destruction. How many of us did not foresee the mess he would make of the world when he was selected the first time?" Truthout Terror by Americans Against Americans -- MOre on the Pentagon's plans to foment terrorist acts. "Bush and his cohorts are plunging the world into an abyss, an endless night of murder and terror -- wholesale, retail, state-sponsored, privatized; of fear and degradation, servility, chaos, and the perversion of all that's best in us." In Response to Arrogant Ignoramuses like Dennis Hastert who say let New Orleans sink into the ocean. Wake up, you fools! Read this: "New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize". For you who conceive of yourselves as economically sophisticated Republicans, New Orleans is not just another dot on the map. It's economically essential to the U.S. just like New York. "The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry. But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography -- the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one -- the Mississippi -- and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy." Stop Bush Before He Kills Us All -- "Bush’s single-minded focus on the "war against terrorism" has compounded a natural disaster and turned it into the greatest calamity in American history. The US has lost its largest and most strategic port, thousands of lives, and 80% of one of America’s most historic cities is under water. If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history. Prior to 911, the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) in order to protect the strategic port, the refineries, and the large population. However, after 2003 the flow of funds to SELA were diverted to the war in Iraq. During 2004 and 2005 the New Orleans Times-Picayune published nine articles citing New Orleans’ loss of hurricane protection to the war in Iraq. Every expert and newspapers as distant as Texas saw the New Orleans catastrophe coming. But President Bush and his insane government preferred war in Iraq to protecting Americans at home." Lew Rockwell
Labor Day Weekend, 2005
On the BrinkI picked up a Scientific American (June 2005) because I saw an article about "the emergence of the modern mind". The article says that the prevailing belief now is that anatomically modern human beings emerged 160,000 years ago. This number has continually been moved back from the Biblical calculations that placed it back only a few thousand years. For the past two decades, the article says, the dominant belief has been that the change in behavior that ushered in the modern mind occurred about 40,000 years ago. That's the division between the Middle Paleolithic period and the Upper Paleolithic, when striking changes appear in Europe, what the author calls "a suite of sophisticated practices."
Suddenly, "Within a geological blink of an eye, humans from the Rhone Valley to the Russian plain were producing advanced weaponry, forming long-distance trade networks, expressing themselves through art and music, and generally engaging in all manner of activities that archaeologists typically associate with modernity." This is also when Homo Sapiens started taking over Europe, which was previously Neandertal territory.
The same change in Africa can be discovered 10,000 years earlier, in Kenya. But in recent years, the article says, archaeologists are leaning toward a different model that indicates the changes took place long before the cave painting in France that previously was considered a marking point. Relevant relics include 400,000-year-old spears in Germany, a 233,000-year-old putative figurine from Israel, and 100,000-year-old fragments of notched bone from South Africa. Previously "any sign of intellect that did seem legitimately ancient was explained away as a on-off accomplishment, the work of a genius among average Joes."
Here we see an example of the human genius for ignoring that which does not fit one's previously held belief. As evidence mounts, the pressure to change preconceptions and dogma also mounts. This article quotes a scientist who says, "I can't prove it but I bet [Homo] heidelbergensis [which goes back 400,000 years] was capable of [the ability to think in symbols]," the feature that supposedly sets human beings apart from other animals.
This means that the little made-up story we call history barely reaches a view of the toenail of the giant. Historically we are standing in a thick fog, barely able to see our hand in front of our face as we stand before the Grand Canyon. So little we know about ourselves. It puts a little perspective on the loudmouths who stand up in Congress and bark about America as "the greatest civilization in the history of the world." So little doubt. So much utter assurance of their own superiority. Will their much vaunted civilization even leave a trace for those who follow 1,000 years from now, if there are any?
The archaeological record speaks well for the longevity of humankind, not well at all for the preservation of civilizations. They come and go, leaving little trace in most cases. Has one ever existed that has unleashed as much destructive power on the earth as the present one? Perhaps we will never know. Our time for such civilized cultural pursuits as archaeology seems to be on the verge of being cut short.
This American civilization, so-called, is bent on suppressing all speculative thinking about such subjects. Teach the Bible, you heretics! scream the fundamentalist priest kings. They are lassoing the schools and squeezing free thought out of them to a degree undreamed of only a generation ago. Forget arguments against teaching "left wing" versions of history, which include the ugly side of the European conquest of America and the genocide of its native population. We're going to compress all human knowledge into a walnut and anything outside of that will be verboten! This will make the Nazi brain-drain look minor. The U.S. taliban is in control.
