Looting Cronies and the Making of DHS

also posted to ePluribus Media

ePluribusMedia's consideration of the post-Katrina era has good company this week.

A look forward by our Journal piece on What Will Happen to FEMA?

Spurred by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, both the House and Senate have drafted bills with the same goals: removing FEMA from the grip of DHS and restoring its independent agency status.
takes context from recent commentaries

These should elicit a sense of unease that some things have gone really wrong! Impending changes to these institutions that protect and rescue us that are coming down the pipe, do so in an atmosphere of paranoia and denial or delusion. Those planning the changes must do so with the bigger picture in mind.

Retrospectives of DHS formation and its historic Katrina-dysfunction that are linked from Rolling Stone and Washington Post, below the fold, may cause the revision of preconceptions that seem firm on this side of the fold. Though not reversed entirely, it is warning that at least one notion of mine has shifted with this reading.

The kleptocratic reflex of those who control American government is evident in the story The Rolling Stone rolled out as Looting Homeland Security

Katrina may have been a natural disaster -- but President Bush created the bungled response by gutting FEMA and turning the nation's security over to corporate cronies and for-profit contractors

And the Washington Post published the second in a series covering a history of DHS with bright backlighting by the 'catastrophic response' to Hurricane Katrina. The first in WaPo's series, Department's Mission Was Undermined From Start probes the Caesarian birth of DHS following 9/11,

...Chertoff said he concluded that Ridge's pet project would be a "disaster," further dividing a fragmented DHS into regional silos. But Chertoff agreed with Ridge that DHS needed to be much readier for the next catastrophe.

"I wasn't happy about where we were on preparedness," he said.

while today's installment (Brown's Turf Wars Sapped FEMA's Strength) opens with a tantalizing suggestion that Michael Brown was not as clueless as imagined in Katrina's wake.
In a seven-page memo, the new department's undersecretary for emergency preparedness and response told Ridge that his organizational plan would cripple America's ability to respond to disasters.

The memo, like so many that flew around Washington during the largest government reshuffling in decades, involved turf: Ridge had decided to move some of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's preparedness functions to an office less than one-fifteenth its size. The writer warned that the shift would make a mockery of FEMA's new motto, "A Nation Prepared," and would "fundamentally sever FEMA from its core functions," "shatter agency morale," and "break longstanding, effective and tested relationships with states and first responder stakeholders."

The inevitable result, he wrote, would be "an ineffective and uncoordinated response" to a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

The second article gives me pause despite Brown's email begging "Can I quit now?"..."Can I go home? since WaPo details a great deal of reason for the resignation seeming to be implied in the FEMA Director's infamous rhetoric.

Whether or not he was clueless, it's not Michael Brown making the plans on which we'll base future American emergency response policy.

We citizens must discipline ourselves to such substantial reading as we understand the designs impending change for structures that are supposed to both protect us in DHS' mandate against man-made havoc and supposed to rescue us from the second-thought natural disasters that were once FEMA's specialty.

In light of ongoing and overt agency budget-looting at the hands of Bush Administration cronies, we should be absolutely sure that any plan finalized by amendment of Chertoff's 2SR also accounts for

  • the DHS chief's blindness to existing exercises and scenarios foretelling the catastrophe Katrina delivered;

  • Heritage Foundation's ideology-bound exclusion of human death and suffering or the continuity of government services from the shortlist of vested federal interests.

Whatever foundation produced the catastrophic response to Katrina or the narrow considerations flawing DHS 2.0/2SR, we must be sure that the literally fatal prospects forwarded by cronyist elites and ideologues don't establish long-term institutions just as their culture of corruption implodes from the weight of blind, gluttonous self-interest.

Be sure to do some substantial reading this holiday season. Then speak out since it may just save your life!


Special Note: Carnivales Extraordinaire

Deadline is ASAP!

Carnival of the Liberals #2


Carnival of Bad History



Culture of Corruption: a Plan to Take Lobbying Shops Public

Another of an infrequent series to document the increasing irrelevance 'of the people, by the people, for the people' to these United States. Originally posted to ePluribusMedia
Commitment Levels: Co-Chair ($25,000 per PAC) 5 Photo Opportunity Tickets/10 Reception Tickets Vice Chair ($10,000 per PAC) 2 Photo Opportunity Tickets/4 Reception Tickets Individual ($2,500 per Individual/PAC) 1 Reception Ticket
Venture Capitalist Has a Plan to Take Lobbying Shops Public

-- Where there's an ill, there's a play.

