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Nobody has exposed the open sore of bad management in the Bush administration more than Frank Rich's stinging masterpiece. This entire country is being run by political operatives, big money donors, or think-tank bred ideologues.

Ours will be remembered as the Enron era.


uninhibited cronyism, cooked books, special-favors networks, the banishment of whistle-blowers and accountability. More than ideology, this ethos has sabotaged even the best of American intentions, whether in Iraq or New Orleans. Unchecked, it promises greater disasters to come.

As recently as 10 days ago, when he resigned before his arrest, Mr. Safavian was the man who set purchasing policy for the entire federal government, including that related to Hurricane Katrina relief. The White House might as well have appointed a contestant from "The Apprentice." Before entering public service, Mr. Safavian's main claim to fame was as a lobbyist whose clients included Indian gaming interests and thuggish African regimes.


These are all the people that got Bush put into power. They are not experts. They are not scholars. They are just political wonks collecting their reward for being loyal.

The Enron odor emanating from Mr. Safavian is of a piece with the rest of the cronyism in the Katrina preparedness package. The handing off of FEMA from President Bush's 2000 campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, to Mr. Allbaugh's even less qualified buddy, Michael Brown, in 2003 is now notorious. (The two men have been friends for 25 years but were not college roommates, as I wrote here last week.) But that's only the beginning: the placement of hacks like "Brownie" and Mr. Safavian in crucial jobs hasn't been slowed one whit by what went down on their watch in New Orleans.

Witness the nomination of Julie Myers as the new head of immigration and customs enforcement at the Homeland Security Department. Though the White House attacked the diplomat Joseph Wilson for nepotism because he undertook a single pro bono intelligence mission while his wife was at the C.I.A., it thought nothing of handing this huge job to a nepotistic twofer: Ms. Myers is the niece of Gen. Richard Myers and has just married the chief of staff for the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff. Her qualifications for running an agency with more than 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget include serving as an associate counsel under Kenneth Starr; in that job, she helped mastermind the costly and doomed prosecution of Susan McDougal, and was outwitted at every turn by the defense lawyer Mark Geragos.

Ms. Myers is only the latest example of Mr. Chertoff's rolling the dice with Americans' safety during his brief tenure in Homeland Security. After the bombings in London in July, he vowed to maximize his department's "finite human and financial capital to attain the optimal state of preparedness." Yet the very same day, the president nominated Tracy Henke as Homeland Security's new executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. Ms. Henke, a John Ashcroft political appointee at the Justice Department, has since been unmasked as an Enron-style spinner of numbers. As Eric Lichtblau of The Times reported in August, it was she who ordered the highly regarded nonpartisan head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfeld, to delete a reference to politically embarrassing data in a government press release for a report on racial profiling. When Mr. Greenfeld complained, he was demoted.

Imagine Ms. Henke, in her Homeland Security job, having sway over press releases about our disaster readiness. There is likely to be nothing but good news until it's too late. But if the hiring of the likes of Ms. Henke, Ms. Myers and Mr. Safavian is half of the equation in Enron governance, the other half is the punishing of veteran civil servants like Mr. Greenfeld for doing their jobs honestly. Even as it fills its ranks with Abramoff golf-junket partners, political flunkies and underemployed relatives, the administration silences those who, like Sherron Watkins at Enron, might blow the whistle on any Kozlowski or Ebbers or Rigas fleecing or betraying the taxpayers. Three weeks before Mr. Safavian's arrest, the Army Corps of Engineers demoted another procurement official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, who was a 20-year veteran in her field. Her crime was not obstructing justice but pursuing it by vehemently questioning irregularities in the awarding of some $7 billion worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root.

Ms. Greenhouse and Mr. Greenfeld are only two of the many whistle-blowers done in by this administration so far. (Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, lists nine on his Web site.) Even top government officials who are not whistle-blowers, merely truth-tellers, are axed. Lawrence Lindsey, the president's chief economic adviser, was pushed out after he accurately projected the cost of the Iraq war at $100 billion to $200 billion. Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, was shunted aside after he accurately estimated the number of required troops ("several hundred thousand") for securing Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, who presented rosy scenarios of getting the job done with Iraqi oil income and low troop deployments, stayed on to bungle the war.

This administration knows no one who can actually run things. Experts are running away and administration positions are being left unfilled. Either the real experts are avoiding this chapter in American history, or the Bushies are just plain out of contacts.

God knows how bad the damage is in every other level of government.

One thing is for sure, we won't know the real extent of the damage until these fools are out of power. Time Magazine asks the same question and I'm sure millions of Americans are too- “How many more Mike Browns Are Out There?”

Originally posted to Maccabee on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 06:08 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I appreciate... (4.00)
    a good Bush meltdown as much as the next guy, but this is starting to make me more afraid than angry.

    It just never ends.

    Thanks for posting this, I have not paid my $50 toll for NY Times op eds. (Funny thing is that I'd probably pay them $20 for what they are offering, but not $50 and I'll bet there're a lot of others that feel the same).

    BTW, the Muse charges nothing and In that spirit, today on the Muse "This House of Card's was not built for a perfect storm" and a vicious and ribald caricature of Pat Robertson  

    •  No shit (4.00)
      but this is starting to make me more afraid than angry.

      We're going to be left with ashes. I don't think anyone can say with any accuracy where we are going.

      These people are so blinded by their greed that they're not thinking ahead. It's all about "getting mine now while the getting is good".

      They don't understand that when the whole house of cards falls they won't have that much more than anyone else.

      •  There's an expression for short-sightedness (4.00)
        It's called "eating your seedcorn."

        You know things are bad when the term "kleptocracy," governance by thieves, isn't strong enough for these bastards.

        Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

        by madhaus on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 11:08:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or smash-and-grab politics (4.00)
          Hurl brick, snatch loot ?

          Will the Bush administration ever give up smash-and-grab politics? It's doubtful, since that's the way President Bush came to power. His election machine threw a rock through the window of states' rights and pulled out a one-time-only U.S. Supreme Court decision...

          What is smash-and-grab politics? Get what you can while the getting's good, and the consequences for everyone else be damned. It's the attitude that says tax cuts for the wealthy are justifiable even in the face of war and record deficits.

          Smash-and-grab extends to environmental policy. President Bush's best friends and biggest backers are in the oil and energy businesses. Does it matter if expanded drilling in Alaska is harmful, won't produce much oil and is a poor policy compared with conservation? No. Get what you can while you can...

          it turns out that war also is a good vehicle for smash-and-grab politics. Bush-administration friend Halliburton seems to be stuffing its pockets with as much gusto as any Iraqi who went on a looting binge after Baghdad fell. Democrats have been insisting that the Pentagon get some of the money back. Well, as Halliburton execs might explain, giving some back would be bad, but giving some back would be better than having to give all of it back. So grab, and see what you get to keep.

          In addition to war contracts, war is full of emotion to grab and exploit for political gain.. In 2004, President Bush hid behind the Swift Boat Gang while it smashed John Kerry's medals to grab headlines.

          Might the situation change now that President Bush's popularity is dented by the dismal events in Iraq? Not likely.. In fact, the possibility that an un-Bush might succeed this president is all the more reason to accelerate the pace of smash-and-grab. There will be a more feverish push to make tax cuts permanent and to open Social Security accounts so brokerage firms can take a slice out of private accounts. As perhaps the most glittering prize in the governmental window, there should be no hesitation in smashing whatever is necessary to grab the Supreme Court..

          "No one thought" will be the epitaph of Bush's reign on America

          by lawnorder on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 01:12:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And I think that it's a contributing factor (4.00)
            to the amount of looting during these disasters.

            Everybody feels that if they don't get whatever, by whatever means, they'll never get anything. They don't feel that anybody is helping them, or will EVER help them.

            People see CEOs running companies into the ground, see politicians taking 'favors' from lobbyists (IMHO bribes, a rose by any other name...), and honesty and integrity counting for nothing. What do you expect?

