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President tried to Blackmail Louisiana Governor
September 6, 2005 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Bush Administration tried to Blackmail Louisiana Governor into handing New Orleans over to the Feds. A lot of people are wondering why troops arrived so late, why supplies were delayed, why rescuers were blocked, and why FEMA actively sabotaged the rescue effort. The answer is that the Bush Administration essentially delivered an ultimatum to Lousiana Governor Kathleen Blanco: before they released the emergency supplies, they wanted her to sign the city of New Orleans over to the Federal government. [source: The Washington Post]
posted by nlindstrom (117 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: crazy speculation with a source, but no support for crackpot theory



 
Keep in mind you're basicaly accusing the president of murder of american citizens. I think that it would be wise to make sure you have a lot more information about what actualy happened before making the charge.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 PM on September 6, 2005


The spin machine is already engaged.
posted by caddis at 7:17 PM on September 6, 2005


Delmoi: You're right. If this is true, it was murder. On a mass scale.
posted by geekhorde at 7:18 PM on September 6, 2005


Well, while I was quick to say "gee, some random blog.. great"...

It does link to this washington post article which does quote:

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday."


This is very scary... I hope like hell this is not true...
posted by twiggy at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2005


Not a Bush fan at all, but what exactly was to be gained by a federal takeover of New Orleans?

I just don't get it....
posted by stevejensen at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2005


i want them in jail--now.

this is insane.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2005


Keep in mind you're basicaly accusing the president of murder of american citizens.

Funny how that works, isn't it.
posted by odinsdream at 7:21 PM on September 6, 2005


And not without historical precedent.
posted by geekhorde at 7:21 PM on September 6, 2005


I just posted this elsewhere, but find it is illuminating for this thread:

FEMA director waited to seek Homeland help
"The government’s disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region — and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents....Brown said that among duties of these employees was to 'convey a positive image' about the government’s response for victims....Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as 'this near catastrophic event' but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, 'Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.' ...Meanwhile, the airline industry said the government’s request for help evacuating storm victims didn’t come until late Thursday afternoon. The president of the Air Transport Association, James May, said the Homeland Security Department called then to ask if the group could participate in an airlift for refugees."
posted by ericb at 7:21 PM on September 6, 2005


Unfortunately.
posted by geekhorde at 7:22 PM on September 6, 2005


Why would Louisiana fight this? This temporary federalization strategy seems par for the American disaster course - it's exactly what H. W. did in '92. Then again, there seems a strange desperation here - why would this resistance drive FEMA to (rightfully pointed out by the OP) actively sabotage the state's efforts...
posted by mek at 7:22 PM on September 6, 2005


stevejensen: the linked article suggests that a fed takeover would have allowed the feds to then control--wait for it--the reconstruction contracts, that would have gone to loyal Bush etc etc etc
posted by Brian James at 7:22 PM on September 6, 2005


What exactly was to be gained by a federal takeover of New Orleans?

From the linked article: "Declaring martial law would give the Federal government total control of the city: the Army would be brought in to police it and—perhaps most important to this corporate president—the Federal government would have charge of all the rebuilding contracts, giving it $$$billions$$$ to hand out to its corporate sponsors."
posted by nlindstrom at 7:22 PM on September 6, 2005


The blogger is confusing the Superdome with the Astrodome, which really threw me off at first.

I'll be interested in how this develops.
posted by brundlefly at 7:23 PM on September 6, 2005


the Federal government would have charge of all the rebuilding contracts,

and we have the reason why.
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on September 6, 2005


Creative take on 2 day old article discussed here
posted by dand at 7:24 PM on September 6, 2005


This has been talked about in one of the Katrina threads here before. IIRC, Aaron Broussard called it "murder" on Meet the Press. I'm appalled, but I can't say I'm surprised. This adminstration has shown again and again that they operate like the mafia.
posted by muckster at 7:24 PM on September 6, 2005


Additionally, while the public evidence might support that theory (and an infinite number of other theories) a simpler explanation is the whole "FEMA restructured/everyone on vacation/everything handled by incompetent cronies." Theory is a lot more plausible to me.

Certainly I don't think commanders on the ground would really redirect help (like the Wal-Mart trucks) purposefully just because they were ordered to from above, with out a practical reason. Holding a conspiracy like you're describing together would have taken much more skill then these people seem to be capable of.

And what's the political payoff of having the NG under their command? The voting public would never be able to tell the difference. Blanco wants the Guard under her control after the disastrous previous week, and that's understandable. But if things had gone smoothly, no one would have cared.

On the other hand, as we've seen the political fallout from things going poorly seems to be very, very bad for bush. The talking-point spinners are reduced to blaming the Mayor of a medium sized city for not being able to evacuate 100,000 people in two days. It's ridiculous on it's face.

There is no way bush and his crew could have intended the amount of suffering that has befallen the refugees. (Although I might say the same thing about the troupes in Iraq).

Based on public comments, it seems as though there was a simple lack of communication all around, and with most high-level executives (people in the executive branch) on vacation, I think the poor performance is well within the range of non-malicious incompetence.

The left wing is starting to get as detached from reality as the left, I think, and that’s going to make people in the middle ignore everyone. Reality is on "our" side here (wow, I'm turning into Dios' worst nightmare here).

Lets stick with verifiable facts.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 PM on September 6, 2005


Oh, delmoi, our president? guilty of the premeditated murder of (poor, uneducated, voiceless, minority) american citizens? Why, next think you know some rascal will start circulating scurrilous rumors that he led our nation into a bloody invasion of Iraq simply to avenge his dickless father and fatten the wallets of his oil industry buddies. *tsk tsk* Honestly...you'd think that a Venn diagram of the demographics of Katrina victims and armed forces volunteers showed considerable overlap between the two sets or something.
posted by the sobsister at 7:27 PM on September 6, 2005


Where can I find a really good timeline of the Katrina stuff? I want to know where everyone was at what time, and when stuff was announced from each agency or person. Many thanks!
posted by odinsdream at 7:27 PM on September 6, 2005


geez, the author dosn't even know the diffrence between the Astrodome (in Huston) and the Superdome. I would hardly call this well fact-checked.
posted by delmoi at 7:28 PM on September 6, 2005


> Where can I find a really good timeline of the Katrina stuff?

