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By now almost everyone has seen this; if you haven't, you need to read it in full.  Will Bunch, via Editor & Publisher:

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."

The panel authorized that money, and on July 1, 2004, it had to pony up another $250,000 when it learned that stretches of the levee in Metairie had sunk by four feet. The agency had to pay for the work with higher property taxes. The levee board noted in October 2004 that the feds were also now not paying for a hoped-for $15 million project to better shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.

(Sidney Blumenthal fleshes out a few other aspects of the history in this Salon piece, including Bush-administration-cancelled wetlands restoration and protections in the area that were designed to mitigate such disasters by providing buffer zones for storm surge and flooding.)

A lot of people are going to huff and bluster about making this disaster a political issue. Put bluntly, however, what government does and does not choose to spend money on for the essential safety of its citizens is a political issue, and a very basic one at that. The administration willfully reduced the budget for the protective levees around New Orleans to a level where even maintaining the current levee height was impossible, in order to shift that Corps money into Iraq. I'd say that's a political big deal.

Pouring guns and gold into Iraq while ignoring basic aspects of America's own domestic safety was a risk that the Bush administration was willing to take. Now the neo-cons of the administration and their tubthumping supporters have a vivid demonstration of why pumping money into Iraq combined with deficit-causing tax cuts combined with cutting basic domestic safety programs has results a bit more sanguinary than the careful spreadsheets of either Karl Rove or Grover Norquist might convey.

After 9/11, the administration was eager to put Bush at the top of the "pile", a cheap show of determination in the aftermath of disaster. Somehow, I don't think Bush standing atop one of these shattered levees and speaking through a bullhorn to the citizens of New Orleans would have the same effect right now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 05:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is what the front page is for (4.00)
    Seriously. This affects us all, it's as political as 9.11, but there's no face for the posters.

    let's find those faces.

    Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

    by mdhatter on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 05:57:21 PM PDT

    •  ...and the front page of all newspaper! (4.00)
      Some people say now is not the time to politicize it, but the time to discuss it will come sooner or later.
      We all have an angle to comment on Bush mishandling our preparedness, our environment, our national guard, etc.

      So bookmark these tips to Write Letters to the Editors that have more chances of getting published (the tips include a link to the Media Database to find local papers to target), and pass the link around, too.

      We need to push our media to cover this (whether it's now during the tragedy or after it calms down). Make no mistake, they will cover what their readers want to read. So let's tell them what we want to read!

      •  BUSH made it a political issue (4.00)
        •  The mergency operations chief for (4.00)
          Jefferson parish just took a dig dump on the fact that they do not have enough national guard troops -- he said they are in Iraq and not where they shoould be. He sounded really pissed.
          Aaron Brown did his best to shut him up, but it was clear the chief was on a roll.

          How come every time someone complains on CNN, the anchor shuts them up? Everyone except Anderson changes the subject as soon as people start complaining in interviews.

          It's weired.

          •  should have previewed (none)
            make that emergency, should and weird. Now Aaron Brown has the Republican senator for Louisiana
            excusing the slow response.Critics aren't allowed.David Vitter is saying how great the fed. response has been.
      •  And radio, too (4.00)
        Call your conservative radio station and make them shoot you down on air.  If you are lucky enough to live in a land of liberal radio, call a national show.  Make the RWCM go on record as supporting these cuts.

        I called Milwaukee's powerhouse afternoon drive time wingnut and he put me right on.  "You're blaming a hurricane on Bush?!"  No, but I am blaming him for cutting the funds to prepare for it by 80%.  The breach happened at the spot that they have beentrying to repair for 5 years, but funding cuts slowed them down.  Any guesses what his response was?  

        BLAME CLINTON.  "Why didn't Bill Clinton do anything about it?"  He did.  The funding was there until GWB cut it in order to fund tax cuts and an unnecessary war.  And I would like it if a Republican could go 5 minutes without citing Bill Clinton as their example of what is acceptable behavior.  Plus, they are almost always wrong on the facts.

        I managed to toss in a few words about the lack of equipment for the National Guard and the absurdity of having them in Iraq where they are not doing us any good at all.

        He sputtered, and shouted and ridiculed me no end.  But maybe, just maybe, a few listeners will look for evidence to debunk me.  And maybe, just maybe, a few might be intellectually honest enough to change their minds and begin to fly Old Glory above the elephant.

        Meet them on their ground and shout it out loud and strong.  Preaching to the choir is easy, but it won't convert the heathens.

    •  Internal migration (4.00)
      The United States is currently undergoing the greatest refugee crisis in its history. In the weeks and months to come, the story of Katrina is going to shift, and we are all going to be talking about how and where 1.5 million people (or however many) will begin making their new lives.

      To the extent that New Orleans is rebuilt, some will return. Others will begin lives elsewhere - and ultimately, the story of Katrina will ultimately be about people trying to rebuild their lives, be it in New Orleans or somewhere else throughout the United States.

      It may seem trite right now, but if we're going to talk about politics, I can't help but think about where all of those wonderfully loyal Democratic voters in New Orleans will go, and what this means politically if they are about to scatter to some extent throughout the country.

  •  We're all over these things in the diary (none)
    We're building a record demonstrating a dereliction of duty, gross negligence and culpability now: Lake New Orleans is Bush's Fault.

    DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

    by DWCG on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 05:58:09 PM PDT

    •  Still no mention in the RWCM (none)
      I've been watching for 4 hours, with increasing horror. The RWCM refuses to discuss the shrub administrations' very real responsibility for this catastrophe. NO MENTION WHATSOEVER.
      •  This is where you need (none)
        Lightnin' Rod Howie.  Say what you will about Howard Dean and his predisposition to "shoot from the lip," but it's this type of situation that begs for him or someone like him to just come out and say this out loud.  The press would nail him, the Reps would laugh and bluster, the Dems would flap their hands and "oh dear" themselves to sleep.  And before you all know it, the topic would be front and center - chewed, mulled, ripped and shredded by anyone who has an opinion.

        It needs to be out there and, for the first time, I wish The Chairman wasn't wearing the muzzle of the DNC.

        There's a chorus line of monkeys holding their hands over their eyes and ears somewhere in all of this... ~ Melody Townsel

        by CJB on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:18:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My mother is flipping over this (none)
        When I showed her this story, she got a look in her eye that I haven't seen since the police brought me home when I was 14. "Why isn't that on the g*d-damn TV!?" she screamed.

        Remember O.J. Simpson?
        Remember Michael Jackson?
        Remember Baby Jessica?

        For that matter, remember 9/11?

        I came home yesterday and all the networks were in "Life is Beautiful" mode. This morning, while I'm listening in horror at the scenes of destruction on the radio, CBS was showing the "Price is Right" and NBC was remembering Princess Diana.

        All this while my favorite place to go in the whole world, my second home, is experiencing a Biblical flood of epic proportions. They didn't even bother to put up a crawl on the bottom of the screen. It's as if New Orleans were a part of Mexico to them.

        I just don't know what to say. My whole life has changed in the last two days, and it's just business as usual to the networks.

        We have ONE MILLION REFUGEES spread out all over the South. America needs to be a part of this.

      •  May be too soon yet (none)
        This disaster is still unfolding. I've been watching mostly CNN and Keith O. on MSNBC, and they're mostly focusing on the victims and on-the-scene reporting. I don't think the Big Picture is in sight yet. People are just fighting to stay alive.

        I think, in time, the whole story will come out. I hope so, anyway. I can't believe that Bush will escape accountability here. But I've been wrong about that before. <sigh>

    •  Bush and Gang... (none)
      the biggest LOOTERS of all!
  •  not to mention (4.00)
    the thousands of able bodied military reserve stuck in the quaqmire of Iraq, (or dead or injured already) who could be pitching in for a real homeland security matter, in the homeland.

    Fuckers.

    •  You (4.00)
      ain't seen nothing yet. Right now Rove is trying to figure out how to link NOLA with Social Security cuts.

      Bush "To pay for the clean up efforts I've instituted a temporary moratorium on entitlement programs and we are writing the New Orelans Relief Act that I'm going to ask Congress to pass quickly without any partisan bikcering. Now is not the time to be trying to earn political capital on the backs of the sufferieng. Farm subsidies, some social programs, will not be changed, but they will not be increased as planned until this is behind us. Everyone must sacrifice for this tragedy affects us all. You're either for Big Easy or you're a'in em!'"

      O'Rielly "President Bush has the cajones to what it takes to help the people in NOLA out and some people don't like that it might cut them off from the government nipple ..."

      Sean Hannity "No it's true, this funds will not be changed, this is justa  temporary freeze until we take care of the disaster. We all have to pitch in and help the good people of New Awlins ..."

      Colmbes "Of course you have to get the money form SOMEWHERE! You either take care of this tragedy and save babies form dying or you don't. Evryone has to chip in just  alittle, just a tiny bit. You're either for New Orelans or you're against them ..."

      Rush Limbaugh "Folks I dunno about you, but I'm FOR New Orelans ..."

