Thursday, September 08, 2005


Michael Brown Should Be Fired

For an excellent summation of the problems inherent in FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) that has so gravely bungled the rescue and protection efforts in Katrina's aftermath, check out this editorial from Salon. Also check out the bio on FEMA director Michael Brown, and note how it conveniently omits the part about how he was a roommate of one of Bush's campaign directors and was fired from his previous job in charge of the Arabian Horse Federation (he has no real experience in emergency management, just like the number two and three men at FEMA).

You want to know how "compassionate Conservatism" really works? Its Condoleeza Rice saying during the height of the tragedy that "Jesus Christ will come" while the Federal government withholds resources and personnel that could have been saving people at the New Orleans convention center and Superdome. Its President Bush saying, "What went wrong?" when House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi confronted him last week about the mismanagement of the crisis and suggested that he fire his old pal Brown.

Death by Cronyism. It's slow, painful but brutally efficient at killing off poor black and brown people. Who needs terrorists and "evildoers" when the real murderers sit in the White House?

(For more information about the lies and exaggerations contained in Brown's bio and resume, check out Time Magazine online which picked up this story late Thursday and has done a good job exposing the rot at the core of this crucial government agency).


Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Just Because He's A Braggert It Doesn't Mean He's Not Telling the Truth

Such a predictable firestorm over rapper Kanye West's comments during a fundraiser for New Orleans relief that President "Bush doesn't care about black people." Well, duh, but I'm glad he had the guts to say it on national TV--not that many people got to see it or are likely to see it again, now that the corporate/government censorship machine has kicked in.

Anyone with a brain who isn't blindly in thrall of the Bush Administration/Fox News has to have realized over the last eight days just how much of a divide between rich and poor, black and white there continues to be in this country. Even actor Colin Farrell, who I would not necessarily consider among the most astute or politically active actors out there, piped in this weekend that "if the victims of the hurricanes had been in the Hamptons, they'd have loaded up every cruise ship in the country to come get them". The Bush response was what it was, because he is what he is--blind to the concerns of the working class, the lower class, the darker class. He just couldn't be bothered on the tail end of his vacation to put all the pieces in place where they needed to be. And his assertion that "no one could have predicted the levees would break" is exactly the bald face lie it seems to be. Everyone predicted that this was a likely scenario for New Orleans leading up to the time when Katrina struck.

What's going to be the fallout for the Bush Administration after a week when one of America's greatest cities was reduced to Third World chaos? Well, it's not going to be good and even that oh-so-effective right wing spin machine is going to bust a few gears trying to put a good face on this one. At least the mainstream media finally woke up when confronted with the sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans, with everyone from Matt Lauer to even Geraldo Rivera starting to ask the tough questions of this administration that they should have been asking for the last five years. And yet even if "semi"-liberal Democrats sweep into power in the midterms and the next presidential election, the apparatus of state has already been heavily rigged to prevent real positive change from taking place. With Rehnquist and O'Connor gone, Bush will continue to keep the Supreme Court tilting right for decades to come. The unholy alliance of the defense contractors, military suppliers and oil companies will continue to keep nudging American foreign policy into intervening in the Middle East (anyone up for invading Iran?) The FCC has been deregulated so much that free speech and the broadcasting in the public interest is already nearly extinct, soon to be discussed in the same context as other endangered or defunct things like the peregrine falcon, rotary telephones and the World Trade Center--another tragedy that happened on this administration's watch, which led both directly and indirectly to the ongoing tragedies in Iraq and New Orleans.

It's not a time for hopelessness, in spite of all this. New Orleans will be rebuilt, better than ever, although of course it will never be the same and I weep for the city that I never got to see and for all the lives that were lost due to hubris, disinterest and lack of foresight. We almost certainly will not have a right wing presidency in 2008 and Hurricane Katrina may have inadvertantly provided the first real opportunity to bring home some of the troops from Iraq and keeping them here. But whatever faint hope the future provides, lets not lose sight of the ugly reality of the present. We have leadership in this country that doesn't care about black people--or anyone else, for that matter, that can't help them get filthy rich. Bush claims to be born again, but I have to wonder in his situation, what would Jesus have done? I think He would have had a few more buses and boats ready to rescue the people of New Orleans and the buck would have stopped with Him, not someone else.

Peace, and if you haven't donated to the New Orleans relief effort, please do so today...

Quotes from Kanye West and Colin Farrell courtesy of Entertainment Tonight, c.2005