Category Archives: Hurricane Katrina

Bush in New Orleans: A Shameless Sham

The King’s triumphal resurgence in front of a national television audience on Thursday night had all of the typical hallmarks of a Karl Rove bullshit epic: the extensive attention to detail in the staging, lighting and angles that allowed Bush to be shown at the podium with the perfectly illuminated Jackson Square in the background as well as the absence of any extemporaneous activity or pesky reporters or audience members that could provide a distraction from the great and mighty leader. This was yet another meticulously crafted public relations achievement by a White House propaganda machine stocked with those highly influenced by the work of Leni Riefenstahl and given the fact that they had to truck in their own lights and generators to pull off the big con of putting the bloom back on the rose, polishing the turd or otherwise putting lipstick on the pig that any documentary footage could be transformed into a modern masterpiece that would totally blow away Triumph of The Will. Dan Froomkin’s most recent Whitehouse Briefing blog has an excellent bit on just how bogus that it all was but you will need to register in order to view it.

It’s a good thing that the reopening of the French Quarter and its legendary drinking establishments are the first and foremost priority in the plans for the rejuvenation of the Crescent City because you would have to be pretty fucking snockered to place any credibility at all in Thursday night’s shameless horseshit disbursement ceremony. In the speech itself there was the obligatory linking to terrorism and 9/11 although it was much more subtle than the fear mongering of the past. More predictably and perhaps more alarmingly there was a super sized helping of the usual red meat that is thrown to the radical ‘christian’ crusaders that comprise the majority of Bush’s base and the holy warriors can expect even more as Rove orders the government to spend like drunken sailors which is certain to alienate the fence sitting fiscal conservatives who are growing more nervous by the day at the profligate in chief maxes the national credit cards for present gain. The speech if anything was well put together, Rove’s screenwriters did a great job as is typical, especially the historical references which are rare for an administration determined to keep the public as ignorant of the past as humanly possible. I have absolutely no doubt that a good percentage of simple minded Americans have are thoroughly convinced that their divinely annoited emperor actually penned it himself with talent on loan from God, a real miracle from a man whose literary skills were most recently displayed while scribbling slips seeking permission to go potty, and he didn’t even use a crayon.

After playing the God and Terror cards, Bush’s dissertation also contained stunning promises of massive government largesse and the ensuing piling on of even more debt to an already unseemly deficit that is groaning under the burden of frivolous tax cuts (Bush later absolutely ruled out tax increases to finance the grand rebuilding plans put forth), an extremely costly foreign war (that for the time being much to Rove’s delight has been forgotten the mainstream media and consequently by the general public who are focused on New Orleans) and the government sanctioned graft machine that has become so overtly prevalent during the past four and a half years of Rove’s agenda and the unscrupulous reign of Tom DeLay. The massive expansion of federal government this time is sanctioned by traditionally anti-big gov’t ideological think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and underwritten by radical special interest groups who only hate government spending of goliath proportions when they don’t control the politicians who control the purse stings.

When examining the transcript of the speech keep in mind the following excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal story:

“Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond.

“Some new measures are already taking shape. In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices. Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.

“Now, Republicans are working on legislation that would limit victims’ right to sue, offer vouchers for displaced school children, lift some environment restrictions on new refineries and create tax-advantaged enterprise zones to maximize private-sector participation in recovery and reconstruction.”

Surprise, surprise, the radical right is seeking to use the reconstruction efforts to further their own agenda, no wonder why their Republican prostitutes in congress are so disinterested in pursuing an independent inquiry over Katrina.

Bush’s earlier contrition and weasel word ‘apology’ is nothing but more of the same spin, if you need any convincing of this you only need reference the September 14th New York Times story by Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson that states:

“Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.”

Karl Rove? Isn’t it just wonderful to be living in a country where yet another political hack albeit the king of all fixers is placed in charge of the reconstruction of a major American city that has been destroyed. ‘Brownie’ ended up as chum tossed overboard to attract the sharks and Michael Chertoff is poised to walk the plank for his gross ineptitude and clueless mismanagement if it comes down to it, despite rumors to the contrary there is no honor among thieves especially when a human sacrifice is required to protect the asses of those further up the food chain. The Bushies are desperately in need of a miracle right now but if Karl Rove has any credentials for the serious type of work that is needed to rebuild New Orleans then I should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for this blog.

Not that the immersion of the public in the whirling typhoon of administration spin on Thursday is the final product, advance teams led by longtime Bush lackey Karen Hughes had already been laying the groundwork and broke through the line following the lead block of damage control queen Condi Rice, a woman so close to Dubya that he apparently even seeks her approval to take a leak as the earlier link demonstrates.

According to a September 9th Washington Post story by Dana Milbank:

Hughes picked up the theme. “We have to offer a positive vision of hope,” she began. As if preparing troops for combat, she described her plans for improving world opinion of the United States: a “rapid-response unit,” a plan to “forward-deploy regional SWAT teams” and create “a dual-headed DAS for public diplomacy.”

