Thursday, September 29, 2005

So, after Mike Brown was ditched as head of FEMA, they brought him back as a consultant, ostensibly to diagnose what went wrong in New Orleans. And it was in that capacity that, earlier this week, he was up before Congress telling them that Louisiana's Governor Blanco had failed to declare a state of emergency in a timely manner.

Well, if you're reading liberal blogs, you already know he was lying. (Under oath, no less --- but since he wasn't lying under oath about a blowjob received by a Democrat, the Republicans who would otherwise be outraged are giving him a mulligan). But the mainstream media, applying their usual criteria, realized that no one in power had told them this was news, and so they didn't report it.

And so, when she testified herself before Congress yesterday, Governor Blanco was effectively on trial before the public for gross negligence, whatever the ostensible purpose of the hearing. And she effectively pleaded no contest, saying that she was there to talk about job creation. For which she was praised by the ranking Democrat in attendance:

"Good for you, Gov. Blanco," [Senator] Baucus said. "This is not about blame, this is about how we get this job done. I appreciate your response."

Well, before, there might have been some confusion on the part of, say, a cub reporter, about whether it was news that Brown was lying. But now that people in power, on the opposition side no less, have assured them that there is no news here, the chance that it might slip into the news anyway, perhaps, as some kind of mistake, has just about vanished. Which means that there's just about no hope for, say, the lies about the availability of buses. (Dubya's FEMA turned away offers of thousands of them from major companies, because they'd given a politically connected contractor a $100 million contract to coordinate that. The contractor, when the time came to deliver, was looking for buses on the Web).

That all doesn't bother the Dims, as the Freepers so aptly refer to them. As Blanco herself noted, even though Brown has slandered her right now, she's happy to wait for "the facts [to] speak for themselves when the time is appropriate." Which would presumably be when the Republican narrative is firmly established in the public mind, and any attempt to question it can be dismissed with a curt "get over it."

That was the Dim theory about how to hold Republicans accountable for their failures in defense about terrorism. Since it worked so well there, why stop now?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Get yer weekly dose of tin-foil-hat puzzling evidence here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So, Alan Greenspan reportedly told the French finance minister that the United States has "lost control" of its fiscal deficit.

This would be the same Alan Greenspan who testified before Congress that Dubya's tax cuts were necessary to avoid the "danger" of a surplus....

Conservatives are complaining that the reason liberals object to Dubya's plans for New Orleans is that they're afraid a conservative approach might succeed. In fact, conservative approaches have succeeded in the past --- like section 8 housing vouchers and the Earned Income Tax Credit. And when they do, liberals urge their application, as they are doing right now, for New Orleans evacuees. Dubya is resisting calls for that, apparently because it might give people the idea that government programs can work.

Oh, by the way, remember Mike Brown, the FEMA head who got bounced because of his agency's failure to handle Katrina? Who better to investigate that failure than Brown himself? He's been rehired... now why ever would that be?

His ostensible job? Trying to diagnose FEMA's failure, which is to say, his own. But we already know what their diagnosis will be. After Dubya's FEMA, and Brown's, not only failed to provide help on its own, but actively repulsed aid offered from all quarters, Dubya's crew is already using that failure as an argument, not that we need better civilian leadership (perish the thought!), but rather that they need to be able to more readily impose martial law...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Signs of our times: two posters at the bus stop on Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street.

One of them is an MBTA customer outreach effort that's a few years old --- their "Customer Bill of Rights". They want you to know that you have the right to prompt service. To safe service. To a refund in case of excessive delay.

The other is a poster for the "Transit Watch" program, in which they were searching the bags of Orange Line passengers during the Democratic Convention a year or so back. They've since announced they'll discontinue the searches, but they didn't take the posters down; the signs are still up, telling people that if they don't allow T employees to paw through their baggage, they may be asked to leave. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects is not part of the Customer Bill of Rights.

You'll have heard by now about the much blogged Human Rights Watch report on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq --- in the field, far away from Abu Ghraib. About how it was routine to beat them or work them to exhaustion. About how this treatment was endorsed and supervised by Army intelligence. About how it was routinely meted out regardless by soldiers who were off duty and who weren't even trying to elicit information --- just using the detainees as, literally, human punching bags. About how this was all going on at the same time as the public show of contrition over the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

What gets me is the slimy term of art that the Army is using to describe these people: they're "PUCs" --- Persons Under Control. Because if anyone used the word "prisoner", or worse, "prisoner of war" to describe the people that they rounded up and detained on the information and belief that they were members of an opposing military force, then someone might think the Geneva conventions applied. We can't have that.