Rep McKinney Special
By Rep Cynthia McKinney
I mentioned the word impeachment on the House Floor Thursday
late afternoon, but I don't see it in the official Congressional Record
transcript. I was chided by the Speaker that it was out of order to question
the President's motives. I didn't question motives, I questioned actions:
from lack of actions on Katrina to cutting the budget of safety net programs,
to rewarding the rich to the detriment of all the rest of us. This transcript
directly from the Congressional Record is mangled and omits that word!!!!
I can't believe this.
Please read the attachment (I don't normally do attachments)
and see if I missed it. If I hear back from you that it is, indeed, missing,
then I will say the word repeatedly on the House Floor upon my return to
force them to put my words as I say them in the Congressional Record.
In this talk, I discuss Katrina, the State of Black America,
the State of Hispanic America, poverty in America, and the Katrina timelines
being developed that will keep us from falling victim to the White House
spin. In addition to explosive information given to me from investigative
journalists and whistleblowers, there is one particularly pernicious development
taking place: bioweapons labs under water with who knows what having been
released into the environment. People desperate for jobs must be informed
what the heck has been unleashed in the devastated areas as a result of
Katrina. Anyone involved in cleanup must have this information before entering
New Orleans. I shudder to ponder all the ramifications of Katrina. Although
I didn't finish my remarks, and I'm told they also shut the microphone
off as I was concluding my remarks--something I don't remember ever having
been done to a Member before--I think you get the message here that high
crimes and more than misdemeanors have been visited upon the American people.
THE TREMENDOUS CHALLENGES THAT FACE OUR COUNTRY -- (House
of Representatives - September 08, 2005)
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The SPEAKER pro tempore (Miss McMorris). Under the Speaker's
announced policy of January 4, 2005, the gentlewoman from Georgia (Ms.
McKinney) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority
Ms. McKINNEY. Madam Speaker, I have got a lot of papers
and a lot of posters. One hour will in no way accommodate all that needs
to be said tonight about the tremendous challenges that face our country
today, including how we conduct ourselves in the aftermath of Hurricane
While my remarks tonight in no way should be construed
as encompassing all of my thoughts on the very important issues that I
discuss tonight, just mark this down as a start.
First, let me say that I am especially proud of the way
the people of my district and of this country have wrapped their arms around
the victims of Hurricane Katrina. At this time, we have a healthy contingent
of expert Georgians in the traumatized gulf States, and we have received
thousands of Katrina's victims into our cities, churches, and homes.
I have come to this floor on many occasions. People around
the world have commented on how shocked they are to see such poverty in
America. While cities and localities pass anti-panhandling measures that
criminalize begging tourists and visitors in downtown areas asking for
help, Hurricane Katrina washed away America's veneer of populist opportunity,
a country that has overcome its racist, slave-holding past, a country ready
for world dominion because it has learned how to uplift the human spirit
Katrina, in images as stark and undeniable as could be,
has laid bare the Republican lie that its policies promote growth and prosperity
for all Americans and leave no child behind, while Katrina put into our
living rooms and the world's living rooms the cruel hoax that has been
played on America and those who love America by the ruthless sybaritic
power player elites who are as responsible for the conditions endured by
too many Americans as they are for the embarrassing and breathtaking incompetencies
we all witnessed just before Labor Day.
Almost 30,000 New Orleans households live on less than
$10,000 per year. More babies and young kids are going hungry in our country.
Eleven percent of our families experienced hunger in 2003. One million
more Americans are living in poverty today than there were 1 year ago.
Income distribution has become obscenely skewed toward the rich during
the Bush years. In Manhattan, the poor make two cents for each dollar that
the rich make. This places Manhattan on par with Namibia for income disparity.
Interestingly, in the financial capital of the world,
New York City, the Bronx is the poorest urban county in the country, and
New York State is being depleted of its middle class.
