Saturday, September 10, 2005

Rebuilding Bonanza: Cronies cash in..

Surprise! Two of Joe Allbaugh's corporate clients land big contracts to rebuild N'awlins. Before he became a big corporate lobbyist, Allbaugh was Bush's campaign manager in Texas, and the former head of FEMA (Brown's immediate predecessor and college roommate).

The two clients that hit paydirt? Shaw, Inc. and, yeah, Halliburton (Kellogg, Brown & Root).

Based on deals with KBR in Iraq, can I say I'm not terribly conifdent our Gov't was "wise with the people's money" and negotiated the best deal?

The CNN article says that "Congress has already appropriated more than $60 billion in emergency funding as a down payment on recovery efforts projected to cost well over $100 billion." Wonder how much of that will be spent on overruns and padded costs?

6 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

When will this country punish these criminals?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

When Hell freezes over?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 7:52:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

There are three things preventing a landslide Democratic victory in 2006. We can and must solve all three problems.

1. Unfair elections and rigged machines.
2. Unfair media and government paid for propaganda
3. The limp-wristed Democratic Party.

Cheating in the elections has worked for the Republicans when the country was split 50/50, it will be a whole lot less sucessful when it's a 60/40 game.

The press appears to have found its sack during the Katrina fiasco. We'll see if it continues.

The Democrats have Dean, let's pressure them to let him speak freely.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Here's a transcript of Dean on Ed Schultz. I think this should be the Dems main message in 2006 - restore competence & pragmatism to Congress and the WH. Basically just a straight up message that we can run government better. Republicans don't believe in government in the first place (Brown's predecessor thought FEMA was a big "entitlement program" - so why should we be surprised when they fail to execute the basics and meet the needs of taxpayers? Point out that Clinton had the budget balanced and shit was pretty much under control.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger GodlessMom said...

Combine the big KBR contracts with the fact that Bush lifted wage resrictions for Katrina related projects. At least we know where his priorities are.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here it is, before it gets lost as more posts accumulate on that site:

Ed: Let's go right off the top today to Howard Dean, the governor, and also the head of the DNC. Mr. Dean, always a pleasure.

Howard: Ed--thanks! Listen, thank you for what you're doing. I have to say, the story about Brittany enrolling in North Dakota State was a lot more exciting than politicians fighting among each other, and I think that's fantastic. Although I come from Vermont which is almost as cold as North Dakota in the winter, and I can't wait for those folks from Mississippi to figure out what it's like in January.

Ed: Howard, they did ask about the weather, I have to tell you! (laughs)

Howard: Just tell them after the first winter it gets better. They're going to like the small town atmosphere.

Ed: Absolutely, absolutely--

Howard: Mind you, North Dakota State's got a fantastic hockey team I regretfully say as one of your victims at the University of Vermont.

Ed: (laughs) Well, I told them hockey is a great sport. I couldn't fib about the weather, though. It gets a little chilly.

Well, there's a lot going on surrounding this horrible disaster. And first of all, being the former governor of Vermont, and now head of the DNC, I want to ask you about FEMA. And I know that you don't have hurricanes up in Vermont when you were governor or anything like that. But what can you tell us, and what's your take on this organization and their response or lack of, as this whole thing has unfolded?

Howard: Well, I'm going to say this as a former governor not as a Democrat, because it's the truth. I presided over nine emergency declarations. We're a mountainous state as you know, and we're cold, but when it rains a lot, the rain all funnels down in these narrow valleys, and we get big floods. And, I had nine flood emergencies when I was governor. The only time FEMA's ever been worth anything was when James Lee Whitt ran it, under Bill Clinton. FEMA was not so great under George Bush's father, and of course this guy is totally incompetent. And his deputies are incompetent. One of them is the former advance guy for the campaign, another is a former press guy. This guy is a former horse association executive director. This is ridiculous--he got his job because he was somebody's roommate in college. This is not the way to run anything. It doesn't surpise me much.

But FEMA matters a lot. Clinton *got it*. Clinton understood that the most important intergovernmental agency in the country is FEMA, because, when you need their help, you *really* need their help, and you need their help immediately. And when James Lee Whitt was running FEMA--who I'm happy to say was hired by Governor Blanco to try to straighten this mess out--they really knew what they were doing. They were just like having a precision team coming into your state, they set up places, they got people straightened out in terms of their housing and immediate help. They could tell you exactly who could be reimbursed and who couldn't and how it could be done. It was a great organization. It would be great if we could put that back together again.

