nothing is beneath these people

Not an Onion headline: White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage

In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush. 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. [...] In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

Blame Game, Set and Match:

On Saturday, August 27, 2005 -- two days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall -- President George W. Bush assumed responsibility for the coordination of "all disaster relief efforts" in the State of Louisiana. This is the specific, undisputed language of Bush's declaration of a State of Emergency, issued that day by the White House, and still available for viewing on the White House website. [...] What's more, FEMA was given specific, direct, presidential authority to act at its discretion -- it did not have to wait for approval from elsewhere in the federal government or from state or local authorities.
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61 Responses:

  1. azul_ros says:

    You might want to throw in the article I've just made a post about as well!!

    • baconmonkey says:

      But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

      • valacosa says:

        When this is all over, impeach the bastard. Enough is enough.

        • johnreen says:

          Haha... I think we all know that isn't going to happen...

          • muzai_naru says:

            Yeah, he's been real good about not doing anything impeachable. If only not doing your damn job was impeachable.

            • srattus says:

              we should not run government like business, we should run business like government.. if only so I can have a year of paid vacation.

              You can find me at my retreat with all my asskissing toadies. see you in 12 months!

            • johnreen says:

              Oh, I'm sure he's done a number of things that are impeachable... remember, we impeached Clinton for lying about sex, for Christ's sake.

              He's just got a team that's really, really good at making sure that stuff doesn't ever leak.

              • muzai_naru says:

                The trouble with that one is that Clinton did it under oath. Bush's groupies won't let him take an oath so he can't lie while under it. Just another one of those political tactics. As much as I hate to say this, Bush isn't an idiot, he just plays one on TV.

        • mcfnord says:

          I'm so damn tired of the "stand by him, it's a crisis" bullshit.

  2. 40hex says:

    I get an XML error on the second link...

  3. gazpacho says:

    What a load! LOL!

    • susano_otter says:

      I especially enjoy how Jamie read a headline so preposterous that any sane person's first reaction would be that it's some kind of joke, and he immediately assumes that the article is an accurate description of real events.

      I assume it's because of his deeply-held belief that the media would never lie to him.

    • j_v_lynch says:

      the expression on his face just makes my skin crawl.

      • dasht_brk says:

        You do understand that the picture is a photoshop composite, don't you?


        • j_v_lynch says:

          I knew the one with the guitar was, but not the other one. Where is it from?

          • dasht_brk says:

            Ah. Based on where you posted your comment I thought you meant the guitar one. No idea about the other one but, even presuming it's real, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what you find offensive about it. I think you are reading too much into it.


            • j_v_lynch says:

              It's nothing offensive, it just gives me the willies.

            • bdu says:

              The other one is real as near as I can tell, and it's just damn weird to have a grin like that on your face when someone is collapsing, weeping in your arms. I'd say THAT's offensive.

              • dasht_brk says:

                Oh my.

                What's going on off camera there? Do you demand that the
                president shed perpetual tears? C'mon, get real.


                • bdu says:

                  You must be the kind of ass that would bust up laughing in the middle of your grandmother's funeral service, eh?

                  It's not about "perpetual tears", it's about a serious look for a serious situation. It's about respect for the person he's supposedly "comforting" in the picture.

                  • dasht_brk says:

                    Oh, you insensitive twit. As a point of fact, the preacher
                    at my grandfather's funeral made one of his themes "there is
                    always a little laughter at a funeral". He developed that
                    theme into reflections on the topic of resiliance.

                    No, really, i'm not insulted by anything you've said I just
                    note the utter unreality of y'all latching onto the lamest
                    of excuses to bush-bash. Does that help you get laid or
                    something. Bush is far from invulnerable to criticism but
                    that ain't it.


    • jesus_x says:

      "The suffering, it makes me so happy."

  4. otterley says:

    Note the first comment to the Chris Floyd posting - turns out it's not as clear as it might seem. Pres. Bush's order did not include many of the southern parishes. See map.

  5. This I love; Bush has made such a ****-up this time that the only person he can trust to enquire into it & let him off is... Cheney?? Guardian.

    • sherbooke says:

      I predict that BushRoveCheney will outsource all future disaster coordination. FEMA - if it exists at all - will become an over-seer agency with responsibility for handing out contracts. To Halliburton.

      As night follows day, Halliburton will also become responsible for keeping the New NO afloat.

  6. off topic:

    how do you get that format for your quotes (the bar down the side)?

  7. fantasygoat says:

    Bush is a douchebag and has made a lot of mistakes, but he's not the only one to blame here. The mayor and the governor have certain decisions to answer for as well.

