Friday, September 30, 2005



We know for a fact, based upon the proactive, creative and energetic approach to assisting the victims of Katrina, that Houston is a city comprised of compassionate and generous people. Houstonians did more than murmur a few words of sympathy or offer to say a few extra prayers for the sufferers. Much of Texas did the same thing. They opened their hearts, check books and gave the gift of time to actively and positively do something useful and meaningful for the evacuees.

The key to the success in addressing the needs of over 200,000 sufferers lies in the sustained force of action. Positive and effective action requires that goals are stated and achieved by planning, commitments of the necessary amount of funds, resources along with the crucial ingredients of honesty, uncompromised leadership and an ethical backbone of those charged with the task at hand. Partisan politics are normally set aside when extraordinary disasters impact so many people. The overall goal is and should be focused on helping the victims of the disaster.

In times such as catastrophe, whether natural or man made, most if not all local, state and federal politicians will make speeches that promise to do everything within their means to help those impacted by the disaster. Some politicians honestly care and make good on their promises. Unfortunately, there are not too many, but there are a few. Some do not care at all, if there is nothing for them to gain politically or personally. Other politicians are extremely clever with words and are manipulative. This type will put on a big show and make a lot of noise about caring and action but do the bare minimum to squeak by with a little face time on TV, or do nothing at all.

Then there are the politicians who are more devious and calloused in that they give a tightly scripted appearance of caring for the victims by saying all of the right things, and perform the necessary acts, like show up at a shelter to hand out much needed goods for awhile. The unfortunate fact of the matter is, this type of politician does not care at all. Rather, they are obeying an entity other than their constituents. The passive aggressive model of a politician is the most dangerous to the victims of disaster, as well as to the constituents whom they supposedly represent.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison falls in this last category of politicians. She will say what people want to hear, as long as it is falls within her extremely conservative Republican Party ideology, of course. She will claim to be a compassionate conservative. The Senator will smile a lot and/or look deeply concerned, whichever is required. Afterwards, the Senator, as if acting on orders from powers to be, not her constituents, will return to Washington to pull the plug on measures taken to guarantee a modicum of dignity and well being for those struck by the disaster.

Who is the Senator beholden to? Who is pulling the strings?

Specifically, over 40,000 students from Louisiana have been enrolled in schools in Texas, almost all of them from New Orleans. Like other states, Texas has integrated the evacuees into their existing student populations.

Federal law prohibits local school districts from educating homeless children separately from the general population. Districts are also not allowed to label homeless children by identifying them with special identification cards or wristbands. One can well imagine the demoralizing and demeaning impact on children who, though no fault of their own, are unintended victims of a natural disaster.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, along with another Republican, John Cornyn is now actively attempting to waive these federal rules. They want to stigmatize the Katrina’s victim’s children by separating them from the rest of the students. Senators Hutchison and Cornyn maintain that separate schools should be opened for them, or, if not possible, the uprooted children would have to wear wristbands or carry ID cards.

Kay Bailey Hutchison’s spokesman insists that the goal of the reversal of the federal mandate is to “keep the children of Louisiana safe.” The “safety” issue arises from a fistfight that took place in one of Houston’s high schools when a local student threw a can of Sprite at the new students.

This incident is the exception, not the rule. Two children from New Orleans got into a fight started by a Houston student, and now an excuse has been fabricated to punish all of the children, including our own from Texas.

Why would Texan children be punished? Because they would be denied the opportunity to participate in the humanitarian act of sharing their lives and classrooms with Katrina’s victims.

The Republicans in Texas and in the U.S. Congresses are obviously bottom line driven, especially when it comes to their personal financial opportunities. One has to wonder, although a tad cynically, what these Republican officials have to gain, in their pocket books, by segregating and consequently punishing displaced children.

The world has viewed the United States federal government’s pathetic and humiliating performance in the aftermath of both Katrina and Rita. It is likely, too,that our Bush run government’s incompetence was not lost on global terrorists. But that is another issue.

Many if not most Texans expressed a strong desire to do something active and constructive to offset the government’s ineptitude by looking after Katrina’s victims’ children.

When Barbara Bush announced to the world that the arrival of Katrina’s victims in our state was “scary” and because they were underprivileged, living in the Astrodome wasn’t such a bad thing, the message was sent to the obedient Bush loyalists to do whatever it took to get rid of these “scary” people. Her son, the President, could not do this, for he is obviously now, as economist and journalist Paul Krugman puts it, damaged goods. It was up to Mother Bush to step up and send the sheep scrambling.

But why? What is in it for the Bush loyalists? Money? Surely the Bush’s and their loyalists have more than enough to go around.

Most likely Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn cringe at sharing the State’s property taxes that fund the public schools for even more minorities. The federal government has promised to reimburse the state for the cost of housing and educating Katrina’s victims but everyone knows that FEMA is stretched financially if not completely broke at this point. Despite their words and promises, it is probably a given that the Bush Administration and their blind loyalists Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, will not reimburse hosting states for the costs of housing, food and education because the funds have been squandered to loyalist contractors or redirected to Iraq. Chances are states won’t receive a dime in reimbursement from the federal government under the Bush Administration.

Maybe the cost of education of the segregated children could be passed on to the state of Louisiana at some point.

What about demographics? What would concern Senators Hutchison and Cornyn in this regard?

Would the influx of so many “minorities” compromise the early redistricting of our State, i.e. there will be more Democrats in the state now if the evacuees decide to stay in Texas? Separate the children so they and their parents will want to return to a normal school in New Orleans?

No Child Left Behind?

If separated, would the students from Louisiana get waivers from the requirements of the bill? Do Republicans fear that the evacuees would bring down the state’s already disappointing and low test scores? If separated, the students from Louisiana would not be required to perform at the same levels as Texans students? Would they be exempt from standardized testing, thus ensuring a lower quality education?

Funding? As it is, the rich and mostly fat white boys and girls in Austin don’t want to pay for the schooling of Texan minorities, much less those from another state. They would rather build prisons because prisons hire people and can produce a profit if outsourced. A loyalist contractor would be charged with building and managing the prison. And of course, there are the killing chambers within the prisons.

One should smell a rat. Barbara Bush sent her orders to the Senators Hutchison and Cornyn and they fully intend to obey her.

Are these the people we want to represent us?

I should think not.

Libby Shaw

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Great piece found on Buzz The author lists the corrupt cronies of Bush, as far as we know them today. We know that there are many, many more Bush rogues. LS

The Bush Administration: A Culture of Cronyism and Corruption


Cronyism in the Bush Administration is Systemic: a Look at the Rogue’s Gallery

Michael Brown – still working for FEMA. Monday night, CBS reported that Michael Brown remains on the FEMA payroll. Brown replaced another Bush crony, former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, on the job. And, “CNN’s Ed Henry has learned that Michael Brown, the former FEMA chief who stepped down after being relieved of his post leading the disaster effort, continues to receive pay from FEMA so that, according to a FEMA spokesman, "he can help assess what went wrong" in a consulting role.” (CNN, Morning Grind, 9/27/05). At least this time he brings some first-hand experience to the job.

David Safavian – arrested for lying and obstructing a criminal investigation. Safavian “didn't have much hands-on experience in government contracting when the Bush Administration tapped him in 2003 to be its chief procurement officer. A law-school internship helping the Pentagon buy helicopters was about the extent of it. Yet as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Safavian, 38, was placed in charge of the $300 billion the government spends each year on everything from paper clips to nuclear submarines, as well as the $62 billion already earmarked for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. It was his job to ensure that the government got the most for its money and that competition for federal contracts--among companies as well as between government workers and private contractors--was fair. It was his job until he resigned on Sept. 16 and was subsequently arrested and charged with lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the Federal Government.” (Time, 9/26/05)

The Pentagon
Joseph Schmitz, the Pentagon's former inspector general, has left for the private sector but remains the target of a Congressional inquiry. “Schmitz, who worked as an aide to former Reagan Administration Attorney General Ed Meese and whose father John was a Republican Congressman from Orange County, Calif., quit his post at the Pentagon following complaints from Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa.” (Time, 9/26/05)

- Schmitz distinguished himself by his fascination with the army’s first inspector general, Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, a Revolutionary War hero. “Shortly after taking office, Schmitz made Von Steuben's legacy a focus. He spent three months personally redesigning the inspector general's seal to include the Von Steuben family motto, ‘Always under the protection of the Almighty.’”(The Nation, 9/25/05)

Scott Gottlieb, named deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, had extensive financial ties to the drug industry. “His official FDA biography notes that Gottlieb, 33, who got his medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, did a previous stint providing policy advice at the agency, as well as at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. What the bio omits is that his most recent job was as editor of a popular Wall Street newsletter, the Forbes/Gottlieb Medical Technology Investor, in which he offered such tips as "Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now." . . . . .. Jimmy Carter--era FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy, a former Stanford University president and now executive editor-in-chief of the journal Science, [says] Gottlieb breaks the mold of appointees at that level who are generally career FDA scientists or experts well known in their field. "The appointment comes out of nowhere. I've never seen anything like that," says Kennedy.” (Time, 9/26/05)

