Political Critic Archives - September 2005

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                       September 2005

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Allowed Judith Miller to Rot in Jail

Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter, was released from jail yesterday after spending 85 days behind bars for not revealing her source.  As it turns out, her source was Lewis "Scooter" Libbey, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.  Libby could have released Miller from her confidentiality agreement three months ago, but he instead decided to keep quiet and let her stay in jail to protect him.

What an evil person Scooter Libby is.  He could've come out at any time and allowed Judith Miller to testify to avoid her going to jail.  But he said nothing for months.  His attorney's are already hitting the airwaves declaring that they could've been contacted months ago and Miller would've avoided going to jail.  That is such a load of bull.  Libby is now hiding behind his lawyers and making Miller out to look bad. 

Now that Miller is out, she testified before the grand jury that Libby was her source.  This is important because the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, may indict both Lewis Libby and the evil Karl Rove for revealing the identity of a CIA operative to the media.

So, for those keeping track, we now have one indictment already handed down (Delay), and three other prominent political leaders being investigated (Frist, Libby, Rove).  It is very possible that the Senate Majority Leader, the House Majority Leader, the Vice President's Chief of Staff, and the Senior Advisor to President Bush could all be indicted for criminal activity. 

These Republicans are starting to look a lot like the Nixon Administration!


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Republican Senate & House Majority Leaders in Major Trouble

Finally, the ultimate dirty politician, Tom Delay was indicted yesterday by a grand jury on one count of criminal conspiracy.  He has been accused of using corporate money to help Republican candidates win state campaigns in 2002.  His illegal actions allowed the Republicans to hold a majority in the State of Texas.  The House Majority Leader was forced to step down from his post.  For his part, the scumbag cried and moaned that he had done nothing wrong.  Yeah right!  This coming from a man who should already be in jail.  He has been 'admonished' three times already for ethical violations.  Those ethical violations he committed would normally put people on probation or in jail, but for corrupt politicians, they just get slapped on the wrist.  Now that someone had the audacity to actually indict him, Delay seems to think it unfair.  Tom Delay is a crooked, dirty, corrupt, Congressman and it is about time that someone stood up to the thug.

Not to be outdone, Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being investigated for a very suspicious stock sale.   The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a formal investigation of the politician, as he sold stock in his family's company (HCA) just weeks before the company announced very poor earnings which made the stock plummet.  Trading stock on information not available to the public is illegal.  Frist had ordered his portfolio managers to sell the stock out of his BLIND trust.

For those of you unfamiliar with a blind trust, it is an investment account that is set up where the individual (Frist) is not aware of the holdings and movement of the assets.  Politicians set up blind trusts to avoid the appearance of impropriety.  However, Frist was getting updates many times about his investments and denying that he knew what was in the portfolios.  Bill Frist has even stated publicly that it is illegal for him to have any knowledge of what is in the accounts and that he didn't know what was in them.  So how could he have possibly known that HCA was in the blind trust?  It is illegal for him to know that.  It is also illegal to direct his portfolio managers to sell.  And, of course, it is illegal to trade on inside information, which Frist obviously had.

So we now have the leaders of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate under investigation for criminal conduct.  What great leadership the Republicans have put before us.  It has become abundantly clear that the leaders of this country are nothing more than common criminals.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Inexcusable 14 Hour Traffic Jams In Houston!!!

Well, it looks like state and local officials are as incompetent as the government in New Orleans.  They have issued mandatory evacuations and told everyone to head inland, but they didn't free up any of the extra lanes to traffic and they haven't given anyone alternative routes or options.  You can't evacuate 1.8 million people on one four-lane highway!

There is now a 100 mile backup leaving Houston.  However, the southbound lanes on I-45 were empty until this afternoon.  There have been reports from drivers of only moving 48 miles in 13 hours.  Many cars are running out of gas and people are abandoning their cars on the side of the road.  What happens if the hurricane hits when these people are still on the road?  Tropical storm force winds are set to hit the Houston area in less than 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in their haste to declare evacuations for the entire coastal part of the state, officials have pushed everyone in the same direction.  However, many coastal of Texas will not even be damaged and pose no risk.  Corpus Christi, which has been under mandatory evacuations, will not get any part of Hurricane Rita.  It is well outside the so-called "cone of uncertainty".  In fact, the people fleeing toward Austin and Dallas could probably cruise right on down to Corpus Christi and avoid all traffic. 

Why aren't we hearing from government officials to tell people to head down the coast to Corpus Christi or Brownsville?  The traffic is non-existent in that direction.  Forecasters have already determined that the hurricane will spare that area, so why aren't they saying anything?


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Exposes Incompetence of Bush Administration

I still find it unbelievable that Bush downsized FEMA and allowed all of his inexperienced friends run the organization into the ground.  I guess we shouldn't be surprised by this, as Bush doesn't even live in the real world.  Bill Maher was on MSNBC last night and said it best that Bill Clinton never would have allowed this to happen.

