Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Alexander Butterfield Moment

“What the fuck did you just say?”

Every implosion has its Butterfield Moment.

Who was Alexander Butterfield?

Not the guy in the picture.

The guy in the picture was Senator Sam Ervin. He of the Sentient Eyebrows that seemed to react entirely independent of his face, but also, in some ineffable way, harmoniously. Like a jazz bassist, they picked out their own chords that somehow make contrapuntal sense with his long, lazy inflection.

A Southern Gentleman who stood Very Tall in my wee Yankee driftglass estimation for the way his easy, genial manner and sonorous drawl slowly scalpelled the Watergate Disaster open and laid it bare and plain for the world to see, one treasonous weasel at a time.

Butterfield was the guy who said, finally, that, yeah, there were tapes.

Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed".

Buttlerfield was one of the guys at whom the business end of the Watergate Committee was pointed.

He was this guy (emphasis added):
When Nixon was re-elected, Butterfield was appointed on December 19, 1972 as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He was routinely asked to appear before the United States Senate committee headed by Sam Ervin and was interviewed by staff of the committee on July 13, 1973, prior to going before the Senators. John Dean had previously mentioned that he suspected White House conversations were taped, and the committee was therefore routinely asking witnesses about it. Butterfield did not want voluntarily to tell the committee of the system but had decided before the hearing that he would have to if asked a direct question.

As it happened, Butterfield was asked the direct question by the minority (Republican) counsel, Donald G. Sanders. He told the staff members that "everything was taped ... as long as the President was in attendance. There was not so much as a hint that something should not be taped." All present recognised the significance of this disclosure and Butterfield was hastily put before the full Committee on July 16 to put the taping system on the record.
Every political implosion has its Butterfield Moment, and this story -- with emphasis added -- might very well be it for the Dear Leader.
March 1, 2006

Video Shows Bush Was Warned Before Katrina


WASHINGTON (AP) -- In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.
Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."
The footage -- along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press -- show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Linked by secure video, Bush expressed a confidence on Aug. 28 that starkly contrasted with the dire warnings his disaster chief and numerous federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.
The White House and Homeland Security Department urged the public Wednesday not to read too much into the video footage.

-- Homeland Security officials have said the "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions. "I'm sure it will be the top 10 or 15 when all is said and done," National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield warned the day Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast.

"I don't buy the `fog of war' defense," Brown told the AP in an interview Wednesday. "It was a fog of bureaucracy."

-- Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. He later clarified, saying officials believed, wrongly, after the storm passed that the levees had survived. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility even before the storm -- and Bush was worried too.

"I talked to the president twice today, once in Crawford and then again on Air Force One," Brown said. "He's obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the Dome, he's asking questions about reports of breaches."
Bwahaha! Brownie ain't exactly going gentle into that good night, is he? He's loud, he's pissed, and he thinks he has nothing to lose.

The Butterfield Moment -- I would argue -- need not necessarily involve tape of some kind (although it's extra yummy when it does)

It comes when the political “Plimsoll Line” is crossed, and while the apologists and stooges and other McClellan-brand moral Handi-Wipes still stalk the decks of the Failed Bush Administration poking their Scary Mary Matalin fright masks into the cameras and insisting that All Is Well, and the Press Is The Problem…below-decks the Party structural engineers, who actually know how shit works and can see the extent of the holes in the hull, begin shimmying into lady's clothes and scurrying for the lifeboats.

(Hell, Bill Buckley has already stolen one of Nancy Reagan’s beaded, inaugural monstrosities, and Bill Kristol stripped Ayn Rand’s corpse of her funeral raiment and has tried squeezing his huge ass into her winding cloth.)

The clever rats are sprinting for cover, and we should expect a stampede behind them, because the moment is at hand when the Earth opens up, a corner is turned, the world changes, and the load-bearing capacity of the criminal enterprise is exceeded by the sheer volume, recklessness and lethality of its farrago of lies and fuckups and lies to cover up the the fuckups.

