12
Sep
2005

To All My Fellow Americans Who Voted for George W. Bush

On this, the fourth anniversary of 9/11, I'm just curious, how does it feel?

How does it feel to know that the man you elected to lead us after we were attacked went ahead and put a guy in charge of FEMA whose main qualification was that he ran horse shows?

That's right. Horse shows.

I really want to know -- and I ask you this in all sincerity and with all due respect -- how do you feel about the utter contempt Mr. Bush has shown for your safety? C'mon, give me just a moment of honesty. Don't start ranting on about how this disaster in New Orleans was the fault of one of the poorest cities in America. Put aside your hatred of Democrats and liberals and anyone with the last name of Clinton. Just look me in the eye and tell me our President did the right thing after 9/11 by naming a horse show runner as the top man to protect us in case of an emergency or catastrophe.

I want you to put aside your self-affixed label of Republican/conservative/born-again/capitalist/ditto-head/right-winger and just talk to me as an American, on the common ground we both call America.

Are we safer now than before 9/11? When you learn that behind the horse show runner, the #2 and #3 men in charge of emergency preparedness have zero experience in emergency preparedness, do you think we are safer?

When you look at Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, a man with little experience in national security, do you feel secure?

When men who never served in the military and have never seen young men die in battle send our young people off to war, do you think they know how to conduct a war? Do they know what it means to have your legs blown off for a threat that was never there?

Do you really believe that turning over important government services to private corporations has resulted in better services for the people?

Why do you hate our federal government so much? You have voted for politicians for the past 25 years whose main goal has been to de-fund the federal government. Do you think that cutting federal programs like FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers has been good or bad for America? GOOD OR BAD?

With the nation's debt at an all-time high, do you think tax cuts for the rich are still a good idea? Will you give yours back so hundreds of thousands of homeless in New Orleans can have a home?

Do you believe in Jesus? Really? Didn't he say that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us? Hurricane Katrina came in and blew off the facade that we were a nation with liberty and justice for all. The wind howled and the water rose and what was revealed was that the poor in America shall be left to suffer and die while the President of the United States fiddles and tells them to eat cake.

That's not a joke. The day the hurricane hit and the levees broke, Mr. Bush, John McCain and their rich pals were stuffing themselves with cake. A full day after the levees broke (the same levees whose repair funding he had cut), Mr. Bush was playing a guitar some country singer gave him. All this while New Orleans sank under water.

It would take ANOTHER day before the President would do a flyover in his jumbo jet, peeking out the widow at the misery 2500 feet below him as he flew back to his second home in DC. It would then be TWO MORE DAYS before a trickle of federal aid and troops would arrive. This was no seven minutes in a sitting trance while children read "My Pet Goat" to him. This was FOUR DAYS of doing nothing other than saying "Brownie (FEMA director Michael Brown), you're doing a heck of a job!"

My Republican friends, does it bother you that we are the laughing stock of the world?

And on this sacred day of remembrance, do you think we honor or shame those who died on 9/11/01? If we learned nothing and find ourselves today every bit as vulnerable and unprepared as we were on that bright sunny morning, then did the 3,000 die in vain?

Our vulnerability is not just about dealing with terrorists or natural disasters. We are vulnerable and unsafe because we allow one in eight Americans to live in horrible poverty. We accept an education system where one in six children never graduate and most of those who do can't string a coherent sentence together. The middle class can't pay the mortgage or the hospital bills and 45 million have no health coverage whatsoever.

Are we safe? Do you really feel safe? You can only move so far out and build so many gated communities before the fruit of what you've sown will be crashing through your walls and demanding retribution. Do you really want to wait until that happens? Or is it your hope that if they are left alone long enough to soil themselves and shoot themselves and drown in the filth that fills the street that maybe the problem will somehow go away?

I know you know better. You gave the country and the world a man who wasn't up for the job and all he does is hire people who aren't up for the job. You did this to us, to the world, to the people of New Orleans. Please fix it. Bush is yours. And you know, for our peace and safety and security, this has to be fixed. What do you propose?

I have an idea, and it isn't a horse show.

Yours,

Michael Moore
//www.michaelmoore.com
mmflint@aol.com


Informant: sash

-------

Bernard Weiner: "Do you get it now?" : Commander-In-Thief

Commander-In-Thief Bernard Weiner: 'To those who voted for Bush: Do you get it now?' Posted on Thursday, September 08 @ 09:34:55 EDT By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

Here's something I don't understand. The Golden Goose was about to lay another 9/11-type Golden Egg for Bush&Company to pick up. And they didn't.

Surely, Karl Rove, who had seen Bush's approval ratings drop to all-time lows, knew days ahead that a Category 5 Hurricane was bearing down on New Orleans and a calamitous disaster was likely to unfold there if and when the levees were unable to hold back the water. What better way to improve those ratings than for Bush to be photographed the day after the disaster struck, standing on top of debris, bullhorn in hand, vowing that the government would help Gulf Coast states rebuild from the Katrina catastrophe?