Then I was browsing through Scientific American and I came upon something very curious: "Despite nearly a half century of hand-wringing by pessimists about the depletion of the earth's deposits of carbon-based fuels and about the environmental perils of coal-burning and nuclear-powered electricity generation, oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy will remain the bulwark of our energy infrastructure for decades to come."
How very odd, that word "pessimists" in this scientific context! Then I recognized a banner at the top of the page that said "Special Advertising Section". The typeface is a little different from the regular text of the magazine, but the section is set up like an article, with subheads, graphics, pull-quotes. The advertising section even has an "ad" within it, one that is obviously an ad inserted between two pages of text, breaking up what appears to be an article, but is really an advertising section. It tends to make the ad section blend in to the legitimate text of the magazine, not quite seamlessly, but enough to give the subconsciously registered cues of legitimacy. It's actually propaganda for Exxon. It addresses diminishing oil supplies, but with a strictly pro-industry approach, calling people who point out the potential of environmental catastrophes and the likely disastrous consequences of dependence on an energy source that that is rapidly running out as "pessimists". Even Scientific American is not free of propaganda from the industry that now controls the U.S. government, directs our policies and has successfully squelched the awareness of the rapidly approaching crisis of climate change. (See "Katrina's Real Name".)
This is very strange to see at a time when a storm supercharged by the abnormally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico has turned the southern coast of the U.S. into a pre-Paleolithic ruin. So far the oil and coal industries have succeeded in keeping us locked into a path of inevitable self destruction. Will the Katrina catastrophe change minds? Is there still time to save this backward, narcissistic and self-destructive civilization?
After looking at the Exxon section for a while, I noticed on the page facing the advertising section another example of the battle between dogma and free thinking. This time I'm referring to the actual text of Scientific American. "Fahrenheit 2777" attempts to debunk what it calls "conspiracy theories" about 9/11, excluding the official conspiracy theory, which is considered beyond challenge. In this article we see again a reference to the human capacity to dismiss all evidence that does not fit a predetermined explanation. But this article talks in favor of dismissing evidence that doesn't fit the explanation, that which is referred to above as "explain[ing] away" any sign of evidence to the contrary of one's theory "as a one-off..."
The article preaches a principle more appropriate to religion than science: that one should not challenge "established theory." Here's an exact quote: "The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking..." He likens such speculation to Creationism, though it seems like he has the comparison inverted. Creationism is a dogma that withstands evidence to the contrary."
In a quick one-page article, the author picks one of the "anomalies" that contradict the official theory of 9/11, argues against it, then says the all of the other "conspiracy claims" can be "this easily refuted." Although steel melts at 2777 degrees Fahrenheit, he acknowleges, it loses 50% of its strength at 1200 degrees. This, he says, disproves the assertion that the oxygen-starved black-smoke fires that were burning in the upper floors of the WTC could not have caused the explosions that pulverized the buildings and turned tons of steel and concrete into a small pile of mostly fine powder.
His idea is worthy of consideration. But it certainly does not prove the official theory that both towers plus the 47-story WTC7 all collapsed because of small fires. No steel building has ever collapsed because of a fire before those three that day, and many have burned much hotter for many more hours than those. The one that fell first had been struck much later than the other. They imploded perfectly into themselves, just as in controlled demolitions. Explosions forcing debris out of the sides appeared every few stories in advance of the collapse. No, this one-page article does not explain those many many "anomalies" that contradict the "well-established theory". Not by a long shot.
Humankind now stands on a brink. Will it hold to its "well-established" beliefs even though they are leading it to self-destruction? Will the American people overthrow their fundamentalist leaders, or follow them to hell? Some new models of thinking are urgently needed if this civilization wants to stay in the game a little longer before passing into the rubble of history.
September 8, 2005
In the pit of despair, after the most wretched blows and losses, I try to remind myself that no matter how bad an occurrence is, it will always bring something good, and something good that would not have happened without the tragedy. That doesn't mean it makes up for the loss. Some losses are too bitter to ever overcome and will always be dark tears in our historical tapestry. But given that the loss is an irrevocable fact, there is nothing to do but to make the most of whatever good presents itself. Some good things will come of the catastrophe of New Orleans. We must make sure of that.