Katrina Contracting:
More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by FEMA for Katrina work were awarded without bidding or with limited competition. (New York Times, 9/26/05)

Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root, and the Shaw Group have both been represented by Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency - although Mr. Allbaugh says he does not help any of his clients obtain federal contracts. Kellogg, Brown & Root is the company that came up with those $100-per-bag laundry bills for work in Iraq. (New York Times, 9/27/05)

AshBritt, is a Pompano Beach, Fla., company with ties to Mississippi's governor, Haley Barbour - the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. AshBritt has nabbed $568 million in contracts for trash removal. (New York Times, 9/27/05)

Whistle Blowers Pay the Price in the Bush Administration

Frederick A. Black, veteran prosecutor reassigned after investigating Jack Abramoff. “The Justice Department's inspector general and the F.B.I. are looking into the demotion of a veteran federal prosecutor whose reassignment nearly three years ago shut down a criminal investigation of the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, current and former department officials report.” (New York Times, 9/26/05)

Lawrence Greenfeld, demoted for highlighting racial profiling. “The Bush administration is replacing the director of a small but critical branch of the Justice Department, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to play down newly compiled data on the aggressive police treatment of black and Hispanic drivers.” (New York Times, 8/24/05)

Bunny Greenhouse, demoted after whistle-blowing. “A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday…” [New York Times, 8/29/05 ]

Colleen Rowley, FBI whistle-blower, retried from the FBI in 2004. “Like no other document to emerge from the current firestorm over the mistakes and missed signals that led to Sept. 11, the Rowley memo casts a searing light into the depths of government ineptitude.” (Time, 6/3/02)

General Shinseki, forced into retirement for questioning the war in Iraq. “Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate ‘wildly off the mark.’” (USA Today, 6/2/03)



1. George W. Bush, President of the United States of America

2. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

3. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

And there are many others...

You know who they are, don't you?

I rest my case

and I am not a lawyer.

One does not have to be a lawyer to know and insist upon the truth.

Libby Shaw

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Below you will find a first hand report from a local Houston activist, Mr. Stan Merriman, who attended the anti-war protest in Washington on Sept. 24. Thanks for attending and keeping us informed Stan! Needless to say, many of us here were distracted for a few days with Rita... Some folks are still chilling their jets in far flung parts of Texas, too, waiting for fuel and freeway space. LS


Believe it. There were a MINIMUM of 300,000 people
there according to the Park Police…..more likely
500,000. And that was with all the trains from the
NYC area 3 hours late due to “repairs” !

Some stunning moments: we saw a crowd of demonstrators
surrounding a young marine in full dress uniform at
the pre-march rally who said he was there to lend his
voice. As the march formed to step out about an hour
late due to the crush of people making organization
difficult, leading the march were Cindy Sheehan, Jesse
Jackson Jr., Julian Bond and a host of other activist
leaders. In the front ranks were the Gold Star
Mothers for Peace, followed by Military Families Speak
Out and then my group, the Veterans for Peace. I was
so proud to be in the ranks of this superb group and
it was huge. Naturally, we did outstanding cadence
marches and chants sure to burn the Bushites. Behind
us, a Native group all the way from Alaska with their
drums and ritual dancing and another group from the
Lakota Nation who gave Cindy Sheenan a beautiful
hand-made quilt with their Star of Bravery design at
the concert later in the day. As the march
progressed, snaking around Pennsylvania avenue and
adjoining streets, we passed in front of the White
House and rendered appropriate middle finger salutes.
Yea I know, the Bushies were off directing the Rita
relief effort (yea, right) but the snipers on top of
the White House saw us and got the idea.

Huge crowds all along the route especially applauded
our Mothers and Veterans sections of the march.
Virtually every state was represented with massive
numbers, 5 times more than the United For Peace and
Justice leaders had hoped for.

Cops were benign and unlike our Houston Police, bent
on redeeming their earlier suppression of free
assembly by cutting us much slack. The signs and
costumed groups as well as drumming corps were awesome
and the most creative I have seen. I bought a car
magnet that says: “Ok, let’s pretend everything is
all right”. The size of the march was so huge we
were packed in like sardines for most of the route and
the snaking procession went on for hours, even after
the speeches and entertainment started later in the
day at the Washington monument. Counter demonstrators?
Oh, maybe 50. Media, Oh, maybe none. I heard Arron
Brown, CNN say “ I am getting furious email…..but
people have to understand that THE story is the gulf
coast” ! Yea, we know, CNN has turned into a one
story pony since Turner retired. Washington Post and
New York Times did give us good front page coverage
and acknowledged the massive turnout of 500,000.

At the rally later in the afternoon, with a massive
sound stage we heard speakers like Cindy, Jim
Hightower and Jesse Jackson. And marvelous protest
music from, among others Joan Baez and Steve Earle.
The Merriman’s left at around dinner time, exhilarated
and exhausted and so grateful to be in the company of
fellow Americans who love our country enough to once
again get out in front of our leaders, including
fellow Democrats to end yet another unjust and immoral
war waged in our name.

The present state of America is truly alarming
to every man who is capable of reflexion.
Thomas Paine 1776


Great piece sent by Charlie. LS

It's official folks!

President Bush Sells Louisiana Back to the French

President Bush and a giddy Jacques Chirac shake hands on the deal.

BATON ROUGE, LA. - The White House announced today that President Bush
has successfully sold the state of Louisiana back to the French at more
than double its original selling price of $11,250,000.

"This is a bold step forward for America ," said Bush. "And America
will be stronger and better as a result. I stand here today in unity
with French Prime Minister Jack Sharaq, who was so kind to accept my
offer of Louisiana in exchange for 25 million dollars cash."

The state, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, will cost hundreds of billions
of dollars to rebuild.

"Jack understands full well that this one's a 'fixer upper,'" said
Bush. "He and the French people are quite prepared to pump out all that
water, and make Louisiana a decent place to live again. And they've got
a lot of work to do. But Jack's assured me, if it's not right, they're
going to fix it."

The move has been met with incredulity from the beleaguered residents
of Louisiana .

"Shuba-pie!" said New Orleans resident Willis Babineaux. "Frafer-perly
yum kom drabby sham!"

However, President Bush's decision has been widely lauded by

"This is an unexpected but brilliant move by the President," said Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist. "Instead of spending billions and billions,
and billions of dollars rebuilding the state of Louisiana , we've just
made 25 million dollars in pure profit."

"This is indeed a smart move," commented Fox News analyst Brit Hume.
"Not only have we stopped the flooding in our own budget, we've made
money on the deal.

The money gained from 'T'he Louisiana Refund' is expected to be
immediately pumped into the rebuilding of Iraq .

Monday, September 26, 2005


Rita bypassed Houston, fortunately, not that I wish her hell and misery on any city, town or people, except for maybe a few revolting and corrupt creeps that run our country. Ken sent this amazing article by Frank Rich of the NYT yesterday. This one is a gem. I love how Mr. Rich ties all the corrupted creeps together and gives us a bird's eye view of the very disturbing big picture. LS

The New York Times
September 25, 2005
Bring Back Warren Harding

THERE are no coincidences. On Monday, as L. Dennis Kozlowski was slapped with 8 to 25 years in jail for looting Tyco International of some $150 million, the feds were making their first arrest of a high-ranking member of the Bush administration. The official was David Safavian, the chief of White House federal procurement policy who once worked for Jack Abramoff, the sleazy Republican lobbyist whose disreputable client list, in another noncoincidence, included Tyco. While it's an accident of timing that Mr. Safavian was collared at his suburban Virginia home just as Mr. Kozlowski was sent to the slammer in New York, the two events could not better bracket a corrupt era worthy of the Gilded Age.

Ours will be remembered as the Enron era. Enron itself is a distant memory - much like all that circa 2000 talk of a smoothly efficient C.E.O. presidency led by a Harvard M.B.A. and a former chief executive of Halliburton. But even as American business has since been purged by prosecutions and reforms, the mutant Enron version of the C.E.O. culture still rules in Washington: uninhibited cronyism, cooked books, special-favors networks, the banishment of whistle-blowers and accountability. More than ideology, this ethos has sabotaged even the best of American intentions, whether in Iraq or New Orleans. Unchecked, it promises greater disasters to come.

As recently as 10 days ago, when he resigned before his arrest, Mr. Safavian was the man who set purchasing policy for the entire federal government, including that related to Hurricane Katrina relief. The White House might as well have appointed a contestant from "The Apprentice." Before entering public service, Mr. Safavian's main claim to fame was as a lobbyist whose clients included Indian gaming interests and thuggish African regimes. Mr. Safavian now faces charges of lying and obstructing the investigation of Mr. Abramoff, the Tom DeLay-Ralph Reed-Grover Norquist pal who is being investigated by more agencies than looked into 9/11. Mr. Abramoff's greasy K Street influence-peddling network makes the Warren Harding gang, which operated out of its own infamous "little green house on K Street," look like selfless stewards of the public good.