    I would say this was a failure from the bottom up.

    • dojothemouse says:

      Your linked article uses the phrase "the vultures of the venemous left" without explanation. That you have not dismissed it as partisan bullshit (for this an other reasons) reflects badly on your critical reading skills.

      • fantasygoat says:

        The author might be a tool of the right but it doesn't change the fact that the school buses are all underwater, parked in nice even rows.

        That's the point I was making - all of the politicians are douchebags and the blame should be spread evenly across them all.

        • Yeah, they could have ordered the Louisiana State Guard into action, or drawn on the resources of the NOLA Navy, or released their vast underground stores of emergency jambalaya. Lazy bastards.

    • moof1138 says:

      I agree that Nagin and Blanco screwed up in places, but that article is full of flat out fabrications, it is, at best, Right-wing propaganda. This post does a better job of showing how Nagin screwed up by ordering the
      evacuation too late and does some math on the question of busing out the poor:

      • dasht_brk says:

        The math on bussing out the poor is bad. It undercounts the capacity of each bus, afaict, and assumes that each bus could make only one trip.

        repeats the same "20,000 by bus" number but also points out that there remained a lot of (forseeable) capacity in the city to house non-evacuees in smaller numbers. I'll add that had they been admitted to these other areas, they likely could have scrounged for themselves more effectively in the first couple of days.

        It also points out that a lot of private vehicles got washed up in the flood and that these could have been used for evacuation.

        That last point is fascinating --- can anyone imagine the kind of society we'd have that would put such a plan in action, especially when the evacuation preceeds certainty that the levies would give? My thought along the same lines was slightly different: what would it take for all those private drivers to swing by the low-lands and fill up to capacity before heading to the highway? Hard sells, I know....



  8. babynutcase says:

    Clusterfuck Nation on blaming and twilight of the oil industry
    Tuesday, September 6, 2005,
    We've entered the blame-o-rama phase of Hurricane Katrina. I actually heard Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff sparring with NPR's Robert Siegal on the air last Thursday, and a more weasily performance than Chertoff's would be hard to find in any bureaucratic circle of hell...

    Meanwhile momentous things are swirling in the background. The price of gasoline may retreat sometime in two to six weeks, but I doubt it will fall below the $2.50 range again. In fact, having gone way above the psychological barrier of $3.00, the gasoline retailers may resist falling below that. There have been no new oil refineries built in the US since the late 1970s. There will be no new ones built now, despite the crunch on refined "product." Why? Because the oil companies understand that they are in a twilight industry and refineries represent huge investments in future activity, which the corporations correctly perceive will be shrinking as global oil production passes peak.

    The biggest shock to the public lies a couple of months ahead when the cost of natural gas for home heating (50 percent of the dwellings in America) combines with stubbornly higher pump prices to whap them upside the head. Natural gas at around $12.00 is now many times what it cost as recently as 2003 ($3.00). A lot of Americans will be shivering this winter and some of the weak, old, and poor will die as a result...

  9. jonxp says:

    It is the states' job to plan and execute the plans for emergencies like this. The federal government is just supposed to support the plans. I can't speak for Mississippi or Alabama, but here in Louisiana our governor had two days to ask for help, and she didn't until it was too late. While Bush is an ass (especially for the photo-op rescue workers he's lugging around with him), in Louisiana I blame the governor.

    While FEMA was given the authority, they are not the ones responsible ofr planning something like this. You have to start small, and find out why THEY failed (city, parish, state gov't) and then move up the ladder to the people who's responsibility was only to assist.

    • jonxp says:

      Sorry, just noticed I mainly repeated what fantasygoat said.

      • jonxp says:

        Eh, because jwz is interesting.

        Or, if you're speaking in a larger sense, because I was not hit by a bus yesterday. Your choice.

        • jwz says:

          Well, for what it's worth, I think you're an idiot, and not even an entertaining troll. So, you know, don't feel any compulsion to post 10x/day for my benefit.

    • king_mob says:

      I notice you're a Louisiana voter. I suppose it goes without saying that all along, you've supported a strong state government, well-funded state agencies, and higher taxes to pay for all this, right?

      • jonxp says:

        Yep. And lower federal taxes.

        The problem is Louisiana is mostly poor people, so it doesn't matter what the middle class on up thinks.

        • king_mob says:

          Which problem is that?

          • jonxp says:

            I guess the problem is mainly the poor people say "No taxes" so the elected officials do that. It's not really a problem in the democratic sense, in that the voice of the people *is* heard, even if it's only to get elected.

            But then something like this happens and they have little funding.

