The Two Faces of Haley Barbour.
Is He a Traitor to America? Or Just a Money Hungry Politician?
BACHMANN | RICHARD
M. SCAIFE | JOHN
ENSIGN | MARK
SANFORD | SAM
| TOM COBURN
| MIKE ENZI
| GARY BAUER
DAN BURTON | JOHN BARRASSO | DICK ARMEY | LAMAR ALEXANDER | MAX BAUCUS | G ARY BAUER | THE BIRTHERS | ROY BLUNT | JOHN BOEHNER
KIT BOND | JIM BUNNING | RICHARD BURR | KEN CALVERT | ERIC CANTOR | SAXBY CHAMBLISS | TOM COBURN | BOB CORKER | CHUCK GRASSLEY
SEN. CORNYN | ANN COULTER | JIM INHOFE | JIM DEMINT | BILL NELSON | PAT ROBERTSON | ADOLPH COORS | JAMES DOBSON | LATE JERRY FALWELL
SEN. CRAPO | TOM DELAY | RICHARD DEVOS | DICK CHENEY | DOUG LAMBORN | THE FAR RIGHT PURPOSE | GIULIANI | GLENN BECK | LINDSEY GRAHAM
JUDD GREGG | JEFF GANNON | REPUBLICAN HALL OF SHAME | SEAN HANNITY | HEALTHCARE REFORM | LARRY PRATT | WALLY HERGER | MIKE HUCKABEE JOHNNY ISAKSON | JEB BUSH | MIKE JOHANNS | JOHN MCCAIN | MITCH MCCONNEL | DICK MORRIS | NEWT GINGRICH | BILL O'REILLY | RUSH LIMBAUGH SARAH PALIN | SEN. RISCH | PAUL ROBERTSON | SEN. ROBERTS | GEORGE ROCHE | MITT ROMNEY | RONALD REAGAN | KARL ROVE | SEN. SESSIONS
RICHARD SHELBY | TOM TANCREDO | TRENT FRANKS | REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED FOR RAPE | LT. GOV. ANDRE BAUER | CHRISTIAN HIJACK | FOX NEWS MICHELLE MALKIN | MARK PRYOR | MIKE MCINTYRE | JOE PITTS | HEATH SHULER | BART STUPAK | CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISTS ZACK WAMP
FRANK WOLF | CHIP PICKERING | TEA BAGGERS | JOHN ASHCROFT | LOUIS SHELDON | GEORGE W. BUSH UNOFFICIAL PAGE | THE FAMILY
Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast
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Thank You for Whatever you can do.
Question: "Separation between Church and State." Who coined the
Phrase? Give up? Answer: Thomas Jefferson - one of
the founding fathers of this great Nation and a creator of the U.S.
Constitution and the First Amendment to that same Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Dansbury Baptist
Convention, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
In it he said:
leave it up to the reader to determine whether Haley Barbour has made
serious errors in in judgment. Haley has supported a Conservative Far
Right Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State
issues. But, it is apparent from the data collected, that the first
amendment may be in danger from his past and future actions.
Haley Barbour's office stated that his position is that Certain Religions aren't "Real" religions. What is a real religion, Mr. Armey? What you have been practicing? He says on the one hand that only certain Christian denominations are valid. Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known." This is a summary of information collected from several sources about Haley Barbour. Haley will reside in Dante's ninth level of hell.
(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone. Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself! And remember, the First Amendment Coalition and Religious Freedom Coalition of the South East do not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process.)
is Damned. That much is clear. But where and how ? Dante
neglected to specify which circle of hell a soul is consigned to after
betraying the victims of Hurricane Katrina for the sake of Greed and
Whatever Barbour's position, anyone who betrays Katrina Victims in that calculating manner deserves the fate that Dante would assign him: being trapped in ice up to the neck in the deepest pit of the Inferno, where treachery against basic human bonds is punished and where Satan himself, once the brightest of the rebel angels, beats his bat's wings.
Good Luck Haley, Satan is coming for you anytime now - he remembers when you sold your soul and he's coming to collect!!!
Haley Barbour Relative Defrauded FEMA after Katrina, Judge Rules
Excerpt from an article by Maria Recio an McClatchy Newspapers (http://www.mcclatchydc.com ) August 31, 2011
WASHINGTON — Six years after Hurricane Katrina, a relative of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was found by a federal court to have masterminded a massive fraud against the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the inspection of the legendary trailers that housed storm refugees along the Gulf Coast.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims found last week that Rosemary Barbour's company, Jackson, Miss.,-based Alcatec LLC, had engaged in a fraudulent billing scheme as part of a $100 million, five-year maintenance contract with FEMA.
She was ordered to pay more than $350,000 in penalties and damages. In often colorful language, the judge described the testimony of Rosemary Barbour during an eight-day trial in May in Jackson as "exasperating" and "bumble-headed."
Rosemary Barbour, the company's sole owner, is the wife of the governor's nephew, Charles Barbour, a former Hinds County supervisor who last week lost a Mississippi Senate GOP primary.
Gov. Barbour is not affiliated with the company. "The governor doesn't know anything about it," said Laura Hipp, his press secretary.
The civil court hears contract cases against the federal government; it is unclear whether last week's decision will be appealed.
Rosemary Barbour initially filed a claim against FEMA in 2008 for $3.8 million of the unpaid balance of an initial $6.1 million contract the company received in 2006 to periodically inspect the trailers. The agency had reduced the amount of the contract it said it would pay and later terminated the contract.
In response to Barbour's claim, the federal government made a counter-claim, arguing that the company had willfully double-billed FEMA and falsified inspection reports.
The government said, according to the court ruling, that FEMA did not pay because it alleged that Alcatec "defrauded the government both by knowingly submitting vouchers contrary to the contract's terms and by either duplicating or falsifying inspection reports."
Rosemary Barbour did not return a phone call left with the Alcatec office in Jackson.