You know that the arrest of Mr. Safavian, one of three known Abramoff alumni to migrate into the administration, is the start of something big. Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department announced it only after Mr. Safavian had appeared in court and had been released without bail. The gambit was clearly intended to keep the story off television, and it worked.

It won't for long. The Enron odor emanating from Mr. Safavian is of a piece with the rest of the cronyism in the Katrina preparedness package. The handing off of FEMA from President Bush's 2000 campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, to Mr. Allbaugh's even less qualified buddy, Michael Brown, in 2003 is now notorious. (The two men have been friends for 25 years but were not college roommates, as I wrote here last week.) But that's only the beginning: the placement of hacks like "Brownie" and Mr. Safavian in crucial jobs hasn't been slowed one whit by what went down on their watch in New Orleans.

Witness the nomination of Julie Myers as the new head of immigration and customs enforcement at the Homeland Security Department. Though the White House attacked the diplomat Joseph Wilson for nepotism because he undertook a single pro bono intelligence mission while his wife was at the C.I.A., it thought nothing of handing this huge job to a nepotistic twofer: Ms. Myers is the niece of Gen. Richard Myers and has just married the chief of staff for the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff. Her qualifications for running an agency with more than 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget include serving as an associate counsel under Kenneth Starr; in that job, she helped mastermind the costly and doomed prosecution of Susan McDougal, and was outwitted at every turn by the defense lawyer Mark Geragos.

Ms. Myers is only the latest example of Mr. Chertoff's rolling the dice with Americans' safety during his brief tenure in Homeland Security. After the bombings in London in July, he vowed to maximize his department's "finite human and financial capital to attain the optimal state of preparedness." Yet the very same day, the president nominated Tracy Henke as Homeland Security's new executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. Ms. Henke, a John Ashcroft political appointee at the Justice Department, has since been unmasked as an Enron-style spinner of numbers. As Eric Lichtblau of The Times reported in August, it was she who ordered the highly regarded nonpartisan head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfeld, to delete a reference to politically embarrassing data in a government press release for a report on racial profiling. When Mr. Greenfeld complained, he was demoted.

Imagine Ms. Henke, in her Homeland Security job, having sway over press releases about our disaster readiness. There is likely to be nothing but good news until it's too late. But if the hiring of the likes of Ms. Henke, Ms. Myers and Mr. Safavian is half of the equation in Enron governance, the other half is the punishing of veteran civil servants like Mr. Greenfeld for doing their jobs honestly. Even as it fills its ranks with Abramoff golf-junket partners, political flunkies and underemployed relatives, the administration silences those who, like Sherron Watkins at Enron, might blow the whistle on any Kozlowski or Ebbers or Rigas fleecing or betraying the taxpayers. Three weeks before Mr. Safavian's arrest, the Army Corps of Engineers demoted another procurement official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, who was a 20-year veteran in her field. Her crime was not obstructing justice but pursuing it by vehemently questioning irregularities in the awarding of some $7 billion worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root.

Ms. Greenhouse and Mr. Greenfeld are only two of the many whistle-blowers done in by this administration so far. (Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, lists nine on his Web site.) Even top government officials who are not whistle-blowers, merely truth-tellers, are axed. Lawrence Lindsey, the president's chief economic adviser, was pushed out after he accurately projected the cost of the Iraq war at $100 billion to $200 billion. Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, was shunted aside after he accurately estimated the number of required troops ("several hundred thousand") for securing Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, who presented rosy scenarios of getting the job done with Iraqi oil income and low troop deployments, stayed on to bungle the war.

Their errors were compounded when the administration staffed the post-Saddam American occupation with exactly the same kind of appointees it would later bring to homeland security: the two heads of "private sector development" in Iraq were a former Bush fund-raiser in Connecticut and a venture capitalist who just happened to be Ari Fleischer's brother. As The Washington Post reported last year, major roles in the L. Paul Bremer regime were given to 20-somethings with no foreign service experience or knowledge of Arabic simply because they had posted their résumés at the Heritage Foundation, the same conservative think tank where Mr. Bremer had chaired a task force.

The damage done to the mission in Iraq and homeland security alike by Enron governance is immeasurable. Administration apologists who now claim that hurricane relief will bring still more examples of innovative, C.E.O.-style governmental enterprise (Mr. Bush's "Gulf Opportunity Zone," for instance) conveniently sidestep the harsh truth that such schemes are destined to be as empty and corrupt as Andrew Fastow's Raptor partnerships at Enron once they're staffed from the apparently infinite crony talent pool.

YET it's not only the administration that is to blame, any more than it is only the executives who are at fault when a corporation rots. Culpability also belongs to the board that rubber-stamps the shenanigans - to wit, Congress. Republicans in the Senate are led by Bill Frist, who, in the grandest Enron manner, claimed last week that it was to avoid a conflict of interest that his supposed "blind trust" unloaded all of his holdings in a Frist family-founded company just before its stock tanked. (Federal prosecutors and the S.E.C. are investigating.) As for the Democrats, they are nonpareil at posturing about the unstoppable nomination of John Roberts - a conservative, to be sure, but the rare Bush nominee who seems both qualified for his job and unsullied by ethical blemishes. Yet when David Safavian was up for a job involving hundreds of billions of dollars, and much of his dubious résumé was fully known, he was approved by the ranking Democrat, Joe Lieberman, and all his colleagues of both parties on the Governmental Affairs Committee.

Which is to say that the rest of us, the individual shareholders in government who have voted in our Enron-era politicians, are responsible, too.

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Power in Houston is still up and running, at least for now, so I can send a piece sent by Ken. LS

This was sent to me from a friend down in Texas. -K

Beaumont is now majorly threatened by Rita... it is right on the coast, and a pretty poor town. Mostly refineries. People there are always aware of the danger of storms, and also of industrial accidents amongst the pipelines and smokestacks. So a few years back the city contracted for a complete evacuation package... 200 buses and 700 ambulances, to be supplied at instant notice in time of danger to get the good citizens of Beaumont outa there. And the mayor called for them a couple days ago, and they arrived. But before the evacuation could begin, the State of Texas, through proclamation of Governor Goodhair (Governor Rick Perry -K), COMMANDEERED the vehicles, all but twenty ambulances. Took them away to help evacuate Houston. Left the citizens of Beaumont, who had paid for their own evacuation services with their taxes, pretty much on their own. At that late hour, they had to scramble to get everyone (and that meant everyone) out of Beaumont and inland. People were pissed. Republican leadership.

XXX also noticed large lines of enormous tankers taking god-knows- what away from the coast. There are many decades of very bad chemical waste there, in a town which may very well be under Gulf waters in a day or two.

Friday, September 23, 2005


I have been a tad distracted by hurricane preparations to read anything, much less post pieces. Now that we're hunkered down, so to speak, I have a few hours before the power goes out.

Fortunately my friend Ken has been sending me pieces which I can read by flashlight tonight. Not even Hurricane Rita can shift my focus on what needs to be done in the political realm in 2006 and 2008. I am sure you have noticed the gas shortages and freeway nightmares with the massive evacuation of Houston and the Texas coastal areas. Tom DeLay, by the way, fought the proposal years ago to install high speed trains in the Houston/Austin/Dallas corridor. All the federal funding for transportation goes into highways. You saw how great and efficient Texas highways are on your TV sets, didn't you? Products of another republican state and federal administration screw ups and corruption.

Great piece sent from Ken today:

The writer in this wonderful piece makes the point that Bungle the Clown was given the benefit of the doubt when he ignored the hijack warnings in the August, 2001 intel briefing, and when he let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora, because the newspapers felt that "There was a basic presumption of competence surrounding the administration. Everybody assumed there must have been some ambiguities; that they couldn't have screwed up that badly."  But now, in light of clear evidence of his, and his teams, startling incompetance, we need to look at these earlier bungles, too.

I, for one, and you for two I bet, never presumed competance on the part of those boneheads, but this piece is just great. -K

Too many free passes
Jonathan Chait
LA Times

September 23, 2005

NOW THAT all but the most partisan and stubborn defenders of President Bush agree that he screwed up his response to Katrina, and nearly as many agree that he screwed up the occupation of Iraq, it probably seems unnecessary to continue beating up the administration over those failures of the past.

Instead, I say we dwell on some other administration foul-ups from even further in the past that most people have forgotten about by now. You know, in the spirit of magnanimity.

I'm thinking specifically of two controversies. First, the administration's failure to act on intelligence that could have stopped the Sept. 11 attacks. And second, its refusal to commit ground troops to the battle of Tora Bora in 2001, leading to the escape of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants.

In both cases, the administration received the benefit of the doubt. In light of what we now know about the administration's incompetence, however, this benefit is wholly unwarranted.

