Let’s See…Bottled Water, Flashlight, Gun…

Friday, September 2nd, 2005, 12:29 pm

Let’s set aside the notion that Hurricane Katrina grew so large because Bush wouldn’t sign the Kyoto accords and global warming is making storms bigger. I don’t buy that, or at least I won’t buy it until actual scientists conduct actual studies and come up with actual evidence. Let’s also set aside the fact that the Bush Administration proposed spending dramatically lower amounts on levee repair and other construction of hurricanne defenses than the various local agencies begged for. Let’s set all this aside for now.

Let’s look at how the people who are in control, who hold power in our governement, have responded to the disaster along the Gulf Coast.

Here’s President Bush on Good Morning America:

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will.”

That’s odd, as I heard an expert on NPR that very morning saying that the levees could indeed be breached even after the main part of the storm passed. Plus there are the dozens of articles written over the last few years describing such a scenarion and FEMA’s own disaster plans. Yet the President says nobody anticipated it.

That’s what I heard on NPR Monday morning. Last night as I left work I heard Robert Siegel interviewing Michael Chertoff, the head of the Department of Homeland Security. Siegel asked Chertoff about the horrific scene at the Convention Center, which I’d been reading about at CNN. Here’s what Chertoff, who, may I remind you, is the guy who is in charge of Homeland Security, had to say:

Robert Siegel: We are hearing from our reporter, he’s on another line right now, thousands of people at the convention center in New Orleans with no food, zero.

Chertoff: As I said, I’m telling you we are getting food and water to areas where people are staging. The one about an episode like this is if you talk to someone or you get a rumor or an anecdotal version of something I think it’s dangerous to extrapolate it all over the place.

Robert Siegel: But Mr. Secretary when you say we shouldn’t listen to rumors. These are things coming from reporters who have not only covered many many other hurricanes, they’ve covered wars and refugee camps. These aren’t rumors, they are saying there are thousands of people there.

Chertoff: I would be–I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.

Michael Brown, the head of FEMA (that’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, meaning Brown is the head of the federal agency that manages emergencies) said that the death toll would be high because:

“Unfortunately, that’s going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings,” Brown told CNN. “I don’t make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.”

In other words, the folks who are trapped? It’s their own fault. Of course, most of the studies and plans about New Orleans getting slammed figured that between 100-200,000 people wouldn’t evacuate, with the majority of them people who were too poor, too old, or too infirm to get out. Which seems to be exactly what happened.

Brown also said, when asked what his biggest challenge was at the moment, said:

I think it’s conveying to the American public just how catastrophic this disaster is.

Not saving people trapped by the flooding or bringing in supplies or restoring law and order. Nope, he needs to make sure we all know just how bad things are.

We need to ask a big question here–how the HELL did we allow people like these to have so much control over our lives? How did we as a nation sink so low that we could elect someone like George Bush President? TWICE. This was a hurricane, we had 2 or 3 days warning. What would’ve happened if it’d been a dirty bomb instead? Or a biological attack? We now know that, not only are we completely unprepared to deal with a large-scale disaster, those in leadership positions are grossly incompetent. We are adrift, and there’s no one up on deck to take the wheel.

Think maybe it’s time to put together a little disaster preparation kit, since if the shit ever hits my particular fan I don’t think I’m going to get much of a return on my FEMA/DHS investement. Some bottled water, a few packs of Ramen noodles, a flashlight, a transistor radio…and it looks like a gun would come in handy, too. A nice, big, loud gun.

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8 Responses to “Let’s See…Bottled Water, Flashlight, Gun…”

  1. DuggleBogey Says:

    The administration wants you to have that gun….so you can shoot yourself and put yourself out of THEIR misery.

  2. DuggleBogey Says:

    Excellent post, btw. Top notch.

  3. Coolhand Says:

    I’m from NY, we had to deal with 9/11.
    After 9/11 the government spent billions, create think tanks and studies and on and on… to deal with different types of situations (granted terror related)
    BUT… What if this disastour was terror related? If the levees were blown up or it was a nuclear type attack.
    Are you telling me that years after 9/11 and billions of dollars later there is not a better organized response to ANY disaster in the US?

  4. kuboa Says:

    Many thanks for pointing out these facts- our “leaders” are displaying criminal irresponsibility and a near absolute disregard for the welfare of people in truly dire straits. “Compassionate” conservatism indeed- perhaps that’s what motivated Condi Rice to see “Spamalot” the other night while people died in squalor. It’s a terrible time for America.

  5. Tully Moxness Says:

    You know the old myth: Nero fiddled while Rome burned. I don’t live in the area, I’ve never researched the hard science behind what storms can do to the region, but I know history and read all about Hurricane Camille in 1969. So, when I hear that funding to bring the levees up to Category 5 resistance was cut, I can point a finger squarely at who is responsible for this disaster. I live in LA and have been through two horrid earthquakes. The last one was a 7.0 on the richter scale. What do you think the people of Los Angeles would do if the government only forced the city building codes to be able to withstand a 5.0 or less? They’d string them up by the balls after their city was destroyed. I expect some ball-stringing to be going on very soon on the Gulf Coast.

  6. Human Head Says:

    You rule Gene!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Stop blaming Bush, and learn some real facts about the country you live in:

    Why isn’t the Red Cross in New Orleans?
    “Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.” ~American Red Cross
    Information acquired at: http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

    Who runs the L.A. National Guard then?
    “The Governor, by virtue of his office, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard. The Adjutant General, appointed by the Governor’s orders, performs his duties under the laws of Louisiana and applicable federal laws and regulations. The Adjutant General and his staff are full-time employees of the State-funded Military Department.
    Information acquired at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/arng-la.htm

    FACT: The Red Cross was prepared to supply basic necessities to those in need within 24 hours of Katrina, why didn’t they act?
    “The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city. ~American Red Cross
    Information acquired at: http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

    So who is the State Homeland Security Department then????
    The Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LHLS & EP); formally the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP), was created by the Civil Act of 1950 and is under the Louisiana Military Department. In 1976 LHLS & EP via the Louisiana government reorganization, was moved to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). In 1990 LHLS & EP was transferred again to the Military Department. In 2003 the Agency name was changed to the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, reflecting the additional responsibilities to the State and her citizens.
    Information acquired at: http://www.loep.state.la.us/agencyrelated/aboutagency.htm

  8. Mean Gene Says:

    Dear Mr. Anonymous,

    Your attempts at deflecting blame from Bush are bullshit. If you’d read my post you’d see that what I was criticizing wasn’t so much the non-existent federal response to a disaster they’d been planning for since 9/11, but that, even though we were in the middle of a catastrophe, they had NO CLUE what was going on, nor what to do about it.

    And while there’s blame aplenty for local and state officials, it’s beyond dispute that the federal response was pathetic. Unless you’re one of those America-hating folks who would rathersee our country fall into ruin before daring to criticize Bush.

    Next time you tell me to learn some “real facts” show some courage and leave your name. Of course, “courage” is probably a word you aren’t too familiar with.

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