            So much for a 'culture of life' and 'family values' -- unless the 'family' you're talking about is the Mafia.  

          •  This should be a diary... (none)
            Excellent writing.


            Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

            by deepfish on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 07:38:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How many ways can they smash & grab . . . (none)
              I agree. You've got an excellent base to expand for a revealing diary.

              Grab it.  Smash them.

              "Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future." --Jimmy Carter

              by murasaki on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:09:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  agreed (none)
            Diary material. Want some evidence of smash and grab environmental stewardship? Check indymedia on the rape of the Siskiyous. Termed "a serious error" by the Forest Service, a "mistake" by the administration, this is exactly what was predicted by local environmentalists.

            -7.88, -7.74 In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

            by melvin on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 02:31:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When you have "end times" thinking (none)
          underlying your belief system, or know that your political base subscribes to this, you are free to eat your seed corn, spend and leave the tab for your children and their children.

          Long term thinking has no place in that mindset.

          The most cynical of them must be non-believers, just nosing to the trough knowing that they won't be stopped by economic logic. But the so-called believers that think that the righteous will be saved and even that they will be raptured out of the mess that they created - do they actually believe that saying Jesus is the only key they need to the kingdom of heaven?  They haven't read his words!

          •  Unfortunately -- (4.00)
            the more I watch these guys, the more I am thinking 'end times' myself. I mean, how many nasty little fires have these guys started or ignored on their watch? The economy seems literally to be on crack, we have a war we cannot afford that is accomplishing nothing useful, the oil is running out, etc. If we impeached Chimpy and friends today and installed a crew of benevolent super-geniuses, it's still hard to see how we fix everything.

            Bush is incompetence on a Biblical scale. I am waiting for it to start raining frogs.

      •  asdf (4.00)
        I don't think anyone can say with any accuracy where we are going.

        I live in wny.  we get to hear about where we are going everyday on the local news.  a county executive named joel giambra took office a few years ago here.  i remember we were struggling to hire enough teachers.  we had a surplus budget.  everything was coming up roses!  

        then giambra lowered the taxes.  which everyone around here just LOVED.  what no one knew, however, was that he lowered the taxes so much, that the surplus was being used to make up the difference.  well, that only works for so long until you run out of surplus money.  and that is where we are now.

        it's actually kind of comical.  apparently the county comptroller had been warning everyone in the county executive's office and legislature that they better do something.  and she had been warning them for years.  but no one listened.  they spent and spent, and giambra kept giving jobs to his family and friends... the news has been calling it the 'friends and family plan'.  a guy who was giambra's driver was getting 90k a year!  and there were plenty of others.

        when everything fell apart, and the county was out of money....  an estimated 100 million dollar deficit, everything shut down!  all non essential services have been cut off.  they closed te parks.  discussed closing all the libraries.  closed 2 dmvs(which was idiotic, because they were making money with that!)  

        the funniest part of it all though, is that giambra kept rehiring his family in other positions.  when he had to fire his driver, he just put him somewhere else...  along with many others.  it's like a computer virus that you can't get rid of!  and then there is the legislature that is still spending even though they've cut so much!  somehow there is 60 mil for bass pro shop to come here so we can have $6/hr jobs!  that's what they call progress!

        what does this have to do with what bush and his cronies are doing?  erie county is screwed right now.  giambra's tax cuts will in the end cause taxes to have to go up immensely to get rid of the deficit.  they wanted to raise the sales tax.  so taxes are gonna go up, and there will be nothing to show for it...  

        and who is to blame for this?  is it the idiocy of giambra and the legislature?  NO!  they like to blame medicaid for all their troubles.  blame the little people!  

        we are all going to end up paying for bush and congress with their tax cuts and spend spend spend.  i see taxes having to skyrocket while we will have nothing to show for it.  the thing is that erie county could have stopped that train years ago.  they could have fixed it before it got so bad that we sit here and wonder what will hit the fan next!  and i dread what our government's fuzzy math is going to do to an entire country, if what happened here can bring erie county to its knees.

        •  Same senario all over America (none)
          You hit the nail on the head..  Unfortunately this is happening all over America, everyone wants their taxes cut and no one wants to pay additional taxes to keep the infra-structure up and running.. It seems as if most people lack the foresight to plan for the future..  Maybe it is that instant gratification thing.. Or maybe it is the fact that there so many people who are struggling day to day, that they just can't afford to have their local or federal taxes increased so they keep on cheering for the guy who lowers their taxes.   Just like Katrina, solving the many problems we face today at a later date,  will be so much more costly.
        •  You gotta give us a link (none)
          for this tale of local idiocy.  I thought that our local incorporated speedtrap was a lovely case study.  New Rome:

          But this story really takes the cake!  Public servants gdmmt!  Not banana republic despots fer petes sakes.

        •  tax cuts (none)
          It's hard to say why people all over this country practically mainline on tax cuts. There may be some underlying racism and classism that is brought to them from those in power.  "Government bad, taxes bad, the nanny state, helping people who can't help themselves," and on and on, ad nauseam. I think a lot of middle class people really buy into that shit like why should they "help" anybody else with "their" tax money. They don't see themselves as part of a "collective" good. This is a huge problem in this country, this bullshit individualist propaganda that makes people denounce their government, all the while taking advantage of government services EVERY DAY themselves and not understanding that they are just as much at "the trough" as anybody else.

          This lack of communitarianism is at the root of our problems. We are not unified in any sense of the word. We don't believe in helping one another. It's anathema to our thinking, to our psyches. And it's just baffling to me.

          There was a diary a while ago about a congressman showing up in his distrct in Austin, TX, and a Republican in the crowd asked him about the horrible FEMA response in Katrina and said, "Why aren't our tax dollars helping other Americans?" Tapping into that sense of unity and communitarianism, especially in fence-sitters, might be important in getting our message across.

          •  Also (none)
            There's a huge lack of foresight.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that.  Rather than pay a little bit in taxes to, for example, help people get educated and out of poverty, they would rather pay more to incarcerate them later.

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  people don't want to put themselves in another's (none)
            shoes.  how many americans are  two paychecks away from homeless!  two paychecks!  so all it would take to lose everything is something very small....  vehicle breakdown?  medical emergency?  you might be whining about people on food stamps today, when tomorrow you are forced to go slinking into your local social services office  to get help.  and if you have kids, believe me, you will swallow your pride and let them treat you like a piece of crap so you can feed your kid!  i've done it.  

            these programs are there for a reason.  and as much as people want to think that everyone on public assistance are a bunch of lazy leeches...  you see when you have been on it that it's not as simple as some might like to think.  they have to distance themselves from these people on welfare because if they were like you, then you would have to face the fact that it could be you.  

            it's hard to get off of assistance once you are on it.  you get a job, and you are immediately cut off.  to get any help, you have to be practically living in a cardboard box.  you have to be looking for a job... and they expect you to take anything!  making $6/hr with a family is not going to get you out of the black hole you are in!  no matter what you do you lose!

            i have my own ideas when it comes to helping the needy.  i believe that instead of just cutting people off, perhaps it would be better to wean them off.  give them a chance to get their head above water instead of leaving them to drown.  otherwise they end up right back there, because they can't afford to live.

            we all need help sometimes.  i don't care who you are.  and that is what taxes should be for.  perhaps for community things to bring the commmunity together.  perhaps for education.  to bring people up.  instead of just stepping over them and walking on, pretending we don't see what is going on.

    •  The thing I dont' understand is why (4.00)
      articles like these are not on the front page of every fucking newspaper in America. Why are they always OP ED pieces that are mostly read by the people that already know about it. It's like preaching to the choir. We need to get this info on the Front Pages of every local small town newspaper. We need to make the dumb people smarter.  
      •  It's all about selling ads (4.00)
        Small town newspapers in red states cannot run articles or op/ed pieces critical of the Bush administration. If they do the local wingnut businessmen will pull their ads and the paper will slowly bleed to death. Besides, most journalists at small town newspapers aren't very good at their craft or they'd work somewhere that pays better.