Start with 9/11. Beginning in May 2001, it began to come to light that the administration had considerable intelligence about possible terrorist attacks. The FBI had warned the administration that terrorists were planning to hijack airplanes. Bush received a memo in August 2001 titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

The administration insisted that none of the warnings focused on the possibility that terrorists would hijack planes and crash them into buildings. As Condoleezza Rice insisted at the time: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile. All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking."

This defense was, first of all, completely insipid. If you suspect terrorists are going to hijack planes, then you step up security to keep them off the planes. What they plan to do with the planes is pretty secondary. Suppose you knew they planned to fly them into buildings. It's not like your response would be to let the terrorists on board but cover all the major landmarks with enormous foam-rubber cushions.

Anyway, this ludicrous defense wasn't even true. It came out earlier this month that U.S. aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda sought to "hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark."

And yet, while the administration took some heat, in the end it got a pass. An L.A. Times editorial in 2002 typified the reaction: "So intelligence sources informed President Bush in August that Osama bin Laden's terrorists might attempt to hijack airplanes? Excuse us, but administration officials have good reason to look perplexed as they wonder aloud what the increasingly indignant chorus of critics would have had the president do with that amorphous warning."

The administration got a similar pass on Tora Bora. This happened at the end of the Afghanistan campaign, when we had Bin Laden and about 800 of his top men surrounded. Rather than use the 4,000 U.S. troops that were in the area, Army Gen. Tommy Franks instead relied on poorly trained, ill-equipped Afghan tribesman of dubious loyalty. Predictably, Bin Laden got away.

Here, too, the excuses were always absurd. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. Bin Laden was at Tora Bora," wrote Franks (who since retired and endorsed Bush) a year ago. In fact, according to a document on the Pentagon website, we did have intelligence that Bin Laden was there. But even if we weren't certain, was that a good reason not to do our best to try to capture him? Should you avoid using your best troops to surround the enemy because, hey, the top bad guy might not be inside?

I suspect Tora Bora never seriously hurt Bush for the same basic reason the 9/11 stuff didn't hurt him: There was a basic presumption of competence surrounding the administration. Everybody assumed there must have been some ambiguities; that they couldn't have screwed up that badly.

The Bush administration probably wouldn't have enjoyed this presumption if these stories came out after Iraq and Katrina. Because all of a sudden the thesis that it screwed up just that badly ˜ that a minimally competent administration would have acted differently ˜ looks pretty compelling.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Found on Raw







As a native of NYC, and, as a transplanted Texan, I am deeply and truly ashamed of both cities/ to speak....yet both are so obviously purple. Who, by the way, made up the blue and red crap? Rove and the Nut Job GOP Spin Machine?

IS NYC as bad as Crawford, Texas? It seems so, sadly. Who in NYC is on the Bush payroll, I wonder?


By Les Payne of


Such pilferage in New Orleans, as terrible as Fox News made it out to be, will pale in insignificance compared to what's in store when the Bush administration lets the contracts to the GOP contributors to rebuild the Crescent City and the gulf states. Such looting on the grand scale will likely prove too sophisticated for U.S. media analysts, who gag on a gnat and swallow an elephant.



Oh! By the way, the city of Houston, which is 50 miles inland from Galveston, i.e. the Gulf and at sea level, with an added population of at least 100,000, is preparing for a perhaps soon-to-be Hurricane Rita. It is acutely obvious to everyone here that we are on our own, should Rita come our way. We will not, under any circumstances, indeed, depend upon the Bush government to "be there" to bail us out, because we know for a fact they will not.

Experience has proven, thus far, that some incompetent political hack or buddy, rather than an experienced professional, has been appointed to oversee the task to assist Americans in their greatest time of need.

Fortunately, even in the so obviously politically and socially screwed on all levels (sorry to be so vulgar!) the so-called RED state of Texas, in the refreshing, diverse and can do city of PURPLE Houston, it is crystal clear that no one, at least here, trusts a Bush appointed political hack after Katrina.

Thank God.

Trust in Bush is not only US, but global hell on earth.

Lack of trust in Bush is U.S. and global salvation.

Adios, bon nuit and good night. LS

Monday, September 19, 2005


I've neglected this blog lately for 2 reasons. One, as I mentioned previously, the mainstream has finally realized that the Bush administration is nothing more than a house o f cards, built upon deceit, lies and the imperative to make a lot of money for themselves and their buddies, all at the expense of Americans. Nothing else matters. It took a Category 5 Hurricane in which reporters witnessed first hand the consequences of a gutted federal program to accomplish this. I can finally turn on the TV and see real news for a change.

Another reason for neglecting this blog is that I have turned my attention to studying the voting record of one of my state Senators who will run for re-election in 2006. In the little time I have had to dedicate to this endeavor, I have discovered, in no uncertain terms, a fact that I have always known intuitively. The GOP routinely votes for issues that advance the interests and needs of the upper level income earners and the wealthy. They systematically vote against any and all bill or amendment that will enhance the lives or livelihoods of those less fortunate, i.e. those who make under $200K per year. That, my dear, friends, is a huge chunk of America's population.... If you look over your GOP elected officials' voting records, you will discover that they do not represent the needs and interests of most of America. What the GOP says has nothing to do with its actions. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. And they bank on the fact that you are not reading their voting records.

Moving on to news in the America of an unmasked Bush Administration. LS




We have a 12 point lead over the GOP. Wonder if Rove will try to rig the polls.



What the hell else is new? Those of us who protested the VN war have been screaming about this since Day 1.


Found via Buzz Flash, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel exposes FEMA's history of gross and appalling waste and fraud. This article reveals in clear terms how the Bush administration was willling to put the American public at risk.




Friday, September 16, 2005


Rove, the prince of darkness, deceit and evil, is hard at work. LS

Found on

Read below or click

E-mail Suggests Government Seeking to Blame Groups
By Jerry Mitchell
The Clarion-Ledger

Friday 16 September 2005

Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the US Department of Justice sent out this week to various US attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (US) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."

Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, remarked, "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said. "It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups. It doesn't surprise me at all."

Federal officials say the e-mail was prompted by a congressional inquiry but wouldn't comment further.

Whoever is behind the e-mail may have spotted the Sept. 8 issue of National Review Online that chastised the Sierra Club and other environmental groups for suing to halt the corps' 1996 plan to raise and fortify 303 miles of Mississippi River levees in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

The corps settled the litigation in 1997, agreeing to hold off on some work until an environmental impact could be completed. The National Review article concluded: "Whether this delay directly affected the levees that broke in New Orleans is difficult to ascertain."

The problem with that conclusion?

The levees that broke causing New Orleans to flood weren't Mississippi River levees. They were levees that protected the city from Lake Pontchartrain levees on the other side of the city.

When Katrina struck, the hurricane pushed tons of water from the Gulf of Mexico into Lake Pontchartrain, which borders the city to the north. Corps officials say the water from the lake cleared the levees by 3 feet. It was those floodwaters, they say, that caused the levees to degrade until they ruptured, causing 80 percent of New Orleans to flood.

Bookbinder said the purpose of the litigation by the Sierra Club and others in 1996 was where the corps got the dirt for the project. "We had no objections to levees," he said. "We said, 'Just don't dig film materials out of the wetlands. Get the dirt from somewhere else.'"

If you listen to what some conservatives say about environmentalists, he said, "We're responsible for most of the world's ills."

In 1977, the corps wanted to build a 25-mile-long barrier and gate system to protect New Orleans on the east side. Both environmental groups and fishermen opposed the project, saying it would choke off water into Lake Pontchartrain.

After litigation, corps officials abandoned the idea, deciding instead to build higher levees. "They came up with a cheaper alternative," Bookbinder said. "We didn't object to raising the levees."

John Hall, a spokesman for the corps in New Orleans, said the barrier the corps was proposing in the 1970s would only stand up to a weak Category 3 hurricane, not a Category 4 hurricane like Katrina. "How much that would have prevented anything, I'm not sure," he said.

Since 1999, corps officials have studied the concept of building huge floodgates to prevent flooding in New Orleans from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.

Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2001 listed a hurricane striking New Orleans as one of the top three catastrophic events the nation could face (the others being a terrorist attack on New York City and an earthquake in San Francisco), funding for corps projects aimed at curbing flooding in southeast Louisiana lagged.

US Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, has said the White House cut $400 million from corps' requests for flood control money in the area.

In fiscal 2006, the corps had hoped to receive up to $10 million in funding for a six-year feasibility study on such floodgates. According to a recent estimate, the project would take 10 years to build and cost $2.5 billion.

"Our understanding is the locals would like to go to that," Hall said. "If I were local, I'd want it."