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:08:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  watch 'em (none)
        pull a military draft out of their "homeland security" hat too.  "Cause we need all the manpower we can get"

        ....and when we're 25% done in New Orleans, it's Tehran and Pyongyang or bust dammit!

      •  maybe its time to repeal the Bush's (4.00)
        tax cuts for the top 1% percent aka pioneers and rangers. To pay for the clean-up of NOLA..
      •  Well done. (none)
        I got chills when I read this.  I heard they've already cut environmental controls to help get the oil companies "back on their feet".  Now all we need is the no-bid Halliburton contract and the "Gulf Coast Recovery Act" that will get rid of social security, lower taxes for the top of the trickle down pool (because if they have more money, they might hire you to do nothing), all the while preserving the pork from the transportation bill where Congressmen are taking hundreds of billions of dollars home for aesthetic remodels of infrastructure.

        I don't agree that it will be the "New Orleans Relief Act". Too many righties would be talking about Sodom and Gamorrah if the hurricane hadn't hit   dozens of towns down there.

        A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

        by Webster on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 08:25:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Damn (none)
    straight. I recall the last time we trusted these guys to do the right thing and politicize a tragedy. Not gonna do that again.

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 05:59:13 PM PDT

  •  We told you so. (4.00)
    Jesus H. Christ: How many more times are we going to have to say it to wake people the fuck up?

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

    by Volvo Liberal on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 05:59:24 PM PDT

  •  This sounds "historical in nature" (4.00)
    Can't you be more specific?

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

    by Volvo Liberal on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:00:15 PM PDT

  •  Heartbreaking -- and Maddening! (none)
    This editorial on the front page of the Biloxi newspaper, the Sun Herald, is mortifying on several levels.

    http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/special_packages/hurricane_katrina/12526270.htm

    These people are in dire straits. But what struck me the most was this passage:

    "On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.

    Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!

    When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.

    Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster."

    Unreal. Simply unreal. Donald Rumsfeld's military at its finest yet again.

  •  the GOP talking point seems to be (4.00)
    that if a real Cat 5 had hit, even upgraded levees wouldn't have stopped the flooding, so the expenditure would have been useless.

    To which the obvious response is: if the sun goes nova, we're all toast no matter what we do.  That doesn't make preparing for lesser disasters stupid.  We didn't get a cat 5, we got something that could have been mitigated enormously had the levees been strengthened according to plan.

  •  Not a political issue (none)
    I was coming out an underground garage this evening at my gym around 7:30 EST and the radio was still on NPR from a couple of hours earlier.  It was a talk show and I thought somehow I had the wrong station, but the guy was asking a question about NO and saying,'but of course it's not a political issue'.  The respondent then said something to the effect that the money to raise the levees had gone to Iraq, and before she could elaborate, the moderate on what I later learned is 'Open Source' literally cut her off.  Too much politics, I guess.  I turned the radio off immediately, so I don't know what happened after.  I assumed it was just another aspect of the right-wing take-over of NPR.  Maybe not.  But what struck in my mind was the first comment -- that somehow it is illegitimate to treat government actions as 'political' questions.  What that really means is, criticism of the Bush government is illegitimately 'political'.

    This has got to stop.

  •  Congressional hearings? (4.00)
    Should we call for congressional hearings on the diversion of emergency preparedness funds to the war in Iraq?

    Can states sue to force the return of the National Guard, arguing that the prolonged overseas deployment represents a sort of stealth tax on states and localities? I am not a lawyer, but I would like to know.

    •  Congressional hearings (none)
      Tonight at a town meeting I asked Congressman David Price (D-NC) about holding congressional hearings on how money was budgeted and then cut from the levee project and I got a lecture on how the government budget system works. He said that money wasn't diverted from one thing to another but that priorities were set then funded. I was more than a little disappointed. But he said that if I had specific information that monies were reduced from the levee project, he'd like to see it. So I gave him my copy of the Attywood article that I brought with me.

      http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/002331.html

  •  This is sickening (none)
    I am so sick and tired of subsidizing murder & mayhem in Iraq, Hummers, crooked corporate executives, and McMansions, only to turn around and watch them do absolutely nothing when the poorest and most vulnerable (thanks to the maldistribution of wealth in this horrible horrible approaching 3rd world standards country) get washed out to sea.

    Where is the fucking democratic leadership?  All I've heard from them is reminders to donate to the Red Cross.  DUH.

    •  There's plenty of time (none)
      To do finger-pointing.  This won't fall out of the news, and it won't quickly fade from memory.  Pictures of people coming back to New Orleans to see what's left of their homes will be in the papers months from now.  And there's a value to using all our leaders' time and energy on more urgent things right now.  

      On the other hand, there's no harm in us bloggers getting these thoughts down on 'paper' (?) and out there in cyberspace right now.  It may make some points impossible to ignore in the congressional hearings that will likely happen some day.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better.

      by david78209 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bring in the cavalry for chrissakes! (none)
        I want to see someone act like a leader.  Somebody in the whole wide world has to step up to the goddamn plate and start leading.  This is crazy.  I want the dems to start doing some goddamn thing besides telling us to donate to the red cross.  Say something!  Organize prayer vigils at least.  
      •  how long did it take us (none)
        to break the D.S.M. into the m.$.m., we need to start NOW! for christ sake n.p.r. is hanging up on this info, we are in for a fight. this info.is on lock down. time for a info. war! get it out! political? bu$hco just cost america 1000s upon 1000s of lives. fuck political.
    •  There is a picture that summed this up perfectly. (none)
      I am hoping someone remembers enough of the details to help me find this (been Googling with no luck):

      About half a year ago, someone ran a story about the loose auditing of reconstruction money in Iraq. The article contained an interview with a contractor who laughed about playing football with a shrink-wrapped brick of $100 bills. A snapshot of the contractor handling the brick at his desk accompanied the article.

      I'm thinking that photo (if we can find it) next to a photo of a levee that failed for lack of a few million dollars would make a powerful statement.

      Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

      by Olds88 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:20:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's hoping... (none)
    ....that every single goddam newspaper in America uses this disaster to take a real in-depth look into their own backyards to really identify how prepared their region is to deal with an emergency and what funds are not available because of the War in Iraq. Literally every single newspaper in the country should be working on such pieces. If so, it could be the death knell for this godforsaken feral administration....

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

    by Volvo Liberal on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:03:43 PM PDT

    •  re: here's hoping (none)
      Too damn right.  I thought about this on the way to work this morning: what are my elected representatives at every level doing to ensure I'm safe in case of an emergency.  The disaster in N.O. makes the case that it's probably not enough.  Time to get in contact with people and find out for ourselves...
  •  Great story, Hunter, (none)
    but I don't think "sanguine" is the word you're reaching for. Or maybe you mean less sanguine?

    The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

    by pastordan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:04:09 PM PDT

  •  King (none)
    I hate Larry "useless" King, but he just read some of this report on the air.  He asked Landrieu about it and she basically dodged.  Damn it.  

    Meet me in Cognito, baby

    by out grrl on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:04:18 PM PDT

    •  Just a scaredycrat, (none)
      seemingly showing that conditioned response, as usual?  If this disaster doesn't show the Dems how important it is to connect the dots for the American people (hello?  was this a campaign issue last year?), NOTHING will.
  •  Thanks Hunter... (4.00)
    And let me plug my two diaries on this topic:

    One is specifically directed at ideas aimed at HELPING: Hurricane Homestay Program

    and the other specifically aimed at the The lickspittle sycophants that you so artfully refer to as "Tubthumpers"...

    Oh, and to Thomas over at RedState and John Cole at Balloon Juice, here's the problem: you keep saying that the levees were designed for a Cat 3 hurricane, and Katrina was a strong Cat 4...

    But the levees are not designed for WINDS, they are designed for FLOODS and WAVES and SURGES.

    The strength of the hurricane is based on WINDSPEED.

    And the design-specs are based on models of predicted storm surges from storms of a given strength.

    Now, the design specs of those levees was for a surge of how many feet?

    And the actual surge was how many feet?

    Seems to me that the Katrina surge in Ponchartrain was less than both the predicted surge height AND less than the design specs for the levees.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:04:45 PM PDT

    •  I'm not exactly sure how the logic goes. (none)
      They basically are saying that it's OK Bush reduced the programs to protect New Orleans to a trickle, because hey -- those folks might've died anyway. So these programs are useless!  So no harm done!

      I think the same logic should be used the next time Thomas' car needs brakes. Why the hell bother fixing them? That costs serious bling!

      I mean, sure, going down one particular hill he might be able to stop in time, or he might not be able to stop in time -- but hey, that hill was going to happen sooner or later, so what's the harm?  And shouldn't America be willing to take the risk Thomas won't ever find himself going down a hill?

      I sure as hell know I, for one, am willing to take that risk. Give it a try, Thomas, let us know how it works out for ya!

      •  let them prove their theories... (none)
        ...on THEMSELVES.  Their sudden laissez-faire, devil-may-care theories about safety, that is.

        "I sure as hell know I, for one, am willing to take that risk."