America is being depleted of its middle class. Over 50
percent of America's income goes to the top 20 percent of households. With
even more tax cuts for the wealthy on the horizon, coupled with real budget
cuts for the programs that are forced to take care of more and more Americans,
the situation can only be expected to get worse, sadly.
Incomes for 95 percent of American households are flat
or falling. Only the top 5 percent are experiencing the growth that we
hear the Republicans talk about.
Now, I have got tons of documentation to offer for all
of the statistics that we cite, but let me take a moment and reiterate
where we are for all the people who are listening tonight.
Let me recall for just a moment the America they might
not know but that more of us are coming all too well to know.
I will start with this poster, which depicts a black
man hanging from a tree. The caption says "The body of Robert McNair
is seen here as residents and schoolchildren in the Georgetown community
saw it between about 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. last Thursday.'' This was on the
front page of the Jackson, Mississippi, Advocate the week of October 23
to 29 when I was in Mississippi for a speaking engagement. This was what
Sadly, it is what the children in the neighborhood saw,
a black man hanging from a tree. A lynching. That is 2003. I am not talking
about 1903. This is 2003. Sadly, in 2005, we have two lynchings being investigated
in the State of Georgia, my home State, and both of them are supposed to
have been suicides. In this story it was reported that this poor Mr. Robert
McNair committed suicide, hanging from a tree.
When I come to the floor and do these monthly talks,
some way or other we get around to the state of black America because it
is important for us to understand that there are many Americans, and some
of those Americans we do not see and we do not know. But we need to know
how all Americans live so that we can make sure that no American is left
On some indices, even today, it is true that the racial
disparities are worse today than they were at the time of the murder of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. People would say it is not true, but, alas,
it is true. And, of course, the statistics document that sad truth. United
for a Fair Economy gives us these statistics in its State of the Dream
report on imprisonment. To close the racial gap, it will take 190 years
just so that black people are imprisoned for the same crime at the same
rate as white people are imprisoned.
What about poverty? We saw a lot of that. Overall poverty,
the racial disparity, 150 years to close the gap. Why does that have to
be? At the slow rate that the black-white poverty gap has been narrowing
since 1968, it would take 150 years to close the gap.
What about child poverty? Two hundred ten years to close
the gap. Almost one-third of black children live in poverty. The child
poverty gap would take 210 years to disappear, not reaching parity until
I would like to thank the National Council for La Raza
that provided us with these statistics, the proportion of children without
health insurance in the United States, home ownership rates. Look and you
can see the proportion of children without health insurance in the United
States. Look at the Hispanic figures. Look at that. Twenty-five percent
of young Latino children do not have health insurance in this country.
What about home ownership rates, because we hear a lot
of talk about the growth economy, and the Republicans and the President
talk about promoting home ownership, home ownership, the first tier toward
building wealth, okay? Well, if you are lucky enough to be able to own
a home, sadly black and Hispanic home ownership rates are low. How low?
To close the home ownership gap, the disparity between white home ownership
and black home ownership, the first tier toward
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wealth building, it will take 1,664 years to close the
home ownership gap.
This is something that so many Americans take for granted.
Yet so many Americans still have a dream for home ownership.
Now, what about income? It will take 581 years for us
to close the per capita income gap. Since 1968, we have only been able
to close the gap 2 cents. Black people make 55 cents for every dollar.
That was in 1968. In 2001, it was 57 cents. Two cents, so 581 years to
close the gap.
When some people start talking about how we want to build,
rebuild, and provide for folks, that is what this Congress is supposed
to do. We should build lives, we should build communities, build neighborhoods,
and protect our people.
When it comes to the economic conditions that are prevailing
for so many Americans, it is almost a joke. Here is a cartoon from the
Washington Post. This is the sybaritic power player who is pulling the
strings behind the scene, calling the shots, dictating politics and policy;
and he is saying, "It is not trickle down economics. We got the plumbing
fixed.'' Here is the poor little fella down here, little panhandler trying
to wait to get some of the stuff that is trickling down, and it is not
trickling down any more.