Gary Wordel, the company's operations manager in Brooklyn, Miss., who testified in the trial, said in an interview that "I was told that when the inspection reports came in to leave the dates blank."
Wordel, now of Fort Worth, Texas, said that the forms would be transferred to Alcatec headquarters in Jackson, where Rosemary Barbour tightly controlled the invoice process. She and a few close associates, he said, would then fill in the dates to make it appear that inspections of such trailer items as hot-water heaters, air conditioning and electrical systems had taken place 14 days apart, even though there sometimes was only one visit.
"They were double-billing things they didn't do," Wordel said.
Barbour maintained that she had put in proper invoicing procedures and that if there was a problem, it was done by lower-level employees.
Court of Federal Claims Judge Christine Miller agreed with the government's case and dismissed Rosemary Barbour's claim, ordering her to pay $77,000 in penalties and $275,050 in damages.
In scathing terms, Miller wrote that Barbour's testimony "over two-and-one-half days, if nothing else was clearly and convincingly exasperating."
Miller also wrote, "what the court did not appreciate was Ms. Barbour's bumble-headed game of eluding defense counsel's questions." The judge also criticized FEMA for its "inexcusable mismanagement" of the contract.
FEMA defended its actions in a statement Wednesday.
"FEMA has no tolerance for any abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars — by any entity — that are intended to help disaster survivors and communities," said Rachel Racusen, FEMA spokeswoman. "Since this contract was awarded in April 2006, FEMA has made significant changes in the way it contracts for services related to disaster housing."
Rosemary Barbour is a controversial figure in North Mississippi who received millions of dollars in often no-bid federal contracts after Katrina to provide showers, tents and laundry facilities — drawing charges of favoritism because of her connection to the governor. His office and FEMA denied any connection at the time, including in a story in the New York Times. According to fedspending.org, an independent website, Alcatec LLC won $21.8 million in 87 federal contracts from 2000 to 2009. Her company is named for her children, Allen and Camille.
The Guatemalan-born Barbour, 44, qualified for government preference programs as a woman and as a Hispanic. Her company is still operating and is listed as being "in good standing" by the Mississippi secretary of state.
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Haley Barbour Raised Taxes and Then Lied About it!!!
The GOP's most promising 2012 presidential contenders—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Mike Huckabee—have a lot in common. They are all white. They are all middle-aged. They were all governors at one point. And despite a shared tendency to denounce Democrats as inveterate, immoral tax hikers, they all have the exact same skeleton in their closet: a rather inconvenient history of raising taxes themselves.
Surprised? It's no wonder. Until now, Haley Barbour has done a good job of hiding his tax-raising record from the rest of the Republican Party—with good reason. In a perfect world, according to GOP orthodoxy, taxes would always be lower than they are right now, no matter how low they currently happen to be. In 2009, for example, U.S. taxes shrank to their smallest share of personal income since 1950. Conservatives still complained. And in the unlikely instance that taxes cannot possibly be reduced any further—like, say, when revenue plummets to a record-low 14.9 percent of GDP, which is where they are today—right-thinking Republicans are required to do the next best thing: Refuse, at all costs, to raise them.
The 2012 budget blueprint that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled this month is only the latest example of the GOP's taxophobia. Ryan claims the purpose of the proposal is to eradicate the national debt. But his "Path to Prosperity" puts America an extra $4 trillion in the hole before it even attempts to accomplish this worthy goal. How? By slashing taxes for the wealthiest Americans—forever. As a result, the rest of Ryan's cuts—to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the FBI, highways, environmental protection, the Coast Guard, and so on—are trillions of dollars larger than they'd otherwise have to be. The message is clear, if contradictory: For Republicans, the only thing more important than reducing the deficit is increasing it—via massive tax cuts.
Which is why it's so curious that all the party's would-be standard-bearers did precisely the opposite when they were actually tasked with balancing a budget.
For Republicans, the only thing more important than reducing the deficit is increasing it—via massive tax cuts.
Barbour is starting to sound a lot like Huckabee, his former neighbor to the northwest. In a speech last month to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Mississippi governor accused Obama of "call(ing) for record tax increases" and claimed that his own record—filling a $720 million budget deficit in two years without raising taxes—represented a counterpoint to Obama's failures. But although Barbour's accomplishments are admirable—they came at a time when post-Katrina federal aid had dwindled and recession-era unemployment was hovering near 20 percent in some parts of Mississippi—it's simply wrong to suggest that they didn't involve tax hikes. As the libertarian Cato Institute noted in 2010 when it awarded Barbour a "C" for his tax policies, the governor reinstated a hospital-bed tax in 2008 to help fund Medicaid and approved a 50-cent cigarette tax the following year.
The math is simple. Dozens of tax hikes. The point here, however, is not to play "gotcha," although it will be worthwhile to keep these numbers in mind when Barbour & Co. inevitably begin to attack Obama on taxes. (For the record, Obama lightened the tax burden for more than 80 percent of Americans by changing withholding rates and reducing payroll taxes by 2 percent.
The point isn't even that Barbour has done something wrong. In fact, quite the opposite. In the months ahead, as the great deficit debate takes shape and the 2012 campaign begins in earnest, voters should remember the reality of Republicans and taxes: that even the politicians now vying to lead the most taxophobic party in U.S. history decided to implement tax hikes when they actually had to balance a budget. It's some of the strongest evidence yet that we can't afford to take any budget-balancing options off the table—even if the people who provided it would like to pretend otherwise.
Haley Barbour Medicaid Claim Off Base! Did He Gasp Lie?!!!
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, played fast and loose with his state's Medicaid enrollment numbers this week as he spoke in Washington and chatted up voters in the early primary state of New Hampshire.
"Our rolls dropped from 750,000 to 580,000 in the first couple of years," Barbour said Tuesday on Capitol Hill, referring to Medicaid enrollment trends after he took office in January 2004. That would be a 22.7 percent decline.
The problem is, Barbour's numbers are misleading, according to statistics provided by his own administration.