        I'm personally willing to risk the lives of John Cole, the entire Red State bunch, each and every knuckle-dragging Freeper, and those doughy rightwing fops over at the Corner to see if their remarkable new theory works.  Try it, boys!   See what happens when banish any and all reasonable safety precautions in your lives.  Please, please do!   The world is waiting to see how the Invisible Hand will treat you.

    •  the levvee survived the hurricane (none)
      It didn'yt fail till the actual even was done and gone

      it ain't the hurricane, it's the water

      you could argue about the differing size of the storm surge in a catagory 3 or catagory 4 hurricane, but that doesn't change the fact that the funds were cut, and the work wasn't done because of the funding cuts

      arguing the amount of water isn't a defense for failure to act, nuff said

  •  Telling.... (none)
    Look at the faces of the Governors of LA and MS. Look at the faces of New Orleans's Mayor and Sen. Landrieu, et. al. They look absolutely shell-shocked, and rightly so.

    Look at the face of Bush. He looks like someone just told him a man in New Orleans had fallen and skinned his knee.

    I'll let a psychiatrist sort it out.

  •  Avian flu could be worse (4.00)
    If the 'perfect storm' variant of the avian flu virus happens to pop up soon, we could have a pandemic with millions of deaths in the US alone.  

    From all I can tell, Dubya hasn't troubled his beautiful mind about flu any more than he did about hurricane safety.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better.

    by david78209 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:05:50 PM PDT

    •  I can stomach someone bringing up... (none)
      ...Bush's failures to fund New Orleans if they promise to tie his administration's failure to stock up on vaccines for the bird flu because they never plan for anything.  Heck, throw 9/11 in there just for the fun of it, why don't ya? ;-)

      "Make the truth your litmus test."

      by independentchristian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:11:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Worst President Ever (4.00)
    I'm in Memphis, TN, and we have thousands of refugees here. Most of them are probably never going to leave. They came here looking for somewhere to stay for a few days, and now they have nowhere else to go. Our city is mobilizing to try and find a long term place for them to stay, but for now, there are only individuals helping one another. We are doing the best we can, but we need federal help.

    To add to all of this, the city has become rife with gas thieves in the last month. I lost a qurter of a tank last night, filled up today at $2.85, and now the gas in my tank increased in value by ten dollars in a few hours. One station is charging $3.45, and I heard that in Atlanta it has gone as high as $6.00. I just searched every auto parts store for five miles, and all of them are sold out of locking gas caps.

    I'm going to be spending the entire night watching the parking lot with a rifle because I couldn't get a gas cap lock and I want to still have a full tank of gas when I have to go to work in the morning.

    I feel like Mike Malloy right now. I cannot express how much I hate this man. All of our good jobs have left town for Asia. I've been barely subsiting under Bush, and now this!?

    HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF A MAJOR AMERICAN CITY

    Think about that for a moment. Let it sink all the way in to the back of your brain. There will be no more Mardis Gras, thanks to Bush.

  •  Bush is worried about the hurricane... (4.00)
    He truly is. But it's also important for him to go on with his life... to keep a balanced life. When Bush pretends to play guitar at a photo op, or when he falls off of his bicycle, it's just his way of showing that he cares.
    •  His $3000 bike (none)
      How many people couldn't evacuate because they didn't own a car or have the money to buy gas?

      How much would $3000 help a family that no longer has a home?

      But alas, dubya keeps a balanced life and has a mother with a beautiful mind.

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by Cordelia Lear on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:38:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  bike's nothing (none)
        at least he could sell it on eBay.  Wanna whine, whine about your tax dollars funding his very expensive plane trips to raise money for...Katrina's victims?  Nope, for his GOP cronies.
  •  Well, it's pretty clear Bush did not make (3.25)
    protecting N.O. a priority in spite of the risk.  However, he did make it abundantly clear that for him a second term meant Iraq or bust.  The people of Louisiana knew what Bush wanted to do in a second term and voted to re-elect him overwhelmingly.  I'll bet even today, Bush is still relatively popular in the state, even among those who concede that his government failed to protect Southeast Louisiana.  

    In his campaign, John Kerry repeatedly pointed to Bush's failures to have the proper budget priorities.  Kerry underscored the cost of Bush's tax cuts for US domestic priorities, including homeland security, natural disaster response, education, health care and environmental protection.  He also attacked Bush for the failure to equip troops adequately and for not providing enough troops to do the job in Iraq. He also made explicit reference to Bush's unconscionable use of the National Guard for combat operations in Iraq and for instituting a back door draft.  Yet, despite these fine and prescient arguments, the people of Louisiana thought Bush shared their values and voted for him.  I guess putting gays back in the closet was more important than having a competent leader who could make proper budget choices and policy decisions.

    This hurricane would've happened regardless of the Nov. 2004 election result.  However, I think it's pretty clear that a Democratic administration would've been far more responsive to instituting preventative measures to minimize the impact of a predicted natural disaster.  Bush, on the other hand, made it clear that such actions were not among his priorities.  

    Sometimes when you vote, you get what you get.  As Bill Clinton said in his address to the Democratic Convention in 2000:  "choose wisely".  

    •  This is not helpful (4.00)
      New Orleans voted blue.

      As if that matters.

      Only the White Man can profit from pain -- Chris Rock

      by Karl the Idiot on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:35:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mississippi did not (none)
        Not that it matters, though..

        I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

        by Volvo Liberal on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:00:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not all of Mississippi... (none)
          If you look on the red-blue maps by county, Mississippi has plenty of blue counties. It also has two democratic congressmen; one very conservative (Gene Taylor), but the other a member of the Progressive Caucus (Bennie Thompson), of which most of the democratic counties are part.
      •  I wasn't talking about N.O. I was talking about (none)
        the entire state.  N.O. has always been a loyal Democratic stronghold, and it saddens me to see any Louisianan or American (whether Republican or Democrat) suffer from such a horrible disaster.  The point I was trying to make is that Louisianans should have given more weight when selecting a President to the things a President actually does on a day to day basis (e.g., manage crises, allocate budgets, manage the armed forces) rather than whether a certain candidate is more outwardly anti-gay than another.  In my view, Kerry would've handled this whole thing a lot better than Bush has, and that there was more than enough information available for Louisianans to arrive at that very conclusion before they cast a vote last November, '04.  I don't think that is a controversial statement, especially to those who write on this blog.

        I think if one looked just at the issues, a majority of Louisianans would've agreed that Kerry offered the better agenda for their state:  in terms of jobs, tax priorities, budget priorities, homeland security, and the war in Iraq.  Bush clearly offered nothing.  After all, Louisiana has a great populist tradition and voted for Clinton twice. However, rather than consider what was in the best interests of the state of Louisiana, they voted mainly on cultural issues. I think that is unfortunate, and having Bush in charge in 2005 had real consequences for the people of southeast Lousiana as others have noted on this blog.

  •  I agree... (none)
    but fear that making Katrina a political issue may backfire. I imagine many want to look at the tragedy as just that, a tragedy, then grieve and move on. Once fingers start pointing at Bush (or anyone), I think people will start to view Democrats as petty.

    Personally, I agree that the catastrophe is political inasmuch as where our government's priorities lay. But it is unlike 9/11 and Iraq, where we are involved in foreign relations. The tragedy here implicates our failures on the domestic front. Accordingly, when people start pointing fingers at Bush, the Right (led by Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) will respond that Clinton didn't do enough to minimize Katrina's impact either.

    Personally, I hope the catastrophe is used in a politically constructive manner. I hope it is used as the basis for a discussion about where our future priorities should lie.

    "Oh, how I miss the days of Monica Lewinsky..."

    by LawSkoolPunk on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:09:03 PM PDT

    •  timidity won't help anybody (4.00)
      Bush increased the likelihood of major disaster through his specific policy (and therefore political) actions.  it is inherently a political issue.

      Americans don't back the timid.  see the recent posts on MyDD about poll results showing that Bush and GOP approval drops haven't resulted in Dem gains.  this is coupled with results showing that people want the Democrats to be outspoken.

      Bush made choices that screwed New Orleans--political choices for which he should be made accountable.  over the last few days, he's made other choices regarding the political image the face of the government should show regarding this crisis--mighty poor ones.

      this isn't just about a single avoidable event, either.  he's made other political choices that have screwed port security in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, etc.--we just haven't been bit in the ass by those choices, yet.

      •  I agree... (none)
        But, to the extent they are vocal about policy failures against terrorists, in Iraq, Social Security, Global Warming (which is related to Katrina), illegal aliens, gas prices, privacy rights, Corporate handouts, and everything else under the kitchen sink. But, I would stay away from Katrina. I think its such a tragedy that will do more harm than good if discussed as one of Bush's political failures (though his actions are clearly a failure).

        "Oh, how I miss the days of Monica Lewinsky..."

        by LawSkoolPunk on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:57:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, please (4.00)
          That's exactly what we said about 9/11.  We took the high road while Bush crawled through the gutter all the way to re-election.

          Politicize the fuck out of this. It's going to backfire on us either way, so if we're going down we might as well drag the asshole in the White House down with us.