Poverty is up. Median income down. That is the result
of the policies of the Bush administration since 2001.
What about all these tax cuts? New Orleans has got a
lot of attention now because of what has happened, and we hear and we will
hear some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle suggesting that
we need to do more tax cuts. Well, the faces of the people that came into
our living rooms from Hurricane Katrina got this much from George Bush's
tax cuts. But if you happened to make over $200,000 a year, you got this
much from George Bush's tax cuts.
It is so clear that the administration wants to serve
some of the people all of the time and fool the rest of us all of the time.
The tax cuts, we should not hear another word uttered about the need for
more of the kind of tax cuts that the Bush administration has given us
thus far. This insensitive policymaking that ends up hurting real people
leads to a kind of callousness within our society that we do not recognize
sometimes, that we do not notice sometimes.
It is easy to pass an anti-panhandling ordinance in the
city of Atlanta because we do not feel the pain of the people who do not
eat at night. So it is also easy to demonize people. It is easy to demonize
people that you do not know.
This made it around the Internet until Agence France-Presse
pulled their photo off. But how is it that we can have a media in this
country displaying one young man wading through that putrid water and the
American press, the Associated Press, says that he is "looting.''
Then you have two people who are obviously not black and they are "finding.''
This young man, according to the Associated Press, walks through chest-deep
floodwater after "looting'' a grocery store. Two residents wade through
chest-deep water after "finding'' bread and soda.
This is the America of those statistics. This is the
America that all Americans need to know and see. This is the America that
too many of us have borne the brunt of generation after generation after
generation after generation.
And then, they called them "refugees.'' Some bright
light in the media came up with that one to further dehumanize poor black
people in New Orleans. I had some New Orleans residents in my congressional
office in Georgia who said that they had never, ever thought that they
would be called refugees in their own country. Other insensitive language
just shows how totally out of touch the leadership of this country is with
the American people.
While the city was still flooding, Speaker Hastert suggested
that New Orleans should not be rebuilt.
As the mostly black people were herded into what looked
like concentration camps, Barbara Bush suggested that they were really
better off now than they were before. Well, maybe she has got something
there, because it took losing an entire city for the "compassionate
conservatives'' in Washington, D.C., to finally get some compassion in
the laws they pass, in the policies they enact, in what they do around
And you can imagine my surprise to hear the very people
who chose not to adequately fund education, health care, affordable housing,
now saying we have got to have Pell grants, Section 8 vouchers, schooling
for children. It is what some of us have been saying all along.
Now, you can just about bet your bottom dollar that the
Karl Rove spin machine is working overtime to whitewash the Bush administration
preparations for the response to Katrina. Let us remember as we go through
this that the State and local responders were victims too. That is why
it is critical that the feds act. But they did not act, notwithstanding
anything that comes out of the spin machine.
Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana said, "We
wanted soldiers, helicopters, food and water. They wanted to negotiate
an organizational chart.'' This is from the New York Times. "Far from
deferring to State or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and
made things worse,'' according to Mr. Broussard, and I will talk about
him a little bit later, who complained on Meet the Press.
Mayor Nagin said, "The root of the breakdown was
the failure of the Federal Government to deliver relief supplies and personnel
quickly. They kept promising and saying things would happen. I was getting
excited and telling people that. They kept making promises and promises.''
MSNBC informs us that FEMA Director Michael Brown waited
5 hours after the storm's landfall to get agency assistance, to get agency
aid from the Department of Homeland Security.
Now, another thing that we need to know about, there
are so many things that our government does in our name with our tax dollars,
on our behalf supposedly, that we do not know about. The Bush administration
has opened up these biodefense labs all over the country. In about 20,
25 universities around the country we have got biodefense labs studying
I do not know what.
I can remember the Tuskegee Study. I remember MK-Ultra
as an African American. I remember Paul Robeson. But Tulane University
is under water, and Tulane University houses one of these biodefense labs.
