Hurricane Relief, Part Two
August 29, 2006
Before the upcoming ‘Blame Bush For Hurricane KatrinaFest,’ it bears remembering that the MSM, the very privileged and highly agendized group, have a rather poor track record when it comes to reporting the truth about Katrina.
Much to the MSM’s dismay (and Anderson Cooper’s tears), there were no mass murders or rapes inside the Superdome. Malkin has more debunked myths, including a retraction by a ‘civil rights leaders’ that blacks had been forced (by white folks, of course) into cannibalism. See The American Thinker, too. The war in Iraq has no effect on the federal government’s response to Katrine- much to the dismay of the MSM. Remember the MSM outrage at the FEMA for not allowing disaster relief into the area? Well, that was another well crafted MSM fabrication.
Former Oklahoma Governor, Frank Keating, has made clear that initial disaster relief and response efforts are the responsibility of the State. He pointed out that the Federal government ‘does not have jumbo jets on standby filled with doctors’ at the ready.
Governor Keating is no danger of being misquoted, of course. The MSM would have to acknowledge his remarks, clearly remarks they find contrary to their agenda. In fact, inconvenient realities have been ignored by the MSM.
Neither George Bush or global warming caused Katrina. Devastating hurricanes have been around for a lot longer than the internal combustion engine and biggie size fries, those great enemies of the people.
There have been hurricanes far larger than Katrina. Many of them predated the Bush administration and secret Yale fraternities.
If global warming exacerbated Katrina, that is because global warming issues predated George Bush. In fact, if global warming did exacerbate the hurricane, it is because global warming was ignored for decades. The global warming phenomena is not Al Gore’s karma coming back to punish us. The global warming frenzied mobs need to ask why Kyoto is not applicable to the worst polluters- China, India, and Brazil.
As we have noted, emergency preparedness is not part of George Bush’s job description. It is not Mr Bush’s job to keep a list of school bus drivers, ready to call at a moment’s notice. It is not his fault that the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisiana were incompetent.
The MSM are woefully ill equipped to make the determination that the federal government was more at fault than the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Nor is the MSM responsible for blaming the administration because hospital and nursing home patients weren’t evacuated to safety. They know very well where the responsibility lies- and choose to ignore the truth.
The amount of money (mis)spent on levee construction over the last 30 years totals in the billions, at least. Where the money all went will no doubt remain a mystery. Let’s be clear. Even if the levee maintenance and reconstruction monies were reduced to zero, that in no way has any bearing on having an effective disaster/emergency preparedness plan. As we noted, if there were a real evacuation plans, hospitals, nursing homes, and the handicapped would not have been left behind to fend for themselves, as happened in New Orleans. Do the incompetent New Orleans city fathers think they can assign blame, with the help of the MSM, to the federal government for not having a plan to evacuate New Orleans hospitals and nursing homes?
It was and always has been, FEMA’s role to augment local disaster response and relief. It is not FEMA’s role to be the first responders to a disaster. That is the purview of the governor and mayors of the affected areas. As has been adequately pointed out, New Orleans and Louisiana were monumental failures in the appointed tasks as ‘guardians’ of the city and state.
No one should be surprised that if FEMA and the federal government are requested to perform what are the responsibilities of local government, it takes them a bit longer to respond. They must reconfigure their mission and plans, to accommodate the realities of their new mission- and the expectation that they must fill in for state and local officials.
The real lessons of Katrina are the spectacular ineptitude of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco were transformed into magnificent competence with the arrival of FEMA, federal aid and federal troops. As soon as the National Guard under General Honore left the area, and Ray Nagin, et al were put back in charge, reconstruction faltered or fell apart entirely. That has nothing to do with money- it has to do with planning. New Orleans and Louisiana were incompetent before Katrina and they are incompetent now. They cannot even manage to get the garbage picked up- and there is 33 billion dollars of federal aid that has yet to be spent. See The Mudville Gazette, here, for more on the fanatsyland that is New Orleans and Louisiana.
Of course, we have to look at the residents of New Orleans themselves. We noted in The Culture Of Disaster Or The NO Party To The Grave Plan,
Despite the expenditures of billion and billions of dollars in New Orleans in the hope that such a disaster might not ever happen, and the preparation of a response if the unthinkable did happen, there remained a significant number of people who never had any intention of leaving.
Some people just didn’t want to be subjected to some higher authority telling them what to do. Some people, having lived their entire lives in New Orleans, knew very well the credibility level of the people in charge and were smart enough to take anything they heard with a grains of salt…
It isn’t as if New Orleans were a geographically remote location. It isn’t as if New Orleans citizens didn’t understand the inevitability of a massive storm. On the face of it, New Orleans should have been one of the most disaster prepared cities in the world. Instead, it was one of the most complacent.
In fact, preparedness took a back seat to corruption, greed and dirty politics.
The weatherman says a storm is coming? Let’s go down to the French Quarter and party! Let’s go down to the liquor store and load up- have the neighbors over! This is New Orleans- party time!
There was never a culture of disaster preparedness. If there were, the citizens of New Orleans would have better heeded the warnings. Why were liquor stores allowed to remain open? Why was the French Quarter a hub of hurricane party activity? It was up to the city and state to impress upon people the importance of hurricane preparedness…
Rather than meet at the French Quarter to party, New Orleans residents needed to meet at school parking lots, to follow an established evacuation program.
Clearly, there is more to talk about than George Bush.
Had every single National Guard soldier been preplaced in New Orleans prior to the storm, the levees (victim of decades of Democrat neglect and fraud) would have failed.
Had every single National Guard soldier been preplaced in New Orleans, the 1100 buses would still not have been used to evacuate a single resident. Those buses were an integral part of the New Orleans city and state
Had every single National Guard soldier been preplaced in New Orleans, the Superdome would not have provided any better shelter than it did. Despite being a part of the state disaster plan, and then being designated a Katrina disaster shelter a shelter two days before the storm hit, New Orleans was unable to provide even the water the state plan called for. Presumably, the non existent water supplies were managed by the same democrats that oversaw the construction and repairs of the levees.
The 1997 flooding of the Red River- the floods that drowned Fargo, ND and tens of other communities, began at the end of March, 1997. The official response came on May 28, 1997. Clearly, the FEMA response to the New Orleans disaster under this administration, was far better than the response of the previous administration.
There is no doubt that many who chose to ‘ride out’ the storm will revisit that decision for a long time to come. That said, the poorest citizens of New Orleans were betrayed three times by their local government. Firstly, the was almost a week’s notice of the impending disaster. There could have been an orderly evacuation and transition. There were no efforts made to assist these poorer residents with an evacuation. Second, the evacuation orders and warning that came 24 hours in advance of the storm were also not accompanied by any directions or efforts to make that evacuation easier or more comprehensible. ‘Get Out!’ is not an acceptable disaster plan. Lastly, there was no community based disaster plan in place.
Every school and business has fire drills. Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Personnel have emergency preparedness drills.
In every Midwestern city and town, when the sirens or klaxon’s sound during tornado season, people know where to go and what to do. They know where the shelters are and families prearranged meeting places. Relief supplies are prepositioned and are available at a moment’s notice. These plans are available to the whole community, across the economic spectrum.
Imagine a city like Harrisburg PA, in close proximity to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, not having a community disaster and evacuation plan. Imagine other cities, near other nuclear power plants or dams, not having a disaster and evacuation plan.
Harrisburg, PA is far less likely to experience a disaster than The City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana was to experience devastating hurricane.
Despite flirting with disaster for decades, New Orleans and the State of Louisiana could not be bothered to put a coherent disaster plan into effect.
Last installment, later.