          •  I agree... (none)
            if Bush can change his tune from WMD's to 9/11 regarding Iraq, then all bets are truly off in making Katrina a political issue!  Bush keeps saying we are fighting the terrorists there so we don't fight them here, well he didn't plan for weather terror at all now did he?...there is no way to engage an hurricane elsewhere so it doesn't fall on the US.  BUT he didn't provide the necessary money to prevent destruction and death and mayhem right here at home!
    •  disagree completely (4.00)
      He needs to be nailed for this.   And hard.
    •  Bush gambled with the lives (4.00)
      and property of the citizens of New Orleans and lost.
      He is depending on people like you to keep politics out of it.
  •  Now, look... (none)
    ...if God is determined to smite homosexuals in New Orleans, it would be the height of blasphemy to interfere in any way with his divine plan.  And that includes building levees of ungodliness.

    Far better, then, to use our hard-earned tax dollars to kill heathens in Iraq.  For as Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Especially the part six feet under!  Take that, fucker!  Go get your own goddam loaves and fishes, ya lazy bastard -- these are mine!"

    Amen.

    •  Consider the fact that God had zero... (none)
      ...to do with this or 9/11, I'm frankly sick and tired of hearing people blaming it on God.

      Someone from Europe said that God did this to America because of our policies at the present time.

      Anti-abortionists say God did it because of abortion.  Is the United States the only country that commits abortions?  I would think that China's one child policy would have wiped them off of the face of the planet by now if abortion had anything to do with it.

      I lean towards the belief that we are actually still living in the "seventh day," and God is resting for the most part, and nearly everything that happens does so not necessarily because God "wants" it to happen, but simply because he chooses not to intervene in most things just yet.

      "Make the truth your litmus test."

      by independentchristian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:08:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Er, I was being ironic... (none)
        ...other than that, I totally agree with you.  I think it the height of blasphemy to assume that an intelligence as vast as the one the created this universe must be should share the pettiness of these particular people.

        Plus I'm pretty sure God was punishing Mississippi for electing Haley Barbour and New Orleans was just collateral damage...

      •  lol (none)
        :)  I love that.

        I got the image of God sitting back in his recliner, watching a Sunday afternoon football game ... and he's not checking emails and he's letting the phone go over to voice mail.  :)

        After creating a universe, I can't bitch if he's takin a day off.

        •  this could just be a lunch break (none)
          if the entire world's history were compressed into a day's time, humans would appear at 30 seconds to midnight

          this could just be God's morning smoke break

          I hope he remembered to punch in today

  •  The turds were blaming Clinton (4.00)
    for 9/11 within hours of that catastrophe. I remember orrin hatch on TV blaming Clinton the very same day! Politicize it? HELL YEAH

    Unfortunately cowardly democrats will shrub a pass yet again.

  •  Please Read & Pass Along! (none)
    I don't know what kind of following these people have, but this can't go unnoticed.

    http://www.repentamerica.com/pr_hurricanekatrina.html

    •  Well (none)
      if those people wouldn't insist on living in a flood plain.  Or, even worse, below sea level.

      And if they would have left when instructed to...I mean, they should have to save themselves now.  Who cares if they didn't have money or the ability to leave?

      They should have known better.

      Those are the things the wingnuts are saying.  You can't reason.  There's no logic.  Trying to show how the Iraq war depleted our manpower and our financial resources to keep Americans safe is utterly useless.

      •  Farve (none)
        Just heard the Brett Farve's family was in Bay St. Louis. Hopefully , his family's experience can humanize this for even the most rabid winger. Farve seems to get a high degree of respect amongst the so-called NASCAR dad crowd.
    •  In God's Infinite Wisdom... (none)
      He seemed to have blown a bit off course because most of the southern half of Missouri, a deeply religious place, seems to have also felt His wrath.
  •  And... (4.00)
    ...everyone should read Billmon today as well.

    You're walking, and you don't always realize it, but you're always falling. --- Laurie Anderson

    by baggy on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:11:08 PM PDT

  •  Administration accountability is nonpartisan (4.00)
    The Bush administration acts as if they're above law, oversight, accountability and the constitution.

    This whining about partisanship whenever questions arise about another egregious example of corruption or incompetence is ridiculous at the outset.

    All administrations before Mad King George's Reign had to have press conferences, deal with hard questions and ... yes ... uphold and defend the fucking constitution.

    Going just by my own lifetime, they did it with a lot less whining.

  •  Bush's New Trifecta (none)
    Bush's New Trifecta
    This is Bush's New Trifecta - a Trifecta of abject failures stemming directly from the Profit-uber-alles value system.

        *The Iraq War

        * Team Bush's pervasive catering to the rich creating a devastated economy

        *The Katrina Disaster, which exacerbates festering issues in the other two above.

    2 articles on COUNTERPUNCH 8.31.2005 help illustrate this very well.

    Read together they provide some great refreshment on the relationship between poverty and looting

    More at link.

    Bush puts the "W" in Quagmire. | zombienotes

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:12:38 PM PDT

  •  has there been any mention of this (none)
    in the msm?  Even a whisper?  If so I haven't seen it.

    And if there is any record of SELA funding being discussed in any committee, hearing, floor debate, budget proposal, whatever...let's have a look.  A long, hard look.

  •  We can't handle a terrorist attack (4.00)
    That's basically what I have figured out. We can't handle an attack- not even close. I don't care if the warhawks believe Iraq was the right war or not- I got to understand whether they are really concerned about their own safety? Because this is teaching us we can't handle this kind of an emergency
    •  of course not (none)
      Of course not.

      The Bush administration has really done nothing concrete to protect the country.  What they've done is a bunch of PR stunts that make it look like they are doing something.

      stuff like
      -- most of the airport security is bogus and designed to fool people into thinking things are more secure.  Inspectors have consistently shown that security still misses bombs, knives etc as often as they did pre 9-11.
      -- color coded alert levels
      -- those phony terror alerts they used to have until they became a national joke.

      There's more, but the key is BUSH HAS MADE US LESS SAFE.

    •  Terrorist attack (none)
      They don't need to do anything we have hurricanes and Bush.
  •  This is a Talking Points Script (none)
    for use in drafting letters to the Editor, phone calls to talk radio and to TV shows and for using in discussions with frieds, neighbors and family whenever the subject of the floods in New Orleans come up.

    I saw Tweety tonight and he was already using the 'Nobody could have known this could happen," referring to the levee break and the flooding of NO. This is the beginning of another Rethug Big Lie. We have to spread the truth and not allow this Big Lie to take route.

    I am going to copy down this info, bookmark the sites thate are mentioned and make sure that I repeat this info when I write my LTTEs and when I talk about this subject. A unifed message that is consistent, backed up with facts and repeated will help to counter the Big Lie. We need to do this.

    •  find (none)
      Find any story about any hurricane anywhere near that part of the gulf for the last ten or twenty years.  Its almost standard to say that New Orleans is below sea level and that if a hurricane heads that way it could be a disaster.

      Exactly what are they saying they couldn't predict?

      That there are hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico in August?

      That New Orleans lies below sea level and depends on levees for its survival?

      Its slightly more obscure that people like the Corps of Engineers has been saying for about 15 years or more that the levees around New Orleans needed a lot of work.  But its out there.  See the William R. Pitt piece at truthout.org to get the exact name of the bill Congress passed in 1995 to try to address this issue.

      I'm certain that I heard even before Katrina hit that New Orleans' levees could handle a category 3 hurricane, but not a 4 or 5.  That seems to have been common knowledge.

      So, what is it again that the rethugs are saying couldn't be predicted?

    •  'No one could have known ..' (none)
      Sounds somewhat familiar.  
      No use letting an effective excuse go to waste, I suppose.
  •  A political issue (none)
    what government does and does not choose to spend money on for the essential safety of its citizens is a political issue, and a very basic one at that.

    Exactly. Political speech and action are THE means intended and promoted by our Constitution for getting and keeping good leadership in our country. If we ignore the extreme, perhaps criminal malfeasance of the Bush administration in diverting badly needed domestic funds to Iraq, where they were shovelled out in bags of cash (literally) to crony companies, what are we supposed to put into our politics?

  •  why no international help? (none)

    I'm Canadian and I want you all to know that I called the Prime Minister's office and yelled that he hasn't made a public statement in support of Katrina victims. The deputy PM put out a crappy little press release yesterday offering help "if asked" by your government but it fell short for me.  Everyone I've talked to today is in agony over the unfolding catastrophe and despite the fact the most Canadians despise your president and were horrified that he was re-elected, we love our American neighbors.

    I do wonder though about the diplomacy of our leader making a public statement before yours did.  Perhaps that is not done.  There is certainly cognitive dissonance between what is actually happening and the way Bush has been non-reacting. Your gut tells you this is huge, the pictures say it's huge but the slow Washington response signals the opposite.  It's weird and very unsettling.

    On CNN tonight, the awful Paula Zahn show ran a piece with survivors who are now good and pissed at the slow response. They have seen no help yet.  Where the hell is everybody?

    Tomorrow I will canvass my neighborhood for the Red Cross Hurricane fund.  It's not much but I don't know what else to do.  I'd be happy to have Canadian soldiers down there helping out. My tin-foil hat suggests that maybe your ambassador hinted that help should be toned down lest it make Bush look bad. Just wondering.

