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Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Levy Breaks

2 really important media reports have come out:

1) Newsweek is the first MSM outlet to discuss GW Bush's rages. They are reporting that all the aids in the Whitehouse were afraid to tell Bush what had been all over the news for days, at least until there was no way to avoid it.

A web political blog, capitolhillblue.com has been reporting this for at least a year (and I've commented on them in these posts). The press has known this for a long time but has been tacit.

2) On NPR's , This American Life this weekend, there was a program of the stories of survivors called After the Flood . Horrific. Right now, it looks like it can only be purchased, but they seem to post Real Audio freebie casts within a week. You can also see if there will still be a broadcast in your area. Check out the local NPR website.

This program is absolutely a must listen.

From Newsweek:

Sept. 19, 2005 issue - It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States... The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace....

Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. Bush can ask tough questions, but it's mostly a one-way street. Most presidents keep a devil's advocate around. Lyndon Johnson had George Ball on Vietnam; President Ronald Reagan and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, grudgingly listened to the arguments of Budget Director Richard Darman, who told them what they didn't wish to hear: that they would have to raise taxes. When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority....

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