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Campaign Carl still carrying (toxic) water for Bush

Reported by Chrish - September 12, 2005

Brit Hume opened today 9/12/05 on Special Report with "On his third visit to the storm-racked coast (as others have noted, the "flyover" August 31 apparently counts as a visit)...Bush today denied allegations that the federal government was slow to repond to hurricane Katrina because many of the storm victims were black. In the meantime back in Washington Carl Cameron reports that the man much blamed for the government response has resigned and his replacement is already named."

Tucked within that report was a known falsehood, Fox and CCC trying once again to lay the blame for what went wrong in NOLA on Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Cameron says that Bush has tapped an acting head of FEMA, David Paulison, to replace Mike Brown but when Bush was asked by reporters, he "ducked the question because he was not certain the announcement had been made public." Said Bush, with the obligatory human props in the background (this time camo-clad clean-up crew members), to reporters "Maybe you know something I don't know. But as you know we've been working and I haven't had a chance to get on the ph/" (cut off by CCC)." But according to Cameron, two hours later Bush "moved swiftly" to tap Paulison to replace Brown as Acting Director.

Comment; It occurs to me that the reporters would not know to ask the question if the resignation had not been announced. Could it be that Bush was the one who hadn't been made aware, and hadn't been told who "he" was appointing as replacement? Some say he is Rove/Cheney's puppet.

Brown released a statement including "Today I resigned as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As I told the president, it is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA."

Comment: That sounds noble unless and until you remember that his call for workers, 5 hours after Katrina struck the US, said in part that the role of assigned personnel was to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations, and the general public." His continued presence was indeed a reminder that FEMA was no longer in good hands.

Cameron said that for the first time Bush commented publicly on charges of racism impeding the government response. Bush: "The storm didn't discriminate, and neither will the recovery effort." Bush's use of the future tense and Fox/Cameron's transposition of "response" and "recovery effort" seeks to make a connection where none exists. Bush went on to laud the Coast Guard first responders who rescued people from housetops regardless of skin color, ignoring the issue of basic necessities not making it to the people in the Superdome and the Convention Center, wherein lies the beef. There has been nothing but high praise for the helicopter heroes of the Coast Guard.

Cameron said "the commander-in-chief seemed impatient when reporters asked yet again whether Iraq has stretched troops too thin." Bush: "It is preposterous to claim that uh the engagement in Iraq meant that there weren't enough troops here. Pure and simple."

Carl then said Bush accused the media of fingerpointing for asking if he or the people of NO were let down by the relief agencies, with Bush shown saying "there'll be plenty of tiome to play the blame game. That's what you're tryin' to do; you're tryin' to say somebody's at fault..."

Cameron then interjects the administration talking point/lie: "Critics say that many problems were caused by turf wars and bureacracy between state, local and federal levels of government. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, for instance, refused to let the federal government take control. Mr. Bush said since the next major catastrophe could be terrorism Congress must consider giving the federal government MORE AUTHORITY (my emphasis) to assume control in the future."

Comment: The Blanco blame won't work. As has been thoroughly documented at Media Matters and summarized at Alternet.org, the disaster became Bush's to comandeer on August 26th when he declared it a federal disaster. From the Alternet story:

A Sept. 5 Los Angeles Times article quoted former FEMA chief of staff Jane Bullock saying that "[t]he moment the president declared a federal disaster [on Aug 29], it became a federal responsibility. ... The federal government took ownership over the response." Moreover, DHS' own website declares that DHS "will assume primary responsibility on March 1st [2005] 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."

The assertion by Bush that he needs Congress to give him more control is another attempt by his government to consolidate yet more power. The DHS National Respone Plan (NRP) already gives the federal government all the authority it needs; it simply failed to assert same. From Alternet:

But Chertoff's Sept. 1 statement ignored the administration's own homeland security response plan, which directed the federal government to act on its own authority to quickly provide assistance and conduct emergency operations following a major catastrophe, pre-empting state and local authorities if necessary. According to DHS' December 2004 National Response Plan (NRP), "catastrophic events," such as what occurred in New Orleans, call for heightened and "proactive" federal involvement to manage the disaster. The response plan listed "guiding principles" to govern the response to these major events. The "Guiding Principles for Proactive Federal Response" make clear that, in these "catastrophic" cases, the federal government will operate independently to provide assistance, rather than simply supporting or cajoling state authorities:

* The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure, property, and the environment; contain the event; and preserve national security.

* Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of catastrophic magnitude.

* Identified Federal response resources will deploy and begin necessary operations as required to commence life-safety activities.

* Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal response.

* State and local governments are encouraged to conduct collaborative planning with the Federal Government as a part of "steady-state" preparedness for catastrophic incidents."

Cameron then returned to the topic of Brown's resignation, mission accomplished and blame game executed.

One other odd note: At the end of the piece Hume asked Cameron about the permanent director of FEMA, how long would it take? Cameron said the president's aides were working quickly on this, looking for someone with vast experience and competence. (What a concept!) Hume followed up asking is the "interim candidate, uh, uh, interim head" on the list of candidates? Cameron replied "Mr. Paulison. We've, we've reached out to the Department of Health, Department of Homeland Security and others. Mr. Paulison is presumably on that list as well."

Comment: As my mom always said "What do you mean with the "we" business?" !! David Paulison appears at first glance to have excellent qualifications for the job and his appointment would temper anxieties about runaway cronyism in this administration. I will not be surprised if and when a less qualified FOB gets the permanent assignment.

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