Sep 052005

In my previous post on the lack of relief efforts by the federal government, I made it clear I don’t believe race had anything to do with the abysmal response to the tragedy. Thanks to Condi Rice for confirming that for me.

“I don’t believe for a minute anybody allowed people to suffer because they are African-Americans,” Reuters quoted Rice as saying. The secretary of state, who is the highest ranking African American in the Bush administration, said: “Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race.”

I absolutely agree with her. I don’t think it would have mattered if it were all of Bush’s oil buddies and the Haliburton Board of Directors. I think this Administration and the people they have installed in key positions are so incompetent, any relief effort was bound to fail miserably.

Let’s remember, if one takes a close look at the curriculum vitae of FEMA head Mike Brown, you’ll see an 11 year omission. Apparently, Mr. Brown doesn’t brag too much about the critical disaster recovery experience he gained while he was commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association. I guess one wouldn’t brag too much if one had been fired (oh, I’m sorry….asked to resign) from that job.

Oh, but let’s not forget, he was an Assistant City Manager in Edmon, Oklahoma, and apparently did have oversight of emergency services there. Yeah, that’s it…that would certainly qualify you to lead one of the most critical agencies of the federal government.

The Department of Homeland Security mission statement:

In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America’s families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS.

By any measure FEMA gets an F. But that only addresses the seeming incompetence. It gets worse. Much worse. FEMA took a very bad situation, a difficult situation, and instead of being merely incompetent was obstructionist. Criminally negligent.

They allowed staged photo-ops for George and Laura that hampered rescue and relief operations. Laura all by herself at that shelter shut down relief efforts for eight hours! It’s a pretty good bet that some of the Guard and Army convoys were held back from the disaster zones until the WH could make it look as if GWB was at the head of the rescue cavalry. (As if it takes five days for a cavalry to show up in the 21st Century.) People were denied food and water and remained trapped in hell-holes so that GWB could have his staged, phony photo-ops that made it look as if he gave a damn about those people instead of his only real concern, his political fortunes. Even Landrieu has had enough and demanding answers about the phony photo-op that made it look as if work was being done on the broken levee, and she’s no liberal. If you can’t help, keep the hell out of the way.

In every disaster there are people, ordinary citizens, that are ready willing and able to lend a hand. We didn’t see those people this week because they were turned away – by FEMA. 1,000 people pulling 500 boats turned away. Stories like this are already so numerous that it will take time to collect all of them. It has been confirmed that the Red Cross was denied access to the City of New Orleans. People hungry and thirsty on roads and underpasses were denied the food and water that the Red Cross had available. And FEMA didn’t stop there, they held back federal resources that could have made a difference. A Navy ship with the rescue equipment and relief supplies sat there for days waiting for the order to get to work.

People died. While FEMA sat around trying to figure what they were supposed to do and who was supposed to do it. And in the meantime, they weren’t going to let anybody else get in their way and do something that could make a difference. These people are not only incompetent at their jobs but haven’t the common sense of a ten-year old.

And how will this be investigated?

Oh, we’ll look at the fact that maybe instead of authorizing hundreds of millions to build a bridge to an uninhabited island in Alaska, we should have spent more to strengthen the levees in New Orleans. The COE will now prepare a new engineering report on what can be done in the future even though the one they prepared in the past wasn’t acted on. Don’t expect a comprehensive environmental study and action plan because that couldn’t be done without acknowledging that global warming is real and is creating problems for all coastal area. In Bu$hCoLand, global warming is only a subject for debate among scientists.

The myriad of problems at FEMA and DHS will also be studied. A 5,000 page report detailing what WaPo summarized today will be issued in two years and we’ll be assured that everything has since been taken care of. They can try but this time they can’t hide behind a “failure of imagination.” Instead it will be that Katrina came before DHS was fully up and running. FEMA was compromised only because it was being rebuilt and integrated in DHS (more of the same destroying a village to save it). They will offer weak excuses like, “guess we shouldn’t have focused so much on terrorism.” Not that it will take a rocket scientist to reach that conclusion since “…the United States now spends $180 million a year to fend off natural hazards vs. $20 billion annually against terrorism…” (WaPo) Yeah, no shit, $20 billion a year because of a single terrorist strike and $180 million a year on all the natural disasters that occur multiple times each year. The Katrina Kover-up will be led by no other than Joemomentum.

How do we know it will be a Kover-up? Connect the dots. People still stuck in SuperDome and NO convention center, and Joe was already grabbing the investigation assignment. Wonder why? Well, first of all the Senate hearings on Brown’s nomination were chaired by the suckass Senator from CT. Brown was about as qualified for this job as Howdy Doody. It was so obvious and Joemomentum wouldn’t want to let anybody near an investigation of his culpability in confirming “Brownie” (as GWB refers to him). Equally important is not to forget where this whole stupid idea for the Homeland Security Department came from. Yes, Joemomentum. Even with “Brownie” at the helm, it would have performed better this week if no HS had been created. Thus, Lieberman is the last person in the Senate that should have anything to do with this investigation. He should recuse himself. If he doesn’t, the DEM leadership should remove him from the position. And the good people of Connecticut should kick his butt out of office.

(Any investigation should include one Senator that opposed the Iraq invasion because that seriously compromised the disaster capabilities of the National Guard and this cannot be overlooked. Anyone that supported that folly and voted for the IWR cannot be trusted to investigate this aspect of our National Katrina Tragedy.)

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