Unbelievably, a new Gallup poll shows that Bush's base has not wavered in its support of him through the Katrina disaster and his comatose response while New Orleans was destroyed and thousands of its people starved or drowned or were murdered. According to Editor & Publisher, "Asked who was MOST responsible for the post-hurricane problems, 13% picked Bush, 18% said federal agencies, 25% selected state/local officials and 38% said no one was to blame."
Somehow Bush and the evil genius Rove manage to still convince a lot of the American population that Bush is "an outsider". So even though the deconstruction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was Bush's own handiwork, many of his loyal, clueless fans blame "the government" for the failure, when the chains of command all come back to Bush, who was on vacation and doing fundraisers and was never aroused by the unfolding tragedy during several days of compounding horror. This core of Bush's support, (who still blame "the government" for our problems, not the head of the government -- it's getting too late to blame Clinton -- the man who remade the agency and put incompetent people in charge of it, the man who stopped the levee maintenance to finance his war on Iraq), may be a part of the population that is hopeless, and will never comprehend such concepts as 2 plus 2 equals 4. Let them be. Leave the dead to bury their own dead.
But for those of the population who still have a couple of brain cells firing however feebly, it must be clear that the utter failure of Bush's administration blows any claim that "You're more secure under us!" It blows away any pretense that Homeland Security has anything to do with the safety and security of the population.
In this awful event, just as in Iraq, the real character of the Bush agenda is starkly clear. Even more will have died apparently from this disaster than 9/11. It is no more a justification for attacking Iraq than 9/11 was, but at least that fact is probably understandable even to the dullest Bush fan. Cheney can't easily devise a way to use this disaster as a reason to attack Iran. At least so far we haven't seen it.
The New Orleans disaster, an act of God, as they say, a natural disaster, beyond the control of humanity, has upstaged the long awaited Next Attack, that has always been threatened, and was always deemed inevitable by both those who use fear as a population control device, and most other rational observers. There is little doubt that another was coming, may still be coming, whether because of blind chance or because of intentional loosening of security to bring about a necessary result. Here was a disaster clearly predictable, yet days went by before a single federal finger was lifted. And when it was, it was clear the heads of Bush's emergency management agency knew less about what was going on than the average TV viewer. They were not able to stagemanage this one to fit into their real, hidden agenda, as they would have surely tried to with a terrorist attack.
So much for Bush's policy of pre-emption. They couldn't stop the storm, but they could have prepared for the aftermath, if they gave a damn. But they did nothing, showing clearly that their agenda has nothing to do with protecting or helping regular people, certainly not the poor. Bush's agenda has always been outward looking, conquest of the Middle East and the world beyond. Meanwhile American citizens are sitting ducks for whatever might destroy them, whether it be falling buildings or massive floods. Bush does not care about this kind of thing. Every dead American just gives him more justification for his wars and conquests.
Perhaps some who did not previously see now realize that all Bush's nice words about freedom, democracy, protecting the American people, etc., are all just part of a big PR campaign and have nothing to do with Bush's real agenda. After five years of watching his actions, there is little mystery in this for anyone whose world view is not created almost wholly by corporate news and right wing talk radio.
Fortunately the next test of our defenses cannot be used to attack another country, and instead lays bare the failure of the Republican concept of government, for any but those among the circle of cronies on the take. They destroy the part of government that protects average people, and turn over all power to corporate bigwigs to enhance their profits. The part of the government that Bush has expanded in the largest expansion of government since World War II is the part that attacks other countries and exercises surveillance and control techniques over the population at home. The part of the government he and his privateers are trying to drown is the part that works for the people.
New Orleans will come back. The deep culture, the music, the magic, the food, the architecture will somehow come back. It will take more than this to kill that soul. The buildings can be brought down. The Bushocrats will no doubt try to use this for a major redevelopment-urban renewal-gentrification plan that will drive out the poor and turn it into a chic yuppie suburb. But they cannot kill the spirit of New Orleans. It has a centuries-old, deep dark witchy history that precedes America and will no doubt endure beyond America. New Orleans will rise again.
September 9, 2005
Accountability, the Blame Game, and Mass ExterminationThe phrase "blame game" is becoming the new "flipflop," a phrase repeated so often by mass media it's like it's being hammered into your skull until you are knocked senseless. The concept of demanding accountability is now being turned into a slimy activity: "the blame game."