Here Ya Go
posted by dand at 7:29 PM on September 6, 2005


Where can I find a really good timeline of the Katrina stuff?
Katrina / New Orleans Timeline
posted by ericb at 7:29 PM on September 6, 2005


Wait. It's already been established that FEMA was responsible for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Katrina, and that they and the federal government were negligent in not fulfilling their duties earlier than they did. So now is this story saying that Louisiana was blocking FEMA and the federal government? Was the reason federal resources weren't getting to NO because of the state government? Or was LA just cutting off their nose to spite their face? Or is it accusing federal agencies of not being willing to put their resources under the care of Ray Nagin(sp?)?
posted by loquax at 7:29 PM on September 6, 2005


Thanks for the reading comprehension class, nlindstrom. Not sure how I missed that.
posted by mek at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2005


Wow, talk about motive, means and opportunity. Even Philip Marlowe would blush at the audacity.
posted by Rothko at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2005


Based on public comments, it seems as though there was a simple lack of communication all around, and with most high-level executives (people in the executive branch) on vacation, I think the poor performance is well within the range of non-malicious incompetence.

That would make sense, if Bush was on vacation then returned to control the situation as soon as possible. Instead, he remained on vacation while other top-level White House employees did the same. Weddings in Greece, Cheney at his own ranch, Bush at a birthday party. I don't believe they're willfully malicious, I think they're just dumb as shit and don't give a crap, which makes it ignorantly malicious.
posted by odinsdream at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2005


From caddis' Spin Machine link:

For example, administration officials who went on television on Sunday were instructed to avoid getting drawn into exchanges about the problems of the past week, and to turn the discussion to what the government is doing now.

This is why I'm resistant to the oft-heard plea 'let's stop finger-pointing and blaming and get to work helping these people'.

It's possible to help the people at the same time as we ask for accountability and try to get to bottom of the problem before the record is obfuscated.
posted by Miko at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2005


Another timeline and another.
posted by ericb at 7:31 PM on September 6, 2005


Everyone seems to be missing a major point here. Let's look at the relevant text again:

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday."

What's the key word here?

Friday.

That's three days after the levees burst, the waters flowed in, and all hell broke loose, when it became clear that major aid would be needed. The power struggle should have started then if it was going to be a big deal. Why wait three days?

Keep in mind National Guard troops entered in force on Friday anyway, so the power struggle couldn't have lasted very long anyway.
posted by dd42 at 7:31 PM on September 6, 2005


delmoi, you certainly are a very windy Bush apologist, and you posses a most adroit skill at rapidly creating red herring and straw man defenses. My hat would be off to you if I had one.
posted by nlindstrom at 7:34 PM on September 6, 2005


Certainly I don't think commanders on the ground would really redirect help (like the Wal-Mart trucks) purposefully just because they were ordered to from above, with out a practical reason.

I disagree. The military command structure revolves around the chain of command. One is expected to follow orders without question, all the time. I doubt many people get promoted to command positions questioning orders all the time.

Also, if I was given an orders send truck A to point B, I wouldn't have any reason to question it. Even if I noticed that trucks weren't being sent to some specific place, I would likely assume that that place was being taken care of by other means, such as aircraft.
posted by darkness at 7:36 PM on September 6, 2005


loquax: complicated. FEMA and the state are both responsible for the evacuation, but the state is the one with the control over state resources (NG, police, yada yada). NO had an evacuation plan, which was stick everyone in safe places and wait for the feds to come in. The question was, why didn't the feds come in? Current Republican spin is "it doesn't matter, the state should've planned for it."

Now we know one more of several reasons why the fed's didn't show. Firstly, both FEMA and the White House were in disarray, the latter suffering from a large chunk of the big boys (and girl) being away on vacation. But equally importantly, once the WH/FEMA had settled on a strategy (which apparently took till FRIDAY!!!), it required Louisiana to federalize their resources, which they refused to do. This stalled rescue efforts even further.

The question that remains is, was this simple incompetence or was there a little greed mixed in? We do know this White House has a particular love for exclusive contracting rights...
posted by mek at 7:36 PM on September 6, 2005


I keep waiting for someone to bring up Kelo vs City of New London. "But, your honor, this house has been in my family for generations and I don't want to sell to CookieCutter Condos Inc. even if it is waterlogged at the moment."

Am I wrong in thinking that the City of New Orlean would be within it's rights under Kelo to force a lot of people to sell their heavily damaged properties in the interest of city improvement? What is gonna happen if you have entire neighborhoods that are so poor they can't afford to repair their homes?
posted by well_balanced at 7:37 PM on September 6, 2005


...and kids, here's the mantra for the upcoming weeks: don't play the blame game. Which, in fact, was a hit for Shirley Ellis in 1965. Bush bush bo bush banana fana fo fush, &c., &c.
posted by the sobsister at 7:37 PM on September 6, 2005


> Keep in mind National Guard troops entered in force on Friday anyway, so the power struggle couldn't have lasted very long anyway.

Keep in mind the National guard is directed by each State governor:

The National Guard of the United States is the only component of the Armed Forces with a dual federal - state role. The Guard is organized, trained and equipped to be available in times of national emergency, upon the call of the President. It can also be *** called upon by the Governor for state duty **, to preserve peace and order and protect life and property in the event of natural disasters or civil disturbances. The federal Government is responsible for equipping, training and paying the Guardsmen (except the state pays them for active state duty). The state is also responsible for providing Guard personnel and training facilities

So if the Feds are to direct the guard, and all local authorities, they require federal marshall law be requested. Doh!!!!
posted by dand at 7:38 PM on September 6, 2005


On ericb's linked timeline - this is really all anyone needs.

CNN : New Orleans is left with no power, no drinking water, dwindling food supplies, widespread looting, fires -- and steadily rising waters from major levee breaches. Authorities try evacuating the thousands of people at city shelters.

This is from midday Tuesday.

If it's on CNN, I expect my government to know it. Truthfully, I hope they know it before I know it, but I at least expect them to know it when I know it. And there is no legitimate reason, after four years of supposed disaster preparation, for the feds to start arguing then about whose jurisdiction this is. I expect a phone to be picked up, and a person in power to say to the governors of affected states: What do you need? We are already preparing, and we will be there right away.

delmoi, though you quickly brushed over that 'restructuring at FEMA', but that right there is the major issue. Yes, there was the creation of the DHS, the restructuring of FEMA -- and it was bungled horribly, with murderous consquences. It's not a little thing, and it has nothing to do with being on vacation.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on September 6, 2005


delmoi writes "Additionally, while the public evidence might support that theory (and an infinite number of other theories) a simpler explanation is the whole 'FEMA restructured/everyone on vacation/everything handled by incompetent cronies.' Theory is a lot more plausible to me. "

Just like "9/11 happened because everyone was asleep at the switch." Or "Iraq happened because the CIA did not have good intelligence." Notice a pattern?
posted by clevershark at 7:44 PM on September 6, 2005


Oh, delmoi, our president? guilty of the premeditated murder of (poor, uneducated, voiceless, minority) American citizens?

