Monday, September 12, 2005

All This Time

I strongly urge you to all read Joe Conason's latest article, even though doing so requires you to watch a short ad at Salon (unless you are a member).

It's strong indictment of the Bush Administration for it's failures and it's betrayal of the American people.
And we can have no doubt now, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that critical agencies of the United States government are staffed by patronage hacks unable to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of the modern state. The outstanding example, of course, is Michael D. Brown -- apparently known as "Brownie" to the admiring president -- the FEMA chief whose résumé contains nothing to recommend him to one of the most critical positions in government, although he had amply padded it with unearned honors and bogus titles. He claimed, for instance, to have worked as an assistant city manager, when he was actually a glorified intern. (The holder of a degree from an unaccredited law school, Brown's most significant lifetime work experience was as a "commissioner" for a horse show association, a position he departed involuntarily and left off his official biography.)
For four years, since the tragedy of September 11th, President Bush and his followers have been resolute in telling us how lucky we are to have him in charge, in these dangerous and trying times.

I don't know about anybody else, but I don't feel all that lucky.

Incidentally you might also check out Paul Krugman's latest, in which he suggests that "Brownie" may not be an exception but an example of President Bush's hiring standards. It's always been clear that this president values loyalty and doesn't give a damn about any other qualities a person might have. So if you like how Michael Brown performed in the face of Hurricane Katrina just imagine how President Bush's other office holders are performing. Or instead of imagining, here's a quote.
Unfortunately, it's easy to find other agencies suffering from some version of the FEMA syndrome.

The first example won't surprise you: the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a key role to play in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, but which has seen a major exodus of experienced officials over the past few years. In particular, senior officials have left in protest over what they say is the Bush administration's unwillingness to enforce environmental law.
Maybe this is just me, but isn't there likely to be a lot of gunk floating around New Orleans? Isn't that sort of the Environmental Protection Agency's mandate, to clean up gunk? Hmmmmmm.

Still when you elect a President who doesn't believe in the power of Government to help people, I suppose it's no surprise that he appoints lunkheads to positions of power which, to him, are totally useless.

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