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum

Monday, December 12, 2005; D01

Kenneth P. Ducey Jr. is the mystery man of K Street.

Downtown D.C. has been buzzing for weeks about a venture capitalist who's been secretly trying to buy a bunch of lobbying shops, tie them together and take them public. Well, the gossip is true, and the 41-year-old, Connecticut-based Ducey is that man.

I don't know whether he can pull it off; he won't identify his financial backer and the history of such ventures is abysmal. But investors have been digging deep lately in the belief that so much money can be won in Washington that lobbying companies are no-lose propositions.

"They're excellnt businesses," the gregarious Ducey effused in a telephone interview. "At least the lobbying firms I've been talking to have been growing substantially over the past five to 10 years, are earning money and have a very loyal clientele."

In other words, manipulating government has developed into a reliably high-margin -- and thus high-rate-of-success -- enterprise.


jump ....

into the abyss

National Republican Congressional Committee Calendar of Events

If you would like to submit an event for the Member Calendar of Events, please call 202-479-7000.

December 12, 2005

Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani & House Majority Whip Roy Blunt Cordially invite you to An Reception Honoring Charles Boustany, Tim Murphy, Mike Fitzpatrick, Chris Shays, Jim Gerlach, Rob Simmons & Mike Sodrel

The Grand Havana Room 666 5th Avenue New York City

Commitment Levels: Co-Chair ($25,000 per PAC) 5 Photo Opportunity Tickets/10 Reception Tickets Vice Chair ($10,000 per PAC) 2 Photo Opportunity Tickets/4 Reception Tickets Individual ($2,500 per Individual/PAC) 1 Reception Ticket

For More Information, contact Amanda Mayer at The Bellwether Consulting Group (703) xxxxxxx or RSVP@...

December 13, 2005
8:00 9:00 a.m.

Graves for Congress cordially invites you to an Agriculture breakfast with CONGRESSMAN SAM GRAVES

Capitol Hill Club 75 Room 300 First Street, S.E. Washington, DC 20003

Suggested Contribution: PAC $1,000 Individual $500

R.S.V.P to Mike Britt at (202) xxxxxxx or e-mail, brxxx@...

December 13, 2005
8:30 am

Steve Perry ~ Dutko Worldwide & Stephen Sayle ~ Dutko Worldwide Cordially invite you to an End of the Year Round Table Breakfast in honor of Congressman John Shimkus

Dutko Worldwide 412 First St, SE ~ First Floor

Breakfast: $1,000 per PAC or $1,000 per Individual

Please RSVP to: Mike Gula at 703-xxxxxxx or email info@...

December 14, 2005
12:00 PM

*NEW DATE * Please join Ashley Basquin - BNSF Railway & Tom Jensen - UPS In Honor of Congressman Jim Gerlach for his Last Luncheon of the Year

AGC Townhouse 53 D St, SE

Suggested Contribution: $1,000 per PAC or $500 per Individual

Please RSVP to Mike Gula at 703-xxxxxxx or email info@...

December 14, 2005
12:00 PM

*LAST 2005 EVENT* Please join Congressman Tim Murphy For his End of the Year LUNCHEON

NRA Conference Room ~410 First, SE Second Floor

Suggested Contribution: $1,000 per PAC or $500 per Individual

Please RSVP to Mike Gula at 703-xxxxxxx or email info@...


Executive Summary of the Report

Over the past year, the issue of Congressional ethics has taken on new resonance. Where questionable conduct was once shrugged off as "business as usual," now both the public and the press are demanding greater accountability from Members of Congress. At a time when a recent Gallup Poll reports only that 36% of those polled express approval of Congress, people are taking a harder look at the actions of their representatives.

The ethics issues surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are well documented and frequently reported. In fact, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has been one of Rep. DeLay's harshest critics. Nonetheless, we recognize that Rep. DeLay is not the only Member of Congress whose behavior merits scrutiny. There are a significant number of other members who have engaged in similarly egregious conduct, thus the name of the report: Beyond DeLay.


Beyond Delay: Report Summaries
* Executive Summary of the Report

* Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

* Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA)

* Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)

* Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)

* Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)

* Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)

* Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)

* Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)

* Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)

* Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

* Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)

* Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)

* Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)