It seems that Bush The Pathetic Puppet is now attempting to sell himself as FDR (I am desperately trying not to go into acute cardiac arrest at the mere thought) by proposing a kind of/sort of New Deal. It shows what extreme the Cheney/Rove driven right wing GOP will go to deceive the American people. Bush/Rove/Cheney have no principles at all. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. (Like, none of them served in the U.S. military and all are in the Viet Nam war age bracket.) Aside from accumulating $$$$ at the expense of so many, what have the 3 greedy stooges done for humanity? What have they personally contributed to America? Do they know the meaning of altruism? Probably not. Why would they be deserving of our trust?

Bush blew a lot of hot wind and smoke tonight. He tried to do a high wire act because his approval ratings are in the sewer and his party is on the ropes, where it should be, the rubber-stamping cowards that they are.

Bush’s performance was, as usual, all staged and couched by his handlers, mainly Rove. If reporters were actually present, they were not allowed to ask questions. Of course not. Any questions posed might deviate from the script written by Rove.

Rove, the quintessential political hack and whore of postmodern times, is known for his brilliance in fooling us. Down the line, history might prove him a traitor.

Tonight Bush promised billions but did not guarantee that a penny would get to where it needs to go. No oversight or accountability was proposed.

Do you honestly believe that the funds promised to reconstruct the Gulf region, our money, folks, our money, will go to where it is needed the most, without oversight from a person or group that is not politically joined at the hip with Bush/Cheney/Rove?

If you do, you are really, really stupid and I would feel sorry for you if the stakes weren’t so high for all of us.

If you should have a small segment of a brain, you would know that most of the funding promised will go into the pockets of Bush/Cheney/Rove and their hacks and cronies. LS

Sent by Ken - NOT THE NEW DEAL, by Paul Krugman, NYT.

By Paul Krugman of the NYT

September 16, 2005
Not the New Deal

Now it begins: America's biggest relief and recovery program since the New Deal. And the omens aren't good.

It's a given that the Bush administration, which tried to turn Iraq into a laboratory for conservative economic policies, will try the same thing on the Gulf Coast. The Heritage Foundation, which has surely been helping Karl Rove develop the administration's recovery plan, has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax.

Still, even conservatives admit that deregulation, tax cuts and privatization won't be enough. Recovery will require a lot of federal spending. And aside from the effect on the deficit - we're about to see the spectacle of tax cuts in the face of both a war and a huge reconstruction effort - this raises another question: how can discretionary government spending take place on that scale without creating equally large-scale corruption?

It's possible to spend large sums honestly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated in the 1930's. F.D.R. presided over a huge expansion of federal spending, including a lot of discretionary spending by the Works Progress Administration. Yet the image of public relief, widely regarded as corrupt before the New Deal, actually improved markedly.

How did that happen? The answer is that the New Deal made almost a fetish out of policing its own programs against potential corruption. In particular, F.D.R. created a powerful "division of progress investigation" to look into complaints of malfeasance in the W.P.A. That division proved so effective that a later Congressional investigation couldn't find a single serious irregularity it had missed.

This commitment to honest government wasn't a sign of Roosevelt's personal virtue; it reflected a political imperative. F.D.R.'s mission in office was to show that government activism works. To maintain that mission's credibility, he needed to keep his administration's record clean.

But George W. Bush isn't F.D.R. Indeed, in crucial respects he's the anti-F.D.R.

President Bush subscribes to a political philosophy that opposes government activism - that's why he has tried to downsize and privatize programs wherever he can. (He still hopes to privatize Social Security, F.D.R.'s biggest legacy.) So even his policy failures don't bother his strongest supporters: many conservatives view the inept response to Katrina as a vindication of their lack of faith in government, rather than as a reason to reconsider their faith in Mr. Bush.

And to date the Bush administration, which has no stake in showing that good government is possible, has been averse to investigating itself. On the contrary, it has consistently stonewalled corruption investigations and punished its own investigators if they try to do their jobs.

That's why Mr. Bush's promise last night that he will have "a team of inspectors general reviewing all expenditures" rings hollow. Whoever these inspectors general are, they'll be mindful of the fate of Bunnatine Greenhouse, a highly regarded auditor at the Army Corps of Engineers who suddenly got poor performance reviews after she raised questions about Halliburton's contracts in Iraq. She was demoted late last month.

Turning the funds over to state and local governments isn't the answer, either. F.D.R. actually made a point of taking control away from local politicians; then as now, patronage played a big role in local politics.

And our sympathy for the people of Mississippi and Louisiana shouldn't blind us to the realities of their states' political cultures. Last year the newsletter Corporate Crime Reporter ranked the states according to the number of federal public-corruption convictions per capita. Mississippi came in first, and Louisiana came in third.

Is there any way Mr. Bush could ensure an honest recovery program? Yes - he could insulate decisions about reconstruction spending from politics by placing them in the hands of an autonomous agency headed by a political independent, or, if no such person can be found, a Democrat (as a sign of good faith).

He didn't do that last night, and probably won't. There's every reason to believe the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, like the failed reconstruction of Iraq, will be deeply marred by cronyism and corruption.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I suppose in the world of the money-fixated wing of the GOP, it is all about the financial bottom line. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Because our country is becoming financially bankrupt, (moral and ethical bankruptcy doesn't seem to count), the oldest and largest conservative grassroots organization is unhappy with W. and the GOP.

It is well about time.

Maybe they, i.e. the money fixated conservatives, actually resent having to pick up the daunting and crippling tab that Bush and his cronies have visited upon them, the smug and well heeled, and us together, the average Joes and Janes USA must pay the price.

It seems that we are all in the same mix of financial and moral hell.

Sadly, our children and grandchildren will pay, for years to come, the miserable consequences of the massive Bush GOP lies and screw-ups.

Naturally the offspring of Bush, Inc will not suffer any financial liability whatsoever.

Unlike you and me, they are well taken care of for life, for generations to come.

Despite the words that spew from his mouth, Bush so obviously does not care about you.

You know that, for a fact, after Katrina. Neither do his enabling and greedy buddies in the GOP.

In fact, they actually seem to be completely unaware of 98% of us.

The Bush family and their hacks have stuffed cake down our throats for generations to come. They ignore and dismiss us, as if we do not exist, while they send their servants to the bank with the profits gained from the spoils of our gutted national misery.

They have fooled you.

And yet, you allowed yourselves to be duped.

Be a conservative, take charge, and stand up to take responsibility.

The so-called unexpected Katrina, the national cataclysm that Bush Inc. so masterly ignored, is the straw that broke our backs.

Get used to eating cake or find the courage to actually do something to effect regime change. LS


Read below or click

Conservative group hits Republicans in Congress, Bush over spending

09/14/2005 @ 12:50 pm

The American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest conservative grassroots organization, demanded President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress take action to rein in federal spending Wednesday, questioning how Bush can afford the large sums Congress was doling out in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts while still maintaining federal spending levels, RAW STORY has learned.

"Clearly the terrible tragedy resulting from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina will require substantial federal resources to be expended, and all Americans support this relief effort," ACU Chairman David Keene said in a release. "But the idea that Congress should spend tens of billions of dollars on this relief effort in the absence of reprioritizing overall federal spending makes absolutely no sense."

Top Republicans will delay votes on making President Bush's tax cuts permanent. The U.S. already bears huge payments to maintain a continuing presence in Iraq and Afghanistan -- more than $1 billion a week. The federal debt has ballooned to over $2 trillion since 2000 and now stands at $7.9 trillion.

"We found that there's plenty of time to do everything that we want to do," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) told reporters Tuesday of his plans to delay tax cuts.

That tax package was to have been debated this month. It will be delayed to make room for Katrina legislation, House and Senate officials told AP.

Meanwhile, a vote to repeal the estate tax has been shelved indefinitely.

The ACU's Keene said conservatives are increasingly "losing faith" in Bush and GOP leaders.

"Because of these massive increases in federal largess, conservatives throughout the United States are increasingly losing faith in the President and the Republican Leadership in Congress to adequately prioritize and rein in overall federal spending," Keene remarked.

"Let us not lose sight of the fact that prior to Hurricane Katrina, federal government spending was already spiraling out of control," Keene added. "Excluding military and homeland security, American taxpayers have witnessed the largest spending increase under any preceding president and Congress since the Great Depression."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I haven't had a lot of time of late to post news, but this is OK because the mainstream media has finally awakened from its slumber and has shut off the mute button where Bush and his incompetent partisan hacks are concerned. Journalists finally get something many of us have known for sometime. Our emperor has no clothes. Bush is nothing more than a puppet of hallowed, meaningless messages, posturing, a fabricated "reality" and pure greed. Serve some of us, fool most of us.

A lot of you bought in to the message.

But now you know better.

We understand your confusion and pain. We have been there for some time.

Contrary to what you have been led to believe by the liars in power, liberals are not unforgiving, cruel and merciless beasts. We forgive you because you have realized the truth. You know for sure that Bush is a fraud and it is up to you to do something now to get rid of the party that has lied to America for almost six years.

