28 May 2010

Huffington and Puffington

I cant help but draw comparisons between the Katrina and the oil spill in the Gulf.
Arianna Huffington helped me to put it into perspective.
I am always amazed how quickly some people forget their own words.
What I did was copy an article from the Huffington post


I then put her words in parenthesis and inserted mine in bold italics See if this sounds like it is relevant today.

The president's (35-minute Air Force One flyover of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) first press conference in almost a year was the perfect metaphor for his entire presidency: detached, disconnected, and disengaged. Preferring to take in America's suffering -- whether caused by the war in (Iraq) Afghanistan or (Hurricane Katrina ) the largest ecological disaster in American history -- from a distance. In this case, (2,500 feet.) 2500 miles away in Washington, DC.

Apparently, the president "sat somberly on a couch (on the left hand side of the presidential jumbo jet peering out the window" at the catastrophe below), in the Oval Office staring at images of catastrophe in the Gulf, joined at different times by White House staffers including (Karl Rove and Scott McClellan.) David Axelrod and Rom Emmanuel (McClellan) Axelrod later quoted the president as saying, "It's devastating. It's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." Ya think?? Hey, here's an idea, Mr. President: maybe you should, y'know, get off (the plane) your ass and see for yourself?

Instead, (he jetted on to Washington for a brisk 9-minute Rose Garden speech) he has a press conference designed to let us know that his administration was doing everything in its power to mitigate the looming PR disaster the (flooding of New Orleans) oil slick could create for the White House... Uh, I mean, everything in its power to aid the recovery.

The speech contained the usual (Bush) Obama bonhomie (he's "confident" (New Orleans) the Gulf Coast "will be back on its feet, and America will be a stronger place for it"). But the most telling moment came when the president discussed the ways his administration was moving to help ease the suffering of (profit-soaked oil companies impacted by the storm,) Unionized fishermen pointing out that he had instructed Energy Secretary Sam Bodman to work with (refineries) the Federal Reserve to "alleviate any (shortage) suffering through loans" and that the (EPA) Treasury Secretary had waived (clean air standards for gasoline and diesel fuels in all 50 states.) all interest and will forgive the debt of anyone on Government assistance. You could almost see him getting misty.

He also unleashed a torrent of facts and figures: "The Department of Transportation has provided more than 400 trucks to move 1,000 truckloads containing (5.4 million Meals Ready to Eat -- or MREs, 13.4 million liters of water, 10,400 tarps, 3.4 million pounds of ice, 144 generators, 20 containers of pre-positioned disaster supplies, 135,000 blankets and 11,000 cots.") thousands of feet of boom, It was as if by piling so many disparate numbers so high he might be able to block out the two most significant numbers of all: the number of National Guardsmen unable to help out (in Louisiana and Mississippi) in the Gulf because they are deployed in Iraq,and Afghanistan and the tens of millions of (hurricane and flood-control) dollars to assist in the clean up that never made it to (Lake Pontchartrain) the Gulf coast because they had been diverted to (Iraq.) Afghanistan

The president's (Rose Garden speech) press conference followed an all-hands-on-deck press briefing earlier in the day featuring Homeland Security Secretary (Michael Chertoff) Janet Naplatano and as many cabinet members and agency heads could be crammed around a podium, including Bodman of Energy, Mineta of Transportation, Johnson of the EPA, Leavitt of HHS, and McHale of DoD. It had the feel of the old circus bit where clown after clown after clown piles out of the impossibly small car.

And, like the president, (Chertoff) Napalatano and company came armed with plenty of designed-to-obfuscate numbers.
Those are the blood red elephants floating belly-up in the middle of this deadly disaster -- and the reason for the full-court PR press.

During his press briefing, (Chertoff) Obama declared the aftermath of (Katrina) oil spill "an incident of national significance." It's clear from (Bush) Obama and his team's actions how worried they are that, as the facts come out, it will become "an incident of political significance" as well.

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