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    08 September 2005

    Powell opens up; WMD BS 'a blot'!

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    Along with the al Qaeda link, the road to war was BS and I knew it.
    ...Powell said, "the intelligence system did not work well."

    "There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of those sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up," Powell said.

    "That devastated me," he said.

    Powell in the TV interview also disputed the Bush administration's linking of Saddam's regime with terrorists.

    He said he had never seen a connection between Baghdad and the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. "I can't think otherwise, because I'd never seen evidence to suggest there was one," he said.

    But he's "right there with him [Bush] with the use of force..." for Saddam's numerous violations. Well, what about Israel???

    Better story here

    Pics from Grounzero

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    The Bob Brigham of Swing State Project has entered NOLA and is providing some pics of "Lake George"; he'll have more at www.operationflashlight.com.

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    Sky News - Ireland

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    07 September 2005

    Things I want answered and/or addressed by our media and government.

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    Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Monday, the 29th of August.

    Mr. Bush, why were you eating cake with Senator McCain on Monday the 29th and playing guitar with some country singer the next day?

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    Why was a Senior Bush Administration official quoted by two major national papers saying that Gov. Blanco of Louisiana failed to declare a state of emergency in the site of interest? This official letter (pdf) states that Gov. Blanco ordered the state of emergency on the 26th; at least two days before the hurricane blew ashore. That said, why was this letter not sent until the 28th?

    Why, on Friday 2 September, did President Bush stage a photo op in front of a fake levee that appeared to be repaired? And why did Sen. Landreiu have to fly over the site to find out that the levee was not repaired? Finally, were the helicopter and personnel you used at this site as props pulled off of rescue operations and other essential logistics.

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    Why are Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett coordinating damage control operations? And could those operations have anything to do with clear shifts in Republican talking points such as this
    Boustany on the 2nd :
    Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., (R-La.), said he spent the past 48 hours urging the Bush administration to send help. "I started making calls and trying to impress upon the White House and others that something needed to be done," he said. "The state resources were being overwhelmed, and we needed direct federal assistance, command and control, and security -- all three of which are lacking."

    Boustany on Monday the 5th:
    BOUSTANY: [M]ost of the red tape and problems have been at the state level. I have to say that the federal response has been focused on New Orleans with search and rescue operations which is going very, very well at this stage. But we've had a completely ineffectual state response and this is being borne by the local communities to help now. And I have asked the president to take this into consideration, consider that the state response is completely ineffectual and the full range of social and health care needs to be met.

    Should I remind Mr. Boustany that the Department for Homeland Security’s website states that "[i]n the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation."? Do Mr. Boutsany, Michael Brown and the Director of Homeland Security not see the similarities of what took place in New Orleans and just about any scenario of terror imaginable?

    Why was there so much documented confusion at the federal level?
    For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge, according to three White House officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Beginning early in the week, Justice Department lawyers presented arguments for federalizing the Guard, but Defense Department lawyers fretted about untrained 19-year-olds trying to enforce local laws, according to a senior law-enforcement official who requested anonymity citing the delicate nature of the discussions.

    Why were trained firemen, as Mayor Ray Nagin begged publicly for aid, routed away from the Gulf Coast and into Atlanta to receive unnecessary training and sexual harassment seminars from FEMA in order to become community-relations officers ?

    Why was Northern Command not called sooner or why did they not react quicker to aid the needy in NOLA and the rest of the remaining Gulf Coast? NorthCom Lt. Commander (video) Sean Kelly said that his unit was prepared to give military support, distribute medical supplies, perform search and rescue operations, distribute food and water, and meet transportation needs. When Lt. Kelly was asked about the slow response, he stated that the president did not make the right call at the right time.

    Why was the USS Bataan positioned behind the storm, equipped with 6 operating rooms, 600 beds for patients and many more for others, the ability to make 100,000 gallons of water a day, helicopter accessible, a large staff of doctors and nurses covering a wide swath of medical specialties (including surgeons, pediatricians, heart specialists, a psychiatrist and even a physical therapist) not called into ground zero to aid in relief efforts? Were they associated with NorthCom?