The armed forces are like 30% black, not 99 or so percent that was in the superdome.

Look, clearly they wanted things under federal authority, but there is no evidence that they took any retributive steps against the people of Louisiana to get back at Blanco. There's no reason to think otherwise, other then paranoia. Come on. Defense and rebuilding contracts? The republicans could lose Louisiana over this.

Look, thing about it like an equation. What's gained, and what's lost here? Bush's performance could completely destroy the political rovian machine they've built. And what do they gain? A few contracts, money that they would have made in the future if they'd stayed in power anyway. No rational person would ever make that trade. They've have to be not only absolutely selfish and immoral, but also completely crazy.

I'm not saying they didn't put pressure on Blanco, I'm just saying that that pressure wasn't in the form of fucking things up extra hard.

Plus, how does it explain the non-appearance in Mississippi, a completely different state, as well?
posted by delmoi at 7:46 PM on September 6, 2005


Okay.

Most of the linked article was stuff I was familiar with from other sources. The only new part was this idea that if the feds got to take control now, they'd get to keep that control, well into the reconstruction process. Unfortunately, that was also the part of the article that didn't find support in the WaPo article. Nor was it in the New York Times article. Is there some support for this? Several people in this thread have seized upon this as the explanation for Bush's behavior, but we need some facts. Is there some provision in the statute allowing for federal control of such a disaster area that would allow the feds to then control the process of handing out the rebuilding contracts afterwards? Doing one doesn't necessarily allow you to do the other. Does anyone have any facts?
posted by mabelstreet at 7:48 PM on September 6, 2005


There would be lots of benefits to this admin in controlling the state that go beyond juicy contracts - expelling reporters, controlling & spinning the flow of news, hiding bad news, yadda yadda.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:48 PM on September 6, 2005


They can just as easily spin the ultimatum in Bush's favor: "The petty Democrats let more people die because of partisan bias."
posted by Skwirl at 7:50 PM on September 6, 2005


At least the governor had the good goddamn sense to hire James Lee Witt instead, someone who has -- OH MY GOD! -- 25 YEARS of...

*actual disaster management experience.*

Shock! awe! Instead of handing over the reins to the incompetence squad, she made a rational decision for the betterment of her citizens.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:50 PM on September 6, 2005



Certainly I don't think commanders on the ground would really redirect help (like the Wal-Mart trucks) purposefully just because they were ordered to from above, with out a practical reason.


We saw all sorts of responders turned away for days. And there were checkpoints at the bridges, according to Shepard Smith the day he was raging. I'm sure they were checking both ways.
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on September 6, 2005


Not hard to believe at all. It's the same exact reason why the Bush administration would not let the U.N. take over the reconstruction of Iraq. Many of the articles I've read about the insurgency state that the main reason for it is because none of the local Iraqi companies were allowed to win any of the contracts for rebuilding Iraq - they all went to Bush and Blair cronies.
posted by any major dude at 7:52 PM on September 6, 2005


Dand-

So when Eisenhower federalized the national guard to go into Little Rock, it was in response to a request from Gov. Fabus?

By the way, this WaPo article has alreay been overhauled by Josh Marshall and many others. Whoever wrote it didn't bother to do much homework. And all the "homework" really involved was a simple GoolgeNews search.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:53 PM on September 6, 2005


This is completely believable. Blanco was in a bind-- there was effectively a gun to her head. She was desperate. Her only way out was to get federal help.

Now, you're George W. Bush. Your goal, as always, is to "win." You know you have an opponent, Gov. Blanco, who's between a rock and a hard place. This is where your hard-line negotiating instincts kick in-- Blanco either signs everything over to you, or you let her twist in the wind.

Quite honestly, in a week full of urban legends, half-truths, and rumors, this is one of the most credible stories I've heard.
posted by deanc at 7:55 PM on September 6, 2005


I think delmoi has a point about jumping to malice when stupidity is an adequate explanation, but he's ignoring at least one long-term political payoff of a bungled federal response: it undercuts the notion that New Deal-style projects are the proper way to deal with this sort of thing.

It's horrifying to consider that there may be folks in the current administration who'd find it moral overall to trade off lives today for a complete dismantling of federal "nanny" programs tomorrow, but that doesn't mean it's not possible.

Again, I'm not saying that kind of utterly heartless calculation was a conscious element of the response, but it is worth considering that it might have played a part over the last few years in the disintegration of FEMA's ability to respond with speed and efficiency.
posted by mediareport at 7:56 PM on September 6, 2005


The republicans could lose Louisiana over this.

You're obviously not paying attention. They lost it days ago.
posted by odinsdream at 7:57 PM on September 6, 2005


DOES ANYONE EVEN BELIEVE THE SCALE OF CRIMINALITY?

I...I'm speechless, I don't even know what to say.

RIP America.
posted by Balisong at 7:57 PM on September 6, 2005


As evil a scheme as it is, I don't see why the governor would have refused. Why is it important for the gov. for state control to be maintained? Isn't it a federal disaster area anyway? If nlindstrom is correct, that the whole plan was to give rebuilding contracts to admin. cronies, then God help us. But I honestly can't imagine the gov. looking that far ahead of the situation with things so dire at the time.
posted by zardoz at 7:57 PM on September 6, 2005


They've have to be not only absolutely selfish and immoral, but also completely crazy.

Nevermind, you are paying attention.
posted by odinsdream at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2005


I disagree. The military command structure revolves around the chain of command. One is expected to follow orders without question, all the time. I doubt many people get promoted to command positions questioning orders all the time.

Ha! You're dealing with quite a few officers, and the chain of command does not work like that. Each has an office they discharge that does not always mean following orders. Although open rebellion is never appreciated, military initiative usually causes members to stuff they were never ordered to, or to fight an order they see as improper. Not saying that every officer the entire chain of command would battle it, but enough would that there would be noise. And probably a whistleblower too. I think it's doubtful that you could engineer it that much with any personnel. Hell, some were probably from LA.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:59 PM on September 6, 2005


These are the guys that say we don't READ history we MAKE history.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:59 PM on September 6, 2005


"Bush's performance could completely destroy the political rovian machine they've built. And what do they gain? A few contracts, money that they would have made in the future if they'd stayed in power anyway. No rational person would ever make that trade. They've have to be not only absolutely selfish and immoral, but also completely crazy."

delmoi, you seem to be arguing that psychopaths cannot be psychopaths, because that would be crazy.