The Mississippi Governor's Office Division of Medicaid had a different way of counting Medicaid enrollment under Barbour's predecessor, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove. The program changed its counting method in 2006, about midway through Barbour's first term.
Barbour's numbers come close to working only if he uses a beginning figure from the old counting method and an end figure from the new method – an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Mississippi Medicaid spokesman Francis Rullan said Thursday the old and new methods of counting enrollment can't be compared or mixed and matched.
Under the old method, some Medicaid recipients were counted more than once in a single reporting period. If a person dropped off the Medicaid rolls, for whatever reason, and re-enrolled during the same month, that counted as two enrollments rather than one.
The new counting method, adopted by the Barbour administration, eliminates the duplicate statistics for enrollment. So a person who drops off the rolls and signs back up in the same month counts as one enrollment rather than two.
Using the old method of counting, Rullan said Mississippi's average monthly Medicaid enrollment during fiscal 2004 was 768,004. Barbour took office midway through that year. Applying the old method to today's numbers, the March 2011 enrollment was 741,000, Rullan said. That's a drop of 27,004, or 3.5 percent, in Medicaid enrollment since Barbour tookoffice.
Using the new method of counting, Rullan said Mississippi's Medicaid enrollment in January 2004, when Barbour took office, was 574,852. After fluctuating up, down and then back up, enrollment hit 633,543 in January 2011. That's an increase of 58,691, or 10.2 percent, during Barbour's first seven years in office.
Rullan, who has worked for Medicaid since the Musgrove administration, said he doesn't know why the program changed its method of counting enrollment under Barbour.
"Why do they have different ways of looking at it? I don't know," Rullan told The Associated Press on Thursday. "All I know is that they do and they have."
Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp did not say Thursday where the governor got the numbers he has been citing.
"Medicaid reforms under Gov. Barbour have had a significant impact on the cost of the program while ensuring that those who are eligible for Medicaid receive it regardless of which counting method you use," Hipp said.
Soon after Barbour became governor, he persuaded legislators to change Medicaid's re-enrollment procedures, and he said the change helps keep ineligible people off the rolls. Rather than handling annual re-enrollment by mail, Medicaid recipients are required to go to a local or regional office to sign up again in person.
Critics say this "face-to-face" re-enrollment creates hardships for poor people in rural areas who might not have ready access to transportation.
Barbour said the re-enrollment process is reasonable and makes exceptions for patients who are homebound or in nursing homes. In New Hampshire on Thursday, he defended the face-to-face re-enrollment.
"It's not too much to ask for someone to drive to the county seat and say, `I exist. Here are my children, here are their birth certificates, they live with me,'" Barbour said over breakfast at a restaurant in Manchester.
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid is part of the governor's office, and each governor appoints the executive director. The position generally changes when a new governor takes office.
Haley Barbour's 2012 Presidential Aspirations Will Be Complicated By His Lobbying Past
WASHINGTON — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says his powers of persuasion would be an asset if he wins the White House.
But an Associated Press review of lobbying by the powerhouse firm Barbour helped found, shows that he represented clients on issues and interests that will provide his Republican primary opponents with ample ammunition and raise eyebrows among Republican voters.
Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc., which Barbour helped establish in 1991, represented foreign governments on trade and immigration issues, advocated for a fuel additives association that was working in opposition to the ethanol industry dear to Iowa voters, and helped a number of universities get federal funding through a tactic that is anathema to cut-spending conservatives.
The governor has said that rather than be fodder for opponents, his lobbying background would help him be an effective leader.
"When I became governor, I became lobbyist for the taxpayers of Mississippi. And if I become president, I'll become the advocate for the policies and interests of America. That's what presidents do for a living – very similar to what lobbyists do for a living," he told reporters Saturday in Roebuck, S.C.
Being a lobbyist has its rewards. Barbour's lobbying work gave him personal wealth, access to key members of Congress and contacts that could help him lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coast in 2005, Barbour was credited with using his Washington ties to help Mississippi receive billions in federal aid. His economic development agenda helped bring a Toyota plant to Blue Springs, near Tupelo, and a Severstal steel facility to Columbus. He is visiting Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with Republican lawmakers on health care and Medicaid changes that he oversaw in Mississippi, as Congress wrestles this week with those issues.
Barbour served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 until January 1997 and then built an impressive list of clients at the firm, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, CBS, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Qwest Communications. When he was elected Mississippi governor in 2003, Barbour put his assets in a blind trust and has received monthly retirement or severance payments from the firm. Barbour's son, Reeves, joined the firm in January.
The governor's work at the firm could open him to attacks by fellow Republicans on at least three fronts:
IMMIGRATION: His firm collected more than $400,000 in fees from the Mexican government in 2001-02 to lobby on immigration reforms sought by the Bush administration to provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and expand a temporary worker program to allow immigrants to work in the U.S. The firm also lobbied on the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, border issues, drug trafficking and energy and environmental issues. Some conservative Republicans opposed the pathway to citizenship.
Lanny Griffith, now the firm's chief executive officer, told Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Bremer in an Aug. 15, 2001, letter that "immigration/human capital" and the "treatment of Mexican citizens who cross the border" would be among the key areas covered by the contract. The firm said in an October 2001 filing with the government that it was seeking "enactment of legislation relating to the status of Mexican nationals currently residing in the United States."
"All resources of our firm will be available to you, but we have designated a team of professionals who will concentrate on your work. Haley Barbour and I will lead the BG&R team," Griffith wrote in the letter to Bremer, noting another lobbyist would manage the day-to-day workload.
Asked Saturday about the Mexican account, Barbour said, "In our firm, I didn't do the work for Mexico."
Efforts to change U.S. immigration laws stalled in Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
During that period, Barbour's firm also represented the Bolivian government on trade and counter-narcotics and Honduras on food assistance programs and immigration. Describing the Honduran account, the firm said in December 2002 it was monitoring "events with regard to U.S. immigration policy in Central America."