Clinton was a lot of things (arrogant, unethical, immoral), but he was smart enough to handle situations such as Hurricanes and natural disasters.  He would have been right on top of it. Especially this far into his administration.  FEMA ran relatively smoothly under him.  Many qualified experts who ran FEMA under Clinton have left and were replaced by incompetent Bush people.

Bush is talking about spending another $200 Billion to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  The problem is that he won't tell anyone how he's going to pay for it.  That's because he isn't going to pay for it.  He seems to think that balancing a budget is unnecessary.  He has no qualms about leaving the bill for the next guy, much like Reagan did to Bush Sr.

Now, we have Hurricane Rita bearing down on Texas.  I'm sure Bush will promise the devastated areas tons of money.  He won't cut any programs or reduce spending anywhere else, but he'll make lots of promises and commitments.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush Accepts Responsibility For Mistakes in Hurricane Relief

Well, it took more than two weeks, but President Bush came out this morning and took responsibility for the mistakes the federal government made in response to Hurricane Katrina.  Give him credit for taking responsibility, even if he did do it very late and perhaps because of sinking poll numbers.  State and local government officials have yet to believe they were at fault in any manner.

Neither Bush nor FEMA officials showed any urgency in the days after the hurricane.  Bush was on vacation and had announced only the day after the tragedy that he would cut short his vacation.  However, he did not cut it short until the following day.

Now that Bush has taken verbal responsibility, he needs to take action to back up his words.  Five of the top eight people at FEMA were political appointments.  The cronies Bush has in place there have virtually no experience in emergency management.  The Director, Mike Brown, was forced to resign, but the other four people at the top of that agency with no experience need to be let go.  Bush also needs to launch an independent investigation into the cause of the failure.  The partisan investigation he had previously announced is useless.  It would be people investigating themselves.


Monday, September 12, 2005

The Buck Stops....Somewhere Else!

When given the chance to accept any responsibility for the tragedy in New Orleans, virtually every political leader has passed the buck and blamed someone else.  On Meet The Press on Sunday, the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin was interviewed by Tim Russert.  When Mr. Russert asked him what his biggest mistake has been thus far, Mr. Nagin said he relied too much on the federal government to come to the rescue.  It was a lay-up question that he could've answered in a number of ways.  However, he didn't seem to think he had personally made any mistakes.  Are you kidding me?!?!?

Let's start with when he declared a mandatory evacuation of the city.  He issued that statement only 20 hours before the Hurricane Katrina hit.  He could've issued it a full 24+ hours before that, which would have allowed more people to evacuate.  He knew early on Saturday, August 27th that a major hurricane would hit New Orleans and breach the levees.  He knew the city would flood and he also knew that there were an innumerate number of poor people in his city that didn't have the means to evacuate.  For a hurricane that has been predicted for decades, he acted like it was his first day on the job.  The responsibility to evacuate New Orleans was his and he failed miserably.

There is clearly a lot of blame to go around, but the mayor had a chance to step up to the plate and he failed yet again.  He should resign immediately for complete incompetence.


Friday, September 9, 2005

FEMA Leaders Have No Experience!

Michael Brown, the Director of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and two other top leaders have essentially NO EXPERIENCE in handling disasters.  How did they get their jobs as the heads of a major federal agency?  Well, they had ties to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.  Surprise, Surprise!!!  President Bush appointed his cronies to positions of power, whether they have experience or not.  No wonder they didn't respond to this disaster appropriately.  They didn't know how.

What was Michael Brown doing before being appointed to Director of FEMA?  Perhaps he was running an emergency response team on a state level?  Or maybe he was consulting on how to handle emergencies?  No, that would make too much sense.  What he was doing was running a horse sporting group!  Yes, that's right.  He was playing with horses.  Sounds like he's qualified to me!  What's worse is that it's not just Michael Brown.  FEMA's chief of staff, Patrick Rhode, has experience as a television reporter.  But he helped on the Bush Presidential campaign in 2000, so he was all set.

Now I'm sure all the fascist, neocons on the right will simply blame the "liberal media" for this story.  It is their standard defense whenever a story comes out that portrays them in a bad light.  You must be a crazy liberal if you have the gall to blame anyone on the right!!!


Monday, September 5, 2005

How Did This Tragedy Happen?

To understand what has happened in New Orleans over the last week, you must realize how New Orleans was before the hurricane hit.  New Orleans was a city that was rich in culture, but it was also a dangerous, crime infested city with incompetent city officials and police officers.  There were many, many parts of the city that tourists simply could not go to for fear of being robbed, raped, or worse.  Police never had control of certain parts of the city.  It was a city that was extremely poor, with many people living off of welfare and in public housing projects.  It is important to know this because you can then see how the city spiraled out of control so quickly.