It isn't convincing any more.

We can all see Emperor Bush clearly now.

No clothes.
posted by cleardawn at 7:59 PM on September 6, 2005


dd42 the Friday they are talking about is the Friday before the storm.
posted by any major dude at 8:01 PM on September 6, 2005


I think I'm gonna be sick...

Not because I believe this is true, but because I believe it could be true. It really breaks my heart that I live in a country where this kind of speculation can't be easily dismissed.
posted by whatever at 8:03 PM on September 6, 2005


By the way, this WaPo article has alreay been overhauled by Josh Marshall and many others. Whoever wrote it didn't bother to do much homework.

Thank you, thank you. On first read of that article, I was saying to myself "This is one of the worst pieces of reporting I have ever read." It was all over the place. Probably assigned as a 'roundup' -- tell us what's been happening all day. Not particularly thorough, and lacked structure.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on September 6, 2005


Wait. It's already been established that FEMA was responsible for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Katrina, and that they and the federal government were negligent in not fulfilling their duties earlier than they did. So now is this story saying that Louisiana was blocking FEMA and the federal government? Was the reason federal resources weren't getting to NO because of the state government? Or was LA just cutting off their nose to spite their face? Or is it accusing federal agencies of not being willing to put their resources under the care of Ray Nagin(sp?)?

pay attention loquax. There's a difference between requesting/authorizing help from FEMA, and turning over control of the National Guard. Seriously, how fucking hard is to pay attention to these details? Do you have some kind of learning disability or something? It wouldn't be so irritating if it wasn't like 49% of the country didn't seem to have the same problem (more like 90% in reality, just some people ignore a different set of facts)

delmoi, you certainly are a very windy Bush apologist, and you posses a most adroit skill at rapidly creating red herring and straw man defenses. My hat would be off to you if I had one.

I am a bush apologist now? Me? Seriously? That must be why I posted this comment the other day, or maybe this one? If you think anyone not willing to accept the most inane conspiracy theories is a "bush apologist" you're out of your mind. Next you'll tell me maybe bush let 9/11 happen to have an excuse to invade Iraq.

You're an idiot.
posted by delmoi at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2005


Can we refrain from calling anyone who doubts this conspiracy theory a Bush apologist? Delmoi just doesn't feel comfortable making extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. There is nothing political about this. This is about staying grounded in reality. Otherwise, there will be no one to cash the Bush reality check.

The vast incompetence and dereliction of duty displayed by the administration, DHS and FEMA during this crisis is the real scandal here. We shouldn't lose sight of that, because it is a serious scandal, one that could, and should, destroy the Bush administration, and with any luck, the leadership in Congress.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2005


I don't see why the governor would have refused...

I don't see why the governor COULD have refused.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2005


Hm ... you know that part in Star Wars III where Palpatine is like "execute plan 66" and all the Storm Troopers throughout the galaxy know exactly what to do, but somehow it has completely escaped the entire league of Jedi knights?

This theory is kind of like that.

The quotes from the Washington Post indicate that Bush wanted to have complete control of the relief effort and Blanco didn't want to give it to him. Okay, I'm totally willing to believe that; it completely makes sense, in fact. I'm even willing to believe that Bush could be bull-headed enough to let it delay relief efforts, because Bush has certainly shown time and again that he wants things his way more than he wants to get things done.

The article takes that evidence and decides it means that Brown dispatched his relief workers with orders from the president to prevent anyone from evacuating. Frankly, that would be insane. There's no way to make that order and have it not get out. Heck, even in Star Wars Yoda figured it out in time, and those dudes were clones grown in vats to avoid Jedi mind-reading. There's no way in heck I'm believing that Bush and Brown pulled that off. I think it's much, much more likely that it just turns out to be hard enough to lead a massive relief effort that you can't pick some random dude who likes tax cuts and think your hair looks good and have it work out well. No conspiracy needed.

Look. The Feds failed on a massive scale with Katrina, I don't think anyone reasonable could disagree with that. Heck, even Michelle "John Kerry shot himself in the leg to get a Purple Heart" Malkin thinks so, so we can probably drop the "reasonable" part. But I think incompetence can explain it plenty well enough without needing to appeal to the idea that Bush wants a military takeover of the United States just 'cause that's the sort of thing he's into.
posted by jacobm at 8:14 PM on September 6, 2005


So when Eisenhower federalized the national guard to go into Little Rock, it was in response to a request from Gov. Fabus?

You are saying Bush should take the Guard out of Blanco's control against her wishes? And then take over the local police too? Kinda like a football team with 3 quarterbacks on the field, and the best one sends the 2 losers to the bench?

The next president could send in the Army to help with a drug bust on your street since there would be no seperation of power between the states and the federal government - the military steps in without request, right?
posted by dand at 8:15 PM on September 6, 2005


Come on! No need to take over the National guard. The marines at Camp LeJeune could have marched there by now if they had been ordered to.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:25 PM on September 6, 2005


No need for name calling.

Either what happened was criminially malicious, or criminally neglegent.

I'm actually amazed at the ability of some people (Limbaugh, etc.) to actually still back this total fucktard of a President and his administration.

I'm serious. Impeach them all. ALL. Seriously. I'd be fine with Alberto Gonzales as President. He couldn't be THIS incompetent.
posted by geekhorde at 8:28 PM on September 6, 2005


You are saying Bush should take the Guard out of Blanco's control against her wishes? And then take over the local police too?

Um, no. That wasn't what I was saying. You wrote:

So if the Feds are to direct the guard, and all local authorities, they require federal marshall law be requested. Doh!!!!

This didn't quite make sense to me as an explanation of which authority- federal or state- gets to control the guard under what circumstances. Little Rock being the most obvious example of a president getting all federal with the guard sans invitation from the state governement.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:28 PM on September 6, 2005


"But I think incompetence can explain it plenty well enough without needing to appeal to the idea that Bush wants a military takeover of the United States just 'cause that's the sort of thing he's into."

I agree, along with self-centered stubbornness.

However... there's always a chance even if it's far-fetched, and I don't trust these guys as far as I could throw the lot of 'em at all at once. We do need to maintain some extra vigilance... even if it seems, feels, and... well, IS a bit paranoid.

