Last night Rep. Dennis Kucinich was on the floor of the House of Representatives reading 35 Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush, broadcast live on C-Span. It was covered by Thomas D'Antoni, and the full transcript is available at AfterDowningStreet. That giant sucking sound you hear is the lack of coverage from many major media outlets.
The resolution ranged from the march to war to disregarding environmental concerns. Article 31 was timely given John McCain's claim in a New Orleans suburb last week to have supported the two 8/29 investigations that he voted against. This is what Rep. Kucinich had to say about the bungled handling of Hurricane Katrina. This is a condensed version of his New Orleans resolution:
A FEMA warning for worst possible disasters in 2001 included a terrorist attack in New York, and a major hurricane hitting New Orleans. The hurricane was listed first. An earlier preparedness exercise demonstrated that thousands of indigent residents would need substantial assistance to evacuate New Orleans. Despite this study, George Bush cut budgets and denied grants to the Gulf Cost. The Army Corps levee budget was cut in 2004. By 2005, it was slashed by 44 percent. As a result, the Army Corps was forced to suspend repair work on the levees. The President was given multiple warnings that the storm could be catastrophic. The day before the storm hit, the National Weather Service issued an alert that devastating damage was expected. This was printed in all capital letters.
It detailed that most of the area would be uninhabitable for weeks, if not longer, and at least half of well constructed homes would be destroyed. Power outages and water shortages "would make human suffering incredible by modern standards." Homeland Security was also briefed. According to The New York Times, a Homeland Security report issued hours before storm said that severe flooding and/or levee breaching was probable. These briefs "clearly contradict that such devastation could not have been predicted."
Rep. Kucinich repeated Bush's statement, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," comment on Sept. 1 2005, and listed the response as "Criminally delayed, indifferent and inept." The only top FEMA official posted in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath emailed Michael Brown on Aug. 31st regarding the conditions that were past critical. He said that without immediate help, "Many will die within hours." Brown replied, "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?" Kucinich noted that Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff "Seemed to not know what happened on ground until reporters told him." The Saturday before the storm Governor Kathleen Blanco asked the President to declare a Federal State of Emergency. The Sunday before the levees beached, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency and mandatory evacuation. Kucinich summed up Article 31 with, "This shows that local authorities knew how bad the destruction was going to be, and anticipated being overwhelmed. The failure to act demonstrates gross negligence." He added in the next Article that, "George Bush knew the expected results of climate change and the role of human activity in climate change."
That ties in to the extremely warm waters of the Gulf as the hurricane gained strength that summer. As a Katrina relocatee I paid particular attention to every fact listed in Article 31, which would already have been uncovered in the 8/29 investigation McCain voted down twice. This information has now been entered into the Congressional Record the hard way, and it is sure to find a second life on YouTube: