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Archive for Wednesday, September 7, 2005

National disgrace

September 7, 2005

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To the editor:

Is anyone that voted for Bush starting to get the picture of what he's been doing to us the last four-plus years and what they did by allowing it to continue? New Orleans has been page one on the New Zealand news this past week. First it was the large storm approaching, but most of the coverage after it hit has been on the lack of preparedness and failure in response.

There was a story Sunday about a New Zealander visiting New Orleans who was just rescued by an Australian news team with the implied question being why hadn't the Americans rescued her days before? Local Louisiana officials speaking on "Meet the Press" indicated that FEMA was not only incompetent but actually sabotaged relief efforts (not to mention the National Guard being in Iraq instead of where it belongs).

All in all, it makes the United States look like some bumbling Third World country unable to take care of itself. The images of Bush on vacation, going to fundraisers, playing golf, and flying overhead instead of getting his feet wet, and Condoleezza Rice shopping for $1,000-a-pair Ferragamos in New York City while the poor in New Orleans die seems like classic "let them eat cake." I finally agree with the Journal-World editor on something. This was a national disgrace.

Gil Zemansky,

Lawrence,

now in Taupo, New Zealand

Comments

bjohanning 9 years, 4 months ago

The real tragedy is the incompetence and indifference to human suffering that President George W. Bush has shown to the American People. We should have labeled the disaster a "fundraiser" and "BOOM" he would have been there giving 100%. George Bush and his unqualified political appointees that gutted FEMA need to take responsibility for their actions, but as we know, and his history has shown us, he never will.

Speakout 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree to what you say, bjohanning, but, in order to be indifferent, one must know what is the norm. He doesn't. He was reared in sharp contrast to 99% of those who are suffering and he has no idea what suffering is. He has never suffered. He went to an elite university, skipped most of his military service, sat in the ivory tower ALL of life.

All (not "some" but "all") of my friends who supported him during the last campaign are saying that they get sick when you mention his name. He is still supported by a few, but my question is this: "He lied to the American electorate, why is he still in office?" When Nixon lied, he was impeached, why is Bush still in office?

bjohanning 9 years, 4 months ago

"W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives."

United States of Shame By MAUREEN DOWD NY Times Published: September 3, 2005

craigers 9 years, 4 months ago

This is ridiculous. The city was a bowl waiting for this type of disaster. They were told to evacuate and given places to go, and they stayed at their homes and now they are waiting on being rescued. These people are not intelligent if they stayed and now they are mad that they aren't being rescued quick enough. It isn't like you can get a huge boat down these roads that are now little lakes and rescue multiple people at a time. It will take time, and the president has been visiting the site and is getting as much federal aid as he can for the disaster area. I guess the New Zealander mentioned here can't read or listen to the news reports that said evacuate the city. But yes it was Bush's fault that these people didn't listen and chose to stay at home. It is a disaster area and if they think within the following couple of weeks the whole town is going to be looking normal then again I question all of the citizens of New Orleans intelligence.

bjohanning 9 years, 4 months ago

Wake up craigers, many could not leave the city look at "In Nursing Home, a Fight Lost to Rising Waters By GARDINER HARRIS, 7-7-05, NY Times" and tell me, did they have an option? No they did not like many because of economics. Stop making excuses for a failed presidency.

craigers 9 years, 4 months ago

I forgot that if Kerry got elected or any other president that Katrina would have never struck. It was a natural disaster for pete's sake. I will stop making excuses if everything that went wrong didn't have somebody blaming Bush.

ECM 9 years, 4 months ago

Bush haters in the town are unbelievable.

The mayor and governor are idiots. Over 2,000 school buses that could have been used to evacuate people who had no transportation are sitting underwater because the mayor had no plan.

Oh but I forgot everything is Bushes fault in the warped liberal mind.

Jamesaust 9 years, 4 months ago

I was shopping for a new car (a smaller one, btw). Perhaps this makes me a P.C. criminal in the author's eyes. All that I know is that neither I nor the Secretary of State have a direct role in disaster relief but I need a car to get to work and apparently Condi Rice needed a pair of shoes. Thank goodness I wasn't actually on vacation in late August or I too would have much to fear from the People's Revolutionary(wannabe's) Army when they arrive at my doorstep with their pitchforks.

meggers 9 years, 4 months ago

Even if the buses had been used, they would have only been able to evacuate a small portion of those who stayed behind. Plus, where exactly would they have taken the evacuees? Those who evacuated of their own accord were left to their own devices. Texas didn't offer up the Astrodome until people were already dying of dehydration, lack of medical care, and other circumstances related to the flooding. Keep in mind, most of New Orleans survived the actual hurricane. It was the flooding that happened a full day later that created the catastrophe there. By then, all but one road was impassable due to hurricane damage and the city was rapidly filling with water. On Tuesday, sandbags were to be dropped by helicopter in an effort to close the levee breaches, but for some reason, that didn't begin to occur until Friday, days after the damage had already been done.