Living the Lie:

Many of us in Houston have been very busy with volunteer efforts on behalf of the victims of Katrina and the pathetic and obviously clueless Bush FEMA hacks. It is bad enough that the bush administration has gutted the budget of FEMA, but to add insult to injury, bush has appointed incompetent and inexperienced party buddies to posts that require a high level of education and expertise. It seems that many of these Bush buddies would be lucky to have jobs as managers in Wal Mart if they weren't blind loyalists.

Thank God our city has opened its arms to the victims of a disaster that our federal government wrote off (maybe b/c they weren't part of the "base?")

A large number of us, too, are involved with political campaigns that are driving hard and fast to usher in desperately needed change in 2006. This is a city with extraordinary energy and is driven by the will to do what it takes to accomplish what we must, which is nothing short of a regime change. On every freaking level.

FIRE everyone in Congress and in the Senate who has lied to us. Demand that all incompetent partisan hack appointees are canned tomorrow. Go to your elected officials' websites, read their voting records and match it with the words that have spewed from their mouths. The real and hard truth will be found there. Get active, engage your brain and do your homework. Our country depends upon it.

Oh! Lest I forget! I am sure you all have heard that Halliburton will be doing the lion's share of the cleanup in the devastated Gulf region. And, President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Bush's action came as the federal government moved to provide billions of dollars in aid, and drew rebukes from two of organized labor's biggest friends in Congress, Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.

"The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities," Miller said.

"President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet," Miller said. (Washington, Reuters, 9/8/05.)

(Ho hum...the usual....a president out of touch with our reality...LS)

Homework Assignment No. 1. There will be a test tomorrow. The grading will not be curved. Anyone who scores below a 99.9% gets a big fat F-. No notes allowed. No open books. No make up exams. No extra credit possible. You cannot send a friend to take the test for you, even if Bush says it is OK. LS

Sent by Sarah:

THE TREMENDOUS CHALLENGES THAT FACE OUR COUNTRY -- (House of Representatives - September 08, 2005)

[Page: H7801] GPO's PDF


The SPEAKER pro tempore (Miss McMorris). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 4, 2005, the gentlewoman from Georgia (Ms. McKinney) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.

Ms. McKINNEY. Madam Speaker, I have got a lot of papers and a lot of posters. One hour will in no way accommodate all that needs to be said tonight about the tremendous challenges that face our country today, including how we conduct ourselves in the aftermath of Hurricane quatrain.

While my remarks tonight in no way should be construed as encompassing all of my thoughts on the very important issues that I discuss tonight, just mark this down as a start.

First, let me say that I am especially proud of the way the people of my district and of this country have wrapped their arms around the victims of Hurricane quatrain. At this time, we have a healthy contingent of expert Georgians in the traumatized gulf States, and we have received thousands of Katrina's victims into our cities, churches, and homes.

I have come to this floor on many occasions. People around the world have commented on how shocked they are to see such poverty in America. While cities and localities pass anti-panhandling measures that criminalize begging tourists and visitors in downtown areas asking for help, Hurricane quatrain washed away America's veneer of populist opportunity, a country that has overcome its racist, slave-holding past, a country ready for world dominion because it has learned how to uplift the human spirit at home.

 quatraina, in images as stark and undeniable as could be, has laid bare the Republican lie that its policies promote growth and prosperity for all Americans and leave no child behind, whilequatraina put into our living rooms and the world's living rooms the cruel hoax that has been played on America and those who love America by the ruthless sybaritic power player elites who are as responsible for the conditions endured by too many Americans as they are for the embarrassing and breathtaking incompetencies we all witnessed just before Labor Day.

Almost 30,000 New Orleans households live on less than $10,000 per year. More babies and young kids are going hungry in our country. Eleven percent of our families experienced hunger in 2003. One million more Americans are living in poverty today than there were 1 year ago. Income distribution has become obscenely skewed toward the rich during the Bush years. In Manhattan, the poor make two cents for each dollar that the rich make. This places Manhattan on par with Namibia for income disparity.

Interestingly, in the financial capital of the world, New York City, the Bronx is the poorest urban county in the country, and New York State is being depleted of its middle class.

America is being depleted of its middle class. Over 50 percent of America's income goes to the top 20 percent of households. With even more tax cuts for the wealthy on the horizon, coupled with real budget cuts for the programs that are forced to take care of more and more Americans, the situation can only be expected to get worse, sadly.

Incomes for 95 percent of American households are flat or falling. Only the top 5 percent are experiencing the growth that we hear the Republicans talk about.

Now, I have got tons of documentation to offer for all of the statistics that we cite, but let me take a moment and reiterate where we are for all the people who are listening tonight.

[Time: 18:15]

Let me recall for just a moment the America they might not know but that more of us are coming all too well to know.

I will start with this poster, which depicts a black man hanging from a tree. The caption says ``The body of Robert McNair is seen here as residents and schoolchildren in the Georgetown community saw it between about 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. last Thursday.'' This was on the front page of the Jackson, Mississippi, Advocate the week of October 23 to 29 when I was in Mississippi for a speaking engagement. This was what I saw.

Sadly, it is what the children in the neighborhood saw, a black man hanging from a tree. A lynching. That is 2003. I am not talking about 1903. This is 2003. Sadly, in 2005, we have two lynchings being investigated in the State of Georgia, my home State, and both of them are supposed to have been suicides. In this story it was reported that this poor Mr. Robert McNair committed suicide, hanging from a tree.

When I come to the floor and do these monthly talks, some way or other we get around to the state of black America because it is important for us to understand that there are many Americans, and some of those Americans we do not see and we do not know. But we need to know how all Americans live so that we can make sure that no American is left behind.

On some indices, even today, it is true that the racial disparities are worse today than they were at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. People would say it is not true, but, alas, it is true. And, of course, the statistics document that sad truth. United for a Fair Economy gives us these statistics in its State of the Dream report on imprisonment. To close the racial gap, it will take 190 years just so that black people are imprisoned for the same crime at the same rate as white people are imprisoned.

What about poverty? We saw a lot of that. Overall poverty, the racial disparity, 150 years to close the gap. Why does that have to be? At the slow rate that the black-white poverty gap has been narrowing since 1968, it would take 150 years to close the gap.

What about child poverty? Two hundred ten years to close the gap. Almost one-third of black children live in poverty. The child poverty gap would take 210 years to disappear, not reaching parity until 2212.

I would like to thank the National Council for La Raza that provided us with these statistics, the proportion of children without health insurance in the United States, home ownership rates. Look and you can see the proportion of children without health insurance in the United States. Look at the Hispanic figures. Look at that. Twenty-five percent of young Latino children do not have health insurance in this country.

  What about home ownership rates, because we hear a lot of talk about the growth economy, and the Republicans and the President talk about promoting home ownership, home ownership, the first tier toward building wealth, okay? Well, if you are lucky enough to be able to own a home, sadly black and Hispanic home ownership rates are low. How low? To close the home ownership gap, the disparity between white home ownership and black home ownership, the first tier toward
[Page: H7802] GPO's PDF
wealth building, it will take 1,664 years to close the home ownership gap.

This is something that so many Americans take for granted. Yet so many Americans still have a dream for home ownership.

Now, what about income? It will take 581 years for us to close the per capita income gap. Since 1968, we have only been able to close the gap 2 cents. Black people make 55 cents for every dollar. That was in 1968. In 2001, it was 57 cents. Two cents, so 581 years to close the gap.

When some people start talking about how we want to build, rebuild, and provide for folks, that is what this Congress is supposed to do. We should build lives, we should build communities, build neighborhoods, and protect our people.

When it comes to the economic conditions that are prevailing for so many Americans, it is almost a joke. Here is a cartoon from the Washington Post. This is the sybaritic power player who is pulling the strings behind the scene, calling the shots, dictating politics and policy; and he is saying, ``It is not trickle down economics. We got the plumbing fixed.'' Here is the poor little fella down here, little panhandler trying to wait to get some of the stuff that is trickling down, and it is not trickling down any more.

  Poverty is up. Median income down. That is the result of the policies of the Bush administration since 2001.

What about all these tax cuts? New Orleans has got a lot of attention now because of what has happened, and we hear and we will hear some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle suggesting that we need to do more tax cuts. Well, the faces of the people that came into our living rooms from Hurricaquatrainina got this much from George Bush's tax cuts. But if you happened to make over $200,000 a year, you got this much from George Bush's tax cuts.

  It is so clear that the administration wants to serve some of the people all of the time and fool the rest of us all of the time. The tax cuts, we should not hear another word uttered about the need for more of the kind of tax cuts that the Bush administration has given us thus far. This insensitive policymaking that ends up hurting real people leads to a kind of callousness within our society that we do not recognize sometimes, that we do not notice sometimes.

It is easy to pass an anti-panhandling ordinance in the city of Atlanta because we do not feel the pain of the people who do not eat at night. So it is also easy to demonize people. It is easy to demonize people that you do not know.