Demetrios Papademetriou, president of the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration think tank, said through a spokeswoman that he only had a slight recollection of Barbour being part of the discussions and recalled Griffith being more involved.
Even if Barbour played a minor role in the immigration discussions, his firm's connection to Mexico could raise questions among conservatives who oppose efforts to ease immigration policies.
ETHANOL: From 2000 to 2004, Barbour's firm received $860,000 in fees from the Oxygenated Fuels Association, a trade association that represented companies that produced fuel additives for gasoline, including methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE. The trade group was often at odds with the ethanol industry, a direct competitor in the oxygenated fuels market and a powerful force in Iowa, home of the nation's first presidential caucus.
In the 1990s, the federal government required a minimum level of oxygen in gasoline to help fuel burn more cleanly, prompting most refiners to use MTBE, although some used ethanol. Farm-state lawmakers tried to help bolster ethanol's use as an oxygenate but ran into opposition from oil interests and those representing MTBE.
In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency urged the phasing out of MTBE after it found that the additive could leak into ground water and pollute drinking water. Several states banned MTBE in gasoline.
During the period Barbour's firm represented the trade group, the fuels association often criticized the ethanol industry's federal subsidies and argued that using ethanol in reformulated gasoline would raise costs.
In 2000, the trade group pointed to a study by the Congressional Research Service that found using ethanol in reformulated gasoline would raise costs for motorists in Chicago and Milwaukee. David Liddle, an OFA spokesman at the time, said the study "proved conclusively that ethanol is not ready for prime time" as an additive in gasoline.
"The ethanol industry is fleecing the citizens of this country. Through its massive 54-cents-per-gallon federal subsidy, it has its hands in the taxpayers' pockets on the production end, and ... is siphoning money from the wallets of consumers at the pump," Liddle said in June 2000, a few months after Barbour's firm began representing the trade group.
MTBE manufacturers later sought product liability protection from lawsuits over drinking water contamination, a provision that failed to win approval in Congress. A 2005 energy law required the use of more ethanol and lifted an oxygenate requirement, prompting refiners to stop using MTBE as an additive.
It remains unclear whether the connections, now a decade old, will affect Barbour's standing with corn farmers who produce ethanol in Iowa. Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, which represents ethanol producers, said they hoped "Gov. Barbour, after spending significant time in the state, appreciates the role ethanol and renewable energies can and must play in our nation's energy strategy."
FEDERAL SPENDING: Barbour's firm lobbied on behalf of three universities, including the University of Mississippi, his alma mater, helping secure tens of millions of dollars in federal funding.
The projects included $850,000 for educational programs and the preservation of Rowan Oak, the Oxford, Miss., home of author William Faulkner; $500,000 to train workers on real-time captioning for the hearing-impaired; $350,000 to digitize accounting periodicals at a University of Mississippi library; and nearly $3 million to create an economic development center at the University of Southern Mississippi. The center, which was named after former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, opened in 2010.
Tea party activists, a key bloc in the GOP, have railed against using tax dollars for pork barrel projects. While the money was ultimately approved by Congress, Barbour could face questions over his commitment to cutting federal spending.
Other former clients could pose tripwires. Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove assailed Barbour's ties to the tobacco industry during their 2003 gubernatorial campaign. Barbour's firm received more than $2 million in fees from tobacco companies from 1999-2002, according to lobbying filings, but Barbour was able to overcome the criticism to win the 2003 race with 53 percent and cruise to re-election four years later. The tobacco connection probably would become fodder in the general election if Barbour wins the GOP nomination next year.
John Geer, a Vanderbilt University political scientist who has studied presidential politics, said that while Barbour's lobbying past might be a negative with some voters, he could use it as a way to show his understanding of policy and governing. "He can't hide from his record. He has to make it an asset."
Inmate's Early Release Puts Focus On Haley Barbour
JACKSON, Miss. — The early release Friday of a Mississippi man convicted of manslaughter has drawn attention because Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible Republican presidential candidate, had signed an order that gave time off to the man and other prisoners.
The convict was one of 287 inmates who got a few months off prison sentences for helping clean up after hurricanes Katrina and Rita under Barbour's 2006 order.
Joseph Michael Goff, 28, was sentenced in 2003 to 20 years in prison in a former classmate's death. The Sun Herald newspaper reported on his release Friday and the order's 130-day reduction.
Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp says he had nothing to do with most of the time taken off Goff's sentence – more than eight years. That came from laws allowing reductions for working in prison, going to classes and other activities. The biggest reduction, seven years, came from working in the prison. Those decisions are made by prison officials.
"The Governor did not pardon or release him from prison," Hipp said in an email.
The release angered some on the Mississippi coast, where the crime got significant attention when it happened.
"This is just unbelievable, to give a murderer 130 days off because he cleaned up after a storm, which is what an inmate should be doing anyway," state Sen. Michael Watson, a Republican from Pascagoula, told the Sun Herald. "It's beyond me, to be honest with you. I'm almost at a loss for words.
Goff was a junior at Gautier High at the time of the Dec. 8, 2001 shooting. He was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Kyle Paul Todd. Authorities said the shooting occurred at the Gautier home of Goff's mother and may have stemmed from an argument over a girl the two had dated. Todd was valedictorian of Gautier's 2001 graduating class and was attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Hipp said Goff was given early release, which is similar to parole in that he could be sent back to prison to complete the sentence if he breaks the law.
Many people on the Mississippi coast were also angered in 2008 when Barbour suspended the sentence of Michael Graham, who was serving a life sentence for murder in the 1989 death of his ex-wife. Graham had worked at the governor's mansion as a prison worker in a tradition that dates back generations in Mississippi.
The governor's mansion jobs typically go to convicted murderers because they're the ones who have served enough time to gain the trust to do it, prison officials say.
At the time, Barbour said it was also tradition for governors to pardon the inmate workers at the governor's mansion.