We need to know what the heck was in that lab, what was going on in that
Some of the headlines. Notwithstanding what you may hear
from the other side of the aisle or coming out of the White House about
how everyone has to share the blame, these are some of the headlines.
"FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations.''
"FEMA turns away experienced firefighters.''
"FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks.''
"FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel
"Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food.''
"FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans.''
"FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering
"FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital
"FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck.''
"FEMA turns away generators.''
"FEMA first responders urged not to respond.''
Those are just a few of the headlines. I have got all
of the documentation, of course.
There is also a story about three U.S. Customs Blackhawk
helicopter crews that are absolutely livid because they had been directed
not to provide full-time support for the hurricane relief effort in the
"Navy ship nearby underused.'' This is from the
Chicago Tribune. A craft with food, water, doctors. All it needed was the
orders. It never got the orders.
"Federal agency slow to accept business help.''
This is from the Financial Times, "Federal agency slow to accept business
help. From Wal-Mart's satellite-based communications system to FedEx's
aircraft, U.S. business has in some cases managed to provide a swifter
response to the initial impacts of Hurricane Katrina than the Federal and
This is from the Salt Lake City Tribune: "Frustrated
fire crews to hand out
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fliers for FEMA. Many of the firefighters assembled from
Utah and throughout the United States by FEMA thought they were going to
be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going
to be community relations officers for FEMA, shuffling throughout the gulf
coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number, 1-800-621-FEMA,''
which does not work most of the time.
Now, I know that American children can do better in geography,
but you would think that at least our emergency management people would
get their geography right. CNN.com says, Well, they were supposed to go
to Charleston. My colleague from Charleston, we were in a meeting on Tuesday
night, and he said they had the shelter all set up with supplies, cots,
blankets and everything, and nobody came. Now we find out that this is
why they did not come. They were supposed to be in Charleston, South Carolina.
Guess where FEMA took them? Charleston, West Virginia. What incompetence.
Right city, wrong State. CNN.com.
I cannot even imagine. No one should imagine. It is ridiculous.
But they are going to tell you everything is all right.
The New York Times tells us, "Navy pilots who rescued
victims are reprimanded.'' What? "Two Navy helicopter pilots and their
crews returned from New Orleans on August 30 expecting to be greeted as
lifesavers after ferrying more than 100 victims to safety. Instead, they
Well, we are working on this, since I serve on the Committee
on Armed Services. But the sad thing about it is, when we had our briefing
on Tuesday evening, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security,
Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of HUD were all there
at the briefing, except that Defense kept going in and out, Homeland Security
kept going in and out, could not stay long enough to brief the Members
of Congress or to hear from the Members of Congress who are directly impacted
by their failure, their incompetence.
Malik Rahin is a former Black Panther Party member. In
a very compelling radio interview he said, "You want more morality
from the poor than from the rich.'' But he rejected the idea that New Orleans
was a city divided by race. He said, "Whites took their boats and
went into black neighborhoods. But it was the feds who forced people to
leave their possessions. Once they got rescued, they had to leave their
possessions. They could only take one bag.''
He says, "Over 70 percent of the people who were
rescued were rescued by individuals.'' Then he went on to say something
very interesting. He said, "$90 million of HOPE VI construction, but
the people who needed it the most in New Orleans got no training, no community
Louisiana has the highest dropout rate in the country.
He said, "Juvenile justice is a disgrace.'' He said, "The only
equal opportunity employer here is drugs.''
We heard a lot about shooting. He says, "White vigilante
groups with shotguns and rifles rode around saying they were going to shoot
the looters.'' They were unchecked. There could have been a riot. He says,
"There was about to be a race riot.''