Better safe than sorry. That sucks, but crazier things have happened when populations have been distracted.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2005


I grew up believing in the fundamental ideas that were embraced by our founding fathers. I thought I would grow up to live in the very place that they envisioned. But I was wrong. The tyranny and low-brow deceit that we are witnessing now is proof that what we believed could and would be a Great America was only a dream conceived of by fools.
posted by snsranch at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2005



"The article takes that evidence and decides it means that Brown dispatched his relief workers with orders from the president to prevent anyone from evacuating. Frankly, that would be insane. " -jacobm

"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -Sherlock Holmes

Seriously, though, I'd love to see more evidence, but so far, there's plenty to show that FEMA blocked efforts to help, and prevented people from leaving.

WTF?
posted by geekhorde at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2005


dand:

By the 1878 Posse Comitatus law, standing active-duty military forces cannot be sent in a civilian-policing role within the United States without, if memory serves, a specific Act of Congress or under the the specific provisions of the Constitution. Reserve and Guard units are not active-duty.
posted by trigonometry at 8:34 PM on September 6, 2005


Yeah, this thread seems to have made a jump from "power play between bush and blanco, with reconstruction bids at stake" to "bush had secret jedi-proof muder plot to take over entire united states."

My first comment in this thread was a jab at how Bush's actions have consequences, it wasn't an endorsement of conspiracy theories.

I don't think anyone is saying Bush hatched an evil plot and wanted to take over the state, but rather he and his handlers are by definition and action selfish and uncaring. That they would do something selfish and not recognize the immediate (perhaps lethal) consequences is not at all surprising, but is not evidence of a murderous conspiracy.
posted by odinsdream at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2005



So when Eisenhower federalized the national guard to go into Little Rock, it was in response to a request from Gov. Fabus?


IIRC, Eisenhower didn't use the guard initaly, but the regular (federal) Army.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2005


(nota bene/addendum: Rescue/search and evacuation/relief are technically not policing roles, so Posse Comitatus is not a valid excuse for doing fuck-all for four days.)
posted by trigonometry at 8:36 PM on September 6, 2005


a Great America was only a dream conceived of by fools.

No -- idealists, who believed we would continue to fight to uphold those values in the face of tyranny (including the tyranny of the majority). So we still need to do 'em proud.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on September 6, 2005


I enjoy wearing my tinfoil hat, but in regards to New Orleans, I want to believe it's just incompetence.

But try as I might, I just can't believe these kind of fuckups could possibly be real. The grossness of the stupidity feeds the conspiracy theory rather than the incompetence one.

Aren't these the same people that stole two elections!!??
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:42 PM on September 6, 2005


IIRC, Eisenhower didn't use the guard initaly, but the regular (federal) Army.

Thanks for that correction delmoi...do you have more background on this that might shed some light on the situation in LA?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2005


I truly hate this president, but these accusations are starting to get insane. Maybe the administration used its weather machine to get the ball rolling? This kind of speculation discredits those of us who hate Bush for more conventional reasons. This reminds me of the weird Republican theories about Clinton, like the Vince Foster "assassination" meme.
posted by Edgewise at 8:47 PM on September 6, 2005


No -- idealists, who believed we would continue to fight to uphold those values in the face of tyranny (including the tyranny of the majority). So we still need to do 'em proud.

Slave owners who wrote all men are equal. We take them to seriously.
posted by delmoi at 8:47 PM on September 6, 2005


friends, this is crazy.

Delmoi and [explitive deleted] are absolutely right. Attributing the federal response to this tragedy to malice without "extraordinary evidence" is insane. The one consistent thing about this administration is that they have always failed tests of competency. Everything points to this being yet another case of that - not some wild conspiracy theory.

The lack of competency should be enough to kick the con's out of office for a long time - buying into these ridiculous stories does nothing to help the progressive case.
posted by jba at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2005


on posting - "what Edgewise said".
posted by jba at 8:50 PM on September 6, 2005


Now, you're George W. Bush. Your goal, as always, is to "win." You know you have an opponent, Gov. Blanco, who's between a rock and a hard place. This is where your hard-line negotiating instincts kick in-- Blanco either signs everything over to you, or you let her twist in the wind.

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, deanc.

...of course, I'm from Chicago, where if you don't have the political clout the Aldermen will order Public Works to lock up all the snow equipment during major a snowstorm that paralyze the city and forces a loss for mayor - let's call him oh, say Bilandic - in the next election.

So I can, y'know, believe these 'wacky conspiracy theories'.

That and I personally know one of the guys who was locking up city equipment.

But the BushCo political machine do something like that? No! Never!
posted by Smedleyman at 8:52 PM on September 6, 2005


Slave owners who wrote all men are equal.

Yeah (some of them), and at the same time created the legal and political structure which made it possible to completely overturn all legislation allowing slaveholding, while preserving the Union.

That's the beauty of it. Constitution. They weren't dummies.

The only bit in question is whether their structure for the balance of powers will indeed be self-correcting over time. It could go either way at this point.
posted by Miko at 8:52 PM on September 6, 2005


Squawking about impeachment is just so much air. Impeachment is a political, not a judicial act and requires majorities that just don't exists.

For what it's worth, I liked this graf in the WP article:
Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
and it's "corrected" at the beginning of the article:
Correction to This Article
A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26.

posted by warbaby at 8:55 PM on September 6, 2005


well, considering how wildly incompetent this bunch is, tell me why we should let them continue driving the mack truck down the freeway when all they have been doing since they got behind the wheel is careen all over the road, running over children, smashing into other motorist's vehicles and generally causing much needless death and destruction wherever they drive. Why let the stupid son of a bitch drive the god damn truck anymore if all he does is get loaded and kill people?
If this is really responsible government they would know when to send the police over to Bo's place to put him under arrest and keep him locked down and away from the damn truck he keeps murdering people with.
Yet here we are, talking about Bo instead of taking away his keys or encouraging law enforcement to do it for us.
posted by mk1gti at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2005


The idea that Bush would be able to control the rebuilding relies on the imposition of martial law. When I asked the article's author the basis for this, he wrote the following:

Now, without martial law, Bush and the Republicans only get to control some of the Federal money and award some of the contracts--state and local authorities will demand and have to be given a good deal of say over how the money is to be spent, and of course they will have complete control over state monies. A declaration of martial law would, legally, cut them out of the process altogether for as long as it lasted. The Federal govt would then be making all the decisions--about everything. To all intents and purposes, they'd control all the contracts awarded no matter where the money came from. That's $$$billions$$$ more than they will control without a declaration of martial law.