        You cannot make dumb people smarter. Sigh. I guess I'm turning into a pessimist in my middle age, but maybe I've just become a realist. I've long believed the average person is an idiot, and I'm afraid I am being proven correct.

        •  I wish you were wrong, Doc... (4.00)
          But I think you're way much too right (correct). It ain't just pessimism.

          "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

          by RubDMC on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:12:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  As I think H.L Mencken said (none)
          "you can't go broke underestimating the taste of the American Public"
        •  Actually,a small town newspaper is a gold mine (none)
          If the town is growing. Here in Bend, the local paper seems to be making incredible money. And, yes, they are definitely pro-Bushco.

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:31:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree. (none)
          I think the dumbing down of americans is the result of a massive brainwashing campaign.
          •  I agree totally (4.00)
            And the scary thing is, it's neither that difficult nor that complicated.  Human Beings are really quite simple, predictable and pliable.  

            The power of suggestion when bonded into the machinery of advertising is frightening.  And I agree that this has been no accident but the fruits of years of highly financed research into "marketing".  (The more broadly accepted euphemism for triggering the very "need" your "product" claims to satiate.)

            "the fools, the fools, they've left us our Fenian Dead" (Padraig Pearse - Gay Revolutionary)

            by padraig pearse on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 11:56:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Same old question (4.00)
        Why wasn't the media pointing out the bogus reasons and the lies that led us into Iraq? All it took was some common sense and a little basic observation to know the entire thing was bogus.

        They're on the side of the looters.

        The thing I dont' understand is why articles like these are not on the front page of every fucking newspaper in America.
      •  I think we are all shell-shocked (4.00)
        it is such a deluge of garbage, corruption, immorality that it just boggles the mind.

        We are all waiting - I tink - for someone to say:

        President Bush - Have you no shame!

        Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

        by sara seattle on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:10:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just as Joseph Welch asked of (4.00)
          Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954-----

          "Have you no sense of decency?"

            "The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch's attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy's career: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, but Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

          Overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, forty-eight years old and a broken man. "

          •  Did you read about the movie (4.00)
            that is coming out soon - has gotten more than tremendous reviews - it is called Good night, and good luck.

            here is a link to AnthonySF's diary about it from the other day:


            Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

            by sara seattle on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:54:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  thanks a lot for (none)
              reminding me about the movie I did see George Clooney on "The Daily Show" and he was talking about the movie.

              I lived through the MacCarthy era and remember watching the hearings on TV and on the news. What a low point in US history that was but people like Welch shone brightly as MacCarthy finally got what was coming to him.

              Thanks for the link also

              •  I was not in the States during the MacCarthy (none)

                But I think that those of us that remember hearing about it long time ago - that makes it is so scary when we see it happening again -

                and even scarier now -  because the media are generally lapdogs.

                The media is supposed to speak truth to power - instead the U.S. Media is rolling over and playing dead.

                Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

                by sara seattle on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:51:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Did you also see (none)
                the number of Americans who did not know who Murrow or McCarthey are?  Our history books do not teach our students any of this.  This episode of American history is only there in the memory of the people who lived through it, not the memory of my child or yours today.  Therefore, it is left to be relived again, today, because our society allows it.

                (Went out to dinner tonight and overheard young woman to her young male stud-in for the night say, "We all know that the soldiers over in Iraq pig out on a daily basis, that is why I like sushi".  WTF???

                Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

                by panicbean on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:14:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When Leno does his sidewalk thing (4.00)
                  I am constantly amazed how little people know about America - and the people that makes history.

                  I am not born in America - did not go to school here - but on most things I likely know more about America than most.

                  That is truly scary - when you consider competition with the rest of the world - and we now have people that are barely literate - people that supposedly finished high-school or even college - and compare it to schooling in a lot of other industrialized countries - that really is scary for America's future.

                  Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

                  by sara seattle on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 11:16:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Joseph Welch (none)
              was in a movie, too --"Anatomy of a Murder".

              What a guy! And what a great part he played as the judge.

              A vote for a Republican is a vote for Bush.

              by Maine Atticus on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:12:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  THANK you for that link. (none)
              I missed the diary; and am a huge fan of Murrow.
              I hope the film gets to my neighborhood. Where, oh where, are the real journalists?????
            •  Thanks for the shout-out... (none)
              Random I should happen upon this!

              Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

              by AnthonySF on Mon Sep 26, 2005 at 08:49:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  No only is this scary--- (4.00)
      I can't understand for the life of me why the MSM is not doing investigative reports into exposing these ill prepared people for these powerful positions.

      If not for Rich, Herbert, Kristof and a few other columnists, we would hardly know about any of this.

      The media is just as complicit in this ugly business. Is it laziness or is it fear?

      Can you imagine for one instant if Bill Clinton or a president Kerry or Al Gore had done this sort of thing what scrutiny they would've endured?

      Even an elementary school child knows that there is a pattern here.

      Who's going to stand up and speak truth to power. We all know that these folks will be long gone before Americans realize that they'd been duped.

      Witness the report in the New York Times today about the so-called tax cuts that Americans received from the Bush administration. Reports now show that those who received the pittance will pay more than they received in a few years.

      So many people are going to wake up and find their glasses are bottomless. Only it will be a little too late.

      •  ok, I'll play the optimist (4.00)
        I really think we've turned the corner. At least I think, MSM isnt as "shy" as it was before about questioning these assholes.
        We've seen a glimpse of backbone during Katrina and David Gregory has been a hard hitter lately. Things are definitely changing.

        Of course, there is always that whole Diebold back door issue (slipping back into pessimism)

        The only Bush I trust is my own - I want my freaking democracy back! My Little Tribe

        by mytribe on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:26:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The media is bought and paid for. (none)
        Owned and operated by rightwing CEOs, Directors and major shareholders.

        Influential rightwing columnists (George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, Robert George) receive 6-figure "awards" from rightwing money teats like the Bradley Foundation.

        Alas for the noble Fourth Estate.

        think freely, ask rude questions, find truth Support ePluribus Media.

        by Rxtr2 on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:48:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The media don't know how government works (none)
        What I mean by that is that they follow the politics, but the day-to-day work isn't sufficiently newsworthy for the MSM journalists to take the time to bone up on.  As a result, they don't have a feel for the inner workings of the organization.

        I recall saying to friends in 2000 tht if Bush got in, he would find it hard to fill the administrationwith competent people because the Republican bench was so thin.  I was thinking mostly of the economic administration, but I supposed it was true down the line.  It hadn't occurred to me that they literally going to 'Enronize' the government.  It was obvious in spring of 2001 that things were going badly.  The type of people getting placed were had podunk degrees from all sorts of places I never heard of, and some that were outright fraudulent, like the assistant deputy undersecretary of state for personnel at the Pentagon, who faked his degree.  

        That case got into the news, and it was a sign. The MSM should have jumped all over it.  Instead, they simply fawned away at how effective Bush was in looting the national wealth through his tax cut.

        The press do not have an inkling how government works.

        •  I missed the Rove announcement here. (none)
          When it was announced that Rove would oversee the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region, I had taken a short hiatus from dKos.  So I missed the reaction here.  My reactions were "What, were all the qualified candidates Democrats?" and "Rove will make sure the contracts go to all the 'right people'.".

          So do most of the competent, qualified people have too much integrity to work for Bushco?

      •  Apparently the IQ of (none)
        the American public has dropped 30 points over the past 6 years. The fourth estate is a cheap harlot.
        Signs of life during Katrina are being quelled by the same pro-Republican coverage that has plagued us
        over the past decade.
        Nevertheless, some discontent among the journalists is persisting. There is hope.  Cafferty, for instance.
      •  An Org Chart of the Bush Administration (none)
        Why do we keep asking the main stream media to do something when  for whatever reason -- money,complicity, laziness, fear -- they won't?

