16 September 2005

The speech the president will not give

Last night we all heard the speech the President gave. He looked good--stood in front of a statue of Andrew Jackson (a president reknown for an heroic rescue of New Orleans during a time of crisis) in the historic French Quarter. He told us many hopeful things about how he would help the poor citizens of the region rebuilt and regroup after the hurricane. What he didn't tell us is how he 'd pay for all that rebuilding. So pardon me, Mr. President, if I doubt your credibility, doubt whether you rich friends will be asked to give up their tax cuts, doubt whether you really feel for those on the lower end of the social ladder one tenth as much as you care for the fantastic new porch Trent Lott is going to get. Old Hickory won't bolster that sagging image of yours, G. W.. It is far too little, and way too late. Now had you given us a different speech we might believe. . . .

From Salon.com: The speech the president will not give

We don't know whether Karl Rove has had enough time to focus on the president's prime-time speech from Louisiana tonight. Rove must be awfully busy with his new job -- we're
not making this up -- leading the White House's post-Katrina reconstruction efforts.

But George W. Bush can rest easily this afternoon, even if many of his fellow citizens can't. Americans have always been eager to help their president in times of need. And when we
asked you earlier today to offer advice for Bush about what he might say tonight, you responded in a way that reminded us of all that is good in this great nation. The president says he's ready to "take responsibility" for whatever the federal government did wrong in the wake of Katrina, and you've come through a veritable flood of ideas about where he could begin.

Here's the speech that War Room readers might write. Douglas O'Morain of Austin, Tex., gets us started, and then a list of would-be presidential advisors too long to mention fills in the blanks and connects the dots from there.

"My fellow Americans, while many people were at fault for our country's poor response to Hurricane Katrina, I am the president, and the buck stops with me. In addition to being the commander in chief, I believe that the president has a moral obligation to protect the people to the best of his ability. And in this case, I did not perform for you as I did on September the 11th, 2001. While I believe that there are many reasons behind the debacle in New Orleans and elsewhere in the wake of the hurricane, I accept full responsibility for the failures of the federal government. I will not shirk from blame; I will not pass the buck.

"I take responsibility for not having shown concern about the people or the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast until it became clear that it was a
public relations disaster for my administration. I take responsibility for the fact that Katrina will go down as one of the 10 deadliest natural disasters in our nation's history -- and that the other nine all happened before helicopters were widely available for rescue missions.

"I take responsibility for packing FEMA, a federal agency America depends on in national emergencies, with political hacks with
no real qualifications for doing life-and-death jobs. I take responsibility for not making geography skills a priority for FEMA. I take responsibility for the fact that, while fires blazed out of control in New Orleans, 600 firefighters were stuck in a FEMA seminar on customer service in Atlanta. I take responsibility for telling Brownie that he was 'doing a heck of a job,' when, in fact, he sucked.

"I take responsibility for not asking Dick Cheney to end his
vacation sooner; for not asking Condoleezza Rice to end her shopping spree in New York sooner; for not asking Donald Rumsfeld to cut short his trip to the ballgame and mobilize soldiers for the relief effort. I take responsibility for sending large numbers of National Guard members from Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida to Iraq, making it impossible for them to act quickly to aid and the protect their homeland.

"I take responsibility for allowing one of my senior administration officials to insinuate that that I ignored the delay in the deployment of federal troops because I didn't want to
seem like I was bullying some chick governor.

"I take responsibility for allowing the nation's
poverty rate to rise four years in a row. I take responsibility for the fiscal policies and war plans that have left our country unable to perform its primary duty of protecting its citizens without going into further debt. I take responsibility for failing to give the Army Corps of Engineers' adequate funds to build and fortify levees in New Orleans. I take responsibility for consistently burying scientific evidence about global warming and other issues and paying people to re-word scientific reports so that they line up with my way of thinking.

"I take responsibility for
pretending to play guitar in California while New Orleans was flooding.

"I take responsibility
for saying, 'I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees,' when practically anyone who lived in New Orleans for the past 100 years could have anticipated it. I take responsibility for countless phony uses of the word 'folks' instead of 'people' to convince as many knuckle-draggers as possible that despite my massive wealth, Yale education and privilege I am really just as dumb and illiterate as they are.

"I take responsibility for the suffering that will follow from my decision -- between photo-op hops to the safest sites within the battered Gulf Coast -- to
suspend the Davis-Bacon Act protections for laborers working to rebuild the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I take responsibility for issuing 'no-bid', 'cost-plus' contracts to those helping to re-build hurricane damaged areas, so my close personal friends and cronies can make millions taking advantage of the worst natural disaster in America's history -- just like they did in Iraq. I take responsibility for trying to further my political goals of allowing private/religious school vouchers, smashing unions, weakening environmental regulations and giving Halliburton a blank check during this time of great crisis.

"I take responsibility for having failed to say 'I take responsibility' for anything until it was politically expedient to do so. I take responsibility for being such an aggrogant, cranky, vindictive twit that my loyal aides have to draw straws to see which unlucky one has to bring me a reality check. I take responsibility for putting myself in the position of being elected to the most powerful position in the world knowing full well that I have neither the experience, imagination nor human compassion that are prerequisites for the job."

"May God bless the good folks in this part of the world. And may God continue to bless the United States of America."

--by Tim Grieve for the War Room, Salon.com

15 September 2005

Mr. President, this job can't be fun. . .

Many thanks to Andreas for sending me this closing bit from Bill Maher's show the other night:

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. "So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

09 September 2005

Yo, Barbara! Let 'em eat cake, too!

I once said I'd've voted for Barbara Bush over her husband George had they both run for prez. And I wasn't joking then. As a First Lady she advocated literacy and reading programs. She wasn't (unlike Laura) just a wind-up Barbie doll. But, Babs, you blew it!

Not since Reagan was surprised by the cost of bread has anyone so close to the White House made it so very clear that the rarified atmosphere in that neighbborhood makes one unable to see what happens in the Real World (tm). Here's what Miz Bush had to say about all them po' folk and darkies her native state done took in. . . .
September 7, 2005

"Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off"


WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 - As President Bush battled criticism over the response to Hurricane Katrina, his mother declared it a success for evacuees who "were underprivileged anyway," saying on Monday that many of the poor people she had seen while touring a Houston relocation site were faring better than before the storm hit.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program "Marketplace." "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality."

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."

Mrs. Bush toured the Astrodome complex with her husband, former President George Bush, as part of an administration campaign throughout the Gulf Coast region to counter criticism of the response to the storm. Former President Bush and former President Bill Clinton are helping raise money for the rebuilding effort.

White House officials did not respond on Tuesday to calls for comment on Mrs. Bush's remarks.
Some of us, Barbara, aren't so impressed with your kind of hospitality.

03 September 2005

An Open Letter to Mr. Bush from Michael Moore

This was sent to me in an email by a friend (thanks, Michelle). the original can be seen on Michael Moore's blog (Go Michael!).

Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush
Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!
I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.

Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.