But none of that happened. They bungled their own political resurrection! Nearly a full week went by, while thousands were dying and starving or were kenneled in unbelievable filth in New Orleans. Nobody seemed to be in charge. Bush remained "on vacation" in Crawford, and traveled around to fundraisers, played golf, etc.; Condi was theatergoing and buying thousand-dollar shoes on Fifth Avenue. What was going on? Did Karl Rove not understand the significance of what was happening? Was Bush...uh..."incapacitated"? What about Cheney, "on vacation" in Wyoming; was he "incapacitated," too? Are the Bush people really that politically obtuse?

So here's the question I have for those of you who voted for Bush in 2004: Do you get it now?

BUSH GOES AWOL, AGAIN

For the past four years, progressives and moderate-conservatives have been pointing out how incompetent this Administration is. Many Bush Republicans accused us of making up such accusations for purely political reasons. Now you yourself can see what we have seen: These guys are way over their heads and haven't got a clue; they're constantly having to come back at a problem in hopes of getting it right the second or third time around. Of course, that means they're always playing catch-up, which means they're always too late. (Such as this Alice-in-Wonderland comment by Bush a week after he went AWOL -- again -- when his country needed him: "In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need.")

Those at the royal Bush court lead such isolated, circumscribed lives that when a disaster strikes, they are so far removed from the circumstances in which regular people find themselves that they simply don't understand the magnitude of what's happening out there in the real-world. You may remember that Bush's first response to the Asian tsunami was silence, and then a grudging piddling amount of aid offered; it took the international community shaming him for his unfeeling miserliness before his handlers began to change Bush's tune and he finally pledged genuine aid commensurate with the enormity of the catastrophe.

Our earlier assessment of the Administration as bumblers was made mainly on the disaster that Bush&Company made, and are still making, in the Persian Gulf. But now the whole world gets to see, up close and personal, the thorough botch they made, and are still making, in the other Gulf, in New Orleans and environs.

THE IRAQ BOTCH

In Iraq, they launched a war based on lies and deceptions, and had no plan for what should happen after the major military fighting ceased.

They turned away Iraqis from participating in the reconstruction of their own society, preferring to award the multi-billion-dollar contracts to huge American firms like Halliburton and Bechtel. They disbanded the Iraqi army, leaving hundreds of thousands of young Iraqi men unemployed and angry. They insultingly refused aid and advice from the United Nations and their former allies, wanting nobody to interfere with their Occupation. They didn't have enough troops, and the correct troops, in place to police the "post-war" phase. They didn't guard the abandoned ammo dumps, and then were surprised when those munitions were used to blow up U.S. soldiers.

They finally, a year or two late, realized that the U.S. was engaged in a guerrilla-style war against nationalist insurgents, along with some foreign jihadists, and started to change their military strategy. But it was too late, and insufficient, to make much of a dent. Now the U.S. is involved in a stalemated, Vietnam-like quagmire, and steady streams of flag-draped caskets make their way back to the U.S., and thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians continue dying as well.

And still Bush cannot bring himself to answer Cindy Sheehan's simple question: "For what noble cause did my son have to die?"

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL

Now in 2005, a natural disaster occurred that everyone predicted -- including the government's own emergency-response specialists. Specifically, Homeland Security Department chief Michael Chertoff and FEMA's head Michael Brown were briefed on the consequences of the levees breaking days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. But the Administration's response was non-existent. Or completely beyond belief: Bush actually told Diane Sawyer "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." Read your experts' frickin reports, man!

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- which Bush turned into a stripped-down, underfunded subgroup buried in the Homeland Security Department, focusing on anti-terrorism measures rather than on emergency-management -- is led by an bumbling political appointee, Brown, someone with no experience in this field, and it showed; for example, neither he nor Chertoff were aware there were thousands of refugees in the city's Convention Center until Day 5. We ordinary citizens, paying attention to the news reports, knew that three days before they did.

Brown was a buddy of one of Bush's Texas pals, with a history in show-horses. That's the man in charge of FEMA. And, believe it or not, Bush the other day thanked him publicly for doing such a "heck of a job." Oh, by the way, guess which company has been awarded the contract for reconstructing New Orleans? Yep, Cheney's Halliburton.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin hit the nail on the head about Bush's belated promise to send 40,000 troops into his city. "Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something."

Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents -- those mostly too poor to have been able to evacuate the city -- were herded into mass structures like the Superdome and Convention Center, locked inside, and then no government agency provided food, water, medicine, sanitation care, removal of the dead, etc. Those who wanted to leave those horrific shelters and cross over a bridge to dry land were prohibited by armed troops from doing so.

Many of those residents complained that the thousands of citizens there were treated worse than dogs in a kennel. It was a circle out of Dante's Inferno. Indeed, so atrociously were the victims treated in those facilities that even right-wing Fox News reporters Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera were appalled on the air, just trying to get viewers to understand the enormity of the hell-on-earth scenes they were witnessing. Rivera was crying and screaming to "let these people walk out of here...just let them leave."
(You've got to see this powerful video of Shepard and Rivera live on air -- reality-TV at its best.)