I think he's wrong, however. The federal regulations governing imposition of martial law allow it only as long as there is necessity, and local government is unable to function. The Army gets to decide when the necessity is gone and martial law ends. 32 C.F.R. 501.6. I know Bush is the commander-in-chief, but I don't know that he'd be able to continue martial law into the rebuilding phase.
posted by mabelstreet at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2005


jba, the thing is, nobody is this incompetent without putting some serious effort into it. Have you ever thought that maybe they just want to appear to be incompetent?
posted by nightchrome at 9:02 PM on September 6, 2005


mabelstreet writes "The federal regulations governing imposition of martial law allow it only as long as there is necessity, and local government is unable to function. The Army gets to decide when the necessity is gone and martial law ends."

You're forgetting that the President is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and that as such he in fact does get to decide when the necessity is gone and martial law ends.
posted by clevershark at 9:03 PM on September 6, 2005


The way I understand it is that after Gov Blanco submitted the Emergency Disaster Relief Request to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness on Aug 28, she was presented the option of turning over all authorities to the federal gov by declaring martial law. This was deliberated in a long all-night session with members of the Bush administration
and members of the LA Governor's office and was rejected upon the grounds of not wanting to unnecessarily causing a panic situation (before the hurricane even hit).

How that decision delayed the flow of support to the affected areas is still beyond explanation, although this point is currently spinning wildly on Fox (along with the issue of looting) as a major reason for the region, mainly New Orleans, not receiving proper support immediately.

Does anyone yet have any proof of the declaration of martial law = gov contracts ? This is getting stinkier by the minute.
posted by Spongebob Scissorhands at 9:03 PM on September 6, 2005


And, after all, what's really the dividing line between malice and incompetence, anyway? I don't believe in any tinfoil-hat stuff, I like facts. But even if you say "It's just incompetence," what underlies incompetence? Incompetence doesn;t just happen. It's a result of many prior conditions: Overconfidence. A feeling that the job isn't important. Distraction. Inattention. Dismissal of the consequences. Unwillingess to get the real facts.

Neglect is a form of malice, too.
posted by Miko at 9:10 PM on September 6, 2005


My only conspiracy theory was that the Republican's religious base would then have the power to 'clean up' New Orleans. Think that's crazy? You should see the press released these nut job groups are churning about about this being God's wrath against a sinful city.
posted by jmccorm at 9:11 PM on September 6, 2005


Ok Miko, I read ya!
posted by snsranch at 9:13 PM on September 6, 2005


Is it really just incompetence? --... Given the Bush regime's track record should we really take that as a given? Now, if we can avoid the so-called tin-foil-fruitbat approach perhaps we can parse a bit deeper.

As with everything these people do, what if we follow the money?...

posted by amberglow at 9:13 PM on September 6, 2005


sorry 'bout the ?- I blinked & missed the last few posts.
posted by Spongebob Scissorhands at 9:14 PM on September 6, 2005


<cough>Halliburton&lt/cough>
posted by hyperizer at 9:21 PM on September 6, 2005


This reminds me of the weird Republican theories about Clinton, like the Vince Foster "assassination" meme.

/Odd. The Vince Foster "assassination" meme always reminds me that four agents killed in the raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco were former Clinton bodyguards (three of them were shot in the left temple).

Which reminds me of that stuff with Danny Casolaro, Iran-Contra, the S & L thing, BCCI, and all the other folks who died like Alan Standorf (NSA, worked at a listening post), Anson Ng (reporter, investigated Inslaw & the Cabazons), Danny Eisman (an informant's lawyer), Barry Kumnick (programmer, wrote code designed to work with Inslaw's PROMIS software), Vali Delahanty (friend of informant), Larry Guerrin (informant's investigator), Jonathan Moyle (reporter, investigating Inslaw & the arming of Iraq before the gulf war), Paul Wilcher (attorney - videotaped proof that Bush was flown to a Paris October surprise meeting...supposedly), Ian Spiro (MI6, implicated in Iran-Contra & Inslaw), - about 40 or so in all.

Which reminds me that Ollie North's buddy was involved in smuggling guns 'n drugs at Mena, Arkansas round about 1982 (should ring a bell for some) and the investigation got lots of pressure to go away under the Governor. (Yeah, Clinton).

Webster Hubbell went to investigate the business with Inslaw. Hubbell's Arkansas firm, Park-on-Meter recieved a loan from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, which was co-created by Clinton and...Webster Hubbell.

Foster spent his last days with Hubbell. One of his last phone conversations was with a lawyer investgating Hubbell's properties.

Bernard Nussbaum.... but I ramble.

Call me wacky, but I'm willing to take G.Gordon Liddy as an expert on government conspiracies.

Kill someone over politics & millions of dollars? What a bizzare idea.

Hasn't it occured to you how strange it is that Bush the first and Clinton are so chummy?

I concede it's just speculation. But - one time is nothing. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

Which reminds me that the two ships landing Cuban exiles on the beach during the Bay of Pigs were named "Houston" and "Barbara" - good thing there wasn't a third ship, eh?


Sorry for the derail, but not all of this stuff can be written off as madness.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:23 PM on September 6, 2005


I don't see why the governor would have refused. Why is it important for the gov. for state control to be maintained?

I believe that the governor has stated, through one of her people, that she didn't want to give the feds control of the National Guard because then the guard wouldn't have been able to shoot first. If the feds took control they could only have shot looters if they were first shot upon.

Given the bloodthirsty cries of the Guard is coming in with M16s locked and loaded, I don't doubt that as her motive.

I do however doubt that contracts were Bush's motive. I think it's more likely that he wanted LA to ask the feds to take over because that reinforces their talking point that it wasn't the Feds job to go in that it was LA's responsibility and that they had to wait for LA to ask the Feds for help.

The feds were ready to start going in on Friday. They should have been ready days before, and I don't doubt that Bush and his administration where criminally incompetent, but this power struggle was probably more about protecting themselves from the PR nightmare that was building around them.
posted by willnot at 9:25 PM on September 6, 2005


Attributing the federal response to this tragedy to malice without "extraordinary evidence" is insane. The one consistent thing about this administration is that they have always failed tests of competency. Everything points to this being yet another case of that - not some wild conspiracy theory.

