State of Emergency

The White House is finally springing in to action with a bold plan to deal with the unfolding disaster of their plunging poll numbers.

New York Times story: White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage

In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove’s tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

“The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials,” Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. “The federal government comes in and supports those officials.”

And this Washington Post story: White House Shifts Blame

In a Washington briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said one reason federal assets were not used more quickly was ‘because our constitutional system really places the primary authority in each state with the governor.'”

That would be Michael Chertoff, the guy in charge of Homeland Security. And this is what the Homeland Security website says about who has primary responsibility in a large-scale emergency:

In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.

It’s hard to cut through all the legal gobbledygook in that passage, but it kinda sorta sounds like Michael Chertoff had “primary responsibility” for letting New Orleans die and leaving it to rot. Just so we’re clear about which graves to spit on.

And speaking of Karl Rove, the Washington Post on September 4 and Newsweek in their upcoming issue repeated the easily disproven lie by a “senior administration official” that Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco waited for several days to declare a state of emergency (Karl is so cute when he’s desperate.)

How easy is this lie to disprove?

Press Release
Date: 8/26/2005

GOVERNOR BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY

Then she spent the next day trying to get Cheney on board, as shown in this memo from Kathleen Blanco to the President requesting a federal state of emergency.

August 27, 2005

Dear Mr. President:

I request that you declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period beginning August 26, 2005…

While that is awfully vague, it does sound like a request for a state of emergency. I guess we’ll leave it to the lawyers to sort this one out.

But did Bush, as Commander in Chief, have authority over the National Guard in a time of national crisis?

Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself, as he did after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

There’s probably several ways to interpret that….

Because there must have been some huge, overwhelming issue at the core of our Republic, some key Constitutional principle that Bush could not violate, some bedrock foundation of our Democracy that was worth standing by on the sidelines while Americans died. What could have been this immovable object in the path of his irresistible force?

Paperwork.

paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn’t come from Washington until late Thursday.

He is the CEO President after all.

Oh yeah. And vacations. Turns out that not just Bush, but everybody in the entire goddamned White House stayed out on vacation during the worst disaster in American history:

In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.

Mr. Bush’s communications director, Nicolle Devenish, was married this weekend in Greece, and a number of Mr. Bush’s political advisers – including Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman – attended the wedding.

Ms. Rice did not return to Washington until Thursday, after she was spotted at a Broadway show and shopping for shoes, an image that Republicans said buttressed the notion of a White House unconcerned with tragedy.

And that is why we can definitively blame this disaster on the French. Not only did they pick a bad spot for a city, they also forced the White House into a Vacation Race. And if everyone hadn’t been trying to out-vacation the French — for the good of America — then they would have been on the scene last week, blaming the Democrats. Damn you Frenchy!

But high in the running for the most creative attempt to shift blame, Rick Scarborough of the theocratic lobbying organization Vision America has blamed the hurricane on, among other things, horse bestiality.

Horse bestiality.

Which makes no sense at all. Let’s try using it in a sentence:
A guy in Washington died while having sex with a horse, so God slaughtered thousands of poor black people in the South in an act of vengeance.

No. That still makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever.
Let’s try an analogy:
God is to man as hurricane is to horse bestiality.

Ahh… no. I still don’t get it.

At the Huffington Post, Max Blumenthal tries to parse this mysterious Theocratic Code in a more pointed way:

Is Scarborough suggesting something even more sinister than we know about FEMA head Michael Brown’s days at the International Arabian Horse Association? Could Brown have somehow planned Katrina to distract from possible future revelations of horse buggering? And will Katrina now head north and east, towards Russia, where God will exact revenge for the death of Catherine the Great? Or could Scarborough be deadly serious in blaming a bunch of stallion shaggers in rural Washington for flooding New Orleans? Sometime a horse is just a horse, of course.

I guess you could call it surreal, except the surrealists were not anywhere near this level of frightening perversion.

Mafia-linked corruption kingpin Bernard Kerik apparently used his psychic
bookie
to get inside info on hurricanes:

They knew five days, six days in advance there was a category 5 storm.

[Two days before landfall, Katrina was a strong Category 2]