Category Archives: FEMA

Top 10 Ethics Scandals for 2007

Courtesy of CREW, Citizens for Responsibilty and Ethics in Washington has released their year end report. They note at the top of the page that despite the Democrat’s election vow to institute more checks and balances on Congressional ethics, not a damn thing has changed in that regard. No new enforcement regulations were put into law in the 110th Congress, and a group of fuckwits tasked with providing a report as to what needed to be done has yet to issue said report. Now, on to the scandals!

Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens

Teddy Stevens had his house in Alaska raided by the FBI and IRS this year. “Stevens is under federal investigation for his dealings with Bill Allen, founder of VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company that has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts. Allen has admitted to paying for an addition to Sen. Stevens’ home.”

Senator Larry Craig

Larry has a penchant for airport restrooms and blowjobs , which caught the attention of most of the U.S. when he plead guilty to soliciting an undercover cop in a MN airport restroom. The Senate Ethics committee is *cough* investigating whether Craig violated the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in “improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate.”

Senator David “Diaper” VitterPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Vitter had a penchant for hookers and diapers evidently but the Senate isn’t investigating him for violating the Senate rule prohibiting members from engaging in “improper conduct which reflects upon the Senate”. But they are investigating Larry Craig..Go figure.

10 Million missing White House emailsPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They are still missing. In April 2007, CREW released a report, WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House E-mails and the of the Presidential Records Act, disclosing that over five million e-mails (CREW subsequently learned that the actual number is over ten million) are missing from White House servers for a two and a half year period between 2003 and 2005. The White House has known about the missing e-mail since October 2005 and was provided a plan to recover them, but to date has taken no action.

In May 2007, CREW sued the Office of Administration (OA), the component of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) responsible for maintaining the White House servers, based on the OA’s failure to provide CREW with any documents in response to its FOIA request for the analyses and assessments the OA prepared of the missing e-mail problem. On September 25, 2007, CREW filed a second lawsuit against the EOP, the OA and the National Archives and Records Administration alleging violations of the Federal Records Act for failing to recover, restore and preserve the millions of missing White House e-mail. On November 12, 2007, District Judge Henry Kennedy granted CREW’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the White House from destroying back-up copies of millions of deleted emails while the lawsuit is pending. The White House has refused to confirm whether any of the backup tapes for the missing email still exist.

Murtha’s earmarking faux paux’s.

In 2007, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) inserted into the Energy and Water Appropriations bill a $1 million earmark to establish the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure – a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies Corporation, (CTC) a non-profit technology innovation center in Rep. Murtha’s district that has received hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks in recent years. CTC is a large non-profit that in 2005 received over $212 million in government grants. Since 2002, CTC’s employees and employees’ family members have donated over $115,000 to Rep. Murtha’s political committees and leadership PAC.

If that wasn’t enough, Murtha then threatened to screw with Rep. Mike Roger and any attempts he made to insert his own earmarks into defense appropriations bills. Murtha made similar threats to Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s (R-KS) earmarks. No investigations have taken place regarding any of the three above mentioned activities by John Murtha.

GSA’s Lurita Doan

The General Services Administrations head honcho, Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act by requiring GSA employees to attend meetings designed to educate them as to what needed to be done to elect more Rethugs in the next election cycle. These meetings were held on government property, during employee’s working hours which is a direct violation of the Hatch Act. Nothing has been done to date and Ms. Doan is still running the show at the GSA. Ms. Doan has also been criticized for proposing to cut $5 million from the GSA Inspector General’s budget to limit the office’s ability to audit contracts for fraud and waste.

GonzoGate and the firing of the US Attorneys Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This burro has been beat to death by all of us and although Gonzo eventually resigned..nothing has come of the threatened contempt charges so far against former White House Counsel Harriet Miers or Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to testify after receiving congressional subpoena’s to do so. No charges have been lodged against Gonzo either. Stay tuned, this one might not be over..

No Child Left Behind funds directed to Bush fundraisers who provide inadequate reading materials for kids

In 2006, the Department of Education’s (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released a report finding he Bush administration’s implementation of the Reading First Initiative was beset with cronyism. In response to that report, CREW filed a lawsuit against the DOE and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings alleging that the DOE failed to comply with any of the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act which requires federally created panels include balanced nd representative viewpoints, hold open meetings and make their notes and records available to the public. In 2007, yet another critical report by the DOE’s IG found the Reading First training program was promoting certain reading materials to financially benefit a select group of Bush dministration donors. CREW’s suit is forcing the DOE to come clean about leaving behind the education of our nation’s children for the privileged Bush administration loyalists and donors.

Court decision regarding search of Jefferson’s office limits ability of DOJ to investigate other corrupt lawmakers

In considering whether the search of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-LA) congressional office violated the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the court of appeals held — for the first time — that not only can legislative material not be used in prosecuting a member of Congress, but that Justice Department officials, including FBI agents, may not even accidentally see such material. This decision has emboldened members of Congress under federal investigation, who are prohibiting interviews with congressional staff and refusing to hand over documents, and is hampering public corruption investigations.

A wiretap is one example of a law enforcement tool endangered by the ruling because it would be nearly impossible for an agent monitoring the wiretap to be sure no legislative information was accidentally captured.

FEMA, KATRINA and toxic trailersPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Between March and July 2006, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the media reported that dangerous levels of formaldehyde had been found in trailers FEMA provided to house victims of Hurricane Katrina. Concerned about legal liability, FEMA suppressed warnings about the health problems and resisted testing the trailers. Instead, FEMA downplayed the problem, even issuing a public statement claiming here was no ongoing risk. Although 52,000 of these trailers are still occupied, FEMA prohibits its own staff from even briefly stepping inside unoccupied trailers, claiming they are “too dangerous.”