Barbour's three predecessors, dating back to 1988, had given some type of early release or pardon to a total of 12 such prisoners, according to prison officials. All but two of them had been convicted of murder. One was serving time for forgery and another for armed robbery and aggravated assault.
Is Haley Barbour Going to Run For President?
Haley Barbour wants everyone to know that he thinks that slavery was bad and he fully supports the Union Army, hooray!
People are still making "forthright declarations" about this in 2011! What a world, you know?
Last week was the week that Haley
Barbour finally made the 2012 race sort of interesting, by expressing
skepticism about our interventions in Afghanistan and Libya. He continued
those same lines this week:
"What are we doing in Libya? I mean we have to be careful, in my mind, about
getting into nation building exercises. Whether it's in Libya or somebody
else, or somewhere else."
Fact-Checking Haley Barbour's Budget Claims
Excerpts from article in motherjones.com and huffingtonpost.com on Wed Mar. 16, 2011 12:01 AM PDT
The likely 2012 presidential contender has repeatedly said he balanced Mississippi's budget without raising taxes. The facts say otherwise.
Onn Monday afternoon, in a speech to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour unleashed a searing attack on President Barack Obama, blaming him for "explosive spending, skyrocketing deficits, gargantuan debt, calls for record tax increases, government-run health care, out-of-control regulations, and anti-growth energy policy." He highlighted his home state of Mississippi as a model of fiscal responsibility, boasting that "we dug out of a $720 million budget hole in two years without raising anybody’s taxes."
In Chicago and elsewhere, this likely contender for the GOP's 2012 presidential nomination paints himself as a classic anti-tax Republican. And he has regularly claimed that he balanced Mississippi's budget without tax hikes. The reality is very different. Throughout his eight years as governor of what's now the poorest state in the union, Barbour has raised taxes half a dozen times, on everything from cigarettes to businesses to care facilities for the mentally disabled. (A spokeswoman for Barbour declined to comment.) And in balancing Mississippi's budget, he's cut deep into essential public services, including public education, offering a glimpse of where a President Barbour might place the scalpel. "He continues to say he's balanced the budget without raising taxes. It's not just true," says Cecil Brown, a Democratic state representative in Mississippi. "But he thinks if he says things enough, they become true."
Mississippi's health care industry provides a telling look at the gap between Barbour's rhetoric and his record. In 2003, before Barbour came into office, the state's tax on hospitals totaled $1.50 per bed per night, and the daily bed tax for nursing homes and care facilities for the mentally disabled was $4. All that changed under Barbour. In 2004, he hiked the daily bed tax to $6 for nursing homes, children's psychiatric facilities, and care centers for the mentally disabled. In 2005, he signed a bill more than doubling the hospital daily bed tax. And in 2009, Barbour approved legislation that effectively increased taxes on Mississippi's approximately 110 hospitals by between $60 million and $90 million to make up for a $90 million shortfall caused by a reduction in federal funding, according to Michael Bailey, senior vice president of the Mississippi Hospital Association.
In the years before the 2009 deal, Barbour had tried to impose a revenue tax on Mississippi's hospitals to fill that $90 million shortfall.* But Democrats and Republicans in the Mississippi legislature rejected that proposal, which Barbour insisted wasn't a new tax (he said he was merely reinstating a tax from years past.) The health care industry disagreed. Bailey says Barbour's revenue tax was indeed a new one, and would have added an additional $225 million in taxes for the state's hospitals. Ultimately, those hardest hit by new taxes have been sick people who use hospitals or nursing homes because the added expense is passed on to them, Bailey explains. Pointing to Barbour's record, he says, "It's a pattern of trying to balance the budget by raising taxes on sick people."
In May 2009, facing a revenue shortfall of $400 million, Barbour signed into law the first of two cigarette excise taxes, nearly quadrupling the rate from 18 cents a pack to 68 cents. Then, in July, Barbour levied a 25 cents-a-pack tax against cheaper cigarettes. At the time, the increases were viewed as a way to bring Mississippi's cigarette taxes on par with other southern states and generate revenue for the chronically cash-strapped state. But earlier this year, Barbour insisted that wasn't case: "We did it for health reasons, not budget reasons."
Little noticed in 2010 was a tax buried in Barbour's "Equity and Solvency Bill," legislation intended to bolster the unemployment insurance trust fund in Mississippi. For businesses, the bill was a mixed bag. According to Ed Sivak, director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, while the bill sought to build up the state's unemployment fund and lower the tax burden on new businesses, it also increased unemployment taxes—from a maximum of $378 per worker to $756—on businesses that lay off workers.
The Real Cost of Balancing the Budget
Since he joined the list of potential GOP contenders, Barbour frequently brags of eliminating the deficit that he inherited. (Mississippi is required to balance its budget each year under a state constitutional amendment.) But to balance Mississippi's budget, Barbour has cut deep into popular, vital public services.
In particular, Barbour has slashed funding for Mississippi's public schools. Since becoming governor in 2004, Barbour and the Mississippi legislature have set aside far less money than requested by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), the main funding formula for the state's public schools, in every fiscal year but one, according to state data. In the most recent fiscal year, the shortfall for MAEP totaled $232.6 million. All told, the Barbour administration has underfunded Mississippi schools by $520 million.
Barbour's proposed budget for the upcoming 2012 fiscal year follows the same path. He recommends reducing funding for Mississippi's colleges by 3 percent, and 4.5 percent for K-12 schools. And Mississippi students have not fared well: Last year, high school graduates, on average, scored so low on the ACT standardized test that they failed to meet the minimum score to be considered ready for college.
In a set of rankings by Forbes magazine, Mississippi ranked 48th of 50 in a list of the "Best States for Business and Careers." In the ranking breakdown, the state came 49th in labor supply, 49th in economic climate, and 48th in overall quality of life. "When you look at what's needed to grow an economy, it's an educated workforce," says Sivak of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center. "In many ways, I have serious questions about how far we've set ourselves back by not making sure our kids have an education in Mississippi."