And if the involvement of longtime Texas crony and top operative Hughes isn’t bad enough, Rove himself told the audience at a North Carolina fundraiser that the full story of the disaster would be told : translated this means that the White House propanda operatives are now working overtime to not only take the blame game to the next level but to obfuscate and distort the truth to the extent that in short order ‘television lobotomized’ Americans will not be pointing the finger at godless liberal tree huggers in general and most likely traditional bogeyman Bill Clinton in specific for destroying the functional ability of FEMA and the storm itself will be renamed Hurricane Hillary.

Strangely enough the devastation wrought by Katrina as well as the indifferent initial response of the Bush administration, the GOP Congress and the Federal Government offered Americans a real life look at the true face of this country, the ugliness that is hidden behind the fantasy façade of consumerism and mass marketing, of television and advertising glamour. This drawing back of the curtain revealed the ugly little uber capitalist trolls pulling the levers of power and briefly exposing the true ugliness of the festering wound on the nation’s soul that was opened by the ‘Reagan Revolution’ and has worsened by over 20 years of the neglect of the poor and the shrinking middle class whose terrible plight has been held away as far from the public eye as technologically possible so as to allow the illicit transfer of wealth to the richest of all.

Excuse me but where is the honor or dignity in using yet another national tragedy to further a radical and corrupt political agenda? Then again, these are the same rat bastards who were using the agonizing deaths and suffering of the victims of 9/11 to advance their agenda before the first bodies were pulled from the rubble at Ground Zero and the smell of rotting flesh was freshly hanging in the Manhattan air. Ghouls exploit death and exploit it both callously and without regard to the long term moral implications that their pathological buzzard-like traits to elicit profit from the wreckage of the lives of the innocent represent. The stench of decomposing bodies was still heavy in the dank and fetid Louisiana air on Thursday, mingling with the malodorous bullshit scent of the same ole, same ole from Rove and his crew of crackerjack production experts in propping up the most pathetic excuse for a leader in American history yet again for the ever present cameras all while a large portion of the city was still underwater and the unrecovered dead lacking both the dignity and compassion that a truly humble god fearing man would marshall all forces within his power to provide.

This is the accountability moment America, do you seize this rare and maybe final opportunity to stop this insane dismantling of the social contract, of progressive government, of civil liberties, of our American legacy itself…or do you rub your eyes, change the channel and immerse yourselves in a comfortable world of familiar fantasy once again?

You decide….if two plus two equals four than everything else is a given but the moment that you allow yourselves to be duped into believing that two plus two equals five then you have already sold your soul to the company store.


In the Aftermath of the Storm

If anything has been laid bare in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina it is the long disseminated myth that America is a land of boundless opportunity and equality for all of its citizens. A land where the ability to prosper was limited only by the ability of each and every American to answer the knocking at their front door of Horatio Alger, to seize the roaring tiger named destiny by the tail and to ride on its back, roaring in unison in the pursuit of the American Dream and all of its optimism. Immigrants descended on this nation at one time literally believing that the streets were lined with gold only to find themselves trapped in hellish working conditions in factories, in fields or forced to build the railroads that would provide the infrastructure of commerce to the wealthiest of the land, to the capitalists, to the Robber Barons. The truth is that for too long the ugliness of the growing underclass has been ignored, the poor and the black are systematically ostracized from society by the adherents of the philosophy of unfettered greed that is the bastard fruit of the Reagan Revolution: the free market.

When the horrifying imagery of thousands of mainly black, poor, elderly and sick residents left to their own devices to survive in the anarchy filled streets of post Katrina New Orleans was broadcast to the entire world some very uncomfortable questions were beginning to be asked. Uncomfortable to the entire concept of an advanced egalitarian society that has for too long been accepted as gospel to ignorant, television addicted Americans and specifically troublesome for the Bush administration, whose reckless, ideological undercutting of the very foundations of the progressive social ideals that at one time had built this country into the shining city on the hill were beginning to be exposed as the nothing other than the all out class warfare with extreme prejudice that they are intended to be. Once the foolish Orwellian sloganeering is put under a microscope it is easy to see that it is all marketing, wrapped in the flag and promoted through political and media chicanery to disguise the true nature of the ideologies behind such radical assaults on American ideals as Healthy Forests, Clear Skies, No Child Left Behind, PATRIOT Act, Ownership Society and all of the other malarkey and folderol that spews forth from Rove Inc.

The very fabric of the social contract itself is being unwound, the constitution of the republic disemboweled so that the wealthiest can become wealthier, the tax cheats can continue to duck responsibility for paying their use of the infrastructure to reap profit, the tax code rewritten specifically to introduce mammoth loopholes to facilitate their willful noncompliance and the laws of the land themselves rewritten to limit the recourse of the less fortunate to hold accountable those in power. The law is also being changed so as to allow the ruling elite imperialists to loosely redefine that which constitutes terrorism so that the net becomes wide enough to entrap any dissenters to the reactionary reign of the fascist right. Corporations and the ultra rich now own congress, they subsidize the campaigns of those willing to defraud the public in their rise through the system and fully expect to be rewarded for their efforts. Corporate sponsored political organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) carefully screen all potential candidates so as to root out any progressives who would seek to close the feeding trough to ultra capitalist pigs, this further strengthens the radical right and undermines the concept of democracy. The Democratic Party itself has become so inundated with corporate hacks and compliant appeasers that it has lost its ability to act as a check on power run amok, and its fecklessness in the face of aggression bears one hell of a lot of the responsibility for the current state of this country.

What did George W. Bush do when it became apparent that his lack of response to last weeks disaster was as abysmal a failure as his leadership of the country? He made public relations appearances, he sent Laura Bush out to appear on national television. He called out the guard three days too late and when the relief convoy finally rolled into flood and mayhem roiled Louisiana it was led by a cigar chomping general, an archetype figure and just the piece of stagecraft that would demonstrate to the T.V. stewpots that law and order would damned well be restored in the American way, it if as though Patton himself were arriving to lead the charge. He enlisted the assistance of the right wing media smear machine to once again muddy the waters regarding responsibility for the disaster of New Orleans and he pulled out the race card by sending forth loyal soldier Condoleeza Rice as an emissary to show that any suggestion that his administration and the radical conservative movement was insensitive to the needs of the poor or racially insensitive to the plight of black Americans was patently absurd.

Condi, who earlier in the week while shopping for thousand dollar shoes at Ferragamo, an exclusive New York boutique was shouted down by an angry patron who screamed “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!”, the woman who was understandably incensed at seeing a top administration figure splurging lavishly on vacation while the Big Easy was being engulfed was only voicing the frustration of the growing number of Americans who realize the extent to which the pyramid of bullshit that has been constructed by this administration. The former Chevron board member was sent to the front lines to slog through the trenches of public opinion. By Sunday, Dr. Rice had her pampered ass parked in the pew of a Mobile, Alabama church where she deflected mounting criticism by proclaiming “Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race”. In reality, Rice has little in common with the poor inner city blacks that she is now directed by her boss and his handlers to champion, she has far more in common with other prominent Toms like Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and O.J. Simpson who are so smitten with their presence on the master’s plantations that they dare not even dream about biting the hand that feeds them by actually trying to bring about recognition to the problems of the poor and black second class citizens of the land. Rather they ignore them at any time when it is not necessary for public relations purposes, like their elitist benefactors they themselves become advocates of social Darwinism through their inability to utilize their positions of influence to promote concepts of humanitarianism and dignity for those who are less fortunate.

As the long Labor Day weekend wore on, the unprecedented negative media coverage given the Bush administration’s criminal neglect of the suffering citizens of New Orleans was somewhat diluted due to the fortuitously timed death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, it began to become clear that the GOP strategy would be to triangulate and redirect the blame to local officials rather than admit the embarrassing truth that every agency in America is staffed by Bush loyalist lackeys like FEMA chief and former commissioner of the Arabian Horse Association Michael Brown. The king himself stated that ‘Brownie’ was doing “a heck of a job” on Friday, giving a pat on the back to his utterly clueless and overwhelmed compadre. The best quote regarding the mind boggling level of utter incompetence of Brown belonged to Kate Hale, the former Miami-Dade emergency management chief who eloquently summed it up: “He’s done a hell of a job, because I’m not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm. The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience.”. AMEN!

The damage from the aftermath is so severe that the master of double-dealing treachery, Turd Blossom himself would personally lead the efforts to slime and discredit those who would dare to speak out against the regime in the name of the preservation of the real ‘naked’ truth that not only does the emperor have no clothes but is a fucking delusional lunatic whose incompetence is only matched by his megalomaniac fantasies of being God’s own instrument of Earthly providence.

Another pathetic opportunistic vulture is the odious Senator Bill Frist (R) TN: The flip flopping Senate Majority Leader, never one to allow a chance for publicity and self glorification go by materialized in New Orleans as a volunteer medical assistant. The heart surgeon and scion of the HCA Healthcare empire, the man who made Terri Schiavo into a personal crusade and launching pad for the 2008 GOP nomination, busied himself in triage for the benefit of the cameras although his limited participation as a volunteer would not impede his return to Washington on Tuesday for the confirmation hearings of future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Did you expect anything less from the spokesman for the radical religious right’s Justice Sunday assaults on the judiciary?

I will never forget how angry that I became when once many years ago a young woman named Dorothy who happened to be majoring in women’s studies at a local college proclaimed that “America is a land for rich white men founded by rich white men”. This was a statement which I found to be bordering on heresy at the time given my ignorance of how the system really works. Today, in retrospect, after time and education have enlightened me I am flabbergasted at just how this angered me at the time. But then I knew nothing of the true nature of our society nor of it’s at many times gruesome and sordid history. I was as oblivious to that which is now as obvious as the light of day to any who are able to rise above the lemming like mentality of the bewildered herd. In a land where twelve former U.S. Presidents were also at one time slave owners, including eight who owned them while in office it is hard to look at any broad state condoned versions of history with anything other than a skeptical eye.

This statement now ranks as one of the greatest truths that has ever been told to me in a world that is sadly lacking of them…

Thanks Dorothy….and sorry…you were right !