Saturday, November 26, 2005

Brownie Points



... A wire story inside the WP catches up with former FEMA Director Michael Brown. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me," says the least popular man in New Orleans. And what does Brown plan to do now that he's mercifully been returned to the private sector? He's setting up shop as a consultant—on disaster preparedness. (Slate newsletter, 11/26/05)

God love Brownie. He’s doing a heckuva job keeping his own self-esteem aloft.

I can’t help wondering who would go to him for help on disaster preparedness. The citizens of Atlantis? But they’re all drowned already.

Maybe the Pompeiians? Nope. Too late. Already wiped out by the eruption of A.D. 76.

As I understand the way Brownie works, he does a heckuva job making a horrible catastrophe even more catastrophic. If he had been consulted on 9/11, for example, he probably would have advised everyone to REMAIN IN THE BUILDINGS even after the planes struck.

Is anyone really going to hire this guy & pay him good money for his advice? Suppose I worked for a company on the Gulf Coast. How could I explain the hiring to my boss? “Sir, we’ve given Brownie a $50,000 retainer….”

“To advise us on how NOT to prepare for the next hurricane?”

“The way we see it, nobody has made more mistakes preparing for disaster than Michael Brown. So he has probably learned more than anyone else.”

“But has he admitted to making any mistakes?”

“Not really.”

“Then if he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, isn’t he likely to make the same mistakes all over again?”

“Well, not exactly, sir. This time he’ll just be advising US to make the same mistakes he did.”

“And why would we want to do that?”

“We wouldn’t sir. I figure that we should do the opposite of whatever he advises us to do.”

“You know what? You just may be on to something there. But what about his boss, Michael Chertoff? Didn't he do just as badly as Brownie, and wasn’t he even MORE responsible?”

“I guess you could say that, sir.”

“Then why not give Chertoff a consulting fee, as well? Or instead? His disaster preparedness advice must be at least as wrong as Brownie’s.”

“You’re so right, sir. That’s why you’re paid the big bucks and I’m still trying to figure out how to cover my mortgage, my alimony, my mistress's rent, and my kids’ tuitions. The problem with hiring Chertoff is that he’s not available because he still has his old job as Secretary of Homeland Secretary.”

“You’re not serious. The guy who was at the switches when Katrina drowned New Orleans still has his job?!!!”

“Yes sir. You see, HIS boss is very loyal. He puts loyalty above just about all the other virtues.”

“You’re talking about the President, aren’t you. The guy that couldn’t think of any mistakes he’d made during his first term.”

“That’s right, sir. During one of the campaign debates with Kerry, W was asked to name THREE mistakes he’d made in his first administration. He couldn’t think of one.”

“Does he think he made any mistakes in New Orleans?”

“He told Brownie he was doing a heckuva job, sir. And he still hasn’t fired Chertoff. So my guess is W thinks he did a heckuva job.”

“Wow. That’s what I call positive thinking. He must be a believer. Shouldn’t we be hiring HIM to advise us what NOT to do in case of disaster?”

“He’s not available, sir. He has three more years in his present job.”

“He’s running the country for three more years? Christ on a crutch!”

“You said it, sir. It’s a shame we can’t hire him now. He‘s fantastic. He knows exactly what NOT to do before, during, and after every crisis. Maybe we can hire him in 3 years, when he stops running the country.”

“Maybe. If there still IS a country.”


Cindy Sheehan has returned to Crawford to protest the war and spoil W’s Thanksgiving. But there is also a regiment of Bush supporters who have gathered at Crawford to support the war and protest Cindy. What I’m trying to understand is which part of the war they’re so enthusiastic about.

Are they supporting the war because they like wars based on one lie after another? Or are supporting the way because they like being up Quagmire Creek without a paddle---or exit strategy? Are they cheerleading for the President because they want to spend even more than the $200 billion we’ve already spent over there? Or are they just glad because Cindy Sheehan’s son was killed and they want to see even more American mothers’ sons blown up on the road to Samara?

Maybe they’re supporting the war because having a war in Iraq, where Americans are getting exploded daily by IED’s and suicide bombers, makes them feel good about being American-based Americans. No matter how bad they’re feeling, they can always tell themselves that they’re not on patrol in Baghdad.

Maybe they’re not so much supporting the war as demonstrating how much they personally loathe Cindy Sheehan. After all, Cindy is the mother of a dead American soldier and she’s not happy about having a dead son and she won’t shut up about it. That literally makes her an enemy of the state. Plus, she’s rude. Here poor George just wants to eat some turkey in peace and cut some brush and ride his bike and Cindy has the nerve to remind him that his war is still in the toilet and getting stinkier every day. The nerve of her! Maybe what she needs is a good flushing. She should be GLAD her son was killed by a war based on lies. She should be celebrating and waving the flag. She should be out there supporting George, and Dick, and Rummy, and Condi, and Wolfy, and urging MORE mothers’ sons to go over there and get blown limb from limb. That way, at least, her misery will have company.

Anyhow, what right does a WOMAN and a MOTHER have to say anything about war? A woman’s job is put up and shut up. A woman’s job is to shake her babymaker when hubby says and to raise her kids until they’re big enough to go off to die....for a lie. And then when they come home in boxes her job is to dress in black, put a gold star in her window, and wait for other mothers’ sons & daughters to join hers in the cemetery. Only men, and Condi Rice, know how to properly wage war. That’s why George and Company have done such a beautiful job in Iraq. Because they're almost all men and the only woman they listen to is Condi, the same lady who advised George prior to 9/11. At least, we THINK she’s a lady. We HOPE she’s a lady. No telling what’s under those frumpy frocks.

Part III

Which brings us back to our first subject: Namely, whom should a Gulf Coast company hire to advise them on what NOT to do to prepare for a disaster? Why, the obvious choice is Condi, who advised W on what to do prior to 9/11.

“Then,” my boss might say, “hire Condi.”

“Sorry, sir. She’s not available.”

“She still has her old job as National Security Adviser?! After all the bad advice she gave prior to 9/11 AND during the runup to Iraq?!”

“Actually, sir, she’s been promoted to Secretary of State.”

“You mean the previous Secretary of State was even stupider than Condi Rice?”

“That was Colin Powell, sir. And he’s not stupid. Neither he nor Condi are stupid. They’re just wrong…….a lot.

“Then is he presently unemployed?”

“Yes sir.”

“Maybe we should hire HIM as a disaster preparedness consultant.”

“Would we follow his advice, or do the opposite of what he told us to do?”

“Well, for starters we wouldn’t believe one damn thing he said.”

“But he was the Bush cabinet secretary with the reputation for integrity, sir.”

“Sounds like the perfect consultant to me. ----A liar with integrity.”

“And once he gave us his advice, would we follow it?”

“Of course not. We’d pay him no attention. We’d just use him as window dressing to give the firm some cachet. That’s what the Bushies did, wasn’t it?”

“And would we have a second disaster preparedness consultant as well? One who actually knew what he was doing?”

“That won’t be necessary. Look how well the Bush Administration has done without anyone who actually knew what he was doing. They won a second term, didn’t they?”

“I’ve got a better idea, sir. Why not hire Alfred E. Newman as backup consultant to Colin Powell?”

“The ‘what? me worry?’ kid from Mad Magazine?

“Exactly. He’s just a cartoon character. We could probably get him for a fraction of what Powell or Brownie would charge. And he even looks and smirks like the President.”

“You know something, kid? If the next hurricane doesn’t drown us, or the next one after that, or the next one after that, or the next one after that, or the next one after that……you’re gonna go far in this business.”