Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The "real" America

This about says it all, from the BeatBushGear Cafe Press store.

As the crypto-fascist NeoCon zombie brigade tries to circle their wagons, even Bush's trips to the Gulf to look concerned unravel to reveal the truth: nothing but callous blatant PR photo ops. The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that the 1,400 firefighters gathered from around the country by FEMA, instead of using their firefighting, search-and-rescue, paramedic, or haz-mat skills, they were herded into a conference room in Atlanta, forced to sit through an eight-hour sensitivity training class, and told their were to be "community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA." This was on Monday, when their expertise might have been put to better use rescuing people and putting out fires.

To add insult to injury, a team of 50 of these firefighters were flown to Louisiana--so they could accompany Bush on his tour.
In addition, he apparently set up another photo op of the 17th Street levee being fixed, and yet another of an open air food distribution point. On top of that, rescue efforts had to be halted for hours while Bush was in the area, since the airways had to be kept clear.

Laura "It was an accident!" Bush did her part, as well. She commandeered the computer in Lafayette's Cajundome--the only room with phone and internet access for the evacuees--for eight hours, along with the food service rooms and the ladies showers, so she could manipulate a feel-good photo op "helping" seven evacuees.

The excellent Daily Kos blog expresses just the right eloquent outrage:
This is a clear signal of the depravity of this administration, were everything is political and nothing can be real. Nothing can be done simply because it's the right thing to do, or it's the best thing for America. There is a "real" America, and then there's Rove's America, where firemen serve the Republican Party and their leader, not people in distress. The Republican banner flies over the Stars and Stripes.
That the NeoCons are living in a different reality isn't such a surprise; it was admitted in an October 2004 New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind, where Suskind quotes a Bush aide:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-- "Ozymandias," Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Barbara Bush: Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans

In case anyone hasn't already read this absolutely revolting comment, now's your chance. This report from Editor & Publisher:
Published: September 05, 2005 7:25 PM ET updated 8:00 PM
Accompanying her husband, former President George
H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in
Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the
poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."

The former First Lady's remarks were aired this
evening on American Public Media's "Marketplace"

She was part of a group in Houston today at the
Astrodome that included her husband and former
President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son,
the current president, to head fundraising efforts for
the recovery. Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barack
Obama were also present.

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of
evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost
everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to

Then she added: "What I’m hearing which is sort of
scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is
so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she
chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
Um, Mrs. Bush, Marie Antoinette called--she wants her disdain for the poor back.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Eloquent posts

A couple of eloquent blog postings:

Being Poor, on John Scalzi's Whatever blog:
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you're being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.

And Nick Mamatas' Nihilistic Kid journal has an entry from New Orleans resident Jordan Flaherty, Notes From Inside New Orleans. Excerpt:
I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.”

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic . . . the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans . . . Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous disregard of our elected leaders.

Thanks to lauramerle for the links!

Michael Chertoff is a puppet

Why do reporters keep asking Chertoff why the response was so slow? I mean, I know why they ask him, but do they really think he's just going to say, "oh, they're poor black people and we're not in any hurry"? Maybe they just like to see how many different lies and excuses he can come up with.

Sometimes I honestly think they want to wait until as many die as possible.

As Scrooge said about the poor in A Christmas Carol, "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

get a load of this, buried in the business section:

Sept. 1, 2005, 8:30PM



Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.

KBR was assigned the work under a "construction capabilities" contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees.
so dick cheney and his cronies are not just war profiteers but disaster profiteers. it's not enough they're CHEATING the us taxpayers with their inflated prices--and spoiled food--in iraq, and endangering soldiers, they're now going to do that in the gulf coast.

i'm speechless. but not terribly surprised, unfortunately.

The above news courtesy of the excellent folks at Citizens for Legitimate Government.