THE NEWSLETTER

Note From a Madman

Tuesday, September 6, 2005



Correction: Due to my haste in reporting, or editorializing, or whatever one might call what we do here on "Note From a Madman", we incorrectly labeled Governor Kathleen Blanco a Republican. She is most definitely a Democrat.

Hey, at least we didn't call the Governor "he" or say that the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party eat their young, although I suspect they do. Just keep looking for the remains of Michael Brown.

-Noah Greenberg



Quote in the Lead

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (she chuckled slightly)--this is working very well for them."
-Barbara Bush, Mother of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush

"This is working very well for them."
-"Babbs" referring to the poor who had lost everything and had to be evacuated

"Almost everyone I’ve talked to wants to move to Houston."
-Mrs. Bush (41) again

"What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed with the hospitality."
-Georgie-Boy's Mommy

That's real cold Barbara Bush. You think these people may miss loved ones that perished, their families they became separated from and their homes that are gone forever. I now know where Junior gets his "compassion" from.

-Robert Scardapane and Victoria Brownworth

She should stay there (at the Houston Astrodome) for a while, see how her over privileged self likes it. -Dorothy Schwartz



"(Michael) Chertoff echoed the White House line - saying the time to place blame will come later, but he also said federal officials had trouble getting information from local officials on what was going on. For instance, he said, they hadn't been told by Thursday of the violence and horrible conditions at the New Orleans convention center."
-The Associated Press

Oh, how I hope they can salvage copies of their emails, phone logs and/or letters! He needs to be jumped on and squashed like a bug. What a LIAR!

And what a STUPEHEAD. Even if he never watched TV, listened to radio news, or looked at the Internet, how could anyone with even half a brain cell think that you could cram thousands of poor people into one confined, hot and sultry place, moat it in with floodwater, fail to provide it with doctors and nurses, and not run out of food and water and medicine, get toilets backed up (both from overuse and because of the sewer flooding), have people crack up with at least one suicide and several violent attacks, and now allow epidemic diseases to run rampant? Chertoff has to be a total idiot, but we told our elected representatives that he was incompetent and inexperienced when he came up for confirmation as homeland security director. Can you imagine? Even Tom Ridge, dummkopf as he is (as we in Pennsylvania know full well), at least recognized that the department was going nowhere.

-Jenny Hanniver



"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area. And bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today.

"So I'm asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot."
-Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, on CBS' "The Early Show"


Start with getting rid of "Brownie the Clownie" and his boss Chertoff (does Bush have a nickname for him?). As far as getting a caring / sensitive idiot, that's a talk order when Bush is running the show. He only wants ultra-loyal to Bush idiots.

-Robert Scardapane

There doesn't seem to be a shortage of "idiots" in this White House, does there? -NG



President to President

"I'm sick of the press conferences. For
God's sake, shut up and send us somebody."
-A crying Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish President regarding the death of a friend's 92-year-old mother who was trapped in her nursing home, resulting in her death

A President of a Parrish in Louisiana is similar to a borough presidency in one of New York's five boroughs. I'm sure, as far as politics go, Mr. Broussard is way down in the pecking order. That being said, we should also realize that this wasn't a "photo op" (Broussard's appearance on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert). President Broussard should not be confused with President "Photo Op" Bush, a man whose empathy seems to rise when in the presence of cameras. President Broussard was angry, sad and, seemingly, made to feel inadequate as a leader due to his inability to help his constituents. President Broussard seemed more upset at the loss of one life than President Bush felt at the loss of thousands.

Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) wasn't told when President Bush would visit her state, and she wasn't invited to meet or travel with him, unlike Republican Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi when the pair, along with an entourage of minor politicos toured a town there. In fact, no one in Governor Blanco's office even knew that President Bush was coming to tour Louisiana in the first place. According to White House press secretary Scott McClellan, they did attempt to "reach out" to Governor Blanco, on Sunday, but they didn't hear back. Maybe the answering machine was broken or something.

"I need answers. I'm not interested in handshaking. I'm not interested in photo ops."
-Mildred Brown, a Hurricane Katrina victim at the Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA

I guess Ms. Brown didn't pass the "screening process."

-Noah Greenberg



Bad Luck

First came the "bad timing" of the recession.