    The story that there weren't enough choppers for levee rebuilding and rescue tells me there is something very wrong.  The skies over NO should be thick with choppers.  Where are they?  

    Anderson Cooper just reported that people are pissed and asking him where is the help. When is someone coming?

    Someone should check to see how quickly help arrived in the Tsunami countries.  I think it was faster than this.

  •  Put him on the pile (none)
    After 9/11, the administration was eager to put Bush at the top of the "pile", a cheap show of determination in the aftermath of disaster. Somehow, I don't think Bush standing atop one of these shattered levees and speaking through a bullhorn to the citizens of New Orleans would have the same effect right now.

    In my mind, Bush has never stopped standing on top of a pile.

    By the way, Hunter, I like the title you chose for your piece. Condi wants to know -- was that past tense or future tense? :->

    "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

    by AlanF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:18:24 PM PDT

  •  If the Democrats (none)
    don't make hay of this, I give up!

    I think the American people--I hope the American-I don't think, let me--I hope the American people trust me.-George W. Bush

    by kitebro on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:19:46 PM PDT

  •  diary title (none)
    alone draws everything together. talk about parsimony!
  •  simple (4.00)
    The Democrats must make a very simple point.

    Bush has squandered the resources of this country to fight an imaginary threat in Iraq.  Meanwhile he has left America much less secure in many areas.

    It just happens NO and a hurricane was where this showed up most dramatically.  But it could have been many other places.  Like poor security at nuclear and chemical plants just to name another rather obvious one.  

    The Democrats absolutely must make the very simple point that Bush has made us all less safe.

    •  For Example (none)
      Like San Francisco and the Bay Bridge that is still not finished 16 years after the earthquake that forced people to realize it was not stable.

      250,000 cars cross that bridge every day...

    •  Do You Feel Safe Tonight? (none)

      President Bush said that attacking Iraq would make all of us safer.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      President Bush said he needed over a third of Louisiana's National Guard troops with all their equipment to fight his war in Iraq to make us all safer.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      Funds appropriated for New Orleans levee maintenance was shifted to fund Homeland Security Anti-Terrorism Operations to make us all safer.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      The Department of Homeland Security says that it needs to be able to look at your library records to keep you safe from terrorism.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      John Bolton said he knew how to deal with guys like Kim Jong-Il.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      President Bush says the John Roberts will keep the Constitution safe from Judicial Activism.

      Do you feel safe tonight?

      •  Too complicated. (none)
        One of the problems with Democrats is that we tend to make lists and try to touch all the bases. Your list needs to be simple and clean. You are going after red staters. Focus on Bush's failures in this matter (cutting levees and wetlands, and taking 2 days to figure out that things in NO had gone to shit and it wasn't the typical hurricane) and you will have a winner. Laundry lists leave most of us cold.
  •  don't put it past them (none)
    After 9/11, the administration was eager to put Bush at the top of the "pile", a cheap show of determination in the aftermath of disaster. Somehow, I don't think Bush standing atop one of these shattered levees and speaking through a bullhorn to the citizens of New Orleans would have the same effect right now.

    This statement assumes that these worthless, greedy bastards (Chimp and Rove in particular) have a sense of decency and are capable of feeling shame, which they don't on either count.  I fully expect them to try to milk this tragedy for their own political benefit if they can figure out a way to do it.  

    If it worked before, why not try it again?  They would (justifiably) count on Americans to be predictably gullible.

    I'll say it again.  These fuckwits have neither shame nor decency.

  •  American Prospect (none)
    published an article in May 2005 on New Orleans vulnerability

    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=10180

    Now do we have grounds for impeachment?

    The GOP betrayed us all.

    by lubarsh on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:30:46 PM PDT

  •  I bet we see that picture (none)
    of Bush on the broken levee.  After ignoring Katrina for days, the Administration is hoping to turn it into a new "rally around the president" moment.  for it to succeed they'll need: 1. a complicit and complacent media and 2. Democrats to refrain from pointing out that Bush's political/policy choices made disaster much more likely.

    we don't have much influence on point 1, but even if  our leadership is timid the grassroots can keep Bush from getting help on point 2

  •  We need lists (none)
    of who voted for or against any measure that funded these projects.

    Flags don't kill people, governments do.
    Take back the flag, take back the government.

    by BOHICA on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:33:08 PM PDT

  •  Every life lost to flooding in New Orleans (4.00)
    should be directly charged to BushCo and Bush's war of choice as surely as if they had been killed by US fire in Fallujah.  

    Would the levies have withstood a category 5 or 6 (with global warming its only a matter of time until we have a cat 6).

    We'll never know now, will we?  I think both surges were below the design tolerance if the work had been finished.  Which it wasn't because funds were siphoned off for Bush's pet war.

    Every thing that Bush says or does is political.  We should be pointing that out and not defending ourselves when we're accused of making a tragedy political.  When the Governor of a State and the Mayor of a major city, and a State Senator BEG for funds to finish a necessary project and are ignored, is that anything but political?   Did it make any difference that they were Democrats?   You betcha!

    Bush does nothing that doesn't further his political goals.

    "War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means." - Karl von Clausewitz

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:36:56 PM PDT

    •  What about the ones who refused to leave... (1.25)
      ...even though they could have?  Is their "refusal to leave" Bush's fault?

      Although I may dislike Bush, the fact is New Orleans sits below sea level.  Although he cut funding for New Orleans by like 44%, the city would have gotten flooded regardless of the cuts or not.  Had the most powerful side of the storm hit the city with the storm surge, not only would the levees have broken, but the Mississippi River would also be pouring into the city right now, brand new levee or old levee.

      It makes a lot more sense to place the blame with FEMA for not having a plan to remove people who could not leave before the storm got there.  The office of the President does not micromanage everything.  Just like we don't blame Clinton for not knowing what the Pentagon officials knew about Muhammad Atta, you can't blame Bush for FEMA not having a plan for every potential major disaster that takes place.

      Sorry dudette, but there is no such thing as a Category 6 Hurricane, lol.

      Of course everything that Bush does is political, and it coming out that he cut funding for New Orleans would hurt him politically, but the fact of the matter is this is less of his fault than everything else.

      "Make the truth your litmus test."

      by independentchristian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:48:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nonsense (none)
        Everyone knew this was coming, and if he was truly "working from the ranch" as they all claimed, you're telling me that he can't pick up a damn phone, call FEMA, and say, "Make sure y'all are ready for this one, mmkay?"
      •  In a way, yes. (none)
        Is their "refusal to leave" Bush's fault?

        You know, I used to trust my government. I thought it had the best interests of its citizens as its principle concern. I spent 4-1/2 years in the military because I believed this.

        But five years of Bush have amply demonstrated that this is not true in any way, and in fact, that actually the opposite is true: PR opportunities are more important than the safety of citizens (e.g., buring al qaeda spies, burning our spies, giving New Yorkers the environmental all clear after 9/11, and on and on). And the spineless behavior of the "opposition" has shown that they more often than not act out of self-preservation rather than principled concern.

        So, if a government official (especially federal) tells me I must do something for my own good, I'm going to trust them?

        •  Screw the government official (none)
          This right here is coming for you and you need someone to tell you to leave?  

          Obviously, anyone who could leave but chose to stay because they wanted to, they need to be checked into a mental institution, because they are suicidal.

          Look at it!  You need to trust someone before you can decide for yourself to leave?  Obviously, such a person would think that they are invincible.

          Like I said, they obviously don't believe anything until they "experience" it.  People who could have left, but thought they could safely weather that are suicidal, and I feel validated everytime that they interview someone who "chose" to stay and they say, "I wish I would have left when I had the chance."

          I also felt validated when they started evacuating the entire city, because like I said, the Federal Government should have started evacuating people by airplane, bus, and train on Saturday Morning when it was clear New Orleans was going to be hit in some way.

          "Make the truth your litmus test."

          by independentchristian on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 06:01:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Rita Cosby!!! (none)
    What in the world is wrong with her voice?

    She needs to go get a check up, seriously.  That is not natural, at all.

    "Make the truth your litmus test."

    by independentchristian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:37:13 PM PDT

  •  Not natural (none)
    This is not just a "natural" disaster. There are lots of things about it that didn't have to happen.

    If people say it's getting too "political," then when is it ever that politicians should be held accountable for the decisions they make?

    If Bush isn't leading or is leading us right down the drain, it ought to be shouted from the rooftops. (And by the way, that's about all that's left to shout from!)

    I still haven't heard Word One on the TV news that there are manmade elements to this disaster. No one has pointed yet to the Number One Master of Disaster, George W. Bush.

    •  Government Accountability (none)
      We expect our government to be able to respond to an emergency.  New Orleans is the 35th largest city in America.  It also is a key shipping port and a major hub for oil production and refineries.

      If the terrorists wanted to pick a vulnerable city, New Orleans would have been near the top.  

      While the cause here was a natural disaster, the ability of the government to deal with the ramifications are no different than they would have been if they had been caused by terrorism.

