Friday, September 09, 2005

Lies, damned lies, and press releases
It looks like Brownie is being kicked upstairs.
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace Michael Brown, the embattled FEMA director, as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced at a news conference in Baton Rouge Friday afternoon.

Brown will head back to Washington from Louisiana to oversee the big picture, the official said.

What does the big picture involve?
Earlier, Brown confirmed the switch. Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: "By the press, yes. By the president, No."


"I'm anxious to get back to D.C. to correct all the inaccuracies and lies that are being said," Brown said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

So the big picture involves protecting Brownie's (and presumably the President's) ass.

If one thing has been made clear by this hurricane it's that job number one with this administration is protecting the president's ass and making him look good. On August 29 Brown sent out a memo to FEMA employees stating that one of their duties was to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." When Bush finally went down to New Orleans on September 2, relief flights were grounded and relief workers were redirected to pose in the president's photo-ops rather than continue trying to help the stranded and dying. The nearly 1000 firefighters that came down from other fire departments around the country have been deployed as community-relations officers handing out fliers (out-of-shape middle-aged guys like me can hand out fliers; put these professionals to work!) and fifty were sent to act as props in a presidential photo-op.

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