So there you have it, CREW’s short list of nasty, ugly ethics blunders within our hallowed halls of Congress and the White House my dear reader. We can only hope that next years list will be shorter..but I ain’t holding my breath on that one.

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Editorial in San Diego paper attacks state and federal help

My sister has said she heard rumblings about the ineptitude of the state and federal fuckwits the last day or they are more interested in having a pissing contest with each other about control than knocking down the fires and saving homes. This editorial in the Union Tribune today lays it out pretty well:

Surviving disaster

Why wasn’t more key help prepositioned?

October 24, 2007

The response of local authorities to the horrific San Diego County wildfires has been a sharp improvement on what was seen during the 2003 Cedar and Paradise fires. But we’re not sure the same holds for state and federal officials.

It first became apparent last Thursday that the expected Sunday ar rival of hot, windy Santa Ana conditions would put drought-stricken Southern California at grave risk. Sure enough, wildfires broke out in many areas. Why weren’t U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard planes already at nearby airfields and ready to drop water or retardant, by prearrangement of the Pentagon and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Instead, The Associated Press repor ted that the Pentagon’s OK of the governor’s request for such planes to help in San Diego County did not come until yesterday morning. The planes won’t join the fight until this morning – six days after exper ts first warned of a possible Santa Anafueled conflagration and nearly three days after the Witch Creek blaze began its rampage from Ramona west to Rancho Santa Fe and south to Poway. This is inex plicable.

California has led the way in coordinating regional efforts to attack blazes that threaten to overwhelm local fire departments. But given the increasing frequency of catastrophic wildfires, perhaps it is time the interagency approach gave way to a centralized authority in which, at a time of crisis, a fire czar could dispatch resources on a moment’s notice instead of having to tend to bureaucratic niceties.

Such a fire czar could also be an advocate for better funding. In May, five former U.S. Forest Service chiefs warned Congress that inadequate resources imperiled fire suppression efforts. In a telephone interview yesterday, Dan Smith – a senior official with the National Association of State Foresters – painted a grim picture. Between drier conditions, a decline in forest health and the millions of homes built in recent years in fire-prone areas, preventing huge wildfires is “more difficult and more complex” than ever, Smith said. “I hope the appropriators … understand the big picture.”

We hope so, too – because when it comes to both funding and functionality, the big picture needs a close look.

Thank God, its coming out now..while the firestorms are still raging. I hope folks take notice and bring it to the forefront. Shades of NOLA my dear reader…which I had hoped wouldn’t happen.

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The firestorms..1 million displaced..

They are still burning..people are still living in places they shouldn’t have to. But my sister is back in her home, my dad is cranky but safe and my asthmatic sister is staying with a friend until the air quality cleans up a bit. This article blames the drought and global warming for the severity of the wildfires. I don’t know about all that..but I do know they seem to get worse each time, being a native Californian..I have seen far too many of these bastards.

Almost a million people have been displaced in SoCal. Over a thousand homes and businesses have been lost. They are saying almost 20% of San Diego’s population has been displaced.

But Michael Chertoff had to make a guest appearance in San Diego. Thank God FEMA or Homeland Security wasn’t involved in the evacuations..who knows wtf would of happened.

Its all been pretty orderly. San Diego County actually had to issue a press release that they had enough supplies that were donated and for folks to check the other evac centers to see what they needed if they were in the giving spirit.

Fucking awesome how people pull together in times like these ain’t it? Oh..guess what..

Bush is going to make an appearance San Diego..Happy happy joy joy on that tid bit eh?

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August 29, 2005

The day Katrina hit the coast. The day normal life ended on the gulf coast of our United States. The day BushCo fell down on the job and all hell began to break loose. The day BushCo’s biggest domestic fuck-up began. Need I say more? nah..

Obama is unveiling his plan for fixing the region today. All or most of the Democratic candidates for President will be streaming into NOLA to point their fickle fingers of fate at BushCo and how crappy a job he and his cadre are doing. The NYT has a writeup of Obama’s grandiose plan to fix the region and the agency’s that deal with this kind of catastrophy. A small wisp of it:

The Gulf Coast restoration, Mr. Obama said, has been weighed down by red tape that has kept billions of dollars from reaching Louisiana communities. As president, he said, he would streamline the bureaucracy, strengthen law enforcement to curb a rise in crime and immediately close the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in order to restore wetlands to protect against storms. Mr. Obama also said that he would seek to lessen the influence of politics in the Federal Emergency Management Agency by giving its director a fixed term, similar to the structure of the Federal Bureau of Investigatio n. The FEMA director would serve a six-year term, under Mr. Obama’s plan, and report directly to the president.

Doesn’t the head of FEMA report to the President now? He is also planning other big moves, ones that probably need to be made..such as opening a DEA office down there. My, that is all well and good, but I read recently the prisons are over-crowded already pal. Another snip of what he is planning to say:

“Let New Orleans be the place where we strengthen those bonds of trust, where a city rises up on a new foundation that can be broken by no storm,” Mr. Obama is planning to say Sunday, according to remarks provided by his aides. “Let New Orleans become the example of what America can do when we come together, not a symbol for what we couldn’t do.”

Man, he sure is good with the rhetoric isn’t he? But no where in the article do I see how he plans to pay for his great plans..Isn’t that just as important as what you plan to do? One should note that two years after the flood, only 40% of the FEMA money has reached the area. Just fixing that bullshit will go along way to fixing the region.

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Crossposted at Bring it On!