      We see some of the basic problems that occurred during 9/11:  lack of communications, lack of a coordinated response, and damage to significantly more infrastructure in surrounding areas making a recovery vastly more difficult.  Other factors, particularly the public health risks from the water and heat, make this situation intolerable.

  •  Norquist's nightmare (none)
    I remember Grover Norquist, some neocon dork, a few years ago saying he wants to see the government shrink small enough that he could drown it in a bathtub.

    Looks like he's getting his wish.

  •  3 more predicted (none)
     Now is not even the time to say this but Katrina is one of 13 total hurricanes predicted for Aug-October, 2005. Four of those 13 are expected to reach cat3 or higher. Katrina topped out at cat 5. There will be more, and they will be severe. Even if those remaining three pass us by this year, they're eager to strike the next. We know they're coming. When do we redouble our efforts to prevent Katrina-level devastation, a week before it hits? A year before it hits?
  •  priming the MSM pump (none)
    newsie has a great diary about questions the media should ask bush.

    it's quite a comprehensive roundup on the epic failures of srhubCo vis a vis Katrina.  let's get it on the reco list!

  •  If you want to help the New Orleans Jewish Comm. (none)
    If you want to help the New Orleans Jewish Community as a result of the devastating Hurricane

    You can send donations in the form of checks

    made out to:

    New Orleans Jewish Federation Katrina Fund

    and send the check to:

    North Louisiana Jewish Federation
    4700 Line Avenue
    Suite 117
    Shreveport, Louisiana 71106

    The North Louisiana Jewish Federation will collect funds for the New Orleans Jewish Federation. The Jewish community of New Orleans has gotten devastated. At least 10 or more synagogues have gotten destroyed and more than 10,000 Jewish people of New Orleans have moved to Texas, North Lousiana, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

    The checks will not get cashed right away but will get cashed in about 2 weeks to a month when banking for New Orleans gets reactivated.

    the North Louisiana Jewish Federation http://www.nljfed.org/

    The director of the North Louisiana Jewish Federation

    Howard Ross

    318 868 1200

    Call only for matters of donation and verifying the genuine existence of this group for your own concern.

    Join the revolution for progressive legislation

    http://www.boycott-republicans.com

  •  Thank you Hunter (none)
    A few folks were interjecting with comments about how "now is not the time to be political" but I don't see how we could help ourselves.  It is obvious to me that the devastation was so bad precisely because of global warming and the chimp was playing games with Ma Nature and she swatted the hell out of us.  It is also obvious to me that no planning was done for the worst case scenario.  In fact, I almost suspect that Bush wanted NOLA to die because they had the timerity to vote dem on occasion even if the dem was a nitwit like Zell.  But Bush may have miscalculated as well as the people that voted for him have miscalculated.  We will see.  But politics is personal and God knows dying is damn personal.
  •  And what about the next question? (none)
    What other preventative measures have been eliminated from Core of Engineer and FEMA spending?
    •  We have a winner. (none)
      This is exactly the right question. This is the question we should all be asking and asking loud. It doesn't sound like harping for political gain. It can do a lot of good. It points fingers at Bush all the while.
  •  I think it is important to NOT (none)
    blame a straw Iraqi man for the fact that the money has gone to homeland security and the Iraq war. First, I would be very surprised if money that has gone to H.S. has been used appropriately, i.e., for actual homeland security. (I just read an article on some blog that talked about the incompetence of the Bush appointees to FEMA because his appointments are based on politics and not expertise.) Second, I know that we are pouring money into Iraq but much of it is not being used to rebuild Iraq. The bulk of the money is going to private contractors, bribes, privatization, and the guarding of the pipeline. I even wonder if monies have been diverted to covertly attack Iran ($700 Million was diverted illegally from Afghanistan to do air raids over Iraq in 2002). We know that not much of the money is going to support the military. We know that a sum of $9 Billion given to the CPA under L. Paul Bremer is unaccounted for.

    I think it is important not to make this an "us" (meaning the ordinary Iraqi people) vs. "them" thing in terms of this money.

  •  FEMA too (none)
    From the WP via Josh Marshall:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901445_pf.html

    ...why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events -- FEMA -- is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security.

    When all else fails...panic

    by David in Burbank on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:49:25 PM PDT

  •  Given what we know from past experience . . . (none)
    I think we all need to be prepared for the next development . . .

    Bush will go on national TV to announce that in response to the horrible disaster in New Orleans he is immediately calling on Congress to make the tax cuts permanent (and perhaps authorize a military strike on Iran).

    -;)

  •  The politics of insufficient levees (3.80)
    On a deeper level than blaming Bush, I think this tragedy should be used to try and reeducate the public on the subject of taxes.  The Republicans since Reagan have been anti-government and have pushed the idea that taxes are bad:  give the government money, and the government will waste it.  Democrats should constantly remind the nation that cutting taxes and shrinking the government affects the very fabric of our order and our security.  Democrats should give examples of all the benefits.  Case in point:  Federal money was needed to get these levees up to sufficient strengh for a major hurricane!!!
    •  "Misspelled" Levees (none)
      You really should have called your post "The Politics of Insufficient Levies."  Dubya and the posse cut taxes to benefit their cronies and their gamble lost.  Now, they expect the rest of the population to cash the check their chutzpah wrote.  The same applies to their little adventure in Iraq.  It's all of a piece with these losers.  I would like one of the neocons explain to the world just how Dubya and the posse differ one whit from Somoza in Nicaragua, Mbutu in Zaire or Suharto in Indonesia, kleptocrats all.
  •  THis is key! (none)
    In the article:
    KEEPING ITS HEAD ABOVE WATER  New Orleans faces doomsday scenario
    By ERIC BERGER  Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Science Writer
    New Orleans is sinking.
    And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.
    So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country. The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.
    The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all. -- more

    This was written in 2001. What is Homeland Security about? The Bush Admin is AWOL again. After 9/11 they restructured the federal government for better coordination in the face of catastrophic events. THEY BLEW IT...Big time!

    They've consistently cut the money for what THEY KNOW is one of the most likely and deadliest disasters.

    Preparedness means prepare for the worst case scenario...Cat5 west of NOLA! The Army should have been standing by to go in immediately in the aftermath of the storm. FEMA, Homeland Security, CDC, NGOs and military should have coordinated BEFORE the storm hit...evacuating people, reinforcing levees. Water, food, communications, search and rescue would be needed in the aftermath. The best military should have been ready to set up housing, KP, communications, check/reinforce the levees and secure the area. What the hell is Homeland Security's function if not this? The US gov't has more responsibilities than fixing Iraq to the tune of a billion/week.

    What IDIOT sat back and said, "We don't need New Orleans...cut the levee budget."  

    The Federal Gov is not some corporation that can sit back and cut preparedness based on some warped cost-benefit ratio of acceptable risk. Not when it comes to sacrificing and ENTIRE US CITY!

    John Roberts- You can't book a judge by his cover.

    by digital drano on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 06:59:33 PM PDT

    •  It doesn't matter if you don't live there. (none)
      "The Federal Gov is not some corporation that can sit back and cut preparedness based on some warped cost-benefit ratio of acceptable risk. Not when it comes to sacrificing and ENTIRE US CITY!"

      I heard the head of the Corp of Engineers say tonight that the Corp had done a study and the cost benefit ratio didn't justify planning for anything more that a CAT 3 storm.

  •  too much, too little? (none)
    hey, i hope someone can give some advice. i wanted to write a LTE (first timee) to our local rag using some of the info i've been reading at this site. but i don't know if reads too scattered, am i trying to cover too much? there is a 150 word max, and i have hit that exactly. anyway, here it is
    ********

    Where are...

    SELA?  Money for the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project evaporated as war in Iraq took precedence leaving SELA with less than 20 percent of what the Army Corp of Engineers needed.

    FEMA? After the Sept. 11 attacks and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA was absorbed into the "homeland security borg."  This year FEMA announced it is to lose the disaster preparedness function it has had since its creation.  

    The Louisiana National Guard?  40% are currently in Iraq.

    Active Duty Military? Admiral Timothy Keating on CNN 8/31/05 "If and when the president decides to step it up and use active duty forces... we would be able to respond with any number of options."

    Last week the White House declared a major disaster existed in Louisiana.  That declaration referred to Tropical Storm Cindy.  Cindy hit the same area as Katrina a full seven weeks ago.  

  •  here's how the Bush lie team will play it: (none)
    here's how the Bush lie team will play it: step one...they hope the criticism is muted. step 2...if not, we will hear a lot of "nobody expected such a natural disaster" (just like "everybody thought Saddam had WMD)
  •  Letter to the editor (4.00)
    Here's a draft of a LTE I just wrote.  Any comments before I send it in?  I'm new at this so all constructive advice is welcome.

