Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina's Political Aftermath

There are folks out there that are trying to deflect any accountability from the President, the White House and the folks that directly answer to him, and shift it all to the local authorities and even the thousands of people left to die in the streets of New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Right wing propaganda that the Governor of Louisiana didn’t cede authority, didn’t call for help, refused help, and a myriad of other ‘red-tape’ excuses have been clearly debunked with actual documentation on blogs throughout cyber-space.

That’s not to say that the local authorities, including the Governor and the mayor of New Orleans should bear none of the responsibility – they should and, no doubt, they will. But for the far right wing political machine to try to spin this so that none of the toxic sludge drifting in the aftermath of Katrina sticks to them is unconscionable, though predictable.

For shame.

Bush declared it a Federal Emergency on Saturday night, the 27th. At that point, he took on the responsibility that the right wing nutjobs are trying to deflect onto the locals. It's ridiculous to think that anyone should have expected the Federal government, the Bush administration, and FEMA to take a back seat and just see how well the locals do after Bush recognized and declared it a Federal Emergency.

Long before that 'official' declaration that his administration in the Federal Government was sending the cavalry, FEMA should have been able to anticipate the needs and ramped up for them. They should have been able to see the need coming. After all, they were given the information required to make informed decisions and plan for it. Then again, the President had folded FEMA up into the larger, bureaucratic, red-tape ridden, largely ineffective Department of Homeland Security, and perhaps it was too much to ask of them to see to the actual security of actual Americans faced with an actual homeland disaster.

In any case, FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the administration had plenty of models of the levees breeching from a big storm, and 100,000 poor people not being able to get out on their own. Those model and scenarios predicted long before Katrina had ever been heard of that without Federal aid, exactly THIS kind of catastrophe would happen (such as simulation hurricane Pam a year ago, that FEMA was involved with, and a CD of it was sent to the director of FEMA and the Bush administration). But it was ignored as just more chatter from those pesky scientists and the left wing doom-and-gloomers that continue to be met by this administration's Teflon shield of ignorance.

The head of the hurricane department at Louisiana State University, who did that study, reported to Tim Russert that he called FEMA on that Saturday or Sunday saying that they were going to have hundreds of thousands of evacuees and that they needed a giant tent city set up immediately outside of NO to absorb them, or they're going to die in the streets. He says he was told by FEMA that "Americans don't sleep in tents."

This administration has supposedly been planning for an adequate emergency response to the next disaster zone in America ever since 9/11. They burned into our brains that the question was not "if" but "when", and they threatened that if anyone other than Bush was at the helm, there'd be untold numbers of dead Americans in the streets. They sold us the Department of Homeland security with the promise that the 'next one' would be better dealt with because they'd HAVE preparation, they'd HAVE communication, they'd HAVE command and control in place, they'd HAVE a plan, they’d HAVE the ways and means to effect that plan, and they'd HAVE an immediate and adequate response.

The people of the Gulf Coast got NONE of that. Instead, alligators are feeding on the bloated bodies of dead babies, while homeland security chief Chertoff and the rest of the right's talking heads declare that now's not the time to talk about why that is.

Isn't that what this administration always tells us? "Now" is never the time to question or investigate how and why they failed to respond to a disaster, to find WMDs, to anticipate that troops need armor, and on and on and on. Just add this to the list of things we're not supposed to question concerning the Bush administration. "We can't talk about that 'now'. We've got to keep looking 'forward'" they tell us. Forward to what, Mr. Bush? Your next fuck up?

As soon as they saw a cat 5 hurricane bearing down on NO, they should have gone into overdrive, knowing full well the implications of that scenario. The moment Bush pulled the Federal Emergency trigger, troops, trucks, trains, aircraft, busses, boats, food, water and supplies should have already been prepared, and rolled with their PLAN - a plan we were promised was in place and at the ready to deal with a major disaster in a major U.S. city.

And this wasn't even a surprise attack. They had all the warnings, the scenarios, the information, ahead of time - years ahead of time. As the threat level increased and solidified in the form of Katrina bearing down on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, this administration "stayed the coarse"; That is, they stayed on vacation, went to fundraisers, bought shoes, laughed at Monty Python skits, and watched Katrina hit the Gulf Coast like a nuclear bomb and leave an aftermath of biological destruction in the form of the toxic, putrid water that's chest high and filled with everything from rotting flesh to oil, gas, untold chemicals and more.

He wants to fight against terror? Look into the faces of those folks down there Mr. Bush, and you will see true terror as they beg for help while the rotting bodies of their loved ones float by, gnawed by rats and alligators.

Osama Bin Laden, the man Bush said he would not rest until captured or killed, then later said he wasn't really concerned with, couldn't have planned a better terror campaign than the one Bush and company watched transpire from their vacation spots. Terror they could have largely prevented with a REAL plan, with REAL preparation, with REAL concern, instead of the constant rhetoric and the shuck and jive we get instead.

American citizens all over the country, seeing this "PLAN" in action, are recoiling in horror with the realization that all those plans and promises were nothing more than campaign rhetoric and scare tactics designed to put an administration in power that has worked overtime to stuff money into corporations, outsource jobs and shit all over science, instead of working overtime on the things they promised us. It's now apparent that in case of an actual emergency, the only PLAN Bush and company have are to advise us to put our heads between our legs, and kiss our ass goodbye.

I've been watching videos and listening to audios that are surfacing all over the web in blogs like Crooks and Liars for days, and one thing is clear: Bush and company lied to us about their plans and preparations to protect us as nobody else could or would. It was all bullshit, and now they're caught in the middle of it as nearly everyone who's not a part of the right-wing propaganda machine (and even some of THEM!) exposes them for who and what they really are, including the reporters from FOX News that are actually on the scene in N.O. and surrounding areas, like Shephard Smith, who was clearly exasperated over the whole thing. Even windbag Geraldo Rivera was crying and screaming for help, while talking head Sean Hannity tried to "put it in perspective", ie: put it back in the can. News Flash for ya Sean: The water's over the bridge, and it has dead bodies in it.