Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XIII

Maybe it's time to change the title? I'm not going to write much myself tonight, as instead I'll just turn it over to more eyewitness accounts, photos and articles.

1) How's this for a "blame game"? Read a New Orleanian's response to one of the right-wing articles' posted yesterday, blaming locals for their travails [I've reposted the offending article, as well as the email addresses of relevant correspondents]:

Dear Kathleen and Maxine,

Being a New Orleanian let me be the first to tell you to how much this type of email hurts me and my family, my friends, my loved ones and the City that I love and miss. Half of the people I know in New Orleans woke up Sunday August 29th and left their homes in New Orleans for the last time. Their homes and belongings are now gone. Many are living in areas of the country wondering what happens next. These were people that were probably a lot like you. Imagine if this happened to you. My family is now living apart.
My wife is staying (notice I did not use the word living) in Memphis with my sister (God Bless her and her husband), my step daughter is in Jackson with her father (we did get her in a good school) and my stepson has decided he wants to rebuild New Orleans and is staying with his grandfather in Jefferson Parish helping neighbors clean up. And I'm in working a town outside of New Orleans and thankful that I still have a job and living with friends in Baton Rouge. If I'm lucky I'll see my family a couple of days every two-three weeks. It took 9 days to locate my wife's grandmother that had been evacuated prior to the storm because we could not contact the hospital she was in. I wish you could have seen the tears in my father-in-law's eyes when he talked to his mother for the first time after Katrina. I still have a friend missing that stayed in New Orleans and I know she made it through the storm but now there is 10 feet of water in her home. I pray that she is safe.

I don't know what Oxford and Batesville are like (I have an idea based on this email) but in New Orleans we are a close knit community. We go to Church on Sunday and then eat lunch at our mama's house. We know are neighbors, we have faith in the Saints, we love the Hornets and have friends and family in our homes very Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, Jazzfest, New Years, Final Four, Sugarbowl and Superbowl. Your impression of New Orleans is probably from the short time you spent on Bourbon Street during a convention or during Mardi Gras or what you have seen on COPS. That impression is like going to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington and saying "I understand their sacrifice".

What I can glean from your email is that you have watched a lot of CNN and consider yourself an expert on the interaction of city, state and federal governments and tend to believe internet rumors as apposed to spending the time to determine facts from fiction. So that you will have some facts for your next email I have listed the following facts. Mayor Nagin was the first Mayor in the 200 year history of New Orleans to order a mandatory evacuation of the City. The Mayors of the Cities of Waveland, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian all followed Mayor Nagin's lead and ordered mandatory evacuations.

After the storm passed there was no communication in entire Gulf Coast area. This was due to the loss of phone lines, cell towers, power and people with loved ones on the Coast calling to locate their friends and family which tied up any available phone services. Most of the city and school bus drivers had left the area, so it would have been difficult to use the "over 500 busses at his (Mayor Nagin) disposal to use between the local school busses and the city transportation busses - but he (Mayor Nagin) never raised a finger to prepare them or activate them" as your email states.

The part that was omitted from your email was how after the worst natural disaster in our Nation's history the President did a flyover at 2,500 feet in Airforce One to survey the damage. That flyover probably lasted 45 seconds. But now after the President has begun to receive significant political pressure the President and the Vice President have now been in the area 3 times (another visit is scheduled), which by the way causes a tremendous diversion of resources, so that they can receive media coverage to show their concern for all my family and friends that have suffered losses. This political pressure was caused in part by an interview that Mayor Nagin did. Kathleen and Maxine, do you know the interview I'm speaking of? The one that the media has decided to only play sound bites were Mayor Nagin is cursing but the media does not play the entire interview where Mayor Nagin breaks down into tears at the end because of the great loss our City has suffered.

As your email states "it's certainly not a time for people to be pointing fingers and trying to find a bigger dog to blame for local corruption and incompetence." But it seems that is just what both of you are doing by sending this email out. If you would like to do something constructive spend you time raising money, help by working with your church or the Red Cross to help the people on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, open your home to some of the 1.2 million people that are now displaced and living in your area or as your email states in the last sentence pray. I have also copied several of my friends that have suffered losses in case they would like to give you their opinions on what you should do.

