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Thursday, September 01, 2005

If we had a real President

This is apost by Stirling Newberry at I'm reprinting it here because we need to hear the speech we'll never get.

My fellow Americans, it has never been my policy to lie to you, neither to exagerate the dangers we face, nor to minimize the challenges that lay before us. Two days ago, with almost biblical force, the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi and Lousiana. The damage was no less than what a war would have caused - a millon are left homeless, and millions without power and the other sinews of modern life.

As importantly the 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 going to ask them to do the same now, so that a temporary disruption does not grow out of proportion. I ask all Americans to act out of restraint and be mindful of what they use, so that there will be enough to support the vital reconstruction effort that we are about to embark upon.

Therefore, I am taking the following steps immediately, and will follow with others shortly.

I am requesting to the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tem of the Senate to call Congress back into session, in that they may be able to pass such measures as are necessary and proper to meet the crisis.

I am requesting that congress appropriate a sum of money for federal transporation 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.

I am asking Congress to pass an adendum to the bankruptcy bill, delaying by 6 months the effective date for those federal districts hit by Katrina, for both personal and corporate bankruptcies.

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

Every city in America belongs to all Americans, I promise, here, that we will rebuild, not only historic and famous cities, but each and every city that has been touched by this disaster. I am requesting 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 I will next submit to Congress, or, if urgent, in a supplemental request.

I am ordering 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 will, within 15 days, submit to Congress a list of temporary jurisdictions to be created for the duration of the emergency.

I am requesting 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.

I am ordering the defense department to end the call ups of reservists, and instead activating all medical and law enforcement units available to be sent rescue and restore order. I am authorizing 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.

I am directing 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.

I have formed a disaster group at the cabinet level, to be headed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to coordinate the response.

I am placing the effected counties of Louisiana and Mississippi under martial law. And, as is constitutional, suspending writs of habeus corpus where the courts are not open. I am ordering 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. I am ordering that all courts and financial institutions be secured from looting or other forms of vandalism.

I am placing a freeze on all federal wage increases, and having the salaries of all officials who work in the White House, including myself, to have 20% held back to contribute to the costs. It is a small gesture, but at a time when Americans are generously opening their wallets and giving to such organizations as the American Red Cross, we can do no less.

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

I am ordering 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.

I am ordering that all federal agencies 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.

I am requesting that the secretary of energy procure ethanol for mixing with gasoline, and making ethanol considered to be compliant fuel in all markets.

I am suspending all military maneuvers not related to on going operations authorized by congress.

I am ordering the Secertary of Transportation to make available on the Eisenhower Interstate System open trucking lanes which will be used to expedite the movement of goods to the afflicted areas.

I am requesting 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.

I am suspending interest on all debts due the Federal government in the afflicted areas for the next 30 days, and delaying any declaration of default for the same period.

Other nations have graciously offered to help us, and I am ordering the Department of State to take all such requests, and streamline any paperwork that the Department of Homeland Security feels would be of value. I am ordering 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. And so in closing I am declaring that this Labor Day Monday will be a day of fasting and prayer, in rememberence of those departed, and thankfulness for the bounty of our nation that will allow us to overcome these trials, and emerge stronger than before.

This I promise, so help me God, that we shall spare no effort to save the living, to respect the dead, to bring life to this region, and to spread the sacrifice.

Let us take a moment, and pray for the safety of those who now struggle for life, and for the courage of those who now, as the arm of our great nation, reach out to rescue them. With them go our prayers, our support, and the light that America brings to the darkness.

Thank you, my fellow Americans, for your time, your aid and your understanding.

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