And once we have crossed into that place where the WH yapper factory can no longer or ignore or spin without simply looking insane, the situation potentially becomes very dangerous. Lots of people, for example, really thought Nixon would roll tanks in the streets before he would leave the White House in disgrace, and the particular peril of this oncoming trainwreck will be made all the more venomous by its historical context.

The ominous spectre of what y'all did to that nice, Clinton fella is about to loom very large over the political world again.

The fact that one, short Administration ago these same degenerate thralls were squealing with delight over the seven-year hunt for and eventual impeachment of Bill Clinton…

…over matters that could not even charitably add up to a fucking rounding error when it comes to tabulating the ruin, shame and disaster the Bicycle Chief and his Gang that Couldn’t Loot Straight have visited on our poor nation during any given year.

The mutilated, truncated Clinton Presidency blocks their rear, and millions of proud, furious Liberals who are finally ready to fight bare-knuckle and knives-out and have once-and-for-all had it with these scum stand between them and the fire door.

Of course, this Administration has already taken one hit after another smack in the wheelhouse, and it lumbers on, crippled and leaking carcinogens into the Republican topsoil, but do not mistake that for anything like courage or backbone or moral fiber. The Administrations bangs and clatters on, looking for the next bus to step in front of for one, simple reason: Its brain-dead base.

If you backed George Bush in 2004 – knowing all that we knew then about his utter, reckless incompetence – then you were either a fool, a bigot, a Fundy, scared out of your mind or just-plain-out-of-your-mind.

And if you continue to be among Republicans who back Bush, you’re simply a traitor, because these assclowns play with with our national security for the same reason they play with Social Security: partisan gain.

Nothing more.

Bush is in India on a visit and not there evading extradition because the Last Defenders of Plame-Alot will hang on to this failed criminal like grim death.

They know what waits for them in a post-impeachment worlds, and it ain't pretty.

They let cities die because they just don’t give a shit, and anyway, what has a few thousand more dead negroes ever been to a Bush Republican but a cause for celebration?

After all, they were Liberals, weren't they? Not good, well-behaved, eunuchs like Ron Christie and Lynn Swann. And the goosestepping legions of the RushReich have been encouraged by the Party Faithful to call Liberals filth and fit only for the grave, unchecked, for 20 years now, so why not?

Well congratulation, Republicans: In the bloated corpse of New Orleans, you have seen the future of your pathological, blame-the-Government-and-Liberals-for-everything Conservativism.

You have been given the rare opportunity to look upon the naked face of the “Fuck Everyone But Me”, so why aren't you dancing in the streets?

This is what you voted for.

This is what you begged for.

And now more joy!

Those of you White Pride Republicans who doubted you President’s street cred when it came to being down with Night Riders can rest easy: Now you have unimpeachable proof that when Dubya saw hammer coming down on the conspicuously black and conspicuously poor City of New Orleans -- and when he was told in no uncertain terms, days in advance, what kind of Hell on Earth was heading our way, he did what any good Klansman would do.

Turned his back, went on vacation, knocked back a few, and lied about it later.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans would have his back if it ever got out.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already didn’t give a shit about the fact that this is the most deeply paranoid, deeply secretive Administration memory.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already didn’t give a shit that they classify the paper trail behind every fucking crime they commit – from Cheney and his fellow plutocrats carving up the oil market and calling it “energy policy”, to hiding behind the secrecy clause of the FISA law to keep the few Senators who knew the truth quiet, to how many meetings the President was at with Jack Abramoff -- behind the wall of national security or “We don’t talk about…” and then scream traitor whenever someone dares to ask why they keep breaking the law.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already don’t give a shit that these are people that would use a Marine Honor Guard to bury and protect every steaming pile of VP droppings each time Dick Cheney takes a fresh dump on the Constitution…and yet without batting an eye will leak national security secrets like an 90-year-old condom whenever it suits their partisan agenda.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans don’t give a shit about torture or murder, or the lies that landed us in Iraq or the lies that keep us there.