    Is the following enough of a warning to make this, now famous, Bush quote a questionable statement at best; "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached." If you go here you’ll see a large amount of statements made in the public record by Senators and Representatives recently. The list includes Sen. Landreiu, Sen. Blumenauer, Sen. Edwards, and Mr. Jones. Furthermore you can read a lengthy report in Scientific America on the reality of the very disaster that happened one week ago Tuesday; Drowning New Orleans link. Plus, FEMA and the DHS recently prepared for an event of a very similar scenario, called Hurricane Pam (more) (link to Homeland Security site).

    Finally, Mr. President, you campaigned around the illusion of safety; you even had Cheney threaten the voters stating that the country would be attacked again if Bush-Cheney were not reelected. So what do you have to say now? This was a disaster waiting to happen, and it was widely known, and should have been prepared for. This event has had one absolute truth; we are not safe, and we are not secure. Should a terrorist attack again; whether by plane, dirty-bomb, chemical or biological devices, or a full-fledged nuclear weapon, we now know what the results would be in Bush America. Dead bodies as far as the eye can see.


    Drinking Liberally - Charleston

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    How much worse can it get?

    I heard one if my favorite local activists call in to Stephanie
    Miller today, telling about the Katrina evacuees Charleston had been
    put on alert to receive. Time went by and by and by. No evacuees.
    They were sent to Charleston, all right: CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA.
    Isn't there a way to impeach the whole administration?

    And Kanye West is fast becoming our favorite rapper with his comments
    at NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief" last Friday: "George Bush
    doesn't care about black people. I hate the way they portray us in
    the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a
    white family, it says they're looking for food." From the coverage
    I've witnessed, Kanye speaks the truth.

    And what about Barbara?? Now we know where W gets his smirk; you can
    hear it on the audio. "So many of the people here, you know, were
    underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them," she
    told National Public Radio. "What I'm hearing, which is sort of
    scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed
    by the hospitality."

    Sharing Liberally ....
    Join fellow libs for the march for peace in DC Sept 24! Details are
    on the DL Charleston forum.
    Come share a drink and share your views in the company of like-minded
    liberals every week. Your only cost is your drink (unless you drink
    water, and I bet that's free).

    Voodoo Lounge
    15 Magnolia Road
    West Ashley
    5:30 till 8:30-ish

    Liberally yours,
    marilyn, Leslie, Mandi & Lane

    FEMA stalls after Katrina

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    I'm afraid I'm going to be on this for a while. This, hurricanes, is my area of study and I am shocked at how unprepared we really were last week. Blame Bush or not; clearly something needs to change. My list of questions for our government coming up this evening.

    hurricane relief | Red Cross

    Two preliminary questions; why did the FEMA director, Michael Brown, wait five hours before contacting the DHS for workers to support rescuers on the Gulf Coast and why did he then give the rescuers two days to arrive? Brown should have had this done on the weekend before Katrina made landfall. Even if the storm hadn't hit NOLA it was still going to hit somewhere and was clearly a large, dangerous storm. As of Sunday it was the strongest hurricane ever in the Gulf of Mexico.


    05 September 2005

    Barb Bush: What a bitch!

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    Image taken from Public Domain Progress (click pic for link :) )

    From E&P:
    In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to Houston."

    Then she added: "What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

    "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

    What a heartless witch.

    [UPDATE]full text
    Almost everyone I've talked to says we're going to move to Houston. What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

    And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.

    Foolish Fratboys Fudged FEMA

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    Bush appointed inexperienced cronies to head FEMA. This could have something to do with FEMA's piss poor response to Katrina.