In the end, critics say Barbour's economic claims whether it's not raising taxes or building Mississippi into an economically thriving state have little connection to reality. "He's raised taxes, made budget cuts, laid off people, used up reserve funds, and he wants to say he's got this budget magic," says Cecil Brown, the Mississippi state representative. "Well, there's nothing magic about that."
In an email, Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp defended the various tax increases approved by Barbour. She says hospitals asked to pay more in bed taxes "to ensure there was not a reduction in benefits." Taxes on nursing homes, children's psychiatric facilities, and care facilities for the mentally disabled, she says, "were raised with the support of long-term care facilities." And increased taxes on cigarettes were "a matter of health policy" and at the recommendation of a commission appointed by the governor. "When the Legislature convened, he suggested raising the cigarette tax from 18 cents to 42 cents," Hipp writes. "The Legislature passed a 60-cent tax, and the Governor signed it."
* This sentence has been clarified to reflect that the revenue tax proposal was intended to fill the same $90 million shortfall as the 2009 tax that became law.
Haley Barbour's K Street Lobbying Days Complicate His Run For President
Haley Barbour: "Oil? What Oil?"
The biggest problem facing Mississippi in the wake of a massive oil spill in the Gulf isn't tarred beaches or ecological waste, the state's governor Haley Barbour said on Sunday. It's the national press corps, which, he asserted, is inflating the disaster's current impact and, as a result, decimating the state's tourism industry.
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, the Mississippi Republican veered as close as any elected politician could to insisting that the biggest oil spill in the history of this country had been overblown -- at least when it comes to his state.
MR Barbour, just wait your turn. The Oil will hit your beaches, kill your wildlife and your fish, and soil your wetlands just like it's doing in Louisiana. So don't get your panties in a wad. And if I were you, I would stop downplaying the largest natural disaster since katrina and you didn't do so hot with that one either.
Barbour has been one of the most defiant skeptics about the impact of the crisis in the Gulf, comparing the spill, early on, to the sheen commonly found around ski boats. Perhaps it's because Mississippi, so far, has yet to feel the spill's direct affects. The first signs of oil on the state's shores came four days ago. Barbour, meanwhile, said that there have been only two cases of oil washing up on shore.
And yet, his lack of caution or concern is notable. On Sunday, Barbour joined a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers to criticize the president for putting a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. An investigation as to what went wrong with the BP well may not be completed. But the likelihood of another accident was statistically small, he stressed. And by the time the six-month suspension of drilling had ended, companies will have gone looking for oil off of different coastlines. (God I hope So. You Oil Barons have been the cause of enough misery)
Haley Barbour mulling a Presidential Run?
Evidence is mounting that Mississippi Gov. Harley Barbour (R) is mulling a 2012 bid for the White House.
On Friday afternoon Politico's Jonathan Martin reported that Barbour and his advisors are privately exploring the possibility of jumping into the race. From the report:
Speculation on whether Barbour would vie for the Republican nomination began to surface as early as June 2009 and at that time the Mississippi governor did not deny he was considering running.
Here's what Barbour had to say about his presidential ambitions when speaking to Bob Schieffer on CBS' Face the Nation last summer:
Now, one year after Barbour made those comments, it appears that the Mississippi governor is stepping up his efforts to weigh a 2012 bid. Here's an excerpt from National Journal's Reid Wilson and Erin McPik's report last week:
Barbour's conservative politics could make him a natural contender for the Republican nomination, but his candidacy also has the potential to ignite controversy among voters.
Just last week he faced criticism when he defended Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R-Va.) omission of slavery from his "Confederate History Month" proclamation while he also maintains ties to controversial figures like Jake Abramoff and George W. Bush.
If anything makes me feel warmer and fuzzier about the GOP presidential field for 2012 than Sarah Palin, it's when theyseriously discuss Haley Barbour, the Mississippi governor, as Fox News has in naming him one of their "12 for 2012" likely presidential candidates. Yesterday, Bret Baier hosted a segment featuring Barbour. It included this brief and hilariously whitewashed discussion of Barbour's years as a lobbyist and Republican political kingpin:
Actually, that's not the half of it: Barbour's tenure as RNC chief was made particularly memorable by the incident in which he propped up the RNC by borrowing millions from a Chinese businessman -- and then welshing on the loan:
It's kind of funny, actually, how Barbour has managed to resurrect his career from the wreckage of that fiasco. But let's not forget how he managed to do that: by openly consorting with white supremacist organizations and promoting the Confederate flag, then winking and nudging when finally called on it.
Why, he sounds like just the ticket. I would especially look forward to the visuals of the corpulent, corrupt Barbour with his Mississippi drawl running against Barack Obama.
If only we could be so lucky.
Haley Barbour Won Big After Katrina
August 16, 2007 1:08 PM
Justin Rood Reports:
Hurricane Katrina was a disaster for hundreds of thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast. But for some family and friends of Mississippi governor and GOP power broker Haley Barbour, it was quite profitable, according to a new report by Bloomberg News.
In particular, Barbour's nephew and the governor's former lobbying firm saw turns of good fortune from work connected to rebuilding Mississippi after the catastrophic storm, the news service reports.
There is no evidence the governor or his nephew have violated the law.
"Katrina brought in a tide of money. Some benefited," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that watchdogs government spending. "It looks like the folks close to the governor did very well."
The governor's office declined to comment for this story.
Nephew Henry Barbour, a state lobbyist and former campaign adviser to his uncle, saw his income more than double after the storm hit, Bloomberg's analysis found. Firms paid large fees for his services, and his uncle made him executive director of the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal.
Two of Henry Barbour's clients won business with the state for tasks recommended by Governor's Commission, the news service reported.
Henry Barbour told Bloomberg he had taken "a leave of absence" from lobbying while he served on the panel, for which he received no pay. During that time, his annual lobbying income grew from $183,000 to $379,000, Bloomberg reported. The federal government later recognized him and his fellow panelists with a "Gulf Guardian Award" for their efforts.