So knowing that you Loyal Republicans despise every part of this country that doesn’t have your stink on it, and you Loyal Republicans couldn’t give a damn if Dubya killed a billion ay-rabs as long as it kept the prices at the pump reasonable, Bush wisely assumed that you Loyal Republicans would be cool with letting a city get wiped from the face of Creation…as long as that city was mostly broke and mostly dark.

That he would do what he does best -- what you Loyal Republicans elected him to do: talk drunk big and drunk stupid, drop the ball, wander away as people die behind his incompetence, and let someone else pick up the tab.

A Fundy Simpleton who would destroy the government is what the GOP wanted, and its what they got.

And had someone merely alleged that Bush had been told about Katrina, and then blew it off ‘cause he had an early tee-time, the immediate response would have been what it always is: the same he-said-she-said-hey-let’s-blame-Clinton okey-doke that passes for taking responsibility and being straight with the American people under this “War is Peace”, “Ignorance is Strength” regime.

Except this time there was a tape.


Via said...

Jesus. I am so glad I found this blog.

Good job, boyo.

Anonymous said...

But dearest, do you really think the American public will give much weight to that tape? The bits I saw tonight seemed pretty tame, given how my pulse has been quickened by years of CSI and the like. We have a high bar to cross that way, and it would take Dem backbone to hold them accountable. I think it will end up being the economy, (per Carville, "stupid") that will take the boyo down. I just hope I can hold onto my house.

-- mac

Sharoney said...

A rant for the ages. Koufax material. Definitely bookmarked. Thank God for permalinks.

You are going onto my blogroll as of right now.

Rock on.

US Blues said...

That wasn't a rant, that was an invocation of the Grim Reaper himself.

tornado said...

I've got my husband reading you now, you have a gift!!!!!!! To be able to laugh until it hurts and cry simultaneously about all this sickening crap- and feel even more enraged than we already do- THANK YOU!!

Anonymous said...'s the deal...

...even after BushCo departs the scene, however that may occur...we still have this nasty little problem with a Judiciary appointed for Friggin' LIFE!

...the other crimes can be mitigated (perhaps) but what about SCOTUS?...they will back his sophomoronic play to the finish.

...and the ultimate ploical gift that keeps on giving...Electronic Voting...oh Yass like a case of Political Clap we get to see 51% to 49% come-from-behind, pulls-it-out-at-the-last-minute, wins-one-for-the-gipper Republican "Victories" far as the eye can see.

...These thugs are like lice, I don't see how we get rid of them.

beq said...

A grand slam! Oh, thank you so much.

Punkster said...

But, but, but...the White House said they show nothing new - nothing to see here, move along, move along...

To which I thought "No fucking shit, you are right - the DON'T show anything new - just the same criminal negligence we have all come to know and love."

Think the MSM will show the tape past today? Pigs fly out my ass much?

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Now, now, Anonymous, don't mention electronic vote fraud here--Drifty thinks denial IS merely the world's longest river.

muddy said...

I wonder if the idiots will finally perceive the "poo smell"? It's so strong by now that they ought to be able to smell it right through the videotape.

But then so many are apparently quite happy to live at the bottom of the septic tank, and never notice any smells amiss at all.

RagingGurrl said...

I want to see an unedited tape of the camera that was fixed on Bush when he was being warned about the severity of Katrina.

I want to see the expression on his face.
I want to see if he was sober.

THAT is the tape we need to get ahold of. Someone please, please let us see this.


driftglass said...

Ivory Bill Woodpecker,
Oh I'd be willing to concede that there may be some e-vote fraud somewhere, but fixating on it as a cause for ignoring tangible, provable interference with poling places and voter rolls...or collapsing into a "Well we're all fucked anyway" something I can't abide.

