Dealing with things the Rove way

September 5th, 2005 – 8:48 am
Tagged as: Politics

To the Bush administration, the important thing isn’t fixing the hurricane damage, it’s fixing the political damage caused by their incompetence.

Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

Rove being in charge is why the White House’s political moves include things like lying to the Washington Post and Newsweek, rather than putting forward any proposals to actually fix the problems that Katrina made so glaringly obvious. Fortunately, it’s apparently not helping Bush’s latest poll numbers any.

[via Daily Kos and Atrios]

For god’s sakes, just shut up and send us somebody.

September 4th, 2005 – 1:55 pm
Tagged as: Politics

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard this morning on Meet the Press:

Sir, they were told like me. Every single day. The cavalry is coming. On the federal level. The cavalry is coming. The cavalry is coming. The cavalry is coming. I have just begun to hear the hooves of the cavalry. The cavalry is still not here yet, but I have begun to hear the hooves and were almost a week out.

Three quick examples. We had Wal-mart deliver three trucks of water. Trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back, said we didn’t need them. This was a week go. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a coast guard vessel docked in my parish. The coast guard said come get the fuel right way. When we got there with our trucks, they got a word, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday, yesterday, FEMA comes in and cuts all our emergency communications lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in. he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards said no one is getting near these lines.

The guy who runs this building I’m in. Emergency management. He’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said. Are you coming. Son? Is somebody coming? And he said yeah. Mama. Somebody’s coming to get you.. Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday. And she drowned Friday night. And she drowned Friday night. Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody’s promised. They’ve had press conferences. I’m sick of the press conferences. For god’s sakes, just shut up and send us somebody.

More of what he had to say can be found here.

A Katrina news and opinion roundup

September 4th, 2005 – 1:50 pm
Tagged as: Media,Politics

I’ve been accumulating links to stories about (and commentary on) the total screwup that the relief efforts for New Orleans have been since the hurricane struck, but now I see that Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged has posted an extra-long Hurricane Katrina edition of her always informative link dumps, so I’ll just point people over there instead. There is a lot of important information in there, so I recommend reading all of the link titles and clicking through to at least some (if not all) of them.

Republican priorities

September 3rd, 2005 – 10:27 am
Tagged as: Politics

In another fine example of just what the Republicans think is important, they’re pushing ahead with plans to try and repeal the estate tax next week.

Senate Finance Committee members were informed this morning that Sen. Bill Frist will move forward with a vote to permanently repeal the estate tax next week, likely on Tuesday, ThinkProgress has learned.

One stands in awe of Sen. Frist’s timing. Permanently repealing the estate tax would be a major blow to the nation’s charities. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has “found that the estate tax encourages wealthy individuals to donate considerably more to charity, since estate tax liability is reduced through donations made both during life and at death.” If there were no estate tax in 2000, for example, “charitable donations would have been between $13 billion to $25 billion lower than they actually were.”

As they did after 9/11 and during the lead-up to the Iraq war, conservatives have placed tax cuts for the most wealthy and well-off over the spirit of shared national sacrifice. What a stark contrast to the outpouring of generosity being shown by the American people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

[via Daily Kos]

Anger

September 3rd, 2005 – 10:22 am
Tagged as: Politics

Steve Gilliard is possessed by the spirit of The Rude Pundit.

Well, motherfuckers, and that means you, fat ass Goldberg and your master, Rich Lowry, PNAC Bitch Beinart, the racist wannabe white Malkin and the little fucktards at LGF, Bareback Andy and “Diversity” Instacracker, all you backstabbing, fag hating uncle tom ministers, you can see Dear Leader in action. America’s largest port is gone, maybe forever, gas is $5+ a gallon and FEMA is coming. Whores come faster with old men than FEMA is getting to NOLA.

How did your wartime President react? Like Chiang Kai-Shek when the Yellow River flooded in 1944, with corrupt indifference.

And that’s one of the calmer parts of his post. A lot of bloggers on the reality-based side of things have just been getting more and more disgusted and angry over the pathetic excuse for relief efforts that have taken place in New Orleans, and with the Bush supporters who make excuses for the President’s lack of leadership (and the incompetence of his political appointees), and with good reason.

[via Sisyphus Shrugged]

The obligatory Red Cross link

August 31st, 2005 – 10:52 pm
Tagged as: Miscellaneous

Give generously to the Red Cross’ disaster relief fund.