        The Daily Kos needs no permission, is not waiting on anyone.   Let's take the work of Rich, Krugman, and the many many policy wonks, official and create an org chart of the Bush Admin, to be written up as a wiki at the dKosopedia.  What a public service that could be!  A compendium of cronyism, conflicts of interest, incompetence, and greed, freely amended and elaborated upon each day.  

        At some point, print it up as a book.  That's what the wiki people are doing.  Communal publishing.  Put out a deck of playing cards, a board game too.

        Let's list out all these creeps, their bios, views, who appointed them and why.  Post photos of them too, so that they can no longer work quietly in the dark, robbing our treasury and subverting our country.

        Frank Rich's column will be read by 1% of the population and remembered by less.  Let's post something we can all build on, including him et al if they are so inclined.

        "All of us are smarter than any of us."

        by organize on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 09:59:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, be afraid, be very afraid (4.00)
      There are myriad serious threats that we are facing, apart from the ones like hurricanes and terrorism (and sex scenes in Grand Theft Auto) that usually make the headlines. I'm talking about tough problems like Avian flu, prions contaminating our beef, and the approval of potentially hazardous drugs. There are no easy solutions to these problems (apart from making it a felony to include sex scenes in Video Games). We absolutely need the best trained, most competent, most dedicated experts working on these problems. When promotions at the FDA are handed out to unqualified hacks, is it any wonder that the professionals get the hint and pack their bags to find a place of employment where their skills will be appreciated?

      I dunno, maybe this all makes sense in a Norquist-type scheme. If one is truly intent on drowning the federal government in the bathtub, why not guarantee the process by ensuring that only people remaining in government service are incapable of even treading water?

      •  On incompetence (4.00)
        Did Rich mention which Americans were sent to help "rebuild" Iraq in the first year?

        Remember these were 20-somethings who had credentials with some right-wing student groups.

        They had no experience in what they were trying to "rebuild."

        This incompetence has been going on for five years.

        And, it provides the argument that government can't solve anything.

        Ein Land ist nicht nur das, was es tut -- es ist auch das, was es verträgt, was es duldet.

        by MoDem on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:02:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans would like it to do just that. (4.00)
          And, it provides the argument that government can't solve anything.

          In fact though, what it proves is that republican government can't solve anything.

          Restore Democracy! Denounce the GOP (George Orwell's Party)!

          by high5 on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:54:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, Rich did cover this point (none)
          From his column:
          Their errors were compounded when the administration staffed the post-Saddam American occupation with exactly the same kind of appointees it would later bring to homeland security: the two heads of "private sector development" in Iraq were a former Bush fund-raiser in Connecticut and a venture capitalist who just happened to be Ari Fleischer's brother. As The Washington Post reported last year, major roles in the L. Paul Bremer regime were given to 20-somethings with no foreign service experience or knowledge of Arabic simply because they had posted their résumés at the Heritage Foundation, the same conservative think tank where Mr. Bremer had chaired a task force.

          Much of this column was a repeat of things we already knew (those of us who were paying attention), but it was nice to see it put together so well into such a convincing case.
          •  Thanks (none)
            I would expect Rich to have a memory.  In other words, the Bush administration has established the principle of reward friends before being worried about competence.

            Ein Land ist nicht nur das, was es tut -- es ist auch das, was es verträgt, was es duldet.

            by MoDem on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 09:15:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The only qualification required (4.00)
        for a Bushco appointment in the federal gov't is loyalty to the Republican party over and above loyalty to the American people and our Constitution.

        Earlier this year a delegation representing the U.S. at the IATC (Inter-American Telecommunications Commission) was purged of people who contributed to the Kerry campaign.

        "We don't need no stikin' engineers (or disaster recovery experts for that matter), just give us Bush supporters!"

    •  yeah (none)
      I am not paying either.  They should be thankful to be part of the national conversation--not charging people for it.  Screw them.
    •  I love Frank Rich (none)
      And I would be a liar if I didn't say I appreciate being able to read him.

      However, I would hate to see the powers that be at this site sued for copyright infringement.

      Jeez, I hope I am just blowing smoke here, somebody explain to me why I can relax.

      "Jelly donuts, the food group Canada won't talk about"

      by PeteyPuck on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:01:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For NY Times editorials (none)
      use the following username/password:  myleftwing/motherfucker  Found them at My Left Wing a week or so ago.  Work like a charm!  Enjoy!  Oh, if you already have a username/password of your own, you need to log out and then log back in with these.  It was possible to log into the editorial/pay-to-read sections separately; they seem to have removed that option now.

      "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

      by GulfExpat on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:38:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks (none)
      for the link to the site. I died laughing while reading the House of Card (instead of reading My Pet Goat, Bush looked like he had been mounted by a pet goat)article. OMG too funny, still laughing.

      Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

      by panicbean on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Which is why the capable ones ARE leaving (4.00)
    Numerous MSM accounts have made mention of the competent people leaving Federal service, frustrated at the incompetence of appointed superiors, the "politics" and wary of being tarred by association.
  •  Your post and copyright.... (4.00)
    Rich's column is now behind a firewall and I think you are violating copyright law by posting it. I am a huge fan of Rich's column and will miss it.  But I am not going to pay for it, and I think it is wrong to post a substantial part of it here without permission.
  •  anyway to read the entire smackdown (none)
    for free or is the jig up?
    •  I think the free 14 day subscription (none)
      is still available but if you don't want to pay you have to be sure and cancel before it's over or they'll automatically charge your card (have to input credit card to get free trial).
      •  Thanks Alice (none)
        I dropped the NY Times subscrib this past year when they printed a front page article Blasting Bloggers. So I mainly read it online of pick it up at the newsstand when the Front page looks interesting. Most Sundays I try and get it. I will check it out.
  •  Thank you, maccabee! (none)
    Thought I'd have to miss it for the first time.

    Barely sounds like Rich though. Deadly serious today.

    I thought it was a bit insulting to the contestants on the Apprentice!

    "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

    by OLinda on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 06:22:57 PM PDT

    •  I get the NY Times... (4.00)
      ...home delivery and get the select for free as a result. I'll copy paste it and put it on my server and link it here so everyone can read it.
      •  sounds like a plan to me! (none)
        I'm sure you know it may be a copyright violation. There are exemptions/exceptions for sharing educational information and such. This may fit that.

        I think the worst that would happen is that they would ask you to take it down.

        "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

        by OLinda on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:06:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair Use Notice (4.00)
 routinely posts entire articles from a variety of sources.  

          Last week they had Frank Rich. I don't know if that is something they were doing every week, or if they just liked his article last week. Am interested in seeing if they do it this week now that the for pay has started.

          They post this on every page:

          FAIR USE NOTICE      
          This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

          "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

          by OLinda on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:32:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  God, howIi love the Law (none)
            of Unintended Consequences.

            It will look good on the New York sans Spine if they lose revenue on their site because traffic is going where it can access what is now firewalled.

            "Jelly donuts, the food group Canada won't talk about"

            by PeteyPuck on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:06:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Honestly (none)
            That "fair use notice" ain't worth a hill of beans. The NY Times lawyers could shut that down, as their running of those articles IS clear infringement and a violation of law.

            The NY Times didn't seem to care much before, and if your goal is to be influential and relevant in the national debate, then you'd tacitly endorse such infringement. Better to get the opinions as wide a reading as possible.

            But now they've promised to go after people who post material that's behind the paywall. Enjoy it while you can. I doubt it'll last.

            •  Thanks, kos. (none)
              Appreciate your comment.

              But now they've promised to go after people who post material that's behind the paywall. Enjoy it while you can. I doubt it'll last.

              Didn't know about that. I know you've posted a bit on this topic. I've missed some of it. Is there somewhere easy and quick for you that you can point me to see that promise?