Except for that very odd demand placed on Gov. Blanco. It is part of the conservative credo that federal power is too great (although they have not been reluctant to accrue it to themselves when they hold it). The very idea that a Governor would be placed into a choice of two unsavory options by the President -- the President -- is astonishing. It was clearly a no-win Kobayashi Maru for Blanco, or at least intended that way. If she gives up control, the Feds take credit for "fixing" the lousy state response. If she doesn't, she doesn't get enough help -- and she gets vilified for any delays.

Let me say this loud enough so that even loquax can hear it: the federal disaster response is there to support the states, not the other way around. I simply can't imagine a president -- any president -- in the face of a national catastrophe the likes of which we haven't seen in a century putting a decision in the hands of a governor that she needs 24 hours to think over. The president should be asking her -- asking her -- what she needs, not making any sort of demand or structure. The very fact that they did is mendacious. The very fact.

We almost don't need to look at the motive. I honestly don't know what it is -- contracts could be one. I don't have proof of that. Maybe it's something else entirely. But I'm wracking my brain here and I can't think of any reason sufficient for a moral president to place that burden of choice on a governor.
posted by dhartung at 9:27 PM on September 6, 2005


Why would FEMA turn volunteer rescuers back? Simple - they didn't have the appropriate authorization, and you want to keep people the hell out of an emergency zone, because there's a good chance you'll end up having to rescue them as well.

Why would FEMA not let people out? Well, refugees on foot, heading out through the other bits of the Gulf Coast which are totally devastated means that there won't be the possibility of having centralized food/water/medicine drops, and you won't know who's left behind and where the hell anyone is.

So there's good reasons for all of that. Unfortunately, they're predicated on FEMA not being a fucking resume-building frat social committee and actually being a department of federal emergency-ninjas. It's easy to station police/nat'l guards/etc. on the highways and turn people away, and so that part of the plan got done. But rescuing people, feeding people, and managing a shitload of Americans Citizens Who Just Went Through The Shittiest Week Evar (since "refugees" is out of style) is really goddamn hard, so that's why it didn't get done until way, way, way too late.

The idea that Bush et al simply held out on the rescuing until their piece of the pie was assured requires the assumption that they could have helped at any time, and quite frankly, I don't think they're that bright. This is the same administration which has dropped the ball on every other goddamn issue it gets its hands on, except for two elections. Everything else has turned to shit in its hands.

You wanna know whose side of the story I wanna hear? James "Emergency Ninja" Lee Witt. Yeah, that's the interview that I wanna read.
posted by Coda at 9:28 PM on September 6, 2005


In the discussion of martial law, IIRC, Louisiana does not have a singular law which defines it. Only specifically written states of emergency can be declared... I think. Federally, it can be declared in any area at any time. As for Delmoi, he brings up a very valid point similar to Occam's razor... what is the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Now, I'm a rabid liberal, and I think there was certainly shenanigans on the federal level, but I don't think that reducing a very complicated situation to a few other likely scenarios makes one an apologist for the Beast. I wouldn't doubt it, but without evidence, it's just another interpretation to a historically painful event.
posted by moonbird at 9:37 PM on September 6, 2005


nightchrome: I hear ya, but look at some of the characters involved here - many can't speak in complete sentences, and almost all have no experience with any sort of disaster planning - not to mention handling a massive humanitarian and economic disaster such as katrina.

Miko may have nailed it to a certain extent. It seems that the overwhelming attitude of this administration towards anything detail oriented is "whatever". 9/11? Whatever. WMD? Whatever. Deficit? Whatever. Iraq? Whatever. Disaster Preparedness? Whatever.

One could seriously argue that their continued neglect has become a form of malice.

A common theme among friends has been that the conservative belief that government can not be a positive force in the lives of americans has become a self fulfilling prophecy as of late.
posted by jba at 9:43 PM on September 6, 2005


moonbird, I mildly disagree. As dhartung pointed out, motive isn't necessary. We have the facts and the results before us.

Indeed in a criminal investigation motive is not a factor.

Why do we need a motive? We have the dead body in the middle of the room before us, Bush with the smoking gun in his hand.
Does it matter if Bush is the butler?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:43 PM on September 6, 2005


I think someone is hallucinating wildly after drinking the tainted water. tsk tsk

Someone arguing the existence of a god has more credibility than this. Get some evidence!
posted by mischief at 9:51 PM on September 6, 2005


Thanks for that correction delmoi...do you have more background on this that might shed some light on the situation in LA?

I don't know that it sheds any light on LA, but IIRC:

Eisenhower knew that the AR National Guard would be somewhere between unreliable and The Enemy, so he federalized them and told them to stay the fuck away. Then he sent the 101st Airborne in to take control and make real goddam sure that the appointed black kids went to LRCHS. Sending in the 101st wasn't exactly sending in the regular Army -- it was sending in the Substantially More Bad-Ass Than Anything Remotely Regular Army.

The idea that the feds can't call up NG units irrespective of the wishes of their governors would probably be news to a lot of people in Iraq about now. No doubt Orval Faubus is kicking himself in his grave for not seeing that obvious step to preserve segregation now and forever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 PM on September 6, 2005


Smedleyman: point well taken.
posted by moonbird at 9:57 PM on September 6, 2005


You're forgetting that the President is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and that as such he in fact does get to decide when the necessity is gone and martial law ends.

Is that a troll CleverShark, or did you did you just stop reading mabelstreet's comment where it was convenient to? He addresses the commander in chief thing in the very next sentence.

I agree with mabelstreet that everyone's just trusting the blogger's claim that if the federal government was handed control of the city, they'd be able to hand out rebuilding contracts. We haven't seen any reliable sources claim anything of the sort. Anyone up for some research?
posted by nomad at 9:58 PM on September 6, 2005


feds can't call up NG units irrespective of the wishes of their governors

... to do police work in that state as directed by the President
posted by dand at 9:58 PM on September 6, 2005


nomad writes "Is that a troll CleverShark, or did you did you just stop reading mabelstreet's comment where it was convenient to? He addresses the commander in chief thing in the very next sentence."