Finance company Government Consultants paid Henry Barbour's firm $65,000 from July 2005 through 2006, according to records reviewed by the news service. Bloomberg reported the company earned at least $400,000 in fees for issuing Katrina-related bonds for Mississippi -- issuances that were recommended by the Governor's Commission. The firm did not return a request for comment from ABCNews.com.
A Massachusetts-based engineering firm, Camp Dresser & McKee (CDM), paid Henry Barbour's firm $15,000 in lobbying fees, Bloomberg found. Later, the state chose it to work on a $3 million study of water management systems in six counties. Another client of Henry's firm, Waggoner Engineering, also worked on the project, according to Bloomberg.
Henry Barbour told Bloomberg he played no role with state bond issues, and his firm had decided not to accept new recovery-related clients after Katrina hit. A phone message left with his firm Thursday was not returned.
Henry Barbour managed his uncle's gubernatorial campaign in 2003. Senior executives at both Government Consultants and CDM contributed thousands of dollars to the governor's re-election campaign in 2006, the news service found.
Former colleagues at the governor's old Washington, D.C. lobbying shop also benefited from the storm, Bloomberg revealed. Barbour Griffith & Rogers -- the firm retains the governor's name, although he no longer works there -- was paid $160,000 by a New York buyout firm to help it win a liquor license for the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Miss., which it had just purchased.
"We encouraged" state panels "to expedite" the process, the lobbying firm's chief of staff Charlie Williams told Bloomberg. "And they did."
The buyout firm, Leucadia National, declined to comment to ABCNews.com. The lobbying firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The firm's principals have said Barbour no longer receives money from the lobbying group, but Barbour said recently the firm pays him "retirement." Unlike previous Mississippi governors, Barbour has declined to release his personal income tax returns.
"What Didn't Go Right?"
President Bush's absurd question underscores the arrogance of an administration whose "limited government" agenda is responsible for the disastrous federal response to Katrina.
Read down about Haley Barbour's involvement in the corruption.
Excerpt from an article in salon.com by Sidney Blumenthal
September 8, 2005 | The Bush administration's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina stands as the pluperfect case study of the Republican Party's theory and practice of government. For decades conservatives have funded think tanks, filled libraries and conducted political campaigns to promote the idea of limited government. Now, in New Orleans, the theory has been tested. The floodwaters have rolled over the rhetoric.
Under Bush, government has been "limited" only in certain weak spots, like levees, while in other spots it has vastly expanded into a behemoth subsisting on the greatest deficit spending in our history. State and local governments have not been empowered, but rendered impotent, in the face of circumstances beyond their means in which they have desperately requested federal intervention. Experienced professionals in government have been forced out, tried-and-true policies discarded, expert research ignored, and cronies elevated to senior management.
Before Katrina, the Republican theory received its most apposite formulation by a prominent lobbyist and close advisor to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, who said about government that he wanted to "drown it in the bathtub." In relation to the waters that surround it, New Orleans has been described as a bathtub, and it has served as the bathtub for Norquist's wish.
Only two people in the light of recent events have had the daring to articulate a defense of the Republican idea of government. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, asked about rebuilding New Orleans, volunteered: "It doesn't make sense to me." He elaborated: "I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it ... we ought to take a second look at that." Thus Hastert upheld rugged individualism over a modern federal union. Just a month earlier, as it happened, Hastert had put out a press release crowing about his ability to win federal disaster relief for drought-stricken farmers in his Illinois district. While he was too preoccupied attending a campaign fundraiser for a Republican colleague to travel to Washington to vote for the $10.5 billion emergency appropriation to deal with Katrina's aftereffects, he did finally return to the capital to push for even more drought aid from the Department of Agriculture. Hastert's philosophy is not undermined by his stupendous hypocrisy, for hypocrisy is at the center of the Republican idea. Hastert simply has the shamelessness of his convictions.
The second defender was Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for which he was qualified by a résumé that includes being fired from his previous job as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association and, more important, having been the college roommate of Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and Brown's predecessor at FEMA. On Sept. 1, Brown stated: "Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well." Brown was unintentionally Swiftian in his savage irony. The next day, President Bush patted him on the back: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Brown exemplifies the Bush approach to government, a blend of cynicism, cronyism, and incompetence presented with faux innocence as well-meaning service and utter surprise at things going wrong.
Even as the floodwaters poured into New Orleans, unimpeded by any federal effort to stanch the flow, the White House mustered a tightly coordinated rapid response of political damage control. Karl Rove assumed emergency management powers. The strategy was to dampen any criticism of the president, rally the Republican base, and cast blame on the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisiana, both Democrats. It was a classic Bush ploy against the backdrop of crisis. The object was to polarize the nation along partisan lines as swiftly as possible. While policy collapsed, politics reigned. Once again, Bush the divider, not the uniter, emerged.
The White House released a waterfall of themes. No matter how contradictory, administration officials maintained message discipline. The first imperative was to disclaim and deflect responsibility. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan admonished the press corps, "This is not a time to get into any finger-pointing or politics or anything of that nature." The president down to the lowliest talk show hosts echoed the line that criticism during the crisis and reporting its causes were unseemly and vaguely unpatriotic.
After establishing that line, the White House laid out other messages to avoiding responsibility. Bush declared, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." From his bully pulpit he intended to drown out the reports trickling into print media that he had cut the funding for rebuilding the levees and for flood control. Then Bush assumed the pose of the president above the fray, sadly calling the response "unacceptable." Meanwhile, he praised "Brownie."
After Sept. 11, there was an external enemy, "evildoers" against whom to summon fear and fervor. Now, instead, the flood has brought to the surface the deepest national questions of race, class and inequality. On Aug. 30, the day after the hurricane hit, the Census Bureau released figures showing that the poor had increased by 1.1 million since 2003, to 12.7 percent of the population, the fourth annual increase, with blacks and Hispanics the poorest, and the South remaining the poorest region. Since Bush has been in office, poverty has grown by almost 9 percent. (Under President Clinton, poverty fell by 25 percent.) As these issues began to receive serious attention for the first time in years, Bush reiterated that it was inappropriate to "play the blame game."