              I've seen the Fair Use act posted quite a bit around the Web for a couple years. IANAL, so that's all I know. People post work and post the Fair Use act. Sure sounds good to me though. It is posted here for our education. It's not like we're selling it.

              The bummer is, I have not seen the whole Rich article yet anywhere!!!

              "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

              by OLinda on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:00:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Happy correction (none)
                The bummer is, I have not seen the whole Rich article yet anywhere!!!

                Reading the newer posts, someone has posted how to get it. This is the link it gave me.  Don't know if it will work for everyone, or if it is finding a cookie on my computer. If the link doesn't work, find the login and password in this thread. I can't repeat it.

                "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

                by OLinda on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:15:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  kos, another free link! (none)
              davidkc posted another link to a site posting newspaper articles. He posts a link to Rich's current column.

              The site says:

              Welcome Minuteman Library Network: NewsBank's Comprehensive Newspapers is brought to you by your Regional Library System and Minuteman Library Network, with funds administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

              I hope I'm not getting them in trouble by posting that here. It's the libraries! I wonder if all newspapers don't fall into that Fair Use law. Maybe they do, and no one wants us to know!

              "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

              by OLinda on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:34:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  fair use lawsuit - bring it on! :) (none)
              You know, I'd almost like to see them sue. Seeing now that the libraries are posting newspaper articles made me think about it a bit more.

              Wouldn't it be fun to prove that one of the few ways the public has to actually learn anything and hear the truth is through commentary such as Rich's?  It definitely falls into the educational part of Fair Use.

              Wouldn't it be fun to cite examples of corporate media vs columnists and what is true in a trial to prove our case?!

              "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

              by OLinda on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:58:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Here you go (none)
 a PDF document.


          •  oops, NYBri (none)
            Wrong file. It's the Picayune about Hurricane Rita. Great photo though. I liked it. :)

            "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

            by OLinda on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 10:47:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  clarification (none)
              I don't mean I liked the photo in that way. It is a horrible and sad photo. I mean I appreciated seeing the file, and appreciate your linking it even though it was not the file we had in mind.  

              "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

              by OLinda on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 10:53:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Try again... (none)
    's fixed.
              •  Thank you! (none)
                Much better, and it downloaded much faster than the hurricane story. :)

                It's very printable too. I appreciate that so much.

                You've seen we have some sneaky workarounds to get the article. The NYT has the worst printable pages! You can barely read them. They come out in 6pt type or maybe it's 4pt. It's miniscule!

                I think they must have a program that says "fit to page" and no matter how long the article is they provide it for printing on one page. It really ticks me off. I've written to them about it, and you can imagine all the concerned responses I've gotten. hahahaha.

                "Why are we falling all over ourselves congratulating the President for taking responsibility for something that was his responsibility? I don't get it." - Imus

                by OLinda on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Living behind the curve with ideological blindness (4.00)
    If we had real enemies now like those stalwarts like the Soviets or the Nazis or the Japanese of wars cold and hot in our past were given such an opening, such a range of operational dysfunctionality, they would be attacking right now.

      That's the real point here: we give up some rights, first and foremost, for national security, the basic safeguard of the nation.

      The terrorist can hurt us, yes, but they aren't going to take us down. However, with the inattention to the key factors of competent governance, as Rich points out and we all have seen for the last five years, we are so vulnerable:
      *  Declining energy stocks, crippled production and no alternative strategy in the event of attack, except probably to take it away from the public and let national business and the economy be damned in the process.
      *  Limited troop mobility for a real response, much less a real strike (or ambush, like Midway)
      *  A perverted intelligence capability keyed to supporting operational decisions, not vettting and supplying the key data for decision-making.
      *  No real ability to conceptualize or assess events as they are actually happening (unless it's an election); that is, living behind the curve due to the accrued incompetence and ideological blindness.

      I'm sure there are many more. Hell, we're showing so much vulnerability, the French might be thinking invasion.  

    It's hard to teach a man who is afraid. - Worm

    by walkshills on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 06:37:28 PM PDT

    •  We don't need to be invaded (4.00)
      We are abrogating our leadership of the free world by moral virtue all by ourselves - by showing how riddled our society is by vice and corruption and cronyism, we have shot ourselves in our own foot... no more "greatest country in the world". Who'd have thought(thunk) it would only take five years to go from worldwide renown under Bill Clinton (no saint, but he was a Rhodes scholar,no dummy) to the laughingstock of the world. Easy come, easy go...
      •  Present and future danger (4.00)
          I wasn't advocating being invaded at all, just pointing out the situation you state has left us in such a position.

          As the final lines to the movie The Fall of the Roman Empire say:

        Long before Rome was destroyed from without, it was destroyed from within.

           Present danger becomes future danger.

        It's hard to teach a man who is afraid. - Worm

        by walkshills on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:44:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is entirely reasonable... (4.00)
    ... if you stop thinking that Homeland Security and FEMA and the like are there to serve the public.

    It's fairly obvious that, at least recently, the public is barely an afterthought.

    No, their primary purpose is propoganda and damage control of the POLITICAL kind. For that job, you absolutely need spin doctors and loyalists on board. Everyone must be on the same page and speak with one voice.

    Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

    by Hatamoto on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 06:39:54 PM PDT

  •  Notice the Deafening Silence From (4.00)
    the nation's business and cultural leaders. There seems to be no major sector of American life whose leadership is working against the admin.

    I'll never be convinced that this was the kind of society the framers ever conceived as evolving here.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 06:46:23 PM PDT

    •  you are right about the business & cultural (4.00)
      leaders but what I do not understand is how do they think the country will survive with this kind of greed, graft, incompetence, etc., in every position of responsibility in this government.  They must know that this country cannot survive without government and what we have now is worse than bad government, it is a criminal enterprise.  There will be nothing left.  It is scary how quickly every aspect of government has been undermined.  

      Judicial nominee stonewallers deserve a NO-vote.

      by macmcd on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:03:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Business and cultural leaders don't care (4.00)
        as long as they get a big enough piece of the action.

        And lately I've begun to think that things wouldn't be all that different in a Democratic administration.

        Meaning Ralph was right.

        "And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths..."

        by banquos ghost on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:36:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree. I think "we" spent around (4.00)
          $50 million investigating every aspect of Bill and Hillary Clinton's life both public and private and the only thing they could find was a BJ in the OO.  Believe me, if they could have found any sort of actual criminal conduct, they would have ignored the BJ.  That was just all they could find.  So I don't think that particular Democrat was a crook.

          Judicial nominee stonewallers deserve a NO-vote.

          by macmcd on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:47:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ralph was wrong (4.00)
          The Democrats have their problems, but they are not the war felon freaks who are ruining this country.

          Al Gore is not George Bush.  They are not the same.

          My lord what lunacy.  I have no words for the manifest contempt I hold for that ungodly idiot, Ralph Fucking Nader.


          Thanks Ralph!!

    •  Funny thing about those Framers... (none)
      I'll never be convinced that this was the kind of society the framers ever conceived as evolving here.

      Nor should you be.  Funny thing about those Framers -- they wrote stuff down.  The put in writing the kind of society they envisioned.  You can find that in the Constitution of the United States of America.  

      As for what they'd think of the sort of society the GOP & their backers envision, you can find that in the Declaration of Indepedence.  

      If nothing else, keep this in mind: The one thing they arguably prized above all else was Honor.  

    •  Party activists silent too...... (none)
      Everybody reading this probably knows about the "political cleansings" that routinely occur for any and all Bush appearances.

      But I can't remember reading or hearing about a single case where a Bush supporter stood up as an "infiltrator" was lead away in handcuffs for the crime of wearing an anti-bush t-shirt and said something like:

      "No, this is wrong. People have a right to dissent in this country."

      Not once. It's like the top 5 (or more) layers of GOP leadership have completely sold their souls over to the Party.

      I swear everytime I see a GOP talkinghead I am reminded of Winston Smith. It's sad really.