    September is National Preparedness Month.  An event sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security to "work with local, state and federal government organizations and the private sector to highlight the importance of public emergency preparedness."  The irony is almost too much to bear.  A Category 5 hurricane hitting the city of New Orleans ranked as one of the top three disasters on a 2001 FEMA emergency plan.  As the city of New Orleans floods, as people wait on rooftops for rescue for the third day, questions must be asked.  Why wasn't the city prepared?  Why has millions of dollars of funding for levee maintenance and development been diverted for the last three years?  Where is the National Guard?  Unfortunately the questions all have one answer.  The "War in Iraq".  There's one final question that must be asked though I doubt it'll ever be answered.  "Mr. President, there's over a million people displaced, unknown numbers dead, a historical treasure of a city in jeopardy and the potential of significant impact on the US economy.  Was your war worth it?  

    They're pouring mercury in my orange juice...People take to the streets and scream!!! Jon Stewart, 4/13/05

    by christine in nj on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:08:01 PM PDT

  •  Take Iraq out of it (none)
    I don't think you even need to talk about the Iraq angle.  We're running such huge deficits now, it doesn't matter.  The point should be that the govt didn't prepare and fund for this when it should have.  What is the point of the billions of dollars going into Homeland Security if they can't properly respond to this situation?  That's where the real argument is.  This situation was absolutely predictable, and was predicted repeatedly.  But the funding wasn't there...the preparation wasn't there.  And the emergency response has been pitiful.  Nuff said...
  •  Bingo! (none)
    On CNN, Aaron Brown is interviewing a cop from Jefferson Parish and he asked about the scarcity of the National Guard. The cop pointed out that most of their National Guard troops were in Iraq right now. He is pleading for federal help, saying "People are scared here."

    This is so awful.  

  •  Chris Matthews Said Today (4.00)
    ...on Hardball that no one could have expected this.  I forwarded the Salon piece to him at hardball@msnbc.com.

    Feel free to follow suit.

    That sorry waste of skin.

    "Ninety-nine miles of solid-gold track, lay on the whistle and don't look back..."

    by InquisitiveRaven on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:24:53 PM PDT

    •  My letter to Hardball (4.00)
      Dear Hardball,

      Chris Matthews avers that nobody could have seen this coming, the devastation in New Orleans.  This is factually incorrect and warrants public correction.

      Experts throughout the field of flood control saw this coming.  Experts have made it extremely clear that President Bush's diversion of flood control funds away from where they were needed in New Orleans, instead being sent to finance his elective war in Iraq, severely diminished the city's chances of withstanding a storm of the very force they just experienced.  This was money that was actively being spent in New Orleans on the very levee that broke this weekend.  Experts gave detailed statements to newspapers last year saying reinforcement work had to stop because the money was taken away and sent to finance Iraq instead.  And now their worst fears have come to pass.

      Chris Matthews must be corrected.  If only for his own ability to comprehend the tragic result of this reckless disregard for human life, let alone in order to properly inform the public, he must understand he's terribly mistaken in stating that "nobody could have seen this coming."  They did, and they yelled about it.  But they were ignored.

      Please correct the record.

      Yours faithfully,
      [loquatrix]

  •  this devastation (none)
    I have been glued to the tv  watching this devastation. Its so sad, and most of these Americans seem to be saying the same thing, Where is the army, where is the help, where do we go, we need food and water..The press I can tell are trying to help them but they themselves don't know what to tell these people. Even Shepard Smith on Fox seemed very agitated by the lack of response. I think the help is spread way too thin and our National Guard in Iraq needs to be here not there..Especially those men and women from this area. I just think to myself, how would you feel if you were in Iraq, and you hear about your hometown gone and here you can't call or find your family..Its such a tragedy that they can't go home to find their families and  help others..
    I would have some respect for the President if he said that he needed the National Guard to leave Iraq..But, as we saw in his speech today, ain't gonna happen. Instead these people wait, dehydrate and probably will be deathly sick before they have help arrive.. I heard a former New Orleans Mayor saying to CNN, the president needs to be here and he needs the army with him or we are going to lose New Orleans, well, where is he and where is the army...Instead, he will sit in his cozy White House drinking his non beer and playing his new guitar..
  •  Pelosi asks for special session (none)
    Pelosi asks for special session
    "The wrath of Hurricane Katrina has destroyed lives and livelihoods along America's Gulf Coast. This loss is shared by all of us, and today we all grieve as one family, the American family. Even as we grieve, we must take quick action to stem the crisis and help those in desperate need.

    "That is why I have asked Speaker Hastert for a special session of Congress this week to bring urgently needed relief to the victims of the natural disaster. Given the scope of this disaster, I believe that Congress should return to Washington immediately and pass a bill this week to provide the assistance needed to restore the lives of the families and communities devastated by the deadly hurricane.

    "Americans' generosity of giving is already evident, and donors have deluged the Red Cross with offers of support. But Congress can do more, we must do more, and we must do it immediately."


    I think she hit the right note.

    Hurricane Politics

    Beyond the poll numbers, the Bush administration faces some immediate, urgent challenges--and serious questions about its response to the disaster. For all the president's statements ahead of the hurricane, the region seemed woefully unprepared for the flooding of New Orleans--a catastrophe that has long been predicted by experts and politicians alike. There seems to have been no contingency planning for a total evacuation of the city, including the final refuges of the city's Superdome and its hospitals. There were no supplies of food and water ready offshore--on Navy ships for instance--in the event of such flooding, even though government officials knew there were thousands of people stranded inside the sweltering and powerless city.

    Then there's the speed of the Bush administration's response to such disasters. Just one week ago the White House declared that a major disaster existed in Louisiana, specifically most of the areas (such as Jefferson Parish) that are now under water. Was the White House psychic about the disaster ahead? Not exactly. In fact the major disaster referred to Tropical Storm Cindy, which struck the state a full seven weeks earlier. That announcement triggered federal aid for the stricken areas, where the clean-up had been on hold for almost two months while the White House chewed things over.

    Now, faced with a far bigger and deadlier disaster, the Bush administration faces at least two difficult questions: Was it ready to deal with the long-predicted flooding of New Orleans? And is it ready to deal with the long-predicted terrorist attack that might some day strike another of our big cities?


    TWO MONTHS for Tropical Storm Cindy?! Jeebus. Ok, so it wasn't a natural disaster on the scale of Katrina, but TWO MONTHS?!

    OK, I get it. If it's not a storm in Florida (lots of electoral votes in a swing state) during an election year, it's ok for BushCo to drag their feet.

    Total incompetence.

    And the media should absolutely highlight this.  If they don't, there won't be enough political pressure for things to change so that in the future, the federal government could say that they did everything that they could do.

    Visit my blog Penndit.
    The Republicans' worst enemy is an informed electorate.

    by Newsie8200 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:34:28 PM PDT

    •  Excellent by Pelosi (none)
      I am greatly bolstered by the fact that we have been the ones to take the initiative.

      It gives me a bit of hope that something will actually start happening now.  I believe the Democrats will try to make something happen, just because they're fundamentally better people than Republicans.

      •  Every single DEM should fly to DC NOW (none)
        Fucking fly to DC IMMEDIATELY and sit in Congress until the pugs show up. Propose recovery legislation and tell the American people that you are just waiting for Republicans to get here to sign their names.

        Put the fuckers on the spot.

        My god. Do something big.

        I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

        by Volvo Liberal on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:10:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why we short changed NOLA (none)
    The reason is simple:

    We are at peak oil, in 10 to 15 years there will be precious little left of our civilization anyway. Disaster preparation and even global warming are small potatoes.

    It's why we are in Iraq in the first place, it has nothing to do with terrorim. We need to secure our access to oil. I'm not supporting this strategy, I think there are better ways to go about it. But it is what it is.

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

    by brenda on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:37:07 PM PDT

  •  Tears of grief, tears of rage (none)
    What more is there to say? I feel the same existential horror that I did on 9/11, when my adopted hometown was deluged. Once again, there's a hole in my country.

    I've given what I can and I've written the local newspaper in my real hometown. Now I find myself asking: where's the Dems? Where's the loyal opposition? Where's the dogged journalists? For once, could we have some fucking accountability around here?

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 07:42:13 PM PDT

  •  Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting! (none)
    I suppose everyone has seen this -- if not you will throw-up.

    So, according to the White House web site, we have Prez Bush already out there with the victims of the hurricane -- instead of playing golf and strumming his guitar.  

    BS BS BS.

  •  $100mill for levee work is a drop in the bucket (none)
    compared to Iraq spending... but even for people who support the war, there's another comparison worth making...

    The recent transportation bill includes $250 mill for a bridge in Alaksa, to an island with 50 residents. We could have saved the entire city of New Orleans, for less than half what we're spending to make life comfy and easy for 50 Alaskans.

    Is that because Alaska has Republican senators and Louisiana doesn't?

    John Thune in ND, and Jeanette Pirro in NY, have both used as a campaign issue "I'll want the same things for this state as my opponent, but because I'm Republican I can get it and my opponent can't. Congress and the Senate will only give to Republicans so elect me."

    It's pretty brazen, being that open about it that the Republican party cares more about itself than they do about the nation.

