File under: WTF?
"FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the agency's public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought — also a number of fires."
Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until he resigned under pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he personally notified the White House of this news that night, though he declined to identify the official he spoke to.
White House officials have confirmed to Congressional investigators that the report of the levee break arrived there at midnight, and Trent Duffy, the White House spokesman, acknowledged as much in an interview this week, though he said it was surrounded with conflicting reports.
But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.
The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.
OK, that's pretty bad news.
Scotty McLellan put his usual glaze on that doughnut:
At the White House, the president's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said during a briefing today that there had been conflicting reports about the levees and the source of the floods just after Katrina passed. "Some were saying it was over top, some were saying it was breached," he said.
Yeah, Scotty, that's pretty over the top if you ask me. Like it fucking matters.
But wait, as the TV hucksters say, there's more. Matt Drudge is reporting (and i'm not going to link to his cesspool) that the Bush Administration is responding to the Times article by demanding a retraction:
NEW YORK TIMES’ Eric Lipton today writes that President Bush was “on vacation in Texas” on August 30th but their own reporter filed a pool report that day from San Diego where POTUS giving a speech on the War on Terror and was visiting soldiers and families of the fallen. Sources tell DRUDGE that the original story filed by Lipton did not contain the sentence about Bush being on vacation and that it was added by an editor.
The White House is seeking a retraction.
Now, let's put this in the pot and set it on medium high for half an hour to reduce ti to it's sticky essence.
The Times publishes a story that contains the news that the President, on the Monday night (August 29) after the storm, had been or should have been informed that the worst case scenario of a major levee breach had occurred. We know that the President has said he believed that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet" as late as Tuesday afternoon the 30th, and that "nobody had anticipated the breach of the levees" speaking on Good Morning America later that week.
We have a compelling chain of evidence suggesting that incompetence (at best) ran amok, in the critical hours during which emergency steps should have been ordered. That the incompetence extends to the highest levels of government. And the White House response to this is to demand a retraction from the Times based on their claim that the President was in San Diego giving a speech?
Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket.
Here's a photo of the President taken on August 30:
You can tell it's the President because he's got the fucking Presidential seal on his guitar. It's the First Guitar he's strumming, ladies and gentlemen. Which means he couldn't be on vacation, right? Cause strummng the First Guitar is part of being the President, and being the President is hard work, all the time, right?
You know, i'm starting to believe that a country that allows an idiot like this to hold power deserves pretty much everything it gets.