He said, "Many whites took their own personal boats
into the black community. Too many acts of heroism, sharing ice, sharing
Then he mentions Jefferson Parish had to secede from
the United States of America. So I want to mention the Jefferson Parish
But before that I am going to mention what Mayor Nagin
in a wonderfully compelling interview with WWL said when he had the opportunity
to speak directly with President Bush. He said, "I told him we had
an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does
not do it justice, and that I have been all around this city, and I am
very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we are
outmanned in just about every respect.''
But in perhaps the most compelling of all of the interviews
that we have seen, and these are all available on the Internet, is Aaron
Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, on Meet the Press. He said, "Sir,
they were told, like me, every single day the cavalry is coming on the
Federal level, the cavalry is coming, the cavalry is coming, the cavalry
is coming. I have just begun to hear the hooves of the cavalry. The cavalry
is still not out here yet, but I have begun to hear the hooves, and we
are almost a week out.''
Then he gives three quick examples, one of the Wal-Mart
delivery trucks, three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They had
1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel. It was docked in
Jefferson Parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come and get the fuel right
away. When we got there with our trucks, they got the word. FEMA says,
`Don't give the fuel.' Yesterday, yesterday FEMA comes in and cuts all
our communication lines.'' Why is FEMA cutting communications?
"The guy who runs the building I am in, Emergency
Management,'' this is Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press, "he is responsible
for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard Nursing Home, and
every day she called him and said, `Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?'
He said, `Yeah, mama, somebody is coming to get you.' `Somebody is coming
to get you on Tuesday.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Wednesday.' `Somebody
is coming to get you on Thursday.' `Somebody is coming to get you on Friday.'
And she drowned Friday night.''
And she drowned Friday night. "Nobody is coming
to get us. Nobody is coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody
has promised. They have had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences.
For God's sake, just shut up and send us somebody.'' Aaron Broussard.
Want the facts? The FEMA chief waited 5 hours after Katrina
made landfall on August 29. Five hours.
It is clear also that the administration would like to
avoid a blame game. They want to do everything to not discuss the failures.
What is Michael Brown's reaction to all of this? Michael Brown, FEMA director,
says in a CNN interview: "Considering the dire circumstances that
we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things
are going relatively well.'' That is our FEMA director, Michael Brown.
How out of touch could this man have been?
Those 9/11 activists know how critical it is to construct
a timeline, because the timeline tells us who did what and when they did
it. The timeline will tell us the truth. The timeline cuts through the
spin. So, of course, I made a point to get in touch with the folks who
were collecting the timelines, and there are a lot of timelines available
on the Internet. Think Progress has a timeline, and WWL also has a timeline.
All the while this was going on, the news media reported
that the Iraq war costs now exceed Vietnam's. But I think it is pretty
clear that the Iraq war is costing us more than money. Let us just look
at where some of those assets were. Mississippi has 40 percent of its National
Guard forces in Iraq. Louisiana has 35 percent of its National Guard forces
in Iraq. Florida has 26 percent. Alabama has 23 percent of its National
Guard forces in Iraq.
On June 8, 2004, in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Walter
Maestri, who is emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said,
"It appears that the money has been moved in the President's budget
to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq. And I suppose that's the
price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished,
and we're doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security
issue for us.'' Security, we are going to discuss that in a minute.
On April 24, 2004, the Times-Picayune said: "Less
money is available to the Army Corps of Engineers to build levees and water
projects in the Mississippi River Valley this year and next year.'' Nobody
can say they did not know, were not warned, whatever it is that the spin
machine might come up with.
National Geographic Magazine, October 2004, came up with
an article that reported on a simulation, I will not call it a game, but
a simulation of what would happen should a hurricane hit New Orleans: "As
the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people
evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however. The carless,
the homeless, the aged, the infirm, and those die-hard
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New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.''
It goes on to describe just exactly what happened during Hurricane Katrina,
but that was in October 2004.
