Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, September 02, 2005

My Letter to Bush

Bush often states that no one else has any ideas -- well, here are some:

A few days ago, with almost biblical force, the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi and Louisiana.

The damage was no less than what a war would have caused - a million are left homeless, and millions without power and the other sinews of modern life.

Important oil wells and refineries are out of commission. The port of New Orleans, vital for bringing goods in and out of the United States, is out of commission. This is a disaster which has hit in one place, but which reaches out to the rest of the nation, and indeed the world.

In the wake of September 11th, Americans pulled together to face the crisis, and willingly set their personal interests aside to meet the dangers we faced then. I am begging you to lead us to do the same now, so that a temporary disruption does not grow out of proportion. Lead us to act out of restraint and be mindful of what we use, so that there will be enough to support the vital reconstruction effort that we are about to embark upon.

I beg you to take the following steps immediately:

· Order that centers be established to house those afflicted, and that military bases make available to the Secretary of Homeland Security a list of beds and other units available for sheltering the homeless.

· Order all federal agencies be make available to the Secretary of Homeland Security generators and other equipment that can be used to restore power to medical facilities and other vital services.

· Form a disaster group at the cabinet level, to be headed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to coordinate the response.

· Order the Defense Department to end the call ups of reservists and instead activate all medical and law enforcement units available to be sent for rescue efforts and restore order. Authorize the activation of the IRR to relieve personnel who are qualified for these duties, and ordering other agencies to make administrative personnel available to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to free up personnel who are so qualified.

· Place the effected counties of Louisiana and Mississippi under martial law. And, as is constitutional, suspend writs of habeus corpus where the courts are not open. Order every federal agency with law enforcement capabilities to place at the disposal of the Home office personnel, to be allocated to the disaster area, or relieve those who can be sent to that area. Order all courts and financial institutions to be secured from looting or other forms of vandalism.

· Order the Secretary of Transportation to open trucking lanes on the Interstate System to expedite the movement of goods to the afflicted areas.

· Every city in America belongs to all Americans, therefore promise, that we will rebuild, not only historic and famous cities, but each and every city that has been touched by this disaster. Request that the governors of the states affected submit to the Department of Homeland Security budgets for that reconstruction, to be included in the budget that you submit next to Congress, or, if urgent, in a supplemental request.

· Request the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tem of the Senate to call Congress back into session, so they may be able to pass such measures as are necessary and proper to meet the crisis.

· Request that Congress appropriate a sum of money for federal transportation projects, to be paid for by a 5% across the board cut on all transportation projects in the recent transportation bill. This money to be released immediately to pay for the restoration of transport in the Gulf.

· Request that the EPA and Department of Interior make available their environmental engineers to the afflicted areas to begin the clean up and containment of toxic waste and other hazardous materials.

· Ask Congress to pass an addendum to the bankruptcy bill, delaying by 12 months the effective date for those federal districts hit by Katrina, for both personal and corporate bankruptcies.

· Request that Congress restore funding to both flood control and the Army Corps of Engineers, to be paid for by a 1% tax on incomes over $250,000 in the next fiscal year.

· Order the Department of Justice to coordinate with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to set up temporary federal courts near the disaster area with all due haste, and state that you expect that within 15 days they will submit to Congress a list of temporary jurisdictions to be created for the duration of the emergency.

· Direct the Departments of Energy and Commerce to begin strict enforcement of anti-gouging measures on oil. If need be there will be a rationing system put into effect, but we would hope that Americans, in the spirit of patriotic restraint, will make this unnecessary.

· Request that all interstate highways be placed on strict speed limit enforcement and that where practicable, state legislatures consider lowering the speed limit for the duration of the shortage by 5 mph, to save gasoline. I hope that every state will do this voluntarily, in the spirit of unity that this crisis should inspire.

· Request that the Secretary of Energy procure ethanol for mixing with gasoline, and make ethanol a compliant fuel in all markets.

· Order a review of all federal construction, with non-urgent projects to be delayed, in order to make available more resources for the reconstruction effort.

· Suspend all military maneuvers not related to on going operations authorized by congress.

· Suspend interest on all debts due the Federal government in the afflicted areas for the next 90 days, and delay any declaration of default for the same period.

· Other nations have graciously offered to help us, and order the Department of State to take all such requests, and streamline any paperwork that the Department of Homeland Security feels would be of value. Order that we recompense those who come to help us fully and fairly, so that that aid may be available to other nations less prosperous than we are.
These measures are temporary, and will last only as long as there is disruption from the storm.

Additional steps may be needed to meet this emergency. America is bound together by history and by the bonds of commerce. We will meet the challenge; we will rebuild and restore what was destroyed. We will also mourn those lost, and grieve with every family.
Spare no effort to save the living, to respect the dead, to bring life to this region, and to spread the sacrifice.


Here's his form response:

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush and all
Americans send their thoughts and prayers to the families of
those who have lost lives and to all those affected by this
natural disaster.
The President is
directing Federal agencies throughout the
government to do all in their power to assist the victims of
Hurricane Katrina. The top priority is to save and sustain lives
President Bush established a White House task force to oversee
Hurricane Katrina response and recovery, and he convened a Cabinet
meeting to ensure that Federal agencies' efforts are timely and
fully coordinated. Residents of the Gulf Coast states affected by
the hurricane have lost loved ones, lost homes, and been displaced
from their communities, and
they will have the full support of the
Federal government. (What does this mean???)
The President has called for the coordination of all parties
involved in the response and relief efforts. Federal, state, and
local governments are working side-by-side to deliver relief to
the areas physically damaged by Hurricane Katrina and to
communities across the South that will be affected in the aftermath
of the storm. Efforts and resources are focused on saving lives,
sustaining lives, and supporting long-term recovery. For
information and guidance you may wish to visit the FEMA website at or call 800-621-3362 or 800-621-FEMA.
The President has
called on all Americans to support the relief and
rescue efforts through charitable contributions and aid
. (But not sacrafice) Americans
who wish to contribute can do so by contacting charities that are
assisting with hurricane relief. For more information on relief
and recovery efforts, please visit the USAFreedom Corps website at
Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Thanks for doing the minimum.


  • At 3:08 PM , Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

    That is a great letter and I hope he really does read it as he needs to work on improving a lot for this country including health care.


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