The state and local government officials had absolutely no plan in place to deal with a this hurricane, despite having more than 48 hours notice.  The crime and looting came almost immediately after the hurricane.  Many police officers deserted their posts.  Since parts of the city were already very dangerous, with police barely keeping law and order, it was not a huge leap to see thugs and gangs taking over the streets.

However, the part I keep coming back to is all those people in the Superdome and in the Convention Center.  The behavior of these citizens didn't make any sense to me.  I couldn't understand why these people wouldn't just use their two feet and leave the city after the storm.  Common sense would tell us to get up and walk out of the city, much like New Yorkers did after September 11th.  And then it occurred to me; many of these people literally lived off of the government and thought it was the responsibility of the government to take care of them.  To be sure, there were those that were elderly that simply couldn't leave, but a large number of them were residents living on welfare with no money and no plan.

New Orleans had evolved into a welfare state and it didn't become apparent to the rest of the country until Hurricane Katrina came through and uncovered it.  It is not terrible to live off of welfare for the short term.  In fact, it is a necessary resource for the temporarily unemployed.  However, when you live off of it forever and never attempt to bring yourself out of it, it becomes a huge problem.

Now we come to the problem that Houston will inevitably face.  The numbers are all over the place, but somewhere north of 200,000 people have taken up shelter in that area on behalf of the government.  The question is how long the city and state will support these people and whether the people will be able to live on their own at some point in the next few months.  If not, Houston will have an enormous number of people who will want an endless free handout from the government.


Sunday, September 4, 2005

Time is Running Out for Search and Rescue

Rescues are continuing on rooftops by the U.S. Coast Guard, but they are running out of time and they have said that they will not be able to get everyone.  More than six days have passed and the people trapped on their roofs or in their attics do not have access to food or water.  The Coast Guard is rescuing thousands of people every day.  It is estimated that 17,000 people have been rescued from their roofs by the Coast Guard.  The number is absolutely astounding and there are still many more remaining.  The pilots, the true heroes in this tragedy, are exhausted and bleary eyed, but they refuse to rest for any length of time.  The stranded residents can only survive for so long without food or water.

Emotions are running high, as a President of one parish in Louisiana openly wept on Meet the Press this morning.  Blame is rightfully being directed toward the administration and FEMA, but the White House is already in spin mode, flipping the blame in the direction of the Democratic Governor of Louisiana.

Not one person in the federal government or FEMA has taken responsibility for the long delay in supplies.  Not one person has had the cajones to step up to the plate.  Instead, they are pointing fingers at others.  It is a pathetic display of leadership.

The thing about a hurricane is that you can see it coming a day or two or more in advance.  Everyone knew that this would be a monster storm.  Relief should have been on the ground by Tuesday morning at the latest.  However, it took until Friday afternoon for food and water to arrive.


Saturday, September 3, 2005

Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died.

William Rehnquist, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has died tonight.  He had been battling thyroid cancer and had been hospitalized twice over the last year.  He was 80 years old.  Rehnquist had a long and distinguished career.  He led the Supreme Court for over 18 years.  He was nominated by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and took his seat in 1972 at the age of 47.  He was elevated to Supreme Justice in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

There are now two openings on the Supreme Court.  Rehnquist was an ardent conservative, so it is not expected that his replacement will shift the balance of power the way Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement will.


Friday, September 2, 2005

Mayor of New Orleans Screams at Feds to Get Off Their Ass!

If you didn't think it could get any worse, you would be wrong.  While the President has now acknowledged that the results of relief are unacceptable, there are still no troops to be seen.  The Governor of Louisiana demanded 40,000 troops two days ago, but the Director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff will only give her 1,400 a day for three days.  That is only 4,200 troops and it will take until at least Sunday to get there.  Michael Chertoff still does not get it.  People are being raped and murdered, police are being forced to retreat from armed thugs, and he will only send 1/10 of the troops that are needed.  Meanwhile, people can't get out of the city and food and water can't get in because people are being shot at.  FEMA relief workers cannot get the supplies in because of the urban warfare.


Thursday, September 1, 2005

Complete Anarchy in New Orleans!

Three days have passed and conditions are continuing to worsen in New Orleans.  There is no food, no water, and no security.  Gangs of thugs are shooting people and attempting to rape women.  Snipers are firing on medical helicopters and relief workers are facing urban warfare.  Buses that were to transport thousands of residents to the Houston Astrodome could not enter the city because they were being shot at.  One National Guard member said he would feel safer in Iraq.  It has gotten that bad.  It is complete chaos.  People are dying of dehydration.  Many people have left the city and are aimlessly wondering around Baton Rouge and other towns.  In one police station, 20% of the force has left town and the remaining officers are down to defending their own station.

Assistance from the federal government is still nowhere to be found.   The relief effort is a complete disgrace.  The United States can help other countries, but when it comes to helping their own people, they are not doing anything.


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