Monday, September 05, 2005

Refuting The "Blame The Locals, Not Feds" Spin (Smells Like Rove Spirit)

Oh, how predictable, you're blaming Rove now, I can hear the conservatives sighing as I paste this entry.

Yep, it's pretty sad how predictable some of this is getting, isn't it? How predictable that when you see a "senior white house official," unnamed, engaging in lie-filled finger pointing and blame-shifting to try to save his party's butt, that the Democrats might actually smell a (Rove) rat and protest?

Hey, maybe that senior white house official was actually Bush himself, or Cheney. I'd happily eat my words if that came out. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.


I'd wager almost any amount of money that the unnamed "senior Bush official" who lied to the Washington Post yesterday and got them to PRINT his lie that Governor Blanco hadn't declared a state of emergency was Karl Rove. Can there be any doubt??

He certainly has a track record of slimy, politically motivated (and at times blatantly untrue) leaks to the media, being criminally investigated for it by his own administration as I write this. He's been visibly standing by Bush's side whispering into his ear throughout the aftermath of Katrina. Of COURSE it was his idea to create the now-repeated-ad-nauseum-spin shifting the blame for the federal government's inexcusable lack of action in saving lives this week to the (Democratic) Louisiana state and local officials. The FEMA lie that they weren't authorized to release twenty million dollars of relief supplies to Louisiana because, they say, Blanco didn't ask for it (but a state of emergency declaration IS asking for FEMA supplies. That's the way the rules are written) smells like Rove too.

The disaster response may not have been coordinated in any meaningful way, but the Rove-orchestrated spin machine is as oiled and effective as ever.

All over the place, now, I hear Bush defenders on message, a frightening collective robot chanting "Don't forget! The feds weren't authorized to take action to help victims til the locals authorized them to, and the locals never did!"

Please, when you hear that, RESPOND with the TRUTH. Don't let this spin go unrefuted.

Three days before the hurricane hit, the Mississippi and Louisiana governors DID issues state of emergency declarations. That is ALL that was required legally for FEMA to be authorized to get on the ground immediately and start helping. FEMA (aka Dept of Homeland Security aka Bush administration aka Rove) cannot pin this on Louisiana. Not without blatantly lying, anyway. They sat on twenty million dollars' worth of emergency relief supplies (see past "Lies" post). Reports are also flowing in that FEMA has turned away more millions' of dollars of support offered by Wal-Mart, the City of Chicago, so many others I've lost track of, whose truckloads of water and relief supplies were TURNED AWAY by FEMA without explanation. As today's New York Times reports,

""We wanted soldiers, helicopters, food and water," said Denise Bottcher, press secretary for Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana. "They wanted to negotiate an organizational chart." . . .

"Far from deferring to state or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and made things worse, Mr. Broussard complained on "Meet the Press."

"When Wal-Mart sent three trailer trucks loaded with water, FEMA officials turned them away, he said. Agency workers prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and on Saturday they cut the parish's emergency communications line, leading the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA, Mr. Broussard said. . ."

By the vast majority of accounts, FEMA has been slow to act in the respects that matter, but quick to turn AWAY offers to help pouring in from across the country. They cannnot blame Blanco or Nagin or other local officials (who have been begging for FEMA's help from the start) for it.

As delicious as "off-the-record" tips may be to reporters, they really need to start being more careful about such tips from certain *cough* "anonymous" *coughrovecough* senior white house officials. You'd think they'd be tired of being Charlie Brown to Lucy's football-yanking tactics. Or maybe the Washington Post really has deteriorated that much over the years... a sad thought, since they've always been one of my favorite newspapers.


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