Blaming the victims of Hurricane Katrina

August 31st, 2005 – 10:43 pm
Tagged as: Media

As the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina keeps looking worse and worse, I think it’s important to take a look at those who are still trapped in the city, and the media’s portrayal of them.

First, here’s a great piece of writing from Cherie Priest called Disjointed thoughts on the socio-economics of disaster:

Look at the reporters who are “incensed” by the rampant looting. Look at the smugness from those distant from the situation who chastise the dumb southerners for not evacuating when they had the chance. It blows their minds how many idiots stayed to wait it out. It makes them shake their heads and make “tsk-tsk” noises into their shiny microphones.

Well, fuck the lot of them.

New Orleans and Biloxi are not rich cities. They are poor southern cities disproportionately filled with poor southern people — people who may not have reliable transportation, people who live hand-to-mouth, people who have no where else to go, even if they had the means to get there.

And the evacuation was little more than a vague order to get the hell out — under your own power and at your own expense. If you have, at your immediate disposal, reliable transportation, money for gas, and either distant family OR money for shelter, then this isn’t a big deal. Of course you leave. You pack up everything you can and you head for higher ground. But it is somewhat less easy to do if you are lacking any one of these things, AND you have been informed that what little earthly lot you may claim is about to be destroyed. Do you hang on and try to save what you can? Do you let it go and return to less than nothing?

What the hell do you do?

Ned Sublette comments:

The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number — 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn’t leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn’t be able to get out. The resources — meaning, the political will — weren’t there to get them out.

Amanda at Pandagon looks at the media’s motives:

I have an eerie feeling that the media is already spinning the horrific loss of life to Katrina into a story that is focused primarily on victim-blaming in order to distract from the massive failure to evacuate the city properly that is caused directly by inhumane BushCo policies.

….

One way or another, the discussion is going to come around to whether or not the absence of the National Guard in Louisiana and just general unwillingness to provide for what should seem inevitable–that New Orleans is in a prime position to get destroyed by a hurricane. And that’s not really a path the media wants to go down, as it’s all wonky and not kiss-assy enough for the modern major media.

So how to distract? Blame the victims.

Steve Gilliard, who’s got a hella ear for racist dog whistles, lays it on the line–racist coverage like this is laying the groundwork for excusing away the fact that the dead are almost surely going to be disproportionately black because the poor are disproportionately black and because the poor are going to be the people who couldn’t escape the city as easily. Atrios posted on the two nearly identical pictures of people taking things they need from flooded stores where the white people were described as “finding” and the black man as “looting”. Directly before that, he rightly complained about the media whining about looters.

Taken altogether, this is what I fear will happen: The victims of the flood will be portrayed via racist stereotypes as criminals and idiots. This will predispose the audience to disliking them. Then, after everything settles down, a few right wingers will start implying that the dead brought their own fate on themselves by being too stupid and/or criminal to evacuate. This focus will distract the pundits from discussing the real issue at hand, which is why the fuck we didn’t have the resources on hand to evacuate a city that has Hurricane Target written all over it. Before you know it, it’ll be a wingnut bonaza of people both gleefully indulging in the most racist tendencies while simultaneously claiming that the only reason one might end up dead in a hurricane is because one doesn’t have “personal responsibility”. But my guess is that the people who are dead mostly didn’t have transportation out of the city. Watch the media bury the truth of what happened so fast it’ll make your head spin.

[via Sarah and Atrios, respectively]

Never trust the Americans

August 29th, 2005 – 9:12 pm
Tagged as: Terrorism

Back in 1989, a bomb exploded in an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, and 270 people were killed. Years later, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was convicted of the bombing, and he’s now serving a life sentence in Britain.

The problem is that a CIA agent apparently planted a key piece of evidence that was used to convict him, and it’s likely that the Libyans were in no way involved.

Nice priorities, Mister President

August 28th, 2005 – 3:36 pm
Tagged as: Environment

New Orleans may well be destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. There’s a roundup of coverage going on over at Making Light.

So what does President Bush do? He gets live coverage of what is supposed to be him talking about the upcoming disaster, and then spends the majority of the time talking about Iraq. He’s such a little bastard.

Lower and lower

August 22nd, 2005 – 8:16 pm
Tagged as: Politics

President Bush’s approval ratings have now dropped into the 30s.

George W. Bush’s overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush’s handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

As is pointed out here, this is even lower than President Nixon’s approval rating during the summer of 1973 (when the Watergate scandal was going on).

I guess this means we can expect either a terrorist attack or a new war this fall, in a desperate attempt to get those numbers back up.