I agree that the flooding could have been foreseen and I believe the governor did that when she declared a federal state of emergency on the 28th and requested assistance from the president, particularly for parishes in and around NO. If you look at the FEMA website, you will see that FEMA itself defines it's role as primary in responding to national disasters.

I believe that Blanco and Nagin do bear some responsibility, but it was obvious on Tuesday that the situation was well beyond the scope of what the local and state authorities could handle. As this was evident to even a casual observer, I don't see any reason that it should not have also been evident to federal authorities.

Had there been a comprehensive federal response on Tuesday, there is no doubt that many more lives would have been saved and the city would have been able to maintain some semblance of security. Once that opportunity was blown, the very least that could have happened would have been air drops of food and water to those tens of thousands of people whe followed instructions by going to the Superdome and Convention Center.

I'm getting pretty tired of hearing "let's not play the blame game"-that translates into let's not hold people accounatable. In my experience, those who say we shouldn't be pointing fingers are usually the people the finger should be pointed at.

Good God, we had United States citizens begging for their lives, living in sub-human conditions, and literally perishing on national television. Reporters described situations involving unimaginable human suffering, practically begging for SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING. If the media could be in there describing it, where in the hell was FEMA? Or our troops?

Obviously, "better late than never", and I am thankful for the help that finally arrived and for all of the people who worked tirelessly in the rescue efforts, but I can't help but question the humanity of anyone who finds the response to the situation in New Orleans even remotely acceptable.

meggers 9 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the State Department has a key role in in accepting offers of international aid, many of which were pouring in immediately after Katrina hit. The State Department has taken it's sweet time in reviewing and accepting the numerous offers of international aid (including equipment, fuel, communications systems, and water purification equipment) to help with the catastrophe.

I don't know if it's related to shoe shopping or not.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

From CNN:

Opinions varied widely, however, on the response of federal, state and local officials regarding Katrina. Forty-two percent of respondents characterized President Bush's response to the disaster as "bad" or "terrible," while 35 percent said it was "good" or "great."

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Your selective quotes are crap once again Arminius. Why don't you accept the fact that this is the first time the fed has just completely dropped the ball on a major event like this. Your man was at the helm. Your apologist BS is falling down around your sewage stained feet.

meggers 9 years, 4 months ago

Whether it could have been avoided or not, the fact is that there were tens of thousands of people suffering needlessly and dying, when our nation had the resources to help them.

I don't know why the school buses were not used and it certainly should be looked into, but I still can't help but wonder exactly where the people would have been taken TO. The figure I heard last night was that 18,000 could have been evacuated if the buses had been used. Maybe the difference is based on the time it would have taken to carry out such a massive evacuation effort. These are all questions that should be answered.

"We live in the U.S., but Americans are not immune to natural disasters. People often find themselves begging for their lives as a result of fires, floods, tornados, etc."

The difference is that usually, the folks you refer to are begging mother nature to spare them, rather than a government that has left tens of thousands of them to live and die like animals on the streets of a major US city. Keep in mind, the people in NO survived the actual disaster. Obviously, one can't control mother nature, but one certainly can respond to those affected by her wrath.

As far as Landrieu's comments: yes, I believe that local, state, and federal authorities should all be held accountable for what happened in NO. On the other hand, you seem to be implying that since you don't believe the state and local authorities did all they could to prevent the people from being in that situation, the federal government somehow gets a free pass on how it responded. I disagree. By last Tuesday, the issue at hand wasn't how tens of thousands of people came to be in that situation, but what needed to be done to help them. In my view, the federal government failed miserably in that regard.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm not Bush bashing...yet. Right now I am Arminius bashing. But, here goes to the Bush bashing. Fact is that Bush should have been preparing, regardless of whether or not the state players in this event were or not. Bush wasn't, and apparently was unconcerned. Now why would the fed not be concerned? Was because it was just a cat 5-4 hurricane? Was it because the people affected were so poor? Was it because of anything other than total disregard and incompetence? How in the hell could something like this happen in our country after 9-11? HOW? Answer that Arminius, answer it. It does not matter to me WHO was in the White House, and whether or not I support that president, it matters to me that it happened at all. Had John Kerry been there and the result the same, I would have felt exactly the same way I do now, because I have objectivity. You, however, do not posess objectivity. Your absolute dedication to the party line makes everything you say tainted, and subject to ridicule. Go home boy, your time is over.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

Kevin is incapable of changing the subject because for him there is only one subject-- Bush is perfect and if there is a problem or a failure, it's somebody else's fault.

