Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina response rant, part two

Okay, maybe not a rant, but certainly some more complaints to levy here.

First of all, let's dispense with the bullshit being shoveled out by the White House. Flood control...not a priority (notice that Scottie always says whatever disaster happens was a top priority for them, shades of Ziegler). FEMA responded well....not at all. It took them days to get there, when you have stories of Duke students driving in a Hyundai to rescue people, and all the supplies that were kept out by National Guardsmen on orders from DHS, that means FEMA did jackshit.

Let's continue. The story came out today that Navy helicopter pilots were reprimanded by their commanders for rescuing civilians and deviating from delivering relief supplies to a military base!!! May I remind these imbeciles that the supplies don't mean a damn thing if the people aren't alive to use them! They saved people, and they got reprimanded! What kind of assholes are running this operation?! Oh, yeah, the Bush kind. The same kind of people who keep firefighters from rescuing people so they can be part of a photo op to try and make the ineptitude disappear.

NBC was full of crap for banning Kanye West's remarks from the West Coast. Why is it that people in the West are somehow seen as undeserving of seeing what the East and Midwest sees? "Well, it's on tape delay, so let's get it out so the mean White House doesn't yell at us." Then again, they also took out Ashlee Simpson's meltdown last year, so maybe NBC just likes to cover things up.

And gee, why is it that the first rebuilding contract has already gone to HALLIBURTON?! Haven't these people fucked up the Iraq job enough? Must we have them fuck up some stateside bases too? Isn't it obvious by now that there is some cronyism going on, that this one company gets a ton of no-bid contracts, and the Vice-President just happened to be their CEO before becoming VP?

After 9/11, despite the dangers, there were rescue people present right away. After Florida got battered with hurricanes last year, Dubya was right there with a massive effort for brother Jeb. However, when poor, black folks in New Orleans are drowning under 20 feet of water, the Red Cross is kept out , civilian rescuers are kept out, and FEMA takes three fucking days to get down there! Why, Mr. President? Why were you so quick to help your brother but not thousands of poor people? Isn't one of the core beliefs of Christianity to love and help thy neighbor? Isn't one of the tenets of all religions charity to the impoverished? Didn't Jesus say help those as you would help yourself, and the least among us should be treated with kindness and respect? Didn't he, Mr. Man of God? You claim to be so religious, and so in touch with our Lord, and yet you were here in California, talking about fucking Medicare to senior citizens while people DIED! At some point, isn't there a point where you have a conscience, where you say, "Hey, it's time to stop vacationing and get my ass to Washington and making things better?"

I'm not going to sit here and call him a coke addict or a drunk or say he's part of the Bush crime family. I don't believe that, and that gets us away from the cold, hard truth. This president either saw no political gain (which the KROQ morning show skit yesterday suggested) or simply is so out of touch, so detached, so preoccupied with what's important to him that he forgot his duty is to the nation, to the very least of us, and to lead. After 9/11, he gave an impassioned, wonderful set of speeches and showed some leadership. After a disaster that likely will have killed five to ten times as many as 9/11, he has given tepid, warmed-over, laundry lists of actions without some real emotion.

I'm still disgusted, and I lay every death that occured from Monday on at the steps of the White House. You failed us again, Mr. President.


Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

Come on, you're smarter than this.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Thad said...

I am smart. I'm also pissed off, and maybe I'm setting aside one for the other, but given that Mr. Brownie just resigned, maybe I'm not that far off either.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Thad said...

Okay, let me just point this out. Both Bush 41 and 43 stayed out on vacation after massive hurricane catastrophes. Dubya, on Monday, was about 30 minutes from me in Rancho Cuchomonga giving a speech on Medicare, and I don't want to hear this "dodged a bullet" crap. That probably pissed me off more than anything else, because last year, he couldn't get to Florida fast enough with proper help. Asking the questions I did are not out of line, and aren't dumb. Compare the response times. Something figured in there, probably politics, and it's disgusting. It's the one thing I would impeach him for, and apparently, a professor at the Hoover Institute agrees with me. So, just consider that one, will you?

11:48 AM  
Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

Okay, the Hoover institute? Thats about as non-partisan as say, Cato. Dubya wasn't on vaca (i hate when people say that. They basically move the operation to Crawford. There's nothing different between what he does at the White House other than he wears jeans and a cowboy hat) when it happened, and the federal response was pretty much the same as what the federal response ALWAYS is. Brownie was a scapegoat because people were calling for blood, but the fed is slow, its GOVERNMENT. Most of the time, you have an effective local government that starts the first wave of response so that when the government gets there, things are under control. Nagin and the governor have far more to answer for than the feds. Why weren't people evacuated (heck, if you KNOW you have poor people who can't get out, why don't you authorize buses?), why wasn't the Red Cross able to help those in the Superdome? Because the governor refused. There was a significant issue with the people who were left behind not being able to control themselves either. Who shoots as rescue helicopters? It was like a zombie movie. I covered this pretty extensively in the first few days. I got royally pissed, too, but not because nobody was helping those in NOLA. They had a serious issue with helping themselves, too. And Bush didn't decrease funding from the levees, he increased it, more than Clinton or any predecessor ever did. NOLA refused to make the levees any taller. Environmental groups fought it. Heck, they built a city 12 feet under sea level. People are generally around 6 feet tall. Frankly someone dropped the ball.

Yes, the response was slow, and of course it should be investigated. It sucked. But government sucks. Its part of the reason I switched sides. Florida turned out different because Florida had mandatory enforced evacuations and a hurricane contingency plan. Same with New York. Both places had strong local leadership who took control and took action. NOLA didn't have that. They had a mayor and a governor who hate each other and fought with each other and laid the blame on everyone else for days. Sure the feds dropped the ball, but they did too. They were under control before the feds ever even thought about coming. Lets face it, Federal Emergency Management is an oxymoron.

A lot of people will have to answer for what happened in LA, but don't drink the Kool-Aid. The situation is bigger than a federal mishap, and from what it looks like, the feds actually responded faster in NOLA than they ever have before. The media became sharks in the water, and the reporting was incredibly irresponsible. I have never seen an instance where the media printed first and asked questions later (outside of CBS), but it happened so often in the wake of Katrina, that I will be suprised if hurricane coverage is ever the same again.

Impeach? I highly doubt it, unless doing what the federal government does is an impeachable offense. If anything, this is an argument about making government smaller. Quite obviously there are parts of the government that do nothing--DHS for example. Get rid of all this beauracracy. If there is one thing Dubya is guilty of, its making the damn thing even bigger. As for Halliburton, that is pure urban legend. Halliburton makes its money doing something no one else wants to do--cleaning up disaster areas. If they are guilty of anything its taking advantage of a capitalistic nature.

I didn't say you were dumb, I just don't think you fall for things this easily. Youre a journalist, you know that what you read in the papers isn't always the facts, and this is no different. And Kanye West, while he might have a First Amendment right, was out of line. that was an irresponsible remark, but he'll pay in the public square.

Michael Brown deserved to be fired, but I think this is far bigger than just an indictment of Bush or any of his principles.

8:53 PM  

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