Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Profit Neutral???"

That's right, not "non-profit", but "profit neutral". That is Fema's glowing description of Carnival's amazing humanitarian effort in the urgent times of Katrina's aftermath. Amazingly and outrageously shameful.

I posted a piece this morning, "Citizen Carnival, not Kane", outlining an investigation led by Sen. Waxman into Jeb Bush and Michael Brown's collusion in an alleged misuse of power for profit. Upon further research I came across two press releases from FEMA that quite frankly make want to throw-up.

The first one, release date Sept. 24, 2005, quotes Michael Brown as saying he was "pulling out all the stops" in order to address the "Herculean Task" of housing the victims, and everything including "creative options" was on the table. (or did he mean under the table? hmm..)

The second one, release date Feb. 24, 2006, is the one that really sets the seasickness in motion though. Posted to appear as if it is a report on the contracts for the ships running out, it resembles a cold war type propoganda, that previously I thought only the former USSR could do so well! Starting off by commending the use of the ships as

"an innovative and successful program needed during a desperate time. ",

and quickly claiming

"There was no other alternative that met their needs in a timely fashion.",

the release begins to drone on about statistics and disclaimers to support Mr Brown's actions back in September. ( didn't they fire that guy?) Foolish statements such as "The ships did not provide fancy accommodations", ( it's a freakin' cruise ship!!!!)
The most outrageous claim was

"A recent review of the cruise ship agreement by the Inspector General of DHS pronounced the deal, 'reasonable under the urgent circumstances.' Carnival Cruise Lines has a "profit-neutral" contract with FEMA and is charging the agency only what it would earn during normal cruise operations.".

It goes on to ramble about capabilities of housing 8000 people and boasts serving 2 million meals. Do the math, 2 million meals divided over 6 months will only feed 3700 people. 8000 capacity, 3700 served, that's a whopping 46 %! ( I guess by recent Bush standards that is a pretty high percentage though...) That means Carnival got paid for more than double what it was costing them to operate, 54%!! (where's the dramamine now, ughhh...)

This has got to translate into a whole lot for the Jeb foundation, for sure. I am very interested to see where Waxman's letter to Jeb gets us.

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Corporate Citizen Carnival, not Kane.

I sometimes think that I have heard or seen it all, and then, well, take a look.

My Governor, Jeb is being called to the carpet to answer to his roll in landing a pretty lucrative contract for one of his constituents. This 'ol boy goes by the name of Corporate Citizen. Now don't take my word for it, click a couple of these links and see for yourself, you'll see.

The Letter

Jeb Bush Asked to Explain Cruise Ship Deal
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer

Let me start by defining what a "corporate citizen is"... "Corporate citizenship is about the contribution a company makes to society through its core business activities, its social investment and philanthropy programmes, and its engagement in public policy" according to The World Economic Forum
Rep. Henry Waxman of California has called Jeb out to explain his roll in helping Carnival Cruise Lines land an enormous contract for housing Katrina displaced victims. It seems that the company might have actually used Jeb to land this deal with former disaster expert and task master extraordinaire, Michael Brown. ( and I always thought the youngest ones kept their noses cleanest?) All joking aside, I am gonna take a departure from my normal (subjective, I know) point of approach in the humorist style, and just lay this one on straight. It makes my blood boil that much, both for political, and yes, personal reasons. (herein lies a very good glimpse into my political reformation)
Rep. Waxman sent a letter to Jeb, calling on him to account, and provide documents surrounding the fact that he had helped facilitate this deal, which incidentally was worth 236 million dollars, the same amount that Carnival would have made with the 3 ships in question had they been booked 100% for the entire six months contracted. And oh by the way, they stayed at or below, on average, roughly 50 % occupied. The actual bottom line cost for a family of five to have stayed there for those six months was nearly a quarter of a million dollars! We could have built the poor bastards a fantastic new home for that, never mind the wasted trailors in Hope, Arkansas!
In answer to the questioning, A spokesman for Bush's office, Russell Schweiss, called any charges of impropriety baseless.

"The governor's involvement was merely facilitating contact with a corporate citizen of Florida that was seeking to provide immediate housing relief,"

A corporate citizen? "Corporate citizenship is about the contribution a company makes to society through its core business activities, its social investment and philanthropy programmes, and its engagement in public policy" We learned that a moment ago in paragraph two, where the heck is the "contribution"? Where is the "social investment"? The "philanthropy"? Understand that Carnival made not only room and board for roughly twice it's occupancy, but also covered missing revenue for bar, casino and side trips as well!

Put this in perspective as only all to well can I, when I lost everything I had to Charlie, after a stint on the back of my boat and a homeless shelter, we were very fortunate to aquire a motel room back billed to FEMA in the grand amount of $1576 for 106 days of captivity. Three months, do the math and we cost the American taxpayers a whopping $3000, roughly for those same initial six months. Vs. $240,000 ! What in the hell happened there!?!

This fiasco, incidently, is up for renewal. Think you might have something to say about it? Let Henry Waxman know.

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