If the GOP did have a Big Level in the Sky against which all opposition was hopeless, today my state would be represented Senator Alan Keyes, and poor ol' Tom Delay wouldn't have had to go to all that trouble of illegally re-drawing the district maps to insure a GOP majority.

Or did they just forget to tell DeLay that eveything was rigged and he needn't bother to risk his pasty ass cheating the old-fashioned, analog way?

Let us pray...and I propose we send every Republican elected official a pack of Breath-Rite strips to help them clear up the sinuses so they can finally smell what's right in frin of their noses.

isabelita said...

I'll tell you what gets rid of lice: A very strong poison. Truth can be such a strong poison, but it has to be spread thoroughly, and applied relentlessly until all the lice are dead. And the nits must be picked assiduously, and crushed.

jurassicpork said...

Was Butterfield a mere synecdoche of the Katrina briefing tape? Methinks. Whatever importance you wish to assign to to either, you can't deny that this is infinitely more serious than the burglarizing of Daniel Ellsberg's shrink's office or spying on Democratic National HQ. It can't be said that Nixon casually let lives end during the Watergate antics.

And this is a brilliant tying in of two scandals separated by over 30 years, DG. Bravo.

Btw, you've been nominated for another Koufax, for Best Series. I know, because I'd nominated you on Wampum.

(I also got nominated for Assclowns of the Week.)

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Apologies, Drifty--I misunderstood your position. I thought you were dismissing electronic fraud altogether. Likewise, I don't think e-fraud is the ONLY dirty trick of the Elephascists; the SOBs have a full arsenal. To quote the dust jacket of Mark Crispin Miller's new book, FOOLED AGAIN, "This pattern--not one overwhelming fraud but hundreds of little ones--is the new Republican electoral strategy."

CMike said...

Jurassic Pork wrote:

It can't be said that Nixon casually let lives end during the Watergate antics.

Those were antics?

I really don't mean to offend but I am curious, just how old are you JP? Me, I'm 49, and I want you to know Richard Nixon was one scary guy.

Anonymous said...

As regards Electronic Vote Manipulation:
Educate Yourselves:

VotersUnite News

Velvet Revolution US Election 2004 News Items

Velvet Revolution US Election 2004 Opinion-Analysis Items

US Voting Integrity Project

Ballot Access News

ILCA Online Electoral Politics News

Nov 2nd Truth

Verified Voting News

Solar Bus: Real News Network

Original Reporting

The Brad Blog

Election Law Blog

Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz Equal Vote Blog

Ohio Election Fraud (Formerly Fairness)

California Voter Foundation: Kim Alexander's Weblog

Election Updates

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Raw Story

Conyers Blog


Ohio Vote Suppression

The Free Press -- Independent News Media

Ohio Honest Elections

OnLine Journal - Electronic Voting News


Vote Law Blog

CALTECH/MIT Voting Technology Project

Anonymous said...


...Election Fraud is real. It is Happening... and has been happening for at LEAST 5 election cycles now. The more you investigate just the evidence in existance the more apparent it becomes, but you won't read about it in your daily paper, nor on the evening news.

...Why on earth would you think something as basic as fruadulent election vote tabulation and reported results is beneath this crowd? Do you really believe GWB got 3.2 Million more votes than JFK II in 2004. Not a chance in hell.

...Yes... there are some states where it is not effective (yet) and there are some states (NM) that are fighting against it, but kiss Ohio and Florida Goodbye. Why should we concede these fucktards ANY ground?

driftglass said...


Thank you, I will check out some of the sources you have taken the time to provide, but probably not all, because I still have eating, working, sleeping and personal grooming to attend to ;-)

But no kidding, I'll look them over. With a skeptical but not cynical eye.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Glass,

I am Blue Shark just won't post that way.

God Speed, and don't ever lose your righteous indignation. This blog has become a lush desert island in a sea of mediocracy.

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