DON'T BE POOR OR POOR-AND-BLACK

The fact that the great majority of those seeking refuge and rescue were African-American, and that no help came in the first five or six days, spoke volumes about the "compassionate conservatism" supposedly animating Bush's administration. Try to imagine how fast the federal government would have mobilized to reach an upper-class compound filled with thousands of well-do-do white people, with ccess and influence. You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, two comments:

1. Bush flew into New Orleans to have his picture taken for public-relations purposes. At one location, he spoke at a "food-distribution" point, which disappeared shortly after the photo-op. It was a set! Various other photo ops likewise were organized that were equally as unreal. For more, see "The Potemkin Photo Op".

2. No doubt you've seen the way two virtually identical photos of hurricane survivors were captioned in local newspapers. In one, a white man, up to his chest in water, with some groceries in his hands: "...found food at a local market." In another, same scenario, but a young black man: "...looted food from a supermarket." Both were trying to survive and bring some form of sustenance back to their children and families. One "found" food, the other "looted" food.

Interestingly, when after Baghdad fell, we saw the video pictures of Iraqis looting stores and museums and such, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said: "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things". . . Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. "Stuff happens."

Now the governor of Louisiana is talking about "shoot-to-kill" orders against those who, facing starvation from a non-caring government, are taking food from abandoned, flooded-out grocery stores. And right-wing, let-them-eat-cake pundits blame the mostly black, poverty-stricken residents for "choosing" not to evacuate New Orleans, as if these cashless folks should just have jumped in their non-existent cars or boats and headed out of town. Of course, FEMA or the military could have supplied the buses and trucks and trains to take out the trapped, but apparently there were no such contingency plans and/or nobody with any brains was in charge to get the mass evacuation organized.

A REVERSE-MIDAS TOUCH

But let's move on from America's perennial, always-just-below-the-surface racism and hits-on-the-poor. The point here is that George W. Bush has a reverse Midas touch. Whatever he involves himself in as a leader winds up in FUBAR land. (If you don't know what those letters stand for, ask someone in the military: ---- Up Beyond All Recognition.)

It happened with his botched oil-company ventures at Arbusto and Harken Energy in Texas; it happened, and is happening in Iraq; and now it's happening with regard to the Katrina disaster in Louisiana.

Except this time there's no wealthy family friend, or Saudi prince, or British prime minister, to bail Bush out of his difficulties. He's out there all by his lonesome, exposed for all the world to see as the emperor with no clothes, a figurehead leader with no emotional or intellectual wherewithal to deal efficiently and correctly with anything beyond the most simple scenarios. Introduce complexity into the equation, and he's a deer in the highlights of reality.

So...what to do? While Rove&Co. ratchet up the ol' spin machine -- and try to find others to blame for their own gross delays and mistakes -- Bush's normal allies are abandoning him, right and left and right. Business Week, Washington Times, newspapers around the country, conservative pundits David Brooks and Newt Gingrich, retired military officers, and so on -- they all can't believe the idiocy and deadly cluelessness of their GOP hero.

They all realize that this incompetent, way-over-his-head guy has three more years on his contract, and he's likely to take down the economy, political structure, and everything else with him as his administration self-destructs in an unholy mess. In short, the Bush Administration is not good for business, which CEOs and others are finally starting to realize.

LEAVE OR BE PUSHED

Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice and Chertoff and the others simply have got to go, along with the other fools and criminals down there in his bunker. Bush and Cheney either must be encouraged by GOP powerbrokers to resign, or they must be impeached.

They each took a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution and all American citizens. They have shredded the Constitution -- in the name of "anti-terrorism," they have denuded the Bill of Rights -- and they have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of protecting the citizenry, either in Iraq or here at home. Clear dereliction of duty.

Indeed, they have, for their own partisan purposes, revealed the identity of a covert CIA agent -- a crime that according to President George H. W. Bush is "traitorous"; indictments are expected shortly against key Bush Administration officials involved in this case. In addition, the Administration has "disappeared" American citizens into the military gulag, away from contact with lawyers or their families. This is the behavior of dictators; when it happens in African or Latin American countries, we are outraged. Folks, it's happening right here.

You and I, no matter for whom we voted in 2004, need to stop these incompetent fools from doing even more damage, and get this country back on its moral track, run by leaders who have something else on their minds other than power-hunger and take-the-money-and-run.

Bush and Cheney should resign voluntarily right now, in the best interests of the country. If they don't choose to go, it's long past time for impeachment hearings to begin and for local prosecutors and grand juries (perhaps in New Orleans parishes) to start their own investigations and indictments, and not depend solely on Congress for accountability-reckoning. That's the message that needs to go out from all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to our legislators.

I can't express it any better than Aaron Broussard, the president of New Orleans' Jefferson Parish. Here is what he had to say on Meet the Press.

"We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. ? Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership. It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now."

Now!

Bernard Weiner has authored more than 150 articles and essays about the Bush Administration since 9/11/01. A Ph.D. in government & international relations, he has taught at various colleges, was a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for 19 years, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers //www.crisispapers.org . To comment, contact crisispapers@comcast.net


Informant: Alan Dicey
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