Lastly, I would guess there are several "displaced" people in your area that would be thankful to have a job and would spend their day working instead of like yourself wasting their employer's time and resources sending out emails based on rumors and political spins. So please next time you feel the need to forward an email don't waste your time sending out trash and Kathleen stick with doing your accounting work at Bursar's Office at Ole Miss and Maxine just answer the phones for Complete Computers. I hope that after you receive this email you rethink your understanding of the human tragedy that has unfolded over the last two weeks. And if you profess to be a Christian please go seek counseling because you have no idea what it means to be a Christian if you thought this email to be interesting.

Greg Strategier

Maxine Thaggard:
Kathleen Henry:

Subject: Interesting???


Politics over duty

This is a post from a fellow over in Merritt Is, FL, a reporter who's been researching what went on before the storm hit

I think all of Nagin's pomp and posturing is going to bite him hard in the near future as the lies and distortions of his interviews are coming to light.

On Friday night before the storm hit Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Nagin and Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of New Orleans and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA buoy 240 miles south had recorded 68' waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance (and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act).

Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up.
He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet. After the President's final call to the governor she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in.

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation.

After a personal plea from the President, Mayor Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action.

In frustration the President declared the area a national disasterarea before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations. Rumor has it that the President's legal advisers were looking into the ramifications of using the insurgency act to bypass the Constitutional requirement that a state request federal aid before the federal government can move into state with troops - but that had not been done since 1906 and the Constitutionality of it was called into question to use before the disaster.

Throw in that over half the federal aid of the past decade to New Orleans for levee construction, maintenance, and repair was diverted to fund a marina and support the gambling ships.

Toss in the investigation that will look into why the emergency preparedness plan submitted to the federal government for funding and published on the city's website was never implemented and in fact may have been bogus for the purpose of gaining additional federal funding as we now learn that the organizations identified in the plan were never contacted or coordinating into any planning - though the document implies that they were.

The suffering people of New Orleans need to be asking some hard questions as do we all, but they better start with why Blanco refused to even sign the multi-state mutual aid pack activation documents until Wednesday which further delayed the legal deployment of National Guard from adjoining states.

Or maybe ask why Nagin keeps harping that the President should have commandeered 500 Greyhound busses to help him when according to his own emergency plan and documents he claimed to have over 500 busses at his disposal to use between the local school busses and the city transportation busses - but he never raised a finger to prepare them or activate them.

This is a sad time for all of us to see that a major city has all but been destroyed and thousands of people have died with hundreds of thousands more suffering, but it's certainly not a time for people to be pointing fingers and trying to find a bigger dog to blame for local corruption and incompetence. Pray to God for the survivors that they can start their lives anew as fast as possible and we learn from all the mistakes to avoid them in the future.

2) Louisianians and Mississippans could always do whatIraqis did when federal carpetbaggers like Halliburton, KBR, and Bechtel vacuumed up all thosebig USG no-bid contracts and put Iraqi truck drivers, oil workers, bureaucrats, and construction workers out of work -- they could start a rebellion. Somehow I doubt that will happen, but just remember who got all of that 60 billion USD Congress just committed for reconstruction when you turn around in 6 months and everyone in NO is still unemployed and angry. Now we know the real reason why Tancredo didn't want to fund reconstruction through state and local authorities:

Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals
Sat Sep10,11:03 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Companies with ties to the BushWhite House and the former head of FEMA are clinchingsome of the administration's first disaster relief andreconstruction contracts in the aftermath of HurricaneKatrina.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist JoeAllbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is HalliburtonCo. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-basedBechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA toprovide short-term housing for people displaced by thehurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his ExportCouncil and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy incharge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Experts say it has been common practice in bothRepublican and Democratic administrations for policymakers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office,and many of the same companies seeking contracts inthe wake of Hurricane Katrina have already receivedbillions of dollars for work in Iraq.

Halliburton alone has earned more than $9 billion. Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed$1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 millionin "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

But the web of Bush administration connections isattracting renewed attention from watchdog groups inthe post-Katrina reconstruction rush. Congress hasalready appropriated more than $60 billion inemergency funding as a down payment on recoveryefforts projected to cost well over $100 billion.

"The government has got to stop stacking seniorpositions with people who are repeatedly cashing in onthe public trust in order to further privatecommercial interests," said Danielle Brian, executivedirector of the Project on Government Oversight.


Allbaugh formally registered as a lobbyist forHalliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root inFebruary.
In lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate,Allbaugh said his goal was to "educate thecongressional and executive branch on defense,disaster relief and homeland security issues affectingKellogg Brown and Root."
Melissa Norcross, a Halliburton spokeswoman, saidAllbaugh has not, since he was hired, "consulted onany specific contracts that the company is consideringpursuing, nor has he been tasked by the company withany lobbying responsibilities."