OK, I'll admit that he knows that the President is the Commander-in-Chief, but he really doesn't address the deepter issue. He states "I know Bush is the commander-in-chief, but I don't know that he'd be able to continue martial law into the rebuilding phase." BUT if Bush is the C-in-C and the Army is the sole determinant of need then there is legally speaking absolutely no reason why Bush should be in any way impeded from determining that the "period of need" should last as long as he personally deems it convenient.
posted by clevershark at 10:07 PM on September 6, 2005


jba, most people feel bad about thinking badly about the simpleminded. It's clever camouflage, to allow people to think you're a moron so that they are loathe suspect you of anything bad."He's not smart enough to pull it off" can easily be answered with "What if he is not only smart enough to pull it off, but smart enough to trick you into not realizing it?"
posted by nightchrome at 10:22 PM on September 6, 2005


Look. Bush is only trying to keep us safe okay? He knows that the blacks in NOLA all have webbed toes and have been waiting for this moment to take over. OH, you didn't hear about the mass hostage situation at the Superdome? Yeah, the mutant-black nationals (their dreadlocks double as underwater breathing apparatus) were basically holding off the authorities until a fresh supply of neck-bones and watermelon were air dropped in. That's not a fact you're likely to hear on your precious MSM. Look, obviously not everyone - especially those programed by the MSM - are going to believe this but we are in a battle with EVIL here folks. Dark, dark, evil. And no amount of Churches, Popeye or KFC chicken is going to rectify this horrid battle. I don't care what your liberal overlords say - hell, they are in on it too! Who do you think wanted the super-gill-man hormones dusted onto all the doritos and chitlins? It was Senator Kennedy himself! The man is evil - it's no wonder that he regularly harvests the hearts of young black men. Of course the biggest villain of them all is Ronald Reagan who - even in his current cryogenic state - can still control drug gangs through the power of his augmented brain! We're talking war here people - war between the black gill-men and the rest of us "normals". They say the CIA introduced crack into LA. It's true - but crack is just one of the drugs the black gill-men need to survive during the daylight! See? It all folds back in on itself! The connections are real and endless!
posted by wfrgms at 10:35 PM on September 6, 2005


dhartung : Except for that very odd demand placed on Gov. Blanco

If Ray Nagin, who was on the plane, didn't say Bush's request for his city was unreasonable or unjustified or harmful or immoral or even unnecessary, why do you think Blanco was justified to delay?
posted by dand at 10:37 PM on September 6, 2005


wfrgms, This, too, has been forseen.
posted by Balisong at 10:42 PM on September 6, 2005


Here's the simple take-home point:

Do you think your city, your family and loved ones, will be safe when it is your city that needs to be evacuated?

With Katrina we had several days' notice of a disaster -- and some use that to blame Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco.

But the next terrorist attack will give no warning. The attacked city will be relying entirely on FEMA -- there'll be no Nagin, no Blanco for apologists to blame.

Some four years after September 11th, both FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have demonstrated that they can't protect Americans -- indeed, their leaders in abject and total failure can only blithely deny news footage we're seeing with our own eyes.


The fundamental purpose of any government -- as any conservative will tell you -- is the protection of its citizens.

In the last four years, our "leaders" have ignored crucial evidence preceding the September 11th attacks, have failed to get those responsible, have been willingly fooled by colossally bad intelligence about WMDs in Iraq, have fired those who correctly predicted we'd need far more troops to avoid a quagmire in Iraq, and have now let thousands of your fellow Americans die from their incompetence and lack of preparedness.

Our so-called "leaders" have repeatedly failed to uphold their end of the social contract. One "understandable" mistake after another -- and no one's been fired except whistle-blowers and those who were in retrospect proven right in their predictions.


How many more mistakes rewarded by Presidential Medals of Freedom will you tolerate? How many more Americans must die from sheer incompetent failure at the highest level of government before you find your anger?

How much longer will you trust your life, your children's lives, and your country's future, to the "protection" of this miserable failures?

How much longer?
posted by orthogonality at 10:48 PM on September 6, 2005 [1 favorite]


"What if he is not only smart enough to pull it off, but smart enough to trick you into not realizing it?"

A central tenet of the Art of War. Feign incompetence that your enemy will strike at it; prepare your counterstrike in secret to thoroughly unman him with surprise on the battlefield.

This strategy has been used before with great success.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:53 PM on September 6, 2005


odinsdream writes "I don't think anyone is saying Bush hatched an evil plot and wanted to take over the state, but rather he and his handlers are by definition and action selfish and uncaring. That they would do something selfish and not recognize the immediate (perhaps lethal) consequences is not at all surprising, but is not evidence of a murderous conspiracy."

This is an important statement. The only missing key is the complete level of incompetence that this administration has shown through every single major decision that has been put before it. There's nothing insidious in that except for the fact that protecting their citizens from terrorists, corporate criminals and natural disasters is the job of the federal government. Offloading any and all responsibility to the state level is not only ludicrous, it's the poorest form of buck passing that I've ever witnessed. George, seriously, you need to learn what the head job entails. You are responsible for all of the fuck-ups that the federal government makes. Other administrations have stepped forward and admitted, reluctantly, that their governments made mistakes and for far less reasons (which, in any instance, is entirely subjective).

There is no conspiracy, there is no man behind the curtain, and there is no power struggle here. It's a bureaucratic mess that the federal government has bungled every single step of the way and all they're trying to do is blame it on others. Is it murderous? Well, there is no clear intent. Is it irresponsible? Without doubt. Should head's roll? Definitely. I can't believe that the American public is not demanding answers through every single outlet imaginable. This administration needs to go and, as an outsider with very little influence, I can only hope that the American public wises-up in 2006.
posted by purephase at 11:13 PM on September 6, 2005


What exactly was to be gained by a federal takeover of New Orleans?

Just hazarding a guess here...federal control of the oil properties and offshore imports/exports?
posted by deusdiabolus at 11:19 PM on September 6, 2005


Look, thing about it like an equation. What's gained, and what's lost here?

Well, using that logic, why go into Iraq? Serious question. Because everyone with half a brain knew it would be a disaster, there was no national emergency or threat, just the prospect for death and money at the cost of regional instability and Islamic hatrid for decades to come.

So... what's gained, what's lost? doesn't really tell all the story. You have to know what's important, what's not to fully understand what a "gain" or a "loss" is.

For this administration, American lives and international stability (and in the end, our own domestic security) are not important, but control of those American lives, and control of foriegn resources and new markets (to which they will be the biggest benefactors) is of upmost importance. Domestic tranquility is not important, because the best means of domestic control are often in direct contradiction. Promoting the general welfare is similarly not important, while promoting the public's fear and uncertainty is very important to keeping them--and the "watchdog" media--in line.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:58 PM on September 6, 2005


orthogonality, that's really the essence of it, isn't it?
Definitely ask that question of as many people as you can, make them think.
posted by nightchrome at 2:33 AM on September 7, 2005


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