September 4, 2005
By Rob Kall
We have to start hiring the best people based on competence, excellence and experience, not based on political loyalty and the ability to suck up, lie and cover-up.
::::::::Its agonizingly clear that George Bushs policy for appointing people to responsible jobs, based on his ability to trust them to be controllable lackeys, is a horrible disaster.
The list is horribly long and is only a matter of time until these Bush time-bombs explode, allowing more disasters, more catastrophic losses to occurin lives, suffering, financially
But heres a short list:
Michael Chertoff, head of homeland security. This dissembling, puppet for the administration had the gall, or stupidity or blind non-compassion to describe the progress in New Orleans, as "really exceptional," when thousands were drowning and starving, when there was no leadership in charge of the rescue. The good news was that this so shocked the reporters on the ground that his outrageous, totally out of touch with reality statement may have spurred them on to start asking tougher questions and reporting the failures of the agencies who were not to be seen doing their jobs.. As the head of all the agencies, the buck stops, outside of master incompetent George Bush, with Chertoff.
Chertoff told Wolf Blitzer, on CNN:
This was not just a hurricane, it was a hurricane that was followed by a flood. IT was like conducting a rescue effort for a tsunami while the water was still on the ground.
We moved as rapidly as we could to mobilize resources and the national guard and get them here.
Lets be clear here that hes right. The disaster was the floodinga disaster due primarily to funds that were withheld to do a job already budgeted and planned for. The funds were withheld by Bush and his right wing republican legislator supporters. And they were not demanded by the incompetent appointees Bush put in to run these key agencies. Their failure to speak out was when the disaster started, not when the hurricane hit.
Frank Rich, in the NY Times compares Chertoffs response to the movie Titanic:
In that sense, the inequality of the suffering has not only exposed the sham of the relentless photo-ops with black schoolchildren whom the president trots out at campaign time to sell his "compassionate conservatism"; it has also positioned Katrina before a rapt late-summer audience as a replay of the sinking of the Titanic. New Orleans's first-class passengers made it safely into lifeboats; for those in steerage, it was a horrifying spectacle of every man, woman and child for himself.
THE captain in this case, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, was so oblivious to those on the lower decks that on Thursday he applauded the federal response to the still rampaging nightmare as "really exceptional." He told NPR that he had "not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water" - even though every television viewer in the country had been hearing of those 25,000 stranded refugees for at least a day. This Titanic syndrome, too, precisely echoes the post-9/11 wartime history of an administration that has rewarded the haves at home with economic goodies while leaving the have-nots to fight in Iraq without proper support in manpower or armor. Surely it's only a matter of time before Mr. Chertoff and the equally at sea FEMA director, Michael Brown (who also was among the last to hear about the convention center), are each awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in line with past architects of lethal administration calamity like George Tenet and Paul Bremer.
So lets talk about Michael Brown, who was fired from his last job for incompetency.
Chertoff says, to Wolf Blitzer, as Im writing this article, I think Michael Brown has a lot of experience and has done an incredible job under the circumstances. Fire this lying, dissembling sycophant. Blitzer, to his credit, and out of character, holds Chertoffs feet to the fire and replies that it is well known that Michael Brown spent ten years managing an Arabian horse association (which he was fired from.) How does that give him experience? Chertoff replies that Brown spent the last year dealing with four hurricanes. It makes you think. Brown learned on the job. How badly did he screw up rescue on those hurricanes. Why didnt Bush put strong, experienced people on the job? Fire Brown. Sue him for the unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.
Then theres Bush Apologist/ Alibi Provider Head of Army Corps of Engineers Commandant Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, a pure shill who failed to prevent the flood, failed to fight for the funding that Bush cut from planned project to strengthen the levees. He lied and told the world that they werent prepared for a category five storm hitting the levees, that they were designed to resist being hit by a category three storm. Now we know that the hurricane that hit the levees was only a category 2 storm. This man, who also fired a whistleblower who reported inappropriate contracts with Halliburton, is a trigger man, shill who is willing to lie on command for Bush. Fire him. Sue him for the unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.
But lets take a step back. Bush doesnt do this alone. He does it with the full support of the right wing extremists who have taken over the Republican party. He does it with the support of the right wing media echo chamber and the policy promotion think tanks. He does it with the support of faux Christians like James Dobson, Pat Robertson (I challenge these frauds to sue me) who sell their souls and lead millions of well intentioned Christians to sell their souls by supporting and electing these leaders who are so profoundly evil.
Former presidential candidate and magazine scion Steve Forbes says that weve recovered from disasters like this before. But have we ever recovered from a situation where so many incompetent political appointees were running the country, in jobs they were so hopelessly incapable of handling. We need real leaders, real, competent, experienced administrators who dont learn on the disaster job.
We need to fire Chertoff, Strock and Brown, fire Bush, Cheney and the right wing extremist republicans so we can rescue America from the third world nationhood we are barreling headlong towards becoming.
We need to let the republican sycophant, rubber stamp Bush puppets and the turncoat democrat centrists, like Lieberman, Biden, Landrieu, Schumer know that we will not tolerate one more piss-poor appointment, that we will no longer settle for less than superb appointees, that we will no longer settle for Bushs interim appointees of Judges or idiots, like Bolton, but then, to paraphrase Mark Twain, I repeat myself.
That means we must reject Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. We deserve a great judge, one who has shown the ability to rise above politicsone who both Democrats and Republicans, Greens and Libertarians will be proud and happy to see appointed. That should be the new standard for appointees. We must put an end to this period where Republican rule in the house and senate has allowed sleazy, un-impressive political appointees who are like foxes in the henhouse.
Tell your local paper, your congressman and senators We have to start hiring the best people based on competence, excellence and experience, not based on political loyalty and the ability to suck up, lie and cover-up. Click here to easily send an email to your local newspaper, congressman and senators
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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