Allbaugh is also a friend of Michael Brown, directorof FEMA who was removed as head of Katrina disasterrelief and sent back to Washington amid allegations hehad padded his resume.

A few months after Allbaugh was hired by Halliburton,the company retained another high-level Bushappointee, Kirk Van Tine.

Van Tine registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton sixmonths after resigning as deputy transportationsecretary, a position he held from December 2003 toDecember 2004.

On Friday, Kellogg Brown & Root received $29.8 millionin Pentagon contracts to begin rebuilding Navy basesin Louisiana and Mississippi. Norcross said the workwas covered under a contract that the companynegotiated before Allbaugh was hired.

Halliburton continues to be a source of income forCheney, who served as its chief executive officer from1995 until 2000 when he joined the Republican ticketfor the White House. According to tax filings releasedin April, Cheney's income included $194,852 indeferred pay from the company, which has also wonbillion-dollar government contracts in Iraq.

Cheney's office said the amount of deferredcompensation is fixed and is not affected byHalliburton's current economic performance orearnings.

Allbaugh's other major client, Baton Rouge-based ShawGroup, has updated its Web site to say:

"HurricaneRecovery Projects -- Apply Here!"

Shaw said on Thursday it has received a $100 millionemergency FEMA contract for housing management andconstruction. Shaw also clinched a $100 million orderon Friday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Shaw Group spokesman Chris Sammons said Allbaugh wasproviding the company with "general consulting onbusiness matters," and would not say whether he playeda direct role in any of the Katrina deals. "We don'tcomment on specific consulting activities," he said

3) More on contracting:

...Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, said that he too has found that colleagues wanted to hear firsthand about reports of ineptitude with the federal rescue efforts and wanted to know if they were as bad as portrayed in the media. Melancon said he answers that they probably were “worse.”

On Friday, he was complaining that a federal contract to provide air ambulance service in Louisiana was given to two out-of-state firms, rather than Acadian Ambulance of Louisiana, which has been providing the service “quite efficiently” in the aftermath of Katrina.

4) Check out these water temperatures in the Gulf before Katrina. Naw, there's no connection to globalwarming here. These were pointed out by the remarkable amateur meteorologist on . I got an email with the same imagery on the Friday afternoon before Katrina hit, and didn't think much of it at the time...

5) Here's a photo gallery of Katrina from a hotel staffer named Alvero who rode the storm out:

6) This from DailyKos blog, about LA National Guard's absence last week from, er, Louisiana in its time of crisis:

According to a story just posted by the WashingtonPost, the chief of the National Guard, Lt. Gen StevenBlum, said that part of the reason for the slowresponse to Katrina was because much of the Louisianaand Mississippi national guard, and their equipment,were in Iraq:

The deployment of thousands of National Guard troopsfrom Mississippi and Louisiana in Iraq when HurricaneKatrina struck hindered those states' initial stormresponse, military and civilian officials said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National GuardBureau, said that "arguably" a day or so of responsetime was lost due to the absence of the MississippiNational Guard's 155th Infantry Brigade andLouisiana's 256th Infantry Brigade, each withthousands of troops in Iraq...

7) I want to sit on Trent Lott's porch bumper sticker:

When Bush arrived in Biloxi, Miss. on September 2nd, he made a deeply felt speech in response to the devastation he witnessed and the stories he heard:

"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch," he said, referring to the former Senate majority leader who lost his 154-year-old family home in Pascagoula, Miss.

I'm sure that the million people left homeless and the families of the 10,000 (just guesses at this point) dead were comforted. Eventually this horror will seem like a dream because Trent Lott will have a fabulous house again.

I, too, look forward to sitting on Trent Lott's rebuilt porch, sipping a cool drink and enjoying the breeze from the Mississippi, someday soon. If life's been tough for you lately and you'd like to join us on the porch, you can tell the world by putting this bumper sticker on your expensively tanked up car.

Buying this bumper sticker has a more serious purpose, too, because all proceeds from sales will go to several different Katrina charities. These charities are all highly rated by In order to demonstrate good faith an update of amounts raised will be posted here often.

American Red Cross AmeriCares Feed the Children Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank Mercy Corps
I just started an email group at for all like-minded people who'd like to sit on Trent Lott's porch and discuss things:

8) Feel the anger. Revel in the anger. Remember the anger:
An open letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visitedour devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "Whatis not working, we’re going to make it right."