    From Paul Krugman:
    "Several recent news analyses on FEMA's sorry state
    have attributed the agency's decline to its inclusion
    in the Department of Homeland Security, whose prime
    concern is terrorism, not natural disasters. But that
    supposed change in focus misses a crucial part of the

    For one thing, the undermining of FEMA began as soon
    as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a
    professional with expertise in responses to disaster
    to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph
    Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh
    quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's
    preparedness programs.

    You might have expected the administration to
    reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness
    after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as
    important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it
    is following a natural disaster. As many people have
    noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we
    are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today
    than we were four years ago.

    But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the
    appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's

    Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than
    having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr.
    Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston
    Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous
    job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh
    left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw
    cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the
    administration felt for the agency; one can only
    imagine the effects on staff morale."

    04 September 2005

    Ahhh... Democracy in Egypt

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    So much for that...
    Egypt's electoral commission says it will not allow independent groups to monitor Wednesday's presidential election, defying a court ruling.

    The commission said only supervisors, candidates and their representatives would be allowed in polling stations.

    The decision has fuelled fears of vote rigging in the country's first multi-candidate presidential poll.

    Campaigning ends on Sunday, with incumbent President Hosni Mubarak widely expected to win.

    But he's a friendly dictator. Those never turn out bad do they?

    New Orleans newspaper writes a letter to the President

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    The Times-Picayune of New Orleans on Sunday published its third print edition since the hurricane disaster struck, chronicling the arrival, finally, of some relief but also taking President Bush to task for his handling of the crisis, and calling for the firing of FEMA director Michael Brown and others.


    It also cited "bald-faced" lies by Michael Brown. "Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach," the staffers pointed out. "We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry."

    E&P link with full text of letter.


    Greg Mitchell of E&P calls this dereliction of duty. Titled "My Pet Goat".

    Rp's event timeline
    of this disaster. The white house was completly disconected and out of the loop. Mr President please never go on vacation again! You seem to miss so much and only bad things happen while your on vacation (2001, 2005 in particular).


    BBC hits hard on the American fantasy

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    Katrina has quickly become an international event and with that comes another dialogue. One from the outside free of patriotism, bias or fear. The BBC creates a new picture of the American dream from one broadcasters perspective.
    The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better.

    It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream.

    The party in power in Washington is always happy to convey the impression of 50 states moving forward together in social and economic harmony towards a bigger and better America.

    That is what presidential campaigning is all about.

    But what the devastating consequences of Katrina have shown - along with the response to it - is that for too long now, the fabric of this complex and overstretched country, especially in states like Louisiana and Mississippi, has been neglected and ignored.


    First there was an extraordinary complacency, mixed together with what seemed like over-reaction, before the storm.

    A genuinely heroic mayor orders a total evacuation of the city the day before Katrina arrives, knowing that for decades now, New Orleans has been living on borrowed time.

    The National Guard and federal emergency personnel stay tucked up at home.

    The havoc of Katrina had been predicted countless times on a local and federal level - even to the point where it was acknowledged that tens of thousands of the poorest residents would not be able to leave the city in advance.

    No official plan was ever put in place for them.


    The Bush administration, together with Congress, cut the budgets for flood protection and army engineers, while local politicians failed to generate any enthusiasm for local tax increases.


    The truth was simple and apparent to all. If journalists were there with cameras beaming the suffering live across America, where were the officers and troops?

    The neglect that meant it took five days to get water, food, and medical care to thousands of mainly orderly African-American citizens desperately sheltering in huge downtown buildings of their native city, has been going on historically, for as long as the inadequate levees have been there.


    Again, no-one wanted to pick up the bill or deal with the realities of race relations in the 21st Century.

    Too often in the so-called "New South", they still look positively 19th Century.

    "Shoot the looters" is good rhetoric, but no lasting solution.


    When President Bush told "Good Morning America" on Thursday morning that nobody could have "anticipated" the breach of the New Orleans levees, it pointed to not only a remote leader in denial, but a whole political class.


    The country has to choose whether it wants to rebuild the levees and destroyed communities, with no expense spared for the future - or once again brush off that responsibility, and blame the other guy.


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