Ed: Governor, when can we start asking some tough questions. I mean, the conservatives are over there saying, "Well, they're playing the blame game--they're trying to do the finger pointing" and all this kind of stuff. The fact is that this isn't going to be the last disaster. And by the way, we still have more hurricanes that are probably going to come up in the next several months. So I guess my feeling is that there's no time like the present. But the point being here is, do you think getting rid of Mike Brown right now would make it better tomorrow?

Howard: I do think it would. I do think that getting rid of the leadership in FEMA--there's a couple things that have to be done. First of all, we have to keep the focus on the victims, and not on the bureaucratic bungling that's going on in this Republican administration. And immediatlely we've got to do things like--people like you. I mean, what you did, and your web site--I mean it's not just you, there are people all over the country that are doing things. Well, here's what I think the federal response should be. First of all, we need to recognize that these people need health insurance and most of them have lost theirs, if they had it in the first place. So we've gotta get them health insurance.

Secondly, we need to make sure they can rebuild when the time comes. And that means we've got to suspend this ridiculous bankruptcy bill that was passed a little less than a year ago. That starts on October 17th. None of these folks is going to get a fresh start if that bankruptcy bill is not suspended for a year or so.

Thirdly, we need--look, the first response of the Republican leadership in the senate was to take up the estate tax cut, which benefits 3000 American families--the wealthiest families in America. If there's $750 billion in loose change floating around in the budget, that needs to be spent on reinvesting in America. Nobody's invested in urban America in a long time--nobody's invested in *rural* America for a long time--

Ed: You've got that right.

Howard: --it's the suburbs that get everything, because that's who puts the Republicans in power. That's not smart and it's not good for America. And now we see what happens when you pursue that kind of a policy.

But I do think we want to take just a moment to thank the people all over the country for putting folks up, bringing them into their own homes...school districts--I think we ought to pay $2500 to every single school district on a per child basis. This is rolling--if you have 25,000 new students enrolled in your district and you're in Houston, you know, you can't expect the Houston taxpayers to pick up the tab for that. They need some help from the federal government.

Ed: That's a great point, because there are a lot of communities that are strapped financially right now because of No Child Left Behind, and they want to do the human and compassionate thing and bring these people into their communities, but the federal help could really come along if a check came with it. And I think that's really--that's a great idea!

Howard: We need to do that, because local communities--in the state of Texas, they're bearing the brunt. I think they've got a couple of hundred thousand evacuees, and those people are going to need to be in Texas for a while. And we need to help Texas with that financially. And of course every state--virtually every state in the country is taking people, but it's particularly concentrated in Texas--and Arkansas and Tennessee, and they need some help as well.

Then I think we need to look around and start firing people and I'll be honest with you--it's my job description to say the first person who ought to be fired is the person who made these hiring decisions, and that's the president. But we'll get around to that in 2008.

Ed: Well, let me ask you about that. In the midterms, do you think this hurricane will be an issue.

Howard: I think competence in general in the government is going to be an issue. I think they were in trouble to begin with--

Ed: Because I think Americans think that the government failed them. That's the feeling that I get--I was down at Gulfport, Mississippi. On Labor Day we were down there, and I can tell you there's a lot of unhappy people.

Howard: Well, our government did fail us, and we're not used to having our government fail us in this massive a strategy. They've failed us before. They got us into Iraq without telling us the truth. The economy has been great if you're in the top 20% of Americans, but most middle class saw their income decrease by about $1700 in the last five years. This is not an administration that's very good at anything they do, and we've just got to step up to the plate and do better. And I must just say, that it's not enough just to put the Democrats back in power. I don't want the same old Democratic party that sat around on its butt and thought that if it was like the Republicans it might win an election once in a while. We've got to have real change in this country.

Ed: Mm-hmm. No question about it. Governor, great to have you on the program.

Howard: Hey, thanks Ed.

Ed: Appreciate your time--we'll visit again. Howard Dean with us, head of the DNC and former governor of Vermont. Glad to have him on the program. Great guy, and, I tell you, he's telling it like it is, and there's no time like the present. Because there *will be* more disasters. What about the next one? Is the next one going to be handled like this? You know? And all of a sudden, Americans, what are we supposed to be isolated from political talk surrounding this disaster? I mean, are we so naive all of a sudden that we can't question authority or we can't question what people were supposed to do? Every conservative in this country is trying to blame everything they possibly can on Louisiana people! It's all their fault! We had on the program yesterday, Larry Johnson was documenting for us that, again and again, they knew this hurricane was coming, the disaster was called for two days before it hit, but the light bulb just didn't go on. It didn't go on with Cheney until today! He's *finally* down there, at the request of the president.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 12:19:00 PM  

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