      There must be a middle ground between the continuous circular firing squad that is the Democratic Party and the Stepford Lockstep of the Repugs.

      Whoever finds it should probably start a new party. I know I would join up.

  •  Anyone with any brains... (4.00) running from civil service.  This is not a time to be working for the government if you know what you're doing.

    My biggest concern is that we have three more years of this shit.

    The rebuilding of our government services is going to take longer than rebuilding New Orleans.

    •  Say it ain't so, Bri! (none)
      I can't STAND "three more years."  The only thing that keeps me going is the possibility of indictments in October folowed by a Bill of Impeachment in the House (the theory being that mass, vehement public revulsion and rage will force the Rethug majority to approve the latter in the interest of political self-preservation).

      Just a dream?  Maybe.  But I have to cling to something.

    •  Three more years.. SCARY (none)
      This constantly haunts me, which is why I am putting all my hope in the upcoming Plame indictments and the already dismal nationwide GOP ratings giving us control of at least one part of Congress to do something!  

      For all the complaining about Dems in office right now not doing anything, which I agree with in many parts, the main issue is Dem proposals of almost any kind are routinely dismissed in Congress. (Latest I saw was the independent Katrina commission proposal being slapped down)

      No one should be a politician if they've never lived paycheck to paycheck.

      by Savvy813 on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 08:12:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hastert in '07.........n/t (none)
  •  Frank Rich (none)
    I wish you would post the rest of the Frank Rich column.

    It is a shame Rich is now behind a firewall. He should be read by as many people as possible.

  •  Thanks. Recommended. (4.00)
    Frank Rich and Paul Krugman are both wonderful but I am pissed off enough with NYT that I refuse to pay their $50 fee just to get them.  I would if I could make a statement to NYT another way.  As it stands, I will just have to pick up what I can on the internet or by reading yesterday's papers at the coffee shop...;-)

    Thank you for helping those of us out who are reading OPs so to speak.

    Judicial nominee stonewallers deserve a NO-vote.

    by macmcd on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:06:06 PM PDT

  •  They just don't freaking care.... (none)
    Remember...these are the folks who believe in Armegeddon and they are hell bent on getting theirs before they start it.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:09:19 PM PDT

  •  This one's nearly as absurd as the Drownie one. (4.00)
    These people lack any concept of management at all. Taking a staff manager and just sticking them into a top line management position. Even good, experienced, senior line managers could have a hard time coping with an organization this large. They're either very, very stupid or they just don't care.

    Witness the nomination of Julie Myers as the new head of immigration and customs enforcement at the Homeland Security Department.

    Her qualifications for running an agency with more than 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget include serving as an associate counsel under Kenneth Starr

  •  Cronyism is THE key Bush hallmark (4.00)
    going back generations.

    They've depended on cronyism for their own advanacment - the Bush and Walker grandfathers were sycophants and water carriers for the likes of the Rockefellers, Harrimans, etc.

    Nixon called FratBoy's old man "the perfect lap dog" because he'd do anything he was told (the guy was fucking RNC chair during the worst of Watergate, for crying out loud - who would want that kind of abuse?) if he thought it'd get him something.

    Then after getting his own ass kicked in the primaries by Reagan, FratBoy's old man puckered his lips and gave the Gipper a big fat kiss on each cheek of his ass, as well as one with some tongue in the middle, and took the VP spot because he's a fucking lap dog and he knew it would be his ticket.

    FratBoy's failed businesses were all financed by suck-ups who wanted something from the old man, or who were planning on FratBoy to be their meal ticket.

    And so it goes. It's the fucking coin of this realm, and most folks either don't see it or don't give a shit.

    And we're paying through the nose.

    "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

    by RubDMC on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:22:58 PM PDT

    •  Cronyism is THE key Bush hallmark (4.00)
      This is not really suprising. Every jobs he's ever had including the Presidency has been through cronyism. He thinks this is how the world works.
      •  It is unpleasant (4.00)
          And probably the means by which he is controlled. To save your ass in such a situation, you must give up something sometime in the future (in very quiet Joe Pesci voice).

        It's hard to teach a man who is afraid. - Worm

        by walkshills on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:46:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Born on 3rd Base, (none)
        and thought he hit a triple.

        Someone posted that the other day and it is dead on...

        Mister President, we don't want you to take the blame. We want you to take the responsibilty. --Jason Roberts

        by clammyc on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 07:57:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Now that's a visual I didn't need.... (none)
      FratBoy's old man puckered his lips and gave the Gipper a big fat kiss on each cheek of his ass, as well as one with some tongue in the middle



  •  Cronyism (4.00)
    Certainly  both parties practice cronism, but that doesn't mean you can't appoint a competent crony.  With the Bush administration, apparently no one is vetted, and competence is not a consideration at all.
    •  Right (4.00)

      Rewarding loyalty isn't, in itself, a bad thing and everyone who ever succeeds at anything does so based on a network of other people. Its when affiliation trumps competence that someone becomes a crony.

      We need to be careful as we attack BushCo for its cronyism that we don't make it about "oh well he went to school with so-and-so, therefore he's a crony" but rather "he went to school with so-and-so and has no relevant experience to do the job therefore he's a crony." The former is just guilt by association, the latter is a legit claim of cronyism.

      As long as the prerequisite for that shining Paradise is ignorance, bigotry, and hate... I say the Hell with it. --Inherit the Wind

      by kingubu on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 11:41:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and no relevant experience. (none)
        very important to make that point.  And that disgusting trait is rampant in all these appointments.

        Mister President, we don't want you to take the blame. We want you to take the responsibilty. --Jason Roberts

        by clammyc on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 07:59:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I live in the DC area ... (4.00)
    ... and I have heard some stories about Bush admin debacles. Last year, I talked to 2 different veteran EPA employees who said they would leave the department if Bush was re-selected in 2004, he had made such a hash of the department. They just felt like there was no point in continuing. I'm not sure if they actually did leave, but the fact that they were so frustrated is indicative.

    The worst story I've heard is from a friend who is involved in top-secret satellite imagery -- the department that took the pictures of the so-called "aluminum tubes" that figured so highly in Powell's  presentation to the UN. He said they were begging the admin not to claim they were related to WMDs, as their analysis had shown they were not. They were silenced.

  •  There's an evil strategy at play here (4.00)
    The goal of these clowns is to shrink the government down to just the military.  By rendering the government incompetent, they can pursue massive spending cuts and rationalize them by arguing that they can't justify spending on programs that have been "ineffectively" managed.
  •  I am confused - How is this different than Raygun (4.00)
    and his band of religous nuts and corporate thieves?  

    They are stealing more !!

    um, BTW, who has been on the other side of the aisle for the last 30 years?  Who has been playing go along to get along?  don't rock the boat?  let's stratergerize and compromise?

    I honestly don't see any difference from bushco and the robber barons and the corrupt court hangers on in the roman empire, or ancient egypt, or china ... excpet this crowd has databases and palm pilots and A-10 attack planes in their air force.

    What disappoints me is the representatives we Dems have hired to fight these bastards - representatives who aren't up to the job of beating the crooks, hence they are inept, or they are in bed with the crooks, hence they are corrupt, or they are a mix of both incompetent and corrupt.


    Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

    by rmdewey on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:39:48 PM PDT

    •  The difference is... (4.00)
      ...Reagan was a better speaker.

      Other than that, no difference at all.  This is the culmination of a process that began under Reagan, involving many of the same people.

