September 3, 2005

Bush's Mickey Mouse Mafia Unveiled

As I noted in my new article on the "New Orleans Nightmare," Bush never fires anybody for incompetence, just disloyalty, and his nominees have included men as awful as Bernie Kerik for Secretary of Homeland Security. Today, the Boston Herald got the goods on Bush's appointee as head of Federal Emergency Management Agency:

The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.

And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position. The Oklahoman got the job through an old college friend who at the time was heading up FEMA. The agency, run by Brown since 2003, is now at the center of a growing fury over the handling of the New Orleans disaster...

Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer - this week has has made several shocking public admissions, including interviews where he suggested FEMA was unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center.

Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado. ``We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,'' explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. ``This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,'' she added.

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures. ``He was asked to resign,'' Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night. Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president's re-election campaign.

The NYT reported:

This week [Mike Brown] has displayed striking candor, saying he awakened Monday thinking the agency had underestimated the storm and later admitting that the lawlessness surprised him.

Hey, there wasn't much looting when those towns on the upper Missouri River were flooded, right? So why would there be any looting in New Orleans? Are you saying there's some kind of difference between people in the Dakotas and people in Louisiana? Are you implying that maybe the police departments in the Dakotas are more competent and public-spirited than the police department in New Orleans? You better watch where you're going with that, mister. We don't cotton to that kind of talk in the Bush Administration!

There's this general assumption that political correctness can't really hurt us because everybody privately knows the facts about racial differences in behavior and acts upon them. For example, I'm sure Mike Brown made sure not to buy his family a home in an all black neighborhood precisely because he knows they have bad crime rates.

But the reality is much scarier. Although everybody knows the facts when it comes to their own private decision-making, an awful lot of people like Mike Brown have internalized the rhetoric they know they have to spout to keep their jobs and mindlessly apply it when it comes to public decision-making. I'm constantly struck by how people, even anonymous commenters in online discussions who have nothing to lose, make assertions about the facts affecting public policies that are completely at odds with what they'd tell me over a beer if we were discussing where to buy real estate. But they've brainwashed themselves so badly that it never occurs to them that the harsh facts of private life have any bearing on the glossy world of public policy.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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