"An aggressively liberal, smart, foul-mouthed irritant"... that's how Danny Westneat describes me in his column today in the Seattle Times: "This story starts at the rear
." Danny writes about my "power-of-the-Internet moment", in which "the horse's ass guy could influence national politics" by breaking the story former FEMA director Mike Brown blames for his downfall (as well as incalculable suffering in the Gulf.)
Yes... I'm "an aggressively liberal, smart, foul-mouthed irritant"... but what I'm not, is a liar. And that's essentially what Brown's attorney Andy Lester called me in a guest column on Accuracy in Media (AIM), echoing his client's congressional testimony that I made false and defamatory statements.
I suppose both Brown and Lester thought they were being clever -- in a lawyerly sort of way -- by dismissively referencing my irreverently named blog and simply saying the story was false, without further explanation. In fact, the heart of the story the MSM picked up from my original post
on HorsesAss.org (and in my diary
on Daily Kos), is undisputed... that Brown's emergency management experience prior to joining FEMA consisted almost entirely of a decade serving as the Commissioner of Judges and Stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association.
I further alleged that Brown resigned from the IAHA under pressure, in the face of mounting litigation and financial disarray, an assertion that was not only corroborated by contemporaneous accounts in horse breeding trade journals and newsletters, but which has been repeatedly substantiated through investigations and interviews conducted by the MSM, most recently in a very thorough background piece in the Arizona Republic:
Brown's actions led to a flurry of lawsuits, a five-year suspension from the group for Boggs and Brown's resignation in 2000 from the Colorado-based association.
In a four-year span, Brown, a lawyer, amassed association legal fees exceeding $1.5 million and initiated a controversial legal defense fund for himself, which ultimately led to his resignation. The 45,000-member horse group, now called the Arabian Horse Association, was involved in at least seven lawsuits during Brown's tenure.
But of course, the circumstances surrounding Brown's resignation from the IAHA are immaterial to the fact that his was a patronage appointment that put an unqualified crony in charge of coordinating the federal government's disaster relief operations... and with disastrous results. Mike Brown simply was not qualified to run FEMA -- an opinion not simply drawn from his razor thin resume or his incompetent job performance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but from his stunningly inept effort to shift the blame during his congressional testimony.
Brown claimed that it was "ironic" that the story started with a blog named "HorsesAss.org", and it certainly was. For who'd have thought that the "horse's ass guy" would have more credibility than the director of a top federal agency?
[Cross-posted to HorsesAss.org]