      •  Reagan remembered (none)
          Reagan gave us ketchup for vegtables in school lunches, less gov't, all for show and no substance and the most corrupt gov't in history. Don't forget a shuttle diaster under his watch.
          Thses same people are back with a vengeance to destroy what's left of accountable gov't. Don't forget another shuttle diaster under this watch.
         As for cronyism, does anybody remember the early reports of lack security at the Boson airport that the terrorists used on 9/11?
          Nobody deserves this corruption no matter what the cost or benefits.
  •  3 more years of Bush reminds me of an old poster (4.00)
    Remember that poster from the seventies with two vultures sitting on a branch, and one vulture says, "Patience my ass, I'm going to kill something!" Too bad Democrats aren't vultures.
    •  Ole Bob Buzzard (none)
      and his buzzard buddy Ben were mighty pissed off and jealous when they heard what the vultures were saying, because it was really exposing their racket. Just a little pinch here and there when the traffic was slack, Ahhh, a little merciful aid they'd say between bites.  

         I remember it well. And yes, the Dems need to have some necessary uncharacteristic behavior.  

      It's hard to teach a man who is afraid. - Worm

      by walkshills on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 08:01:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  progress (4.00)
    An indictment a day
    'til they all go away

    (in handcuffs).

  •  Autokakistocracy (none)
    just at a time when necessity could have returned the competent to governance.

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 07:56:52 PM PDT

  •  Not wonks (4.00)
    They are just political wonks collecting their reward for being loyal.

    These people are not wonks. The word "wonk" implies someone who at a minimum thinks about policy. "Cronies" fits betters.

  •  Paul Reveres (4.00)
    Keep pressing this issue to everyone, near and far. Each one of us engaging in the so-called "blame game" is a modern day Paul Revere calling out to the sleeping citizens "The incompetent cronies are coming, the incompetent cronies are coming!"
  •  It will Take More (4.00)
    .than just getting these fools out of office. It isn't restricted to the repubs alone. If you check out the list of senators and congressmen who have relatives and wives and children in government jobs or lobbying jobs due to their spouse or father's office you will find it on both sides.

    The repubs seem to be much worse but it's among both parties.

    Washington has become an incest pool of connections by people who are interested in their own or their families or friends quid pro quo advancement, not public service to the people or the country.

    So who started allowing that?...we did. When I think of Bush 41 I always remember the statement he made when his son was raked over the coals for borrowing money from the SBA (even though the loan was outside the SBA guidelines) for a oil drilling venture that went belly up and he never repaid the loan. Bush said..."well my boys have a right to make a living'.

    So we live in a country where a politican's son gets special consideration and first dibs on taxpayer money and no responsibility in paying off the bad debt. While the kid working at Burger King and paying his way at the local community college walks down to the road to the Honda dealership on his 10 minute break and looks at the used cars he couldn't afford if he saved every dime of his minimun wage for years.

    And we settle for that kind of democracy?

    Piss upon accident of birth I have terrier genes going back to the original revolution and I am ready to put them to good use in another tea party upset if that's what it takes.

    •  Agree (none)
      Nepotism has been around forever. When I was in college, my mom was the VP of a hospital and secured me a summer job. I'm sure there were other (more) qualified applicants than I. BUT here's the difference between my mom and Pres. Bush. I spent the summer wheeling sick people from room to room, she didn't put me in charge Neurology division overseeing brain surgery.
  •  And then there's the Vet (none)
    who is going to oversee women's health issues. Not not a veteran, but a veterianrian! As a woman, just makes me feel fuzzy all over. Probably why they chose the vet.
    Cripes these guys just piss me off. Wake up America!
  •  Death Wish (4.00)
    NewtGingrich shut down the government.  It was too obvious. Reducing taxes to slowly "starve the beast" was a much easier sell, plenty were willing; after all, Reagan told them it was "their money".  Loading agencies with incompetents feeds the self-fulfilling prophecy. Putting a simpleton in the White House itself has worked splendidly.

    I think the GOP satisfies a longing for hard times. The country club types want poverty at the door to motivate the masses.  More hungry workers to satisfy their craving to lead.  The Christian Right want God's vengence to smite the wicked and justify their sacrifices. Both see adversity as a means to confirm their superiority.

    I don't think you can pull either faction back from the brink. Stay the course.

    •  Absolutely Spot On (none)

      And well said, too.

      For the Big Business types, dismantling the social safety net is exactly about making sure that everyone of us knows that the wolf is always at the door and that we'd better just shut up, put our heads down and work harder or else.

      They then use the growing insecurity and financial pressure that wolf-at-the-door environment creates to make people more resentful about paying taxes and convince them that the way out if to further cut the social saftey net.

      Its a dangerous cycle that has been repeating since Reagan.

      As long as the prerequisite for that shining Paradise is ignorance, bigotry, and hate... I say the Hell with it. --Inherit the Wind

      by kingubu on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:16:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep in mind that... (none)
    ...none of what we are seeing, no matter how bad it gets, is an unitended consequence.  The plan all along has been to discredit and dismantle government.  Watch for this line of reasoning:  "FEMA?  New Orleans showed that FEMA is useless.  There's no reason to continue funding it, or to even keep it around."  We may hear it from a congressperson, we may hear it from a pundit, but we will hear it, or something very close to it.
  •  they know plenty of people who can run things (4.00)
    they are simply NOT INTERESTED in people who can run things... they are interested in people who are party-loyal, litmus-tested, rove-programmed androids... their programming...? deconstruct the federal government either the norquist way - by shrinking it down to where it "can be drowned in the bathtub" - or by making it so impossibly inept that all credibility (and chance of funding) is gone... PLEASE don't make the mistake of thinking bushco is incompetent... bushco is being VERY COMPETENT... they are doing PRECISELY what they set out to do and they are doing it VERY WELL...
  •  What worries me... (none)
    The nepotism fo the Bush administration is truly staggering.  What worries me is them getting another one of those reports that wouldn't give them a clue, you know, like Bin Laden determined to crash a plane into Mt Rushmore on such and such dates.  After he had done that, they would claim that "no one could have known" and tell us that because we didn't pass the Patriot Act III or some such Fascist nonsense, that we are to blame!

    My god, can America survive another 3+ years of this unmitigated disaster?

  •  How many minds are changed? (4.00)
    I wonder if there is a single person out there who reads Frank Rich and still supports Bush. I wonder if his weekly articles change any minds. It would seem to me they don't. This is not a put down, but how many more times do we need to be told that Bush is a joke? Everyone knows - or at least everyone who cares to pay attention. Yet it is still considered "radical" to call for Bush's resignation or impeachment. No Senator, no Congressperson, has done so. No major newspaper has done so. How many more articles will Frank Rich crank out decrying the naked criminality of this crew? How many more crimes will they have to commit before we as a people rise up and get rid of them?

    At some point this just gets ridiculous.

    Can you imagine three more years of Frank Rich articles like  this?

    It is understood that Bush has the support of corporate America. Do they really think that Bush is good for them? In the long run? Can they see a long run? Or are they only capable of thinking in terms of quarterly profit?

     At what point do even the corporations say, "enough." Even corporations must know that the complete breakdown of competent government will, ultimately, negatively affect their bottom line. Isn't stability what corporations crave more than anything? Shouldn't they be reconsidering their support of an administration that is surely driving this country off a cliff?

    "Politics is the entertainment arm of Industry." - Zappa

    by CheeseMoose on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:40:53 PM PDT

  •  Homeland Security situation Red (none)
        This outta make those that would attack us feel more confident, seeing what morns are actually in place over here. Great googily moogily I feel secure.

    If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. Fudds first law of opposition.

    by UhClem on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:49:00 PM PDT

  •  good news until it's too late on HS (4.00)
    You bet!

    Think Michael Brown ws the only horse's ass expert on Bush's govt ? Think again!

    Daily Kos: Bush Admin. Rep. Flees Conference After Making Fool of Himself

    ... this bozo actually stated (or at least strongly implied) that the Bush Administration had killed Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 hijacker who was the suicide pilot of the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Juan Cole ridiculed him for that later in the day. Unbelievable....

    I just got back a little while ago from Day #2 of the two-day New America Foundation conference, "Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose: Towards a More Comprehensive Strategy"  Overall, it was a great two days, with a wide spectrum of high-powered speakers speaking about the national security challenges facing America, four years after 9/11.  