This made it around the Internet until Agence France-Presse pulled their photo off. But how is it that we can have a media in this country displaying one young man wading through that putrid water and the American press, the Associated Press, says that he is ``looting.'' Then you have two people who are obviously not black and they are ``finding.'' This young man, according to the Associated Press, walks through chest-deep floodwater after ``looting'' a grocery store. Two residents wade through chest-deep water after ``finding'' bread and soda.

This is the America of those statistics. This is the America that all Americans need to know and see. This is the America that too many of us have borne the brunt of generation after generation after generation after generation.

And then, they called them ``refugees.'' Some bright light in the media came up with that one to further dehumanize poor black people in New Orleans. I had some New Orleans residents in my congressional office in Georgia who said that they had never, ever thought that they would be called refugees in their own country. Other insensitive language just shows how totally out of touch the leadership of this country is with the American people.

[Time: 18:30]

While the city was still flooding, Speaker Hastert suggested that New Orleans should not be rebuilt.

As the mostly black people were herded into what looked like concentration camps, Barbara Bush suggested that they were really better off now than they were before. Well, maybe she has got something there, because it took losing an entire city for the ``compassionate conservatives'' in Washington, D.C., to finally get some compassion in the laws they pass, in the policies they enact, in what they do around here.

And you can imagine my surprise to hear the very people who chose not to adequately fund education, health care, affordable housing, now saying we have got to have Pell grants, Section 8 vouchers, schooling for children. It is what some of us have been saying all along.

Now, you can just about bet your bottom dollar that the Karl Rove spin machine is working overtime to whitewash the Bush administration preparations for the responsequatrainrina. Let us remember as we go through this that the State and local responders were victims too. That is why it is critical that the feds act. But they did not act, notwithstanding anything that comes out of the spin machine.

Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana said, ``We wanted soldiers, helicopters, food and water. They wanted to negotiate an organizational chart.'' This is from the New York Times. ``Far from deferring to State or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and made things worse,'' according to Mr. Broussard, and I will talk about him a little bit later, who complained on Meet the Press.

Mayor Nagin said, ``The root of the breakdown was the failure of the Federal Government to deliver relief supplies and personnel quickly. They kept promising and saying things would happen. I was getting excited and telling people that. They kept making promises and promises.''

MSNBC informs us that FEMA Director Michael Brown waited 5 hours after the storm's landfall to get agency assistance, to get agency aid from the Department of Homeland Security.

Now, another thing that we need to know about, there are so many things that our government does in our name with our tax dollars, on our behalf supposedly, that we do not know about. The Bush administration has opened up these biodefense labs all over the country. In about 20, 25 universities around the country we have got biodefense labs studying I do not know what.

I can remember the Tuskegee Study. I remember MK-Ultra as an African American. I remember Paul Robeson. But Tulane University is under water, and Tulane University houses one of these biodefense labs. We need to know what the heck was in that lab, what was going on in that biodefense lab.

Some of the headlines. Notwithstanding what you may hear from the other side of the aisle or coming out of the White House about how everyone has to share the blame, these are some of the headlines.

``FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations.''

``FEMA turns away experienced firefighters.''

``FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks.''

``FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel.''

``Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food.''

``FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans.''

``FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid.''

``FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board.''

``FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck.''

``FEMA turns away generators.''

``FEMA first responders urged not to respond.''

Those are just a few of the headlines. I have got all of the documentation, of course.

There is also a story about three U.S. Customs Blackhawk helicopter crews that are absolutely livid because they had been directed not to provide full-time support for the hurricane relief effort in the Gulf.

``Navy ship nearby underused.'' This is from the Chicago Tribune. A craft with food, water, doctors. All it needed was the orders. It never got the orders.

``Federal agency slow to accept business help.'' This is from the Financial Times, ``Federal agency slow to accept business help. From Wal-Mart's satellite-based communications system to FedEx's aircraft, U.S. business has in some cases managed to provide a swifter response to the initial impacts of Hurricquatrainrina than the Federal and State authorities.''

This is from the Salt Lake City Tribune: ``Frustrated fire crews to hand out
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fliers for FEMA. Many of the firefighters assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by FEMA thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going to be community relations officers for FEMA, shuffling throughout the gulf coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number, 1-800-621-FEMA,'' which does not work most of the time.

Now, I know that American children can do better in geography, but you would think that at least our emergency management people would get their geography right. says, Well, they were supposed to go to Charleston. My colleague from Charleston, we were in a meeting on Tuesday night, and he said they had the shelter all set up with supplies, cots, blankets and everything, and nobody came. Now we find out that this is why they did not come. They were supposed to be in Charleston, South Carolina. Guess where FEMA took them? Charleston, West Virginia. What incompetence. Right city, wrong State.

I cannot even imagine. No one should imagine. It is ridiculous. But they are going to tell you everything is all right.

The New York Times tells us, ``Navy pilots who rescued victims are reprimanded.'' What? ``Two Navy helicopter pilots and their crews returned from New Orleans on August 30 expecting to be greeted as lifesavers after ferrying more than 100 victims to safety. Instead, they were reprimanded.''

Well, we are working on this, since I serve on the Committee on Armed Services. But the sad thing about it is, when we had our briefing on Tuesday evening, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of HUD were all there at the briefing, except that Defense kept going in and out, Homeland Security kept going in and out, could not stay long enough to brief the Members of Congress or to hear from the Members of Congress who are directly impacted by their failure, their incompetence.

Malik Rahin is a former Black Panther Party member. In a very compelling radio interview he said, ``You want more morality from the poor than from the rich.'' But he rejected the idea that New Orleans was a city divided by race. He said, ``Whites took their boats and went into black neighborhoods. But it was the feds who forced people to leave their possessions. Once they got rescued, they had to leave their possessions. They could only take one bag.''

He says, ``Over 70 percent of the people who were rescued were rescued by individuals.'' Then he went on to say something very interesting. He said, ``$90 million of HOPE VI construction, but the people who needed it the most in New Orleans got no training, no community service.''

Louisiana has the highest dropout rate in the country. He said, ``Juvenile justice is a disgrace.'' He said, ``The only equal opportunity employer here is drugs.''

We heard a lot about shooting. He says, ``White vigilante groups with shotguns and rifles rode around saying they were going to shoot the looters.'' They were unchecked. There could have been a riot. He says, ``There was about to be a race riot.''

He said, ``Many whites took their own personal boats into the black community. Too many acts of heroism, sharing ice, sharing water.''

Then he mentions Jefferson Parish had to secede from the United States of America. So I want to mention the Jefferson Parish president.

But before that I am going to mention what Mayor Nagin in a wonderfully compelling interview with WWL said when he had the opportunity to speak directly with President Bush. He said, ``I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice, and that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we are outmanned in just about every respect.''

MSNBC informs us that FEMA Director Michael Brown waited 5 hours after the storm's landfall to get agency assistance, to get agency aid from the Department of Homeland Security.

Now, another thing that we need to know about, there are so many things that our government does in our name with our tax dollars, on our behalf supposedly, that we do not know about. The Bush administration has opened up these biodefense labs all over the country. In about 20, 25 universities around the country we have got biodefense labs studying I do not know what.

I can remember the Tuskegee Study. I remember MK-Ultra as an African American. I remember Paul Robeson. But Tulane University is under water, and Tulane University houses one of these biodefense labs. We need to know what the heck was in that lab, what was going on in that biodefense lab.

But in perhaps the most compelling of all of the interviews that we have seen, and these are all available on the Internet, is Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, on Meet the Press. He said, ``Sir, they were told, like me, every single day the cavalry is coming on the Federal level, the cavalry is coming, the cavalry is coming, the cavalry is coming. I have just begun to hear the hooves of the cavalry. The cavalry is still not out here yet, but I have begun to hear the hooves, and we are almost a week out.''

Then he gives three quick examples, one of the Wal-Mart delivery trucks, three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel. It was docked in Jefferson Parish. The Coast Guard said, ``Come and get the fuel right away. When we got there with our trucks, they got the word. FEMA says, `Don't give the fuel.' Yesterday, yesterday FEMA comes in and cuts all our communication lines.'' Why is FEMA cutting communications?

``The guy who runs the building I am in, Emergency Management,'' this is Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press, ``he is responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard Nursing Home, and every day she called him and said, `Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' He said, `Yeah, mama, somebody is coming to get you.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Tuesday.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Wednesday.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Thursday.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night.''

[Time: 18:45]

And she drowned Friday night. ``Nobody is coming to get us. Nobody is coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody has promised. They have had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God's sake, just shut up and send us somebody.'' Aaron Broussard.

Want the facts? The FEMA chief waited 5 hours afquatrainrina made landfall on August 29. Five hours.

It is clear also that the administration would like to avoid a blame game. They want to do everything to not discuss the failures. What is Michael Brown's reaction to all of this? Michael Brown, FEMA director, says in a CNN interview: ``Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.'' That is our FEMA director, Michael Brown. How out of touch could this man have been?