The Louisiana National Guard also knew that they were
paying a price that was perhaps too high. On August 1 the Louisiana National
Guard complained that they were taking critical equipment to Iraq that
should have remained in Louisiana. But when the Bush administration does
not like what one says, they just fire them. So there was a former Member
of Congress that I had the pleasure to serve with, Mike Parker from Mississippi,
who was with the Army Corps of Engineers. He complained that they were
cutting the Army Corps of Engineers budget too much, and so he was forced
Now it turns out that Michael Brown was forced out too.
He was forced out from the job he had before he became the FEMA assistant
director and then director. Let me see if I can read this correctly. Michael
Brown's previous employment was with the International Arabian Horse Association,
and he was fired from that job too. They said that he was asked to resign.
And so, of course, eminently qualified to serve in the Bush administration;
he gets one of the most important jobs in the country with the lives of
the American people in his hands.
We know that this is what they do, hurting people whom
they disagree with, because there is the case of another Army Corps of
Engineers employee by the name of Bunnatine Greenhouse, who complained
about the no-bid sweetheart deal private contracts going to Halliburton.
Well, she was forced out of her job too because, even though Vice President
Dick Cheney still gets his deferred compensation checks from Halliburton
Corporation, I guess the Bush administration is not finished with Halliburton,
because they have been hired to do the storm cleanup. Is there no other
corporation in America? Why is it that it always has to be Halliburton?
Well, the Times-Picayune calls for the firing of Michael
Brown; and I have signed my name to many letters that are floating around
here calling for his firing, his resignation, Chertoff's as well; and in
a minute somebody on this House floor is going to mention impeachment.
But as if making sure that Halliburton got what they
needed to get, I checked the FEMA Web site, and on the FEMA Web site it
says: "Help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.'' First on the list
is American Red Cross. We remember that during 9/11, there were many complaints
from the victims of 9/11, and I remember seeing one report of the symphony
orchestra getting some of the 9/11 contributions. But there is Operation
Blessing. Operation Blessing was founded by Pat Robertson. That is the
same Pat Robertson who called for the assassination of a duly elected president,
Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela. How can FEMA recommend that someone who calls
for the murder of somebody else get hard-earned money from the American
people? It is on the FEMA Web site, and it is outrageous.
But there is more. Sadly, there is more. I agree with
the Tom Hartman article: "You Can't Govern if You Don't Believe in
Government.'' What we have witnessed here in utter stark relief is the
culmination of all of that Republican ideology against government, against
the people, against helping people who are in need. Ronald Reagan was elected
President by saying: "The nine most terrifying words in the English
language are, `I'm from the government and I'm here to help.''' Newt Gingrich
in 1995 told us what he thought about government. He was speaking about
Medicare. He said: "Now, we don't want to get rid of it in round one
because we don't think that's politically smart and we do not think that's
the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it is going to
wither on the vine because we think people are going to voluntarily leave
it.'' Wither on the vine.
Grover Norquist in 2001 said this, and I think this encapsulates
it all: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce
it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the
That is how these people feel about government. So I
am not surprised that the Army Corps of Engineers budget is cut to the
extent it is cut. I am not surprised.
Here, Bush's agenda is to cut government services to
the bone and make people rely on the private sector for the things they
need. So he sliced $71 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps
of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. In addition, the President cut $30
million in flood control. And then Bush took to the airwaves on "Good
Morning America'' on September 1 and said, "I don't think anyone anticipated
that breach of the levees.''
"I don't think anyone anticipated that breach of
Now, in stark contrast to the way the Department of Homeland
Security mobilized to secure the people of the gulf States, within 48 hours
of the notification of the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, Bush nominated
Roberts to serve as Chief Justice. They are real fast at doing some things.
Now, at some point, we have to talk about values and
priorities and how it has become that our values and our priorities are
so twisted and mangled now. We are focusing on other things, and some of
those things are important. I am not going to say that everything is not
so important that has become a priority. We had a resolution today that
six people voted against to give Bush another blank check in the war on
terrorism. I was one of the six.
