Imagine my surprise. Turns out Brownie was doing a heck of a job, at least in comparison to everyone around him including the President of the United States of America. Pay close attention America, here is yet ANOTHER example of the lies and incompetence of this administration. It is often difficult for average citizens to connect the dots because they come so far apart. We see a year later that the elections in Ohio were stolen, and we fail to feel outraged because it was so long ago. Well, yesterday the other shoe dropped in the Hurricane Katrina debacle and once again, it reveals that the most dishonest presidency in American history has been caught again.
For those who do not remember, late last August, Hurricane Katrina strengthened to a category five and headed toward landfall in New Orleans. What ensued was at best, negligent homicide by our government, as over 1,300 people died during the storm and mostly, in the mismanagement that followed. Survivors poured into the Superdome, only to see a worse disaster result. The National Guard was called in, orders to shoot first were given, mercenaries were called in, reports of snipers abounded, bodies randomly floated by on news reports as the Sheppard Smiths and Geraldo Riveras of the world fell apart on national television. Hours passed by and turned into days. Our president was on vacation you see, and apparently the national disaster was not enough to pry him away from the scheduled photo ops. When President Bush finally did address the nation, he looked America in the eye and said that no one could have anticipated the breaching of the levees, which led to so much of the death and destruction. You see, the hurricane itself claimed some lives, but it was the flooding which followed that did the most damage, which was a direct result of the levees not holding. Here was our president, DAYS after the fact, assuring us that no one could have foresaw this, trust me.
In the investigations that followed it was discovered that the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, was woefully unqualified to hold that position. The highest job he had previously held was to head up the Arabian Horse Association and lets just say that did not turn out any better than his stint at FEMA, albeit without the loss of life. Additionally, his resume was largely fabricated, including claiming to be a supervisor where he was an intern and asserting he had won an Outstanding Political Science Professor award at a college, where he was actually a student, not a professor. For a detailed recap, see the article I had done then, here:
Michael Brown became the poster child for the cronyism that infects this administration. The head of FEMA was a life-saving position and your president thought NOTHING of giving the job to someone who was terminated from a job involving horses. This all culminated when in the middle of the firestorm, Bush went to Louisiana and proclaimed, Youre doing a heck of a job Brownie! America back-lashed and soon Brown would step down (although still collect income from the government).
Fast forward several months and we see Michael Brown again, testifying before Congress and being grilled merciless by such mentally-challenged senators as Norm Coleman. Clearly, the administration had sent the message to the GOP that Brownie would be the fall guy. After all, its not like there is any evidence to contradict this oops.
Secondly, the video shows a defiant, cocky Bush, not bothering to ask a single question, after he had been briefed. Instead, he simply assured them, we are fully prepared. History has proven him wrong yet again, and over 1,300 people paid for that arrogance with their lives. Ironically, the only person who seemed to be genuinely on point was the former Arabian Horse Association employee, Brownie. The video shows Michael Brown saying his gut was telling him this was going to be a bad one. At another point he was seen telling President Bush and Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff, that he was concerned about the amount of disaster teams available to assist evacuees at the Superdome, and their ability to respond to a catastrophe, within a catastrophe.
What does this all mean? It means that the Bush Administration has been caught again lying directly to the people they are supposed to answer to. It shows that when Bush spoke to the American people four days after the hurricane and swore no one could have anticipated the breach of the levees, that he was lying. It shows that the government had plenty of advance warning and the one body they are trying to throw on the table, Brown, appears to be the only one who had a relative clue.
Maybe history will judge Michael Brown less harshly. I originally thought he was in over his head and uncaring. Maybe he was just in over his head. It appears he may have cared but ran into the bureaucracy that employed him. This is not to excuse him, because he still lied on his resume to get into a position that was responsible for protecting lives. Ultimately, lives were lost on his watch. The derision he has experienced has been well deserved.
Now however, it is time to hold those responsible for their actions, or lack thereof. In response to this video, the administration had the unmitigated gall to say yesterday, I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing." I tell you what, it is time for the American people to rise up and demand accountability. If they cannot release another video of another briefing that contradicts what this one shows, then it is time for independent investigations, subpoenas, and indictments. It is time for people who casually lean back on vacation while 1,300 people die, to be held to account for their negligence.
There is only one way that will ever happen America and that is coming up this November. The mid-term elections are crucial to taking back this country from the people who make it their business to lie to you. The Republican Congress has served as nothing but a rubber stamp for this administration. Bush gets caught wiretapping citizens illegally, and is defended. He gets caught exposing a CIA operatives identity and he gets defended for it. The American people stand up and say NO to social security scams, and Bush puts it in the budget anyway without any press and congress goes along. The American people stand up and say no to turning over the security of our ports to an Arab company and Congress supports the administration. Deals are made in the back rooms. Talks of investigations get stifled as the wheels of time roll on. One crooked Congressman goes down, and another takes his place.
1,300 of your fellow citizens died last August and from all indications, not all of them had to die. Wind and rain can kill, but so can arrogance. Rising water poses a serious threat to life, but so does apathy and incompetence. If you or I accidentally caused the death of someone, we would face charges of negligence. Why do we not hold our elected officials to an equal standard? The Vice President shoots someone in the face and gets to sleep on it before talking to police. This is not the country I grew up in. Is it the country you wish to raise your children in? Where the president of the United States stays on vacation for four days while your neighbors drown and then when he has the decency to address us, he cannot even be honest?
Michael Brown was worried about a catastrophe within a catastrophe and THAT is exactly what it is like living in this country during this administration. This Republican Congress and presidency will leave the legacy of a catastrophe within a catastrophe. This November provides you with another opportunity to reverse this catastrophe. Heck of a job they have all done and it is time to let them know that we still do care about accountability. We still believe in personal and governmental responsibility. We still believe in a country where the natural catastrophe should be worse than the management catastrophe that ensues. We believe the lives of 1,300 of our neighbors have more value than a sound bite, an empty promise, and the dots that remain unconnected.