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of yourpromise before believing you. But we have good reasonfor our skepticism.

Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for onemain reason: It’s accessible. The city between theMississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy toreach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that thereare interstates and bridges, airports and helipads,cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, ournation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’shurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the factthat they could neither rescue the city’s strandedvictims nor bring them food, water and medicalsupplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some whowork for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of thecity via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursdaymorning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Marttractor trailers headed into town to bring food, waterand supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports fromdowntown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr.brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were thefocus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.

Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, thepeople whose job it is to quickly bring in aid wereabsent. Those who should have been deploying troopswere singing a sad song about how our city wasimpossible to reach.

We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry longafter our beloved city and surrounding parishes havebeen pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Manywho could have been were not. That’s to thegovernment’s shame.

Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when heallowed those with no other alternative to seekshelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome.We still don’t know what the death toll is, but onething is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened,the city’s death toll would have been higher. The tollmay even have been exponentially higher.

It was clear to us by late morning Monday that manypeople inside the Superdome would not be returninghome. It should have been clear to our government, Mr.President. So why weren’t they evacuated out of thecity immediately? We learned seven years ago, whenHurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn’tsuitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state andnational officials think would happen to tens ofthousands of people trapped inside with no airconditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindlingamounts of food, water and other essentials?

State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she saidthe city didn’t have but two urgent needs: "Buses! Andgas!" Every official at the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency should be fired, Director MichaelBrown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, hesaid his agency hadn’t known until that day thatthousands of storm victims were stranded at the ErnestN. Morial Convention Center. He gave anothernationally televised interview the next morning andsaid, "We’ve provided food to the people at theConvention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one,if not two meals, every single day."

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr.President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, youtold him, "You’re doing a heck of a job."

That’s unbelievable.

There were thousands of people at the ConventionCenter because the riverfront is high ground. The factthat so many people had reached there on foot is proofthat rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.
We, who are from New Orleans, are no less Americanthan those who live on the Great Plains or along theAtlantic Seaboard. We’re no less important than thosefrom the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our peopledeserved to be rescued.

No expense should have been spared. No excuses shouldhave been voiced. Especially not one as preposterousas the claim that New Orleans couldn’t be reached.

Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill yourpromise to make our beloved communities work rightonce again.

When you do, we will be the first to applaud.

9) Eddie Compass again discusses NOPD performance:

Compass gives police force positive direction
Upbeat leadership uplifts department
By James VarneyStaff writer

For his 47th birthday, Aug. 29, New Orleans PoliceChief Eddie Compass got a package of Oreos from hisinner circle and the most vicious natural disaster inAmerican history from his Creator.

Almost two weeks later, the chief who begins eachmorning with a prayer insists good will come to hishometown from Hurricane Katrina.

“There is no doubt about it,” he said, when askedabout the city’s comeback potential.

“We had the worst schools in the United States, andnow we can rebuild them. We had one of the highestmurder rates in the United States, and now we have anopportunity to remake that culture.”

Compass’ rosy certitude is reassuring, and hisseemingly bottomless energy, particularly in the pastweek, has buoyed the spirits of a police force rockedby the storm and the war it unleashed between cops androbbers. The chief acknowledges the terrible cost, andhe has publicly broken down more than once, but herefuses to dwell on the disaster.

“I can’t handle the grief right now,” he said.

Proving police mettle

For a time, it appeared he wouldn’t have time for anyemotion. Barricaded inside the Hyatt Hotel, hiscommunications system blown, and his top managementteam deliberately spread out around the city to avoida catastrophic loss of leadership with one hit,Compass seemed invisible. In the dire three days afterKatrina, as officers patrolled the streets withassault rifles and sniper scopes, they would say theydidn’t know whether they still had a chief.

Since then, however, Compass has become ubiquitous.He’s at the NOPD’s fluid command center outside theHarrah’s Casino at least twice a day, throwing hisarms around officers, calling out to captains by name,and telling the knots of reporters that flock aroundhim about stories that must be told.

Compass has proved the department’s mettle.

In the process, he has become a celebrity. He tellseveryone he was “kidnapped” by Oprah Winfrey, and hehas given extensive access to television news starsTed Koppel and Ed Bradley. He does interviews forMexican television, chats with European reporters andpatiently answers questions from the U.S. media hoard.

Between meetings with his top staff, Compass hasbecome a roving press conference. “Welcome to myworld,” he said, rolling his eyes as two morereporters chased him inside City Hall. “Pretty hectic,isn’t it?”