            Of course, not that they did what they COULD with the funding they had, nor did they ask for assistance in a timely matter, but that was my original complaint, and god forbid we talk about that. ;-)

            • king_mob says:

              Look, man, I know you're young, but you might as well hear it from me as from anyone else: most places, poor people don't run the government.

              Of course, not that they did what they COULD with the funding they had, nor did they ask for assistance in a timely matter,

              It would depend on how you define "asking for assistance." You may be referring to the reports that the governor did not declare a state of emergency. Those reports are, however, lies.

              As to the first point, that's tricky to nail down. You'd have to know what funding they had, then you'd have to know what it would cost to take the steps you felt were appropriate. Of course, in some sense, you're almost certainly right that they didn't correctly allocate resources to preparing for this emergency.

              Nota bene! If you simply quote Louisiana's annual tax receipts and say "Well, clearly this is enough money," then you will be announcing that you do not know how government budgeting works. You will be announcing that you have never heard of an earmark, an unfunded mandate, or of the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary spending. You will, in short, be announcing that you don't know what you're talking about, and do not with to continue discussing this matter. So don't do that, 'kay?

              • jonxp says:

                I'm not exactly YOUNG per se. I'm young compared to say, your average politician. The reason I was unable to vote was because I didn't have residency in the state. ;-) I'm well aware that the poor do not run things most places, however in this area what they say goes, because no amount of money or campaign contibutions can get you elected without their support. It's one of those many things you'd have to be here to believe (I didn't think places like this still existed until I moved here).

                Asking for assistance is different from declaring emergency. At least I assume it is, that will take some research into what exactly a state declaring a state of emregency means. I need to look in to that. But if it means what I suspect, then it probably just means funding gets shuffled around and special emergency plans (That the state should have ready) should go into effect.

                As far as the tax bit goes, that's a pretty flimsy argument for even someone stupid to make. Don't worry about that from me.

                • king_mob says:

                  I've been assuming that Louisiana is fucked up for all the same reasons that the other southern states are, but you make it sound worse.

                  Here's a timeline claiming that the gulf states had asked for troop assistance, like, Friday. It also distinguishes between the Governor declaring a state of emergency and requesting a Federal state of emergency, but makes it sound like she did both.

  10. The question isn't whether the administration carries fault in disaster planning and response, it's whether there's anyone of sufficient stature, backbone, and eloquence to simultaneously point out the failures of leadership while rising to the occasion themselves. For each glaring mistake made by this administration (Iraq (and attendant war profiteering), bin Laden, global warming, poverty, the loss of alliances, allowing Russia to slip into quasi-dictatorial torpor, the ballooning deficit, Medicaid, tax cuts, missile shields, the Department of Heimat Security, the Patriot act, and lowering the bar on partisan strong-arm tactics) there is a commensurate failure on the part of the presumptive opposition party to seize the moment and assume the reigns of leadership.

    I suppose one could argue that the electorate is similarly failing to exercise its sole duty here, but until someone comes forward with an unswerving dedication to improving our common lot in life election day remains a pick-your-poison buffet.

    [Edited to fix teeny little grammatical error that reversed my opinion. Oopsy.]

  11. gazpacho says:

    Hey NYT, that's PRESIDENT Bush. He's more than earned that title by winning two elections, liberating two tyrannous countries and giving us ten years of economic growth.

    What? Only democrats are worthy of their monikers? I don't recall the NYT ever referring to just "Albright".

    • king_mob says:

      Nope. They would have referred to her as Ms., Miss, or Mrs. Albright. That's from the NYT style guide. It applied to Clinton, too -- he was "Mr. Clinton" on second reference, always.

      Is this post parody? "Ten years of economic growth?" I gotta admit, I can't tell.

    • semiclever says:

      Okay, I don't get it. Is this a joke or a troll? They refer to him as President Bush in paragraph 1, and Mr. Bush thereafter. That's their house style, I'm pretty sure.

      Ten years of economic growth? He's been in office nearly 5 years a presided over a recession.

      • king_mob says:

        The reason that I think it might be serious is because he signed tax cuts which will last ten years before being phased out -- guaranteeing, of course, economic growth in all those years. I can easily see that being a rationale for these nutbars.

        I would also not be surprised to discover that this really is a fine young specimen of Young Republicanism we have here, and that he counts the same way ancient man did: "one," "two," and "many."

      • babynutcase says:

        It's a joke in the sense that I laughed out loud when I read it.

  12. mcfnord says:

    I think the blame shift backfired when the man told the tearful drowning story and the Senator offered to punch Bush in the face.