Those 9/11 activists know how critical it is to construct a timeline, because the timeline tells us who did what and when they did it. The timeline will tell us the truth. The timeline cuts through the spin. So, of course, I made a point to get in touch with the folks who were collecting the timelines, and there are a lot of timelines available on the Internet. Think Progress has a timeline, and WWL also has a timeline.

All the while this was going on, the news media reported that the Iraq war costs now exceed Vietnam's. But I think it is pretty clear that the Iraq war is costing us more than money. Let us just look at where some of those assets were. Mississippi has 40 percent of its National Guard forces in Iraq. Louisiana has 35 percent of its National Guard forces in Iraq. Florida has 26 percent. Alabama has 23 percent of its National Guard forces in Iraq.

On June 8, 2004, in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Walter Maestri, who is emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said, ``It appears that the money has been moved in the President's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq. And I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we're doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.'' Security, we are going to discuss that in a minute.

On April 24, 2004, the Times-Picayune said: ``Less money is available to the Army Corps of Engineers to build levees and water projects in the Mississippi River Valley this year and next year.'' Nobody can say they did not know, were not warned, whatever it is that the spin machine might come up with.

National Geographic Magazine, October 2004, came up with an article that reported on a simulation, I will not call it a game, but a simulation of what would happen should a hurricane hit New Orleans: ``As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however. The carless, the homeless, the aged, the infirm, and those die-hard
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New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.'' It goes on to describe just exactly what happened during Hurricquatrainrina, but that was in October 2004.

The Louisiana National Guard also knew that they were paying a price that was perhaps too high. On August 1 the Louisiana National Guard complained that they were taking critical equipment to Iraq that should have remained in Louisiana. But when the Bush administration does not like what one says, they just fire them. So there was a former Member of Congress that I had the pleasure to serve with, Mike Parker from Mississippi, who was with the Army Corps of Engineers. He complained that they were cutting the Army Corps of Engineers budget too much, and so he was forced out.

Now it turns out that Michael Brown was forced out too. He was forced out from the job he had before he became the FEMA assistant director and then director. Let me see if I can read this correctly. Michael Brown's previous employment was with the International Arabian Horse Association, and he was fired from that job too. They said that he was asked to resign. And so, of course, eminently qualified to serve in the Bush administration; he gets one of the most important jobs in the country with the lives of the American people in his hands.

We know that this is what they do, hurting people whom they disagree with, because there is the case of another Army Corps of Engineers employee by the name of Bunnatine Greenhouse, who complained about the no-bid sweetheart deal private contracts going to Halliburton. Well, she was forced out of her job too because, even though Vice President Dick Cheney still gets his deferred compensation checks from Halliburton Corporation, I guess the Bush administration is not finished with Halliburton, because they have been hired to do the storm cleanup. Is there no other corporation in America? Why is it that it always has to be Halliburton?

Well, the Times-Picayune calls for the firing of Michael Brown; and I have signed my name to many letters that are floating around here calling for his firing, his resignation, Chertoff's as well; and in a minute somebody on this House floor is going to mention impeachment.

But as if making sure that Halliburton got what they needed to get, I checked the FEMA Web site, and on the FEMA Web site it says: ``Help the victims of Hurricquatrainrina.'' First on the list is American Red Cross. We remember that during 9/11, there were many complaints from the victims of 9/11, and I remember seeing one report of the symphony orchestra getting some of the 9/11 contributions. But there is Operation Blessing. Operation Blessing was founded by Pat Robertson. That is the same Pat Robertson who called for the assassination of a duly elected president, Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela. How can FEMA recommend that someone who calls for the murder of somebody else get hard-earned money from the American people? It is on the FEMA Web site, and it is outrageous.

But there is more. Sadly, there is more. I agree with the Tom Hartman article: ``You Can't Govern if You Don't Believe in Government.'' What we have witnessed here in utter stark relief is the culmination of all of that Republican ideology against government, against the people, against helping people who are in need. Ronald Reagan was elected President by saying: ``The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, `I'm from the government and I'm here to help.''' Newt Gingrich in 1995 told us what he thought about government. He was speaking about Medicare. He said: ``Now, we don't want to get rid of it in round one because we don't think that's politically smart and we do not think that's the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it is going to wither on the vine because we think people are going to voluntarily leave it.'' Wither on the vine.

Grover Norquist in 2001 said this, and I think this encapsulates it all: ``I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.''

That is how these people feel about government. So I am not surprised that the Army Corps of Engineers budget is cut to the extent it is cut. I am not surprised.

Here, Bush's agenda is to cut government services to the bone and make people rely on the private sector for the things they need. So he sliced $71 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. In addition, the President cut $30 million in flood control. And then Bush took to the airwaves on ``Good Morning America'' on September 1 and said, ``I don't think anyone anticipated that breach of the levees.''

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``I don't think anyone anticipated that breach of the levees.''

Now, in stark contrast to the way the Department of Homeland Security mobilized to secure the people of the gulf States, within 48 hours of the notification of the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, Bush nominated Roberts to serve as Chief Justice. They are real fast at doing some things.

Now, at some point, we have to talk about values and priorities and how it has become that our values and our priorities are so twisted and mangled now. We are focusing on other things, and some of those things are important. I am not going to say that everything is not so important that has become a priority. We had a resolution today that six people voted against to give Bush another blank check in the war on terrorism. I was one of the six.

No more blank checks, Mr. President, not for war, not for war.

I went to the Committee on Homeland Security's Web site, and I just thought I would look and see which subcommittee has jurisdiction for natural disasters. Well, I could not believe it. I did not see any mention at all of natural disasters. So I went to one of our interns, whose eyes are a whole lot younger than mine, and I said, Would you please scour the entire website, because I have put in a search and it did not come up in a search; scour the entire website, and I want you to highlight the number of times you see the mention of the two words, ``natural disaster.''

It is not mentioned. It is not mentioned. On the entire Committee on Homeland Security Web site ``natural disaster'' is not mentioned.

Now, a young man had a script before him, and he was supposed to read the script, but he took the opportunity to deviate from the script and speak his mind. His name is Kanye West. He has been on the cover of all these national magazines talking about how he is the most brilliant new hip-hop, rap artist, Kanye West. And now, he is being vilified because he dared to take a detour from what some people wanted him to say and say what he wanted to say, which is, quite frankly, the origins of hip-hop anyway, young people who have something to say and have found the means to say it.

Kanye West said, ``I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family; it says they are `looting.' You see a white family; it says they are `looking for food.' And, you know, it has been 5 days, because most of the people are black, and even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite, because I have tried to turn away from the TV because it is too hard to watch. I have even been shopping before even giving a donation.

``So now I am calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give,'' notice he said he is calling his business manager; I want you to pay attention to that. ``And, just imagine if I was down there and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well off, as slow as possible.''

Now, NBC censored that. NBC has decided that they can determine what we hear from the smartest young man in hip-hop.

He also said, ``George Bush doesn't care about black people.'' NBC censored it. They deleted his remarks. And MSNBC President Rick Kaplan, who produced the telethon at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, had the cameras cut to actor Chris Tucker who was on a different part of the stage and who appeared to be looking off at something else in the camera. So it was the MSNBC president, who was also the producer, who said, Well, you know, maybe the American people do not need to hear the smartest young man in hip-hop's ideas about George Bush.
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Thank goodness, I can come to the floor of the House and speak my piece. And as long as C-SPAN cameras are running, well, it will not be cut off, but I understand there is even an effort to try and limit C-SPAN's access to American households.

But I have to tell my colleagues something. As I saw the African Americans, mostly African American families ripped apart, I could only think about slavery, families ripped apart, herded into what looked like concentration camps. So I was reminded of a Miami Herald article written on July 5, the day after Freedom Day, 1987.

The title of the article was ``Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,'' and here is a quote from that article: ``A copy of the memo was obtained by the Herald. The scenario outlined in the Brinkerhoff memo resembles somewhat a paper Giufreda had written in 1970 at the Army War College in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, in which he advocated martial law in case of a national uprising by black militants.'' In which he advocated martial law in case of a national uprising by black militants. The paper also advocated the roundup and transfer of two ``assembly centers or relocation camps of at least 21 million American Negroes.''

Now, I did not write that; the U.S. Government wrote that. They were going to round up 21 million Negroes because they were afraid of freeing black people. A story of neglect? I am not surprised about any story of neglect of the people that comes from this body with this set of priorities, that passes these kinds of budgets on the backs of the American people, these kinds of tax cuts on the backs of the American people.

I want to commend my sister Congresswoman, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), who has said that it is time for us to get serious about poverty in this country. It is time for us to get serious. I am a proud cosponsor of legislation with the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee).

I will just conclude by saying that on the United States State Department Web site is ``How to identify misinformation.'' Does the story fit the pattern of a conspiracy theory?