The elevator works intermittently at City Hall, andwhen it’s not working, Compass climbs the stairs tothe ninth floor where he runs an Emergency OperationsCenter that also houses the New Orleans FireDepartment, Federal Emergency Management Agencyofficials and rotating batches of soldiers. “Thisain’t nothing,” he said, toiling up the stairs Fridayafternoon. “At the Hyatt, we walked up twice a day tosee the mayor, who was on the twenty-seventh floor.”

He is not the only one climbing stairs. His wife,eight months’ pregnant with the couple’s second child,a boy, is living in the third floor of a house inDenham Springs, a situation the superintendent is nonetoo pleased about. His first wife is in Texas withtheir two daughters, and their son, Eddie Compass IV,is enrolled at Texas A&M University.

So all are safe, and Katrina spared his Algiersneighborhood. That allows him to focus on the job athand, Compass said, and for the most part thegregarious face he presents the press and troops isthe same one seen by those working in or around theoffice where, each night, he sleeps on an army cotwith air conditioning from a window unit.

Rejects job offers

An estimated 100 officers left their post in thecity’s darkest moments last week, when two took theirown lives. In public, Compass and his top aidesmaintain a sympathetic air when talking about thebolted cops, instead steering conversations back tothe many, many officers who stayed and performedheroically.

In private, though, the chief shares the department’swidespread disgust for those who deserted in aconversation with federal sharpshooters at Harrah’s.

Heavily armed teams such as those frequently ask thechief to pose for pictures, and everyone wants ahandshake or a hug when Compass makes one of hishigh-energy appearances. Indeed, the chief said hissky-high profile has led to some unsolicitedcareeropportunities. “Can you believe it? In the middle ofthis madness, I get two or three job offers a day.”

The native New Orleanian, St. Augustine grad, andveteran NOPD cop said he will not leave.

“I’m going to be the last one out of this city,” hesaid. “And you print this: Stop calling me, please,with other offers. I want to be police chief here aslong as I can and as long as Mayor Nagin will haveme.”

10) CNN sues to retain right to cover Katrina's aftermath:

Friday, Sep 09
CNN Sues To Cover Katrina Aftermath

If you needed any more evidence that the failed response to Hurricane Katrina has lit a fire under CNN, look no further than this evening's memo to staff:

September 9, 2005
To: CNN StaffFrom: Jim Walton
In response to official statements earlier today that news media would be excluded from covering the victim recovery process in New Orleans and surrounding areas on the suggestion that what is reported may offend viewers' or victims' sensibilities, CNN has filed a lawsuit in federal court to prohibit any agency from restricting its ability to fully and fairly cover this story.

As seen most recently from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, from tsunami-ravaged South Asia and from Hurricane Katrina's landfall along the Gulf, CNN has shown that it is capable of balancing vigorous reporting with respect for private concerns. Government officials cannot be allowed to hinder the free flow of information to the public, and CNN will not let such a decision stand without challenge.

11) Bush's tirades apparently rattle White House staffers. Apparenlty we aren't being led by an idiot, but by an unbalanced nutcase:

Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides
Aug 25, 2005, 06:19

While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.

“I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”

Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”

White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President’s honesty.

“Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”

Bush, while setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger to reporters. Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself.” His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days. A recent video showing him shooting the finger to reporters while walking also recently surfaced.

Bush’s behavior, according to prominent Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Justin Frank, author of “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President,” is all too typical of an alcohol-abusing bully who is ruled by fear.
To see that fear emerges, Dr. Frank says, all one has to do is confront the President. “To actually directly confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would also see the fear,” he says.

Dr. Frank, in his book, speculates that Bush, an alcoholic who brags that he gave up booze without help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, may be drinking again.

“Two questions that the press seems particularly determined to ignore have hung silently in the air since before Bush took office,” Dr. Frank says. “Is he still drinking? And if not, is he impaired by all the years he did spend drinking? Both questions need to be addressed in any serious assessment of his psychological state.”

Last year, Capitol Hill Blue learned the White House physician prescribed anti-depressant drugs for the President to control what aides called “violent mood swings.” As Dr. Frank also notes: “In writing about Bush's halting appearance in a press conference just before the start of the Iraq War, Washington Post media critic Tom Shales speculated that ‘the president may have been ever so slightly medicated.’”

Dr. Frank explains Bush’s behavior as all-to-typical of an alcoholic who is still in denial:

“The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality; it's rarely limited to his or her drinking,” he says. “The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush's personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.”

© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue

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