No more blank checks, Mr. President, not for war, not
I went to the Committee on Homeland Security's Web site,
and I just thought I would look and see which subcommittee has jurisdiction
for natural disasters. Well, I could not believe it. I did not see any
mention at all of natural disasters. So I went to one of our interns, whose
eyes are a whole lot younger than mine, and I said, Would you please scour
the entire website, because I have put in a search and it did not come
up in a search; scour the entire website, and I want you to highlight the
number of times you see the mention of the two words, "natural disaster.''
It is not mentioned. It is not mentioned. On the entire
Committee on Homeland Security Web site "natural disaster'' is not
Now, a young man had a script before him, and he was
supposed to read the script, but he took the opportunity to deviate from
the script and speak his mind. His name is Kanye West. He has been on the
cover of all these national magazines talking about how he is the most
brilliant new hip-hop, rap artist, Kanye West. And now, he is being vilified
because he dared to take a detour from what some people wanted him to say
and say what he wanted to say, which is, quite frankly, the origins of
hip-hop anyway, young people who have something to say and have found the
means to say it.
Kanye West said, "I hate the way they portray us
in the media. You see a black family; it says they are `looting.' You see
a white family; it says they are `looking for food.' And, you know, it
has been 5 days, because most of the people are black, and even for me
to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite, because I have tried to turn
away from the TV because it is too hard to watch. I have even been shopping
before even giving a donation.
"So now I am calling my business manager right now
to see what is the biggest amount I can give,'' notice he said he is calling
his business manager; I want you to pay attention to that. "And, just
imagine if I was down there and those are my people down there. So anybody
out there that wants to do anything that we can help with the way America
is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well off, as slow
Now, NBC censored that. NBC has decided that they can
determine what we hear from the smartest young man in hip-hop.
He also said, "George Bush doesn't care about black
people.'' NBC censored it. They deleted his remarks. And MSNBC President
Rick Kaplan, who produced the telethon at Rockefeller Plaza in New York,
had the cameras cut to actor Chris Tucker who was on a different part of
the stage and who appeared to be looking off at something else in the camera.
So it was the MSNBC president, who was also the producer, who said, Well,
you know, maybe the American people do not need to hear the smartest young
man in hip-hop's ideas about George Bush.
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Thank goodness, I can come to the floor of the House
and speak my piece. And as long as C-SPAN cameras are running, well, it
will not be cut off, but I understand there is even an effort to try and
limit C-SPAN's access to American households.
But I have to tell my colleagues something. As I saw
the African Americans, mostly African American families ripped apart, I
could only think about slavery, families ripped apart, herded into what
looked like concentration camps. So I was reminded of a Miami Herald article
written on July 5, the day after Freedom Day, 1987.
The title of the article was "Reagan Aides and the
Secret Government,'' and here is a quote from that article: "A copy
of the memo was obtained by the Herald. The scenario outlined in the Brinkerhoff
memo resembles somewhat a paper Giufreda had written in 1970 at the Army
War College in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, in which he advocated martial law
in case of a national uprising by black militants.'' In which he advocated
martial law in case of a national uprising by black militants. The paper
also advocated the roundup and transfer of two "assembly centers or
relocation camps of at least 21 million American Negroes.''
Now, I did not write that; the U.S. Government wrote
that. They were going to round up 21 million Negroes because they were
afraid of freeing black people. A story of neglect? I am not surprised
about any story of neglect of the people that comes from this body with
this set of priorities, that passes these kinds of budgets on the backs
of the American people, these kinds of tax cuts on the backs of the American
I want to commend my sister Congresswoman, the gentlewoman
from California (Ms. Lee), who has said that it is time for us to get serious
about poverty in this country. It is time for us to get serious. I am a
proud cosponsor of legislation with the gentlewoman from California (Ms.
I will just conclude by saying that on the United States
State Department Web site is "How to identify misinformation.'' Does
the story fit the pattern of a conspiracy theory?