Meanwhile, his aides sought to blame New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. On Sept. 3, the Washington Post, citing an anonymous "senior administration official," reported that Blanco "still had not declared a state of emergency." Newsweek published a similar report. Within hours, however, the Post published a correction; the report was false. In fact, Blanco had declared an emergency on Aug. 26 and sent President Bush a letter on Aug. 27 requesting that the federal government declare an emergency and provide aid; and, in fact, Bush did make such a declaration, thereby accepting responsibility. Nonetheless, these facts have not stymied White House aides from their drumbeat that state and local officials -- but curiously, not the Republican governors of Mississippi and Alabama -- are ultimately to blame.
Yet others operated off-message, casting aspersions on the hurricane's victims. The president's mother, Barbara Bush, interviewed on American Public Media's "Marketplace" program," said of the displaced from Louisiana who are temporarily housed in Houston's Astrodome, "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this is working very well for them."
And Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., suggested that the residents of New Orleans who failed to escape the flood should be punished. "I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."
The White House sought to turn back the rising tide of anger among blacks by deputizing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. During the early days of the hurricane and flood, she had been vacationing in New York, taking in Monty Python's "Spamalot" and spending thousands on shoes at Ferragamo on Fifth Avenue. In the store, a fellow shopper reportedly confronted her, saying, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" -- prompting security men to bodily remove the woman. A week after the hurricane, Rice mounted the pulpit at a black church in Whistler, Ala. "The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come on time," she preached, "if we just wait." One hundred and 10 years after Booker T. Washington counseled patience and acceptance to the race in his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech in the aftermath of Reconstruction's betrayal, the highest African-American official in the land updated his advice of forbearance.
After a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Bush warned against the "blame game" as he pointed his finger: "Bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of getting the job done for the people." His aides briefed reporters on background that "bureaucracy" of course referred to state and local officials. That night, at the White House, Bush met with congressional leaders of both parties, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Bush to fire Brown. "Why would I do that?" the president replied. "Because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week," she explained. To which he answered, "What didn't go right?"
Bush's denigration of "bureaucracy" raises the question of the principals responsible in his own bureaucracy. Within hours of the president's statement, the Associated Press reported that FEMA director Michael Brown had waited five hours after the hurricane struck to request 1,000 workers from Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff. Part of their mission, he wrote, would be to "convey a positive image" of the administration's response.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune disclosed that Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center, briefed Brown and Chertoff before the hurricane made landfall of its potential disastrous consequences. "We were briefing them way before landfall," Mayfield said. "It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped." The day after Bush's Cabinet room attack on bureaucracy, the St. Petersburg Times revealed that Mayfield had also briefed President Bush in a video conference call. "I just wanted to be able to go to sleep that night knowing that I did all I could do," Mayfield said.
After its creation in 1979, FEMA became "a political dumping ground," according to a former FEMA advisory board member. Its ineffective performance after Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina in 1989 and Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992 exposed the agency's shortcomings. Then Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina called it "the sorriest bunch of bureaucratic jackasses." President Clinton appointed James Lee Witt as the new director, the first one ever to have had experience in the field. Witt reinvented the agency, setting high professional standards and efficiently dealing with disasters.
FEMA's success as a showcase federal agency made it an inviting target for the incoming Bush team. Allbaugh, Bush's former campaign manager, became the new director, and he immediately began to dismantle the professional staff, privatize many functions and degrade its operations. In his testimony before the Senate, Allbaugh attacked the agency he headed as an example of unresponsive bureaucracy: "Many are concerned that Federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective State and local risk management. Expectations of when the Federal Government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level. We must restore the predominant role of State and local response to most disasters."
After Sept. 11, 2001, FEMA was subsumed into the new Department of Homeland Security and lost its Cabinet rank. The staff was cut by more than 10 percent, and the budget has been cut every year since and most of its disaster relief efforts disbanded. "Three out of every four dollars the agency provides in local preparedness and first-responder grants go to terrorism-related activities, even though a recent Government Accountability Office report quotes local officials as saying what they really need is money to prepare for natural disasters and accidents," the Los Angeles Times reported.
After Allbaugh retired from FEMA in 2003, handing over the agency to his deputy and college roommate, Brown, he set up a lucrative lobbying firm, the Allbaugh Co., which mounts "legislative and regulatory campaigns" for its corporate clients, according its Web site. After the Iraq war, Allbaugh established New Bridge Strategies to facilitate business for contractors there. He also created Diligence, a firm to provide security to private companies operating in Iraq. Haley Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and now governor of Mississippi, helped Allbaugh start all his ventures through his lobbying and law firm, Barbour Griffith and Rogers. Indeed, the entire Allbaugh complex is housed at Barbour Griffith and Rogers. Ed Rogers, Barbour's partner, has become a vice president of Diligence. Diane Allbaugh, Allbaugh's wife, went to work at Barbour Griffith and Rogers. And Neil Bush, the president's brother, received $60,000 as a consultant to New Bridge Strategies.
On Sept. 1, the Pentagon announced the award of a major contract for repair of damaged naval facilities on the Gulf Coast to Halliburton, the firm whose former CEO is Vice President Dick Cheney and whose chief lobbyist is Joe Allbaugh.
Hurricane Katrina is the anti-9/11 in its divisive political effect, its unearthing of underlying domestic problems, and its disorienting impact on the president and his administration. Yet, in other ways, the failure of government before the hurricane struck is reminiscent of the failures leading into 9/11. The demotion of FEMA resembles the demotion of counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. In both cases, the administration ignored clear warnings.
In a conversation with a former diplomat with decades of experience, I raised these parallels. But the Bush administration response evoked something else for him. "It reminds me of Africa," he said. "Governments that prey on their people."
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