"We can't help that, it started with Bill Clinton," the members of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party said in unison. Although most reliable economists agreed that the recession's had started in March of 2001, then Chairman of the President's Economic Advisor's Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw "changed" the start date to "sometime in the last quarter of 2000." The Bushies started calling it the "Clinton Recession." Mankiw's response was, "I made the call." That must have been right after Karl "The Traitor" Rove made his call.

Most of you will remember Dr. Mankiw from his now infamous quote, "Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade... which makes it a good thing." Remember his official White House bio's resume included this tid-bit, "He (Dr. Mankiw) even spent one summer long ago as a sailing instructor on Long Beach Island."

The rest of his resume read like this:
"In addition to his teaching, research, and writing, Professor Mankiw is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Congressional Budget Office, and a member of the ETS test development committee for the advanced placement exam in economics. "

-Whitehouse.gov

An economist who never had to meet a payroll, or owned his own business, or was even the CFO of any business. I wouldn't hire Dr. Mankiw to run a dog-walking service.

The recession? Oh, that was just Bad Luck".

Second on the list was the ill-advised tax give-back to the rich. "It will stimulate the economy," said President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and his cronies. Remember President Bush's words. They are hard to forget:
"Those with the greatest need should receive the greatest help."
They didn't.
“Tax relief for everybody … while still reducing the national debt and funding important priorities.”
It wasn't AND it didn't
"I believe everyone deserves a tax cut."
Everyone didn't get one
"The vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom of the spectrum."
It didn't
“The bottom end of the economic ladder receives the biggest percentage of cuts.”
They didn't
"The income tax rate reduction affects those making $27,000 to $65,000 a year - hardworking Americans who could use help."
-It did, but not nearly as much as it should have, or how much it helped the ultra-rich

Here is the Truth:
20 million low-income Americans pay no income taxes, but do pay payroll taxes. THEY GOT NOTHING! That refutes "Those with the greatest need should receive the greatest help," “Tax relief for everybody," "everyone deserves a tax cut," and "The vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom of the spectrum."

As a percentage, a family earning under $26,000 per year might have their income taxes eliminated (but not their Social Security taxes). Basically they received a 100 percent tax cut (which might have totaled less than $10 per week). The top one percent, while not receiving 100 percent of their tax money back, made out much, much better. That refutes, "Those with the greatest need should receive the greatest help," “Tax relief for everybody," "The vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom of the spectrum," and it "spins the truth" about “The bottom end of the economic ladder receives the biggest percentage of cuts.” As a group, the "bottom of the spectrum" only received about 3 percent of the tax cuts.

Citizens for Tax Justice concluded that 42.6 percent of the 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut went to the top one percent of all wage earners (those earning over $319,000). More than half would go to the top 5 percent (those earning over $130,000). The bottom 60 percent received a mere 12.6 percent. The top one percent received an average of $46,072. The average middle class wage earner received $453 a year, or less that $10 per week. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News and ABC News all agreed with the Citizens for Tax Justice estimates. Additionally, the Child Tax Credit, which was to put $1600 in the pocket of most “typical” families would give the top 20 percent of all wage earners 50 percent of the money available for this. The bottom 40 percent would receive only 3 percent.

Only 25 percent of the 92 million taxpayers that received a tax break spent it. The rest saved it. The almost 2 trillion dollar tax break only brought 10 billion dollars into the economy, or one-half of one percent. That refutes, “Tax relief for everybody … while still reducing the national debt and funding important priorities."

By the way, that  Child Tax Credit which was changed to eliminate over 9 million families who used to receive the credit. Why, THAT'S A TAX INCREASE!

Gone and almost forgotten are the 2000 campaign promises to cause no deficit, enact AFFORDABLE tax cuts, preserver a "rainy-day fund" (after all, hasn't it been pouring?), to reduce the national debt and to honor the Social Security Lock Box (unless they changed the definition of the word "honor" to mean "stealing", they missed that boat).

It'll just take a little more time (like til the end of it), I guess. Just a little "bad luck" is all.

Third, we had 9/11. A catastrophe that in no way, shape or form has the Bush administration taken any of the blame for whatsoever. Although there were memos and warnings from people like Richard Clarke, Bush's anti-terrorism expert, who also worked under other Republican Presidents, like Bush 41, and William Cohen, a life-long Republican made Defense Secretary by President Bill Clinton and many, many others; although there was the briefing titled "Osama bin-Laden determined to strike in the US; although there was the thwarted Millennium plot; although there were those who warned of terrorists hijacking planes and using them as missiles, the Bushies refused any and all responsibility. When it came time to investigate, the Bush administration did all it could to stop, ignore, stall and then finally take credit for the 9/11 commission, one they never wanted in the first place.