    Obviously, in a conference like this, some speakers are going to be better than others.. [like] President Bush's Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism, Juan Zarate.  Frankly, this guy's speech was not just bad, it was one of the worst speeches I've ever heard in my life.   It also was an insult to the 1,000 people in the audience, many of whom are leading experts who have spent their lives working, studying and teaching about U.S. national security and terrorism issues.   Sorry to say, but Mr. Zarate's speech was so bad, so clueless, that I observed many people in the audience literally covering their faces in frustration, grimacing, rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, and smirking throughout his talk.   Pitiful.

    What was so bad about Mr. Zarate's speech?   In a nutshell, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism conveyed both explicitly (by what he said in his speech) and implicitly (by what he failed to say) that he has ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE about "combatting terrorism."  It's frightening to consider, but apparently the Bush Administration has learned nothing in four years.  Apparently, the only thing it has to offer on "combatting terrorism" is a Tarzan-like "us good, them bad, we kill bad terrorists" pablum.  But then again, they already knew all the answers even before 9/11, didn't they?

    Anyway, all we got today from Mr. Zarate was the usual Bush Administration propaganda about how we're "rounding 'em up and hauling 'em in," how we're systematically destroying the ability of Al Qaeda to operate effectively, and basically how we're winning winning WINNING!!!  I guess the theory is that if you repeat the same lies enough times with enough fake enthusiasm, maybe someone will believe them?  Or at least you can convince yourself that you're doing the right thing?

    "No one thought" will be the epitaph of Bush's reign on America

    by lawnorder on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 12:55:25 AM PDT

  •  Per inclusiveheart and jpatchen (none)
    Cogent and relevant comments:

    Just so you know it wasn't always like this in DC

    A perfect example-- (DOJ staff attorneys)

    Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

    by Simplify on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 01:32:22 AM PDT

  •  Molly Ivins on cronyism (4.00)

     Bush's Petulant Pique Appointments

    This above all: to thine own self be true,... Thou canst not then be false to any man.-WS

    by Agathena on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 01:42:01 AM PDT

  •  Our Underappreciated Bureaucrats (4.00)
    What's the significance of the Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay, Jack Abramhoff, Valerie Plame (Cooper and Miller), and other current investigations?
    What can be inferred from the vigor in which they're being pursued?

    Many things, of course, but one of the salient features, for me at least, is that there is a stunning and unappreciated number of honest and responsible people in the middle and lower ranks of the federal government, folks whose lives and careers have been dedicated to forthright and honest service to the American people.
    Here's my example:

    The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan.

    Just imagine what it must be like to be a career, mid-level employee of the CIA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Social Security Administration, the Justice Department, or any other of the hundreds of agencies in the federal government?

    Here you've been, moving along with your life, analyzing information, totaling figures, issuing findings, hewing as closely to the truth as you can, and along comes a Republican political appointee who twists the results of all that work into an untruthful abomination which supports what the White House wants rather than the truth.

    Are you going to be pissed, appalled, and after four and a half years, just about ready to do something about it?

    I happen to think we're seeing that frustration leaking out now in the vigor displayed in many of the current investigations---in short, I believe career government employees are an unheralded and underappreciated resource in our battle to return our country to rationality and sane government.
    What's your example?

    What I really like about the President is his wonderfully uncluttered mind. - Tony Blair

    by agincour on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 03:47:21 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (none)
    Rich is awesome.

    David Olive of the Toronto Star writes a simialarly themed article. I've diaried on it.

    It seems we've reached a tipping point with these open comments - Bush's incompetence and cronyism have overloaded and the spill-over is being noticed in the biz community. He's toast.


    Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

    by deepfish on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 07:36:12 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (none)
    for posting NYT op/ed stuff. With help like this, these fine columnists may still find themselves relavant to the national discourse. Without posters like you including them in your diaries, we will be missing important work every week. Thanks again.
  •  croniesters (none)
    I wondered if someone can start a website linking all of Bush's cronies together starting with Bush at the top a la Friendster/Wikipedia so we can see how deep the incompetence goes:

    Position: President

    Experience: failed CEO, failed governor, presided over destruction of environment, etc.

    How he got the job: Daddy-o and company

    Significant contribution: over 1900 soldiers killed in Iraq; glacially slow response to Hurricane Katrina causing death and suffering; economic deficit; environmental destruction...

    Related companies: Halliburton (see Cheney)

    or along those lines anyway but with actual facts to back it up.

    And so I have no right to despair. I insist on hope. - Howard Zinn

    by urduja on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 08:40:13 AM PDT

  •  Republicans are dishonoring the Presidency (none)
    Say it loudly................
  •  Does anyone (none)
    have a free link to the entire story?

    Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 10:14:53 AM PDT

  •  Time and tipping points (none)
    I think this is a real tipping point, but I don't know whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the direction we'll tip towards.  I suspect it'll be an ugly trip and I will hope we'll have a good outcome.

    Why didn't this tipping point occur earlier?  Because the US Federal Government is a pretty robust organization and it took a good bit of time for the Bush Administration to undermine it.

    Now I think we have reached a state where the capabilies have been eroded to the point that any hit to the system reveals the hollowness and rot.  The capable people have left or gone into their shells to try and ride it out.  DHS/FEMA is the first and most obvious example, since it's really hard to hide a million displaced people and a thunderously incompetent response that is still screwing up in a very visible manner.

    Similar hollowing out has occurred in the FDA, in Treasury, and a lot of other areas, leaving us vulnerable to the next drug/vaccine screwup, the next burp in the World economy, bird flu, hurricanes through the remainder of the season, flooding this winter, and then next hurricane seasons inevitable hammering.

    Maybe this is the Rovian nirvana - people will lose faith in the ability of the Federal government to do anything right and the defunding/looting can continue.  

    On the other hand, if the Feds aren't there who else is?  A lot of State governments have been hollowed out too or are running on a shoestring.  A lot of county/city/town governments are running on the edge of backruptcy if not actually in bankruptcy.

    Maybe we go (more) authoritarian and the US military takes on the primary disaster response role.  But do you think the military has been immune to the cronyism and hollowing out?  Certainly Rumsfeld has had plenty of time to get his cronies in on all the civilian positions and eviscerate the oversight functions.  On the uniformed military side any general officer who has shown the slightest sign of independence has been demoted or retird.

    I don't know how long incompetent authoritarianism works as a government model for a large country.  If the US could go isolationist, maybe for quite a while - don't think that option is open any more.  (But maybe that's the optimism of a strong Latte' talking.)

  •  A Free Link (none)
    If you don't feel right using the access info. posted above, you can also read Rich's full column for free by clicking on this link.

    As usual, Rich does a masterful job of weaving together the myriad disasters and failures of the Bush administration and spells out clearly the dangers for our country if we continue down this evil and incompetent path.  

  •  To continue Bush's (none)
    Peter Principle appointments, who is in charge of the redevelopment of New Orleans?....None other than Karl Rove.  What are his qualifications for this particular job?  (Don't answer that, we already know what they are and they don't have anything to do with urban planning.)

    I'm from New Orleans.  I love New Orleans.  Please, please, please don't let Karl Rove get his hands on my city.

    Where was he yesterday and the day before when Rita came knocking, once again, on Louisiana's door?  Way the hell up in North Dakota, fundraising for the devil.

    Heaven help us.  Perhaps the stories of Armeggedon are true.

  •  What I find telling (none)
    is the appointment of veterinarians to oversee public health concerns. Notice how they call us yard apes? They accuse some of us of wanting to mate with dogs. I think these are very strange fantasies to preoccupy the party of Lincoln.

    -7.88, -7.74 In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

    by melvin on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 02:39:44 PM PDT

  •  And we expected competency? (none)
    If you have competent people, you lose deniability.  Then accountability creeps in.  

    */Americans deserve better Leadership!/* Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

    by groggy on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 08:03:25 PM PDT

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