Thursday, September 8


Texas Senator John Cornyn (R) was a guest yesterday afternoon on Dallas talk station KRLD's Greg Knapp Experience. I tuned in late, but I heard enough. The usual Republican talking points were asserted as fact, and there was plenty of blame for those in New Orleans who failed to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina struck the area, with plenty to spare for Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (D). Some highlights:

(1) Cornyn and Knapp agreed that the military couldn't be called in to help with the situation unless Gov. Blanco specifically ceded jurisdiction to the Chimpster because of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, the original purpose of which was to remove the Army from domestic law enforcement. The intent of the act is to prevent the military forces of the United States from becoming a national police force, and so prohibits the use of the military to “execute the laws.”

In fact, as this article posted on Homeland Security's own web site demonstrates, the argument is patently false. And there's this from the Washington University Law Quarterly:

The PCA proscribes use of the army in civilian law enforcement, but it has not prevented military assistance in what have been deemed national emergencies, such as strike replacements and disaster relief.

Kos has more on the subject, specifically addressing whether or not the governor was obliged to sign over jurisdiction in order to override the PCA.

(2) Cornyn said that the people of New Orleans "didn't take the warnings seriously. They couldn't or wouldn't some cases."

(3) When Knapp asked Cornyn his opinion of a Democratic call for an independent investigation, Cornyn stated that "some politicians" are grandstanding. Knapp asked whether it wasn't Congress's job to provide oversight and investigate, and Cornyn agreed.

Switched over to Sean Hannity and heard the proponent of the "Hanniticization of America" assert that we've experienced three tragedies related to Katrina, the obvious first two being the hurricane itself and the flooding of New Orleans. The third, according to Hannity, was the "looting, lawlessness and mayham that required the police and fire departments to divert their efforts from rescue operations, resulting in lost lives." To listen to Hannity, you'd have thought there was massive armed combat in New Orleans that rivaled the insurgency in Iraq. Guest Boyce Watkins, author of If George Bush Were a Black Man (and several books for parents to help their children succeed in college), told Sean, "You're focused on petty looting instead of the real issues" and refused to condemn wholesale the theft of multiple pairs of bluejeans and flat-screen TVs by people who had no electricity. Sean, who screamed at the man throughout the entire interview and made it nearly impossible to understand a single statement he made, shouted at him, "You're reprehensible, the worst of the worst." As Watkins futilely attempted to explain the experience and consequences of chronic, generational poverty, Hannity continued to excoriate him for a "failure of moral leadership" because he wouldn't concede that the looting caused people to die. If Hannity was as concerned for the those who died because George Bush couldn't be bothered to cut short his five-week vacation and FEMA director Michael Brown neglected to ask Homeland Security for any help until hours after Katrina hit and gave the 1,000 workers he requested a full 48 hours to report for duty, I didn't notice it.

On the KRLD morning show yesterday, Ankarlo Mornings, guest James Hirsen of, repeated the canard that Gov. Blanco had still failed to declare a state of emergency as of Sept. 4. Ankarlo apparently had not followed the news carefully or he would have known that, in fact, Blanco formally declared a state of emergency the day before Katrina struck.

And last but not least, every single right-wing radio show I've listened to over the past few days, including Michael Medved, Michael Savage, and Glen Beck along with Knapp, Hannity and Ankarlo, has decried the "blame game" Democrats are allegedly conducting while devoting a good portion of their show to blaming Blanco, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, the Democratic Party, liberals and the victims of the disaster. If their hypocrisy has limits, I've yet to discover them.


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