"If we had known that an attack was coming against the United States, that an attack was coming against New York and Washington, we would have moved heaven and earth to stop it."
-Then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice

"Had we had any inkling, whatsoever, that terrorists were about to attack our country, we would have moved heaven and Earth to protect America,"
-President Bush

I guess all of those warnings weren't "known" to Ms. Rice or "inklings" to President Bush.

A little more "Bad Luck" there, huh Mr. Bush?

Then after finally caving in to demands to make things safer, they institute the "Patriot Act", which sounded like a good idea at the time, but which has proven to be another "sneak-and-peak" into the private lives of Honest Americans, while terrorists are still able to go to gun shows to buy and export weapons to kill our soldiers and citizens worldwide.

Fourth was the "necessary" Iraq war.

Then came the "necessary" Iraq war because Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Then came the "necessary" Iraq war to give the people of Iraq "Freedom" and "Liberty."
Then came the "necessary" Iraq war so we could "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here."
Then came the "necessary" Iraq war so Halliburton and other War Profiteers could make a buck at the expense of the
US Taxpayer. That's more like it.

When President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished", he was, of course only speaking about the mission "to that point."
Then when President Bush and the
US military started the occupation in Iraq, it was only going to be for a short while.
When that short while became "possibly 12 years", it became a "necessary" Iraq war again because there was now an "insurgency", one that wasn't there before.

Whatever happened to, "It is my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,"

-Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney? What about the "flowers", Dick?

"How could the administration have known it would go so bad so fast? How could they have predicted an insurgency? how could they have stopped all of this? It just isn't their fault," they might ask you.

More bad luck.

Fifth was the loss of jobs. For the first time since the Great Depression, a president finished a term in office with a NET JOB LOSS.

"The American worker isn't trained well enough," the Right Wing cried.
"The
American worker can't compete with overseas workers because our standard of living is too high," the Right Wing said.
"The
American worker doesn't want to do those kind of jobs," the Right Wing explained.

The loss of US jobs couldn't be the fault of the White House. After all, look how good major stocks are doing and how well upper echelon executives are being paid. Look at all of those $6,000 shower curtains!

 

It must just be "Bad Luck", that's all.

Sixth was the energy "crisis" caused by illegal price gouging. The mere fact that the "gouger" was "Georgie Boy's" Buddy, Ken Lay of Enron had nothing to do with "Georgie Boy" at all. The rising costs of heating oil prices mean nothing more than a "market correction."

 

The fact that the energy "crisis" happened during the GW administration is just "Bad Luck."

Seventh is the rise of gas prices prior to Hurricane Katrina.
China is using more oil.
India is using more oil.
We don't have enough refineries.
Iraq is in bad shape and it's hard to get the oil out of there.
The UN stole the oil.


But most of all it's all just "bad Luck" once again.

Last, Hurricane Katrina, the worst storm in American History beat up on 150 miles of the Gulf Coast. New Orleans mayor orders a "mandatory evacuation" of his city. Some can't leave the city because they have no way out. Some are too sick to leave. In the final toll, thousands will have lost their lives and many more, their homes and livelihood.

The people didn't leave. It's their fault.
The levees didn't hold. It's their fault.
It's the governor's fault.
It's the mayor's fault.
It's the red-tape's fault.


"No one could have anticipated that the levee's would break,"
-"G"lobal "W"arming Bush

More "Bad Luck" I suppose.

We need to get rid of the Bush administration. I know, I know...nothing is ever their fault, but a lot of bad things keep on happening. Maybe "Georgie-Boy" walked under a ladder. Maybe Dick Cheney crossed paths with a black cat. Maybe Donald Rumsfeld broke a mirror. Maybe Tom DeLay saw his wife in her wedding dress on their wedding day. It just doesn't matter.

In the end, these guys are just, BAD LUCK.

We better get rid of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party before their "Bad Luck" ruins US all!

-Noah Greenberg



In response to "Did This Really Happen? The Army Corps of Engineers 'blew up' a levee near the 9th Ward, a lower socio-economic neighborhood in order to "save" the wealthier areas of New Orleans," Jenny Hanniver writes:

That actually happened during the 1927 hurricane, along with deliberately flooding the Plaquemine Parish bayous, inhabited mostly by extremely poor rural whites. It saved the wealthier sections of the city--but the political and economic repercussions were very costly to New Orleans.

Everyone should read John Barry's THE RISING TIDE, the story of the 1927 Mississippi River flood, one of the most provocative social histories I've ever read--and which I intend to read again to refresh my memory. There may have been no actual hurricane in 1927. There was at least a terrible gale of the fiercest sort, bringing drenching rains and violently destructive winds, which may have been a Category I or even II hurricane. Hurricanes were hard to track in those days, and the basic problem was that this storm was the straw that broke the camel's back. It had been raining for weeks, the Mississippi basin was already saturated, and the rains from the storm caused the river to breach the levees and overflow.

But it's the social results that we should study most carefully in this book, and consider for ourselves. Did the storm and flood--and the displacement of workers--help bring on the Depression? Barry explains that the sudden mass emigration of African Americans from the Bayou country to Chicago and other northern cities in the late 1920s and early 1930s was because they recognized their ill-treatment in the aftermath of the great flood, even by the most genteel, educated and "liberal" New Orleans whites. Far fewer rural whites went north and they remained dirt poor and despised. (Some of us who've been around the block a couple of times remember that Plaquemine became considered the most racist county in America during the 1960s, hagridden by shrieking White Citizens Councils & Ku Kluxers, and by cadres of Catholic priests whose sermons were indistinguishable from those of ranting Protestant fundamentalists.)

Consider the contrast in behavior between the post-flood blacks and the whites, and add the fact that the original Africans were stolen from all levels of African society including the most intellectual and influential, while most of the Colonial whites who came to the American south were impoverished and illiterate, and it bears out an old theory of mine, that we American whites are, on the whole, less intellectually shrewd than blacks. Recent voting patterns only reinforce that opinion.

In this week's flood there was little the Corps of Engineers could do because of past shortages of money and materials, but it appears they were trying, vainly, to save every part of the city. Perhaps we'll find out differently in the post mortem, but so far I've heard nothing against them. The basic problem has been due to under-funding in the reigns of both Bushes, George I and George II. Rational engineering to protect New Orleans has been coming up a dollar short.



Lake "George"
This is from a friend at the EPA
(Let's Just Call Him an "Unidentified Source")


"We're naming it Lake George, 'cause it's his frickin fault. Have you seen all that data about the levee projects' funding being cut over the past three years by the Prez, and the funding transferred to Iraq? The levee, as designed, might not have held back the surge from a direct Class 5 hit, but it certainly would not have crumbled on Monday night from saturation and scour erosion following a glancing blow from a Class 3. The failure was in a spot that had just been rebuilt, not yet compacted, not planted, and not armed (hardened with rock/concrete). The project should have been done two years ago, but the federal gov't diverted 80% of the funding to Iraq. Other areas had settled by a few feet from their design specs, and the money to repair them was diverted to Iraq.

The NO paper raised hell about this time and again, to no avail. And who will take the blame for it? The Army Corps, because they're good soldiers and will never contradict the C in C. But Corps has had massive budget cuts across all departments (including wetland regulatory) since Bush took office, and now we've reaped what was sown. It really pisses me off to see the Corps get used by the Administration to shield Bush -- they do great work when they're funded.

This was senseless, useless death caused not by nature but by budget decisions."

-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane, from an email sent by Wonkette



The "Swift-Boating" of New Orleans Begins

"As noted, the Washington Post got burned today by a "senior Bush official" who told them that Gov. Blanco of Louisiana had never declared a state of emergency in the site -- a claim the Post printed as fact. Yet the claim was demonstrably false and by late afternoon the Post had been compelled to print a correction.

"This week's Newsweek contains the same false claim -- and though their recital of the anecdote is unsourced, common sense suggests that someone or some operation fed them both the same line, which neither organization checked out before running.

"Monday's Times, not surprisingly, confirms that the White House damage control operation is being run by Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett.

"Add it up.

"And who will report this out?"
-Josh Marshall of Talking Points blog

I was just treated to the spectacle of Bush's Daddy and Mommy on Larry King Live defending Junior. Naturally, they are 100% behind their son - that is normal but they shouldn't be given ready TV access to whitewash his blunders. Expect the Bush propaganda machine to go into ultra-spin mode.

 

They'll swift boat the Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor while painting a rosy picture of Bush's heroic efforts to save the Gulf Coast.

 

Bush needs to go.

-Robert Scardapane


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-Noah Greenberg