Kevin must have eight index fingers as busy as he is pointing in every direction except Bush's. But that doesn't stop him from waving his remaining two middle fingers toward anyone even moderately critical of his underachieving hero.

bjohanning 9 years, 4 months ago

In a former time I was the Commander one of the Emergency Response Center's in Southern California, yes there were more than one. FEMA played a very important part and it was a federal responsibility to step in when an emergency involved more than one state. This was important to prevent posturing by state officials. It also allowed for the Federal Government to QUICKLY coordinate resources. The Tirade of the Emergency response was Security, Communication and the prevention of further loss of life. It appears that the Federal Government feels that its role is to stand back and watch and later say those now famous Bush words "I'm not to blame". Well FEMA is to blame, thus the current administration is to blame, it wasn't Clinton who gutted FEMA and placed an unqualified political appointee in charge of the nation's first response.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

meggers 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius,

"I will fault the Bush administration for being so deferential towards the local officials. However, I don't think anyone could have predicted just how incompetent Nagin and Blanco were."

I think you are way off-base in implying that rather than acting themselves, the administration entrusted Blanco and Nagin. That simply isn't the case. Under the blanket of the DHS, FEMA had the lead role. It was FEMA that deferred the sandbag drops, it was FEMA that restricted Wal-Mart trucks full of food and water from being brought in, it was FEMA that kept the Red Cross out, it was FEMA that refused assistance from volunteer firefighters, etc. It was the head of FEMA who said (last FRIDAY!) that he only found out the previous day that there were people at the Convention Center . They eventually evacuated 20,000 people from the Convention Center and most were outside because the conditions inside the building were so deplorable! Where were the helicopters and how could he not have known?

From FEMA's website:

"FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead[/B] the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration."

Also, I looked a little bit more into the school bus evacuation thing. I saw another figure that said only 13,000 ccould have been evacuated in that manner. Some residents actually were, but several nursing home patients died from dehydration while they were being evacuated, as the buses are not air conditioned. There was also a problem with staffing the buses, and because of the evacuation order and modification of the traffic design (no incoming), once they brought the people to the (unknown) destination, the drivers come back to load more people up. It sounds like it was a bit of a logistical nightmare, and one that might have caused death or illness to many of the more vulnerable citizens that are typically the first priority for evacuation.

one more bob,

I've donated money and I'm going to be involved with a fundraiser at my workplace. I'll probably also help with local efforts to shelter Katrina victims here in Lawrence.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius, I will not retract my charge, but I will alter it, very slightly. You pick and choose minor little facts to support your absolute devotion to this sick cause, instead of telling the whole truth. As far as I am concerned, a lie is a lie, and intentionally leaving out facts is dishonest at it's very best. You have learned well from Rove, but you should have listened to your mother instead, I am sure she told you the difference between intentional lies, and little white ones. ONCE AGAIN:

From CNN:

Opinions varied widely, however, on the response of federal, state and local officials regarding Katrina. Forty-two percent of respondents characterized President Bush's response to the disaster as "bad" or "terrible," while 35 percent said it was "good" or "great."

Stop your dishonest practices, you are seen for what you are here, and you know it. ONCE AGAIN, go home boy, your time is over.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

"However, I'm sticking with the rational folks."

There is NOTHING rational about your behavior, and absolute god worship of the GOP. More cult like, say, Waco, Jim Jones, and those Heaven's Gate folks.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

"However, I'm sticking with the rational folks."

http://www.pollingreport.com/BushJob.htm

Check the polls, not a single one looks good for your god. So, according to your quote above, you believe HALF of your countrymen to be irrational. How terrorist-like of you, how very patriotic.

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

I didn't call you an idiot, I asked you if you were one, your Rovian trick didn't work. Seems like your logic is quite fallible as well. You see, it seems like quite a bit of the population blames the fed for this, and since Bush is the head of the fed, then there you go. Also, just because more people haven't put the blame on the Bush means nothing. Seems like many of the folks in this country are ill informed at best, as are you. You ONLY believe what fits your little world, and nothing else. ONCE AGAIN: You do not posess objectivity, so therefore your assertions and assumptions are so terribly biased as to be quite laughable. You have more than met your match in me. Unfortunately, since I work for a living (I know you do too, but you work FOR this spin machine), I do not have as much time as I would like to continue destroying your illogic. But, I'll be here from time to time, like a thorn in your side, questioning everything you say, and disproving you as often as possible. Enjoy your rose colored glasses, but I believe you'll have to change that prescription pretty soon

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Disprove what? I clicked on that link and a whole bunch of blank webpage space appeared, with the WSJ header across the top...

Spoken1 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

Hate? Hardly, but I am filled with disgust at irrational apologists like you. Stop your STUPID Rovian attacks, they do no good whatsoever. I am a very happy person, and smacking your insane ideology down is only making me happier.