Accountability is necessary to prevent disasters like the post-Katrina mass negligent homicide from recurring. Accountability is an essential principle for a healthy democratic republic. This is not the blame game. It's survival. It's finding out what is wrong and taking action to do something about it.
What happens when you know something can happen if you don't take action, and you don't take action. The description applies to both 9/11 and the Katrina disaster. If you know something is coming and you do nothing to prevent it, it may be a passive way of bringing about the same result as a military invasion would have.
The Bush administration took action to take money away from the maintenance of those New Orleans levees, money that had already been appropriated. This was not passive, this taking an action to undermine the maintenance of the levees. What is the result? To drive Afro-American poor people out of New Orleans, to kill many of them and scatter many more. This has broken New Orleans. It has broken the local culture, a unique cultural tapestry going back centuries. The abandonment of New Orleans to decay and destruction ultimately led to the violent destruction of the fundamental fabric of human civilization.
Could there be something other than negligence here? Could there be some positive motivation causing these political spinmasters to let this apparent blunder take place? Is there an objective that will be achieved through this sequence of events?
Does someone want to claim the valuable port, through which most of the oil imports come, to remake it in the image of the modern, suburban, sterile, fundamentalist, braindead right wing society? Will someone be glad to remove "that element" from that strategic hub in the oil economy? Is there something more sinister lurking behind the apparent incompetence and blundering?
Let's look again at the literal definition of "genocide": "The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group."
In order to avoid offending anyone who objects to such a severe term mentioned in a context in which their Great Leader may also appear, let's call it genocide lite. It's really not so bad, not like the really overt stuff.
Check this out:
Invoking the F Word -- Noam Chomsky: "The Bush Administration and Fascism" Here's a taste: "The Bush administration has to deal with the fact that the last 25 years have been an unusual, probably unique, period of American economic history. For the large majority, real wages have stagnated or declined, working hours have increased, benefits have shrunk, rights have been denied (including the right to organize, basically rescinded under Reagan and since), and wealth has been concentrated in a tiny part of the population. To keep the population in line requires major efforts of all sorts, which have been carried out intensively." 'What didn't go right?' -- "President Bush's absurd question underscores the arrogance of an administration whose 'limited government' agenda is responsible for the disastrous federal response to Katrina." Salon 'Where were you, Mr. President?' "Americans were dying by the thousands, with thousands of others hanging on by a thread. These were people who desperately needed help, not in five, six or seven days, but right then. You had to know this was going on; everyone in the world with a television set knew. And all across the country, probably all across the world, people were screaming at their televisions, 'Help them! For the love of God, someone help those people!'" Buzzflash "Who do we blame?" Frankly, it's obvious, says Molly Ivins FEMA Wants No Photos of Dead --Buzzflash
September 12, 2005
Please GoProof -- The Rad Republicans say government can't work, then proceed to prove it. According to Steven C. Day on Buzzflash, "On May 7, 1940, Leo Amery, a longtime personal friend and political ally to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, rocked the British Parliament by delivering a devastating attack against Chamberlain's conduct of the war. In concluding the speech, which became one of the major factors leading to Chamberlain's resignation and Winston Churchill's rise to PM, Amery famously repeated Oliver Cromwell's words chastising the Long Parliament:
"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."
A brilliant bit by Bill Maher the other night, worthy of quoting in full:
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."
Shrinking Presidency -- Mel Goodman" Over the past three years, we have been watching the gradual unraveling of the integrity and credibility of President Bush and his entire administration. In the winter of 2002-2003, there was the calculated misuse of intelligence collection and analysis to justify the invasion of Iraq, the first preemptive war in the history of the United State. Then, there was the war itself with President Bush donning a flight suit on the USS Abraham Lincoln to make a premature declaration of "mission accomplished." The post-war period revealed the absence of any coherent plan, let alone strategy, for U.S. forces in Iraq. Finally, we have the tragic events of the past two weeks on America?s Gulf Coast, marked by the loss of a great American city and thousands of lives in the poorest and most powerless reaches of New Orleans. The president actually defended the government?s response to Hurricane Katrina, and his mother declared it a success for the evacuees who "were underprivileged anyway, so this is working well for them."