Regardless of whether or not the state level players in this dropped the ball, that in NO way absolves FEMA and the fed from their responsibility in this matter. When are you going to get that through your head? Why can you not lay blame where it belongs? It belongs on Bush and the fed every bit as much as it does on the local and state authorities. Besides, when the hurricane hit, with plenty of warning, where was your hero?

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey, Arminius:

Watch who you're criticizing. I'm the one who said the page came up blank, not Spoken1. If you're going to imply that someone is a fool, at least address your implication to the right person. And, considering the fact that I'm 9 months shy of having 2 graduate/professional degrees, I'd reconsider my criticisms if I were you.

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Additionally, Arminius, I have gone back to the website again to ensure that I am not having some sort of PEBCAC error (for those of you who don't know what that means: "problem exists between chair and computer"). The only part of it that will work for me is the "Bookstore" tab. I have no idea why this is, but, for whatever reason, the rest of the site doesn't work on my computer. And, just so you don't find it necessary to ask a silly question, I am on a high speed connection.

Again, I will ask you to reconsider your name-calling.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

I looked at the link, and while it lists all the things that might have gone wrong on the local and state level in this disaster, that is a matter for the voters of Louisiana and New Orleans to consider come next election time.

But for the rest of the country, we're getting mighty tired of you, and the authors of articles such as these, as you continue to play the same old Rovian game-- distraction, distraction, distraction, and finding any scapegoat that allows you and your hardcore kindred spirits to continue to merrily goosestep along in your neocon fairlyland.

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius, where are you? Are you choosing to remain mum as a way to avoid responding?

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

I know how a link works. If you had read my comment, you would have seen how I described my encounter with the site. My guess would be that, due to the specifics of my connection, my computer, or something else that is entirely out of my control, clicking on that link (see, I do know how a link works...) is unsuccessful from my current location. Besides, how could I know that the link worked for anyone else without asking? I could have assumed (something you like to do) that you were incapable of providing an accurate link.

Additionally, I was not "claiming" to have "as much education" as I have. There were no false pretenses in my statement, and there is no uncertainty about the amount of education I have completed. I was stating a fact of my level of education as a way to refute your claim that there is only blank space between my ears. How could I have completed so much education if my skull were empty? Answer that one for me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

The subject of this thread is not "the irrational hatred of Bush." It's the "national disgrace" that is the response to this disaster.

While Bush is clearly not an idiot, like you Kevin, Bush's decision-making strategy is purely faith-based, and he blithely ignores any evidence contrary to his unshakeable beliefs.

The disaster in Iraq and now the one in New Orleans (the list could be much longer) amply demonstrate what happens when such a person becomes the most powerful person in the world.

Your dogged defense of him shows why the next hurricane or earthquake, or whatever, will face the same problems that led to this debacle because when Bush investigates himself, we all know that what will follow will be pure whitewash.

mermily 9 years, 4 months ago

the link works for me, but still i also must ask what it is i am meant to be disproving?

it is an editorial page. so i have been directed to disprove that a man who works in washington, and appropriately writes his opinion in the first person, thinks? you win. i can't.

what has this site come to? please, let us exchange ideas and information rather than foul judgments of each other and name calling.

bjohanning 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius,

From 1985 - 1987 I was Commander of the Emergency Operations Center located at Ft. Irwin, CA at the same time I was also Chief of Plans and Operations a General Staff position. Federal First Responders are to operate within 24 hours, they are to move into an area and assume overall operational control during a national multi-state emergency. This was not done, and I do feel sorry for you in that you are blinded by miss directed loyalty. Also a person with degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard can be empty headed, or may just have no common sense, an advance degree does not make a person capable.

avhjmlk 9 years, 4 months ago

Arminius:

If I were to give you information that would identify the education I have received, and, thus, identify me, that would defeat the purpose of having a forum for anonymous posting. Besides, the only reason I mentioned my education is that, considering the technology that is interwoven in most (any my) educational institutions, a person with any level of post-secondary education is likely familiar with even the most rudimentary functions of the internet. That was all. You implied that I saw blank space on the page because I was incapable of reaching it as a result of having blank space between my ears. Whatever blank space may be between my ears, you can rest assured that there is considerable non-blank space related to my ability to use the internet.

mermily 9 years, 4 months ago

yes, i suppose you did not directly address your posting to me (sign). my point, as if it really wasn't clear, was the futility of a request for anyone to attempt to disprove another person's opinion appropriately published in an editorial page.

furthermore, it was a plea for maturity in our interactions. i don't think liberals, as labeled by you or themselves, have alone taken up with name calling, personal assaults (who cares where we work?), or the arguing of non-points. my suggestion was directed to us all and i'll not have you make even my hopes for mature polite discussions into a political jab.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

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