  •  Sometimes I am a bit slow. (none)
    I just got the significance of the title. Very good!
  •  Got up this morning (none)
    at 5:00 am and turned on CNN and my computer. It's really hard to wrap my mind around this whole thing. It seems obvious that this will turn out to be worse than 9/11. Heard from my repug friend tonight that she was pissed because not enough had been done prior to this disaster to shore up New Orleans. Of course, she did not blame Bush, and said it went back many years, perhaps it has. I am feeling so overwhelmed by the whole thing. I listened to people being interviewed on CNN this morning and I was reduced to tears. I had to turn the TV off and go to work. About the only thing that I can say is "God help you New Orleans." I visited NO on my honey moon years ago. I loved it.
  •  sure am glad everyone smarter than me (none)
    because the way I see it the govt fucked up.  Um, is this the first time?  Fuck no and it won't be the last.  But I say again, stop trying to blame it on the govt.  WE all know that Iraq is a fucked up waste of life and money.  OUR govt put us there and WE don't have the support in OUR govt to get the troops out and stop wasting the lives and the money.  So, guess what, the govt is going to continue to pay for the war in Iraq just like JFK, LBJ, and RMN did in the 60s and 70s.  Was there shit that Viet-nam sucked money from?  Fuck yea.  

    Simple and succinctly, NOLA was built in a fucked up space.  THEY have known about the sinking.  They have known that everytime they drained a marsh to expand they were fucking themselves.  They knew from hundreds of years ago that getting hit by a hurricane would never be a good thing.  Guess what, they kept growing, kept draining wetlands, kept sinking and they got hit by a hurricane.  So scuse me if I think time would be better spent worrying about the trapped and the sick and the displaced and not trying to come up with a way to blame everybody but the city of NO which made its own bed.

    And like I said in a diary last night.  What if they had completed the levee system and it failed?  Would you still be crying that it was Bush's fault, Congresses?  

    I'm gonna buy a gun and start a war, if you could tell me something worth fighting for.-----Coldplay

    by CO4Kerry2004 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:04:07 PM PDT

    •  The Feds (none)
      control funding for all the projects like levees and marshland.
    •  Bullshit. (none)
      The administration of George W Bush put us in Iraq.  Yes, that's our govt right now, but pretending like it's too late to say who fucked up helps absolutely no one.  yes we've all got to keep paying for it, but ignoring that bush got us there is even more stupid.

      If the democrats don't have enough spine to hold the administration accountable for their incompetence, then why the hell would anyone vote for them?  That demonstrates clearly that they don't give a damn about this country, if they don't even care who fucked up.

      If they had completed the levee system, at least then they could say they tried.  they didn't try.

      this is not the last crisis.  leaving the gop in power to screw up the next thing that comes along with their handsoff small-govt libertarian every-man-for-himself crap won't help us in the future.

      yeah we need to be worrying about the victims, and I am.  I still don't know where some of my friends are, if they made it out, if my parent's place is habitable.  but pretending like no one screwed them over by telling them to fend for themselves in the first place is an insult to every single one of them.

  •  OT: Pretty nice wordsmithing, Hunter. (none)
    "Bush standing atop one of these shattered levees"

    Which minority group would Jesus hate?

    by NorCalJim on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:18:36 PM PDT

  •  Bush's involvement (none)

      There's much outcry around here about Bush going golfing and guitar-picking while Louisiana and Mississippi were getting pummeled by the worst disaster of many of our lifetimes.

      I take the opposite view.

      I'd PREFER to have Bush off golfing.

      Seriously, is there anything this man touches that does not immediately turn to shit? If I'm in the middle of a disaster, I would want that man as far away from me as possible. He would only make it worse.

      Bush is at his least toxic when he's on vacation. Every day he spends in Crawford is a day he doesn't spend in Washington looting the country. If Bush had spent the entire last five years on vacation, American would be in VASTLY better shape.

      Let the professionals save people's lives and help New Orleans recover from this disaster. Keep Bush out of it. The man is worthless. Why in the world would you want him around?

    Republicans oppose abortion -- it happens eighteen years too early.

    by Buzzer on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:19:36 PM PDT

  •  Why does it take so long to clear the Superdome? (none)
    After a game, 100,000 people can be outta there in a couple hours.  Yet, they are talking about it taking days to get everyone out.

    They are not thinking big enough yet!  Oh, yeah, most of the people in the Superdome are jus' po' folk.  

  •  Flog this criminal negligence (none)
    Cutting flood control funding was a death sentence for New Orleans. This was exactly what the Army Corps told the Bush Administration would happen if they cut funding. The only question was when.

    New Orleans will never be the same because Bush denied them vital flood protection.

  •  I will never forget..... (none)
         that I once gave Bush the benefit of the doubt.      
    While pictures of our President, frozen and pale at  
    Emma E. elementarty school, flashed across my eyes     I tried to find beauty in that moment...somehow.
    The fact that our President sat motionless for about 20 minutes has always been something I could live with.  
         I'll admit it.  I've always half believed that what the president did was bold, symbolic, representive of the strength needed to deal with the terrorist tragedy.  How did we really expect him to act?  
    I might have continued to find beauty and strength in our President's actions had I not seen the current pictures...

         Bush at a fund raiser
         Bush flaunting a guitar

         This is unacceptable.  If Mayor Guiliani could  mobilize immediately following 911, why isn't our President doing the same?  I know I am not the only one with this feeling in my stomach.  There are hundreds of people on rooftops with signs that say HELP! I don't see anyone helping them!

         Bush has somehow managed to put one final bitch-slap on all of us.  Money moved from a domestic, potentialy life-saving project to a
    extrememly questionable war.  All those expert reports warning our government ignored and underfunded.  I am truly sick of this!

    This is not the 1980 Miracle Team nor a walk on the moon.  In no way does this resemble the resiliance
    my beloved country has demonstrated in the past.

    The egyptians managed to build the pyramids, the Japanese use gigantic springs on skyscrapers to deal with frequent earthquakes.  If we are so technologically advanced, why do we now resemble a third world country?

         Its time to look closer at ourselves.  And the answer is no more Red and Blue as it is Black in White.

       

  •  But seriously (none)
    about this:

    "A lot of people are going to huff and bluster about making this disaster a political issue."

    Does anyone here doubt that if we were in a Kerry Administration the right wingnuts would be in full blame fever?

    Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest would be blasting blame at Kerry every five minutes.

    We owe them nothing less.

  •  Grover Norquist (none)
    said that he wanted a Federal goveernment small enough to drown in the bathtub.  Looks like he is getting his wish.

    -------------------

    -------------------

    From the Radical Center...

    by INFOHAZARD on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:58:50 AM PDT

  •  way off the mark (none)
    We are supposed to be the compassion.
    Day 3 after the disaster: instead of discussing ways we progressives can help the victims of Katrina, we are wasting energy on finding ways we can blame politics for the devastation.  
    Katrina was a natural force that we may have not been adequately prepared to defend ourselves against.  But if you understand that a hurricane of this magnitude releases the energy of thousands of nuclear bombs, we should be looking for ways to assist those in need.  This finger pointing helps no one.
    We are now responsible for showing how progressives will rise up and assist the thousands of refugees left in the wake of Katrina.
    In times like, we should be putting partisan politics aside and supporting all relief efforts.
    I certainly hope this thread does not indicate how bitter many progressives have become.
    •  I completely disagree (none)
      well, let's be nice about the failure to pay attention to al qaeda, since 9/11 already happened and pointing fingers won't bring back the towers.

      let's be nice about getting us into iraq, since pointing fingers won't help us get out.

      let's be nice about not funding the levees, since pointing fingers won't bring them back.

      that is total crap.  there is one reason people don't trust democrats:  because so many democrats ignore the incompetence that leads to failure, over and over again, because it wouldn't be nice.  if we don't care enough about this country to hold bush and the gop accountable, then we obviously don't care enough to lead it.

      this is not the last crisis this country will face.  pretending like no one fucked up by their blind adherence to ideology does not put us any closer to averting the next one.

      •  What are you doing to help (none)
        We have thousands of Americans in serious trouble.  
        I see many progressives trying trying to make this a political issue.  
        Is this what we have become?
        This silly blame game will do nothing to help our fellow Americans.
        This is not Iraq, this is America.  We have just experienced a a major dissaster.  We should be Americans and work toward helping other Americans survive this tragedy.
        •  it's not a silly blame game (none)
          I don't mean that we shouldn't focus on the relief efforts.  I've got a lot of family that doesn't know if they have houses to go home to, or where they're going to live.  I have friends & family that I still haven't heard from and I'm really worried about.  I had been planning to drive to n.o. to stay at my cousin's this weekend after a stopover in ocean springs (our favorite place in the world) to see other family--I know that people are in serious trouble, and I know a lot of them very well.

          I am really really angry about this.   of course bush is not to blame for the devastation in biloxi.  but I strongly believe that to pretend like no one is to blame for making this disaster worse just sets us up for for future failures.

          the libertarian every-man-for-himself attitudes I keep hearing people express here in atlanta, of how people knew where they were building and should've known better, or how they don't want their taxes to go to rebuilding n.o., is making me absolutely furious (so I'm sorry for directing my ire at you).  and it is the same small-govt norquist-following ideologues that told new orleans to figure it out themselves last year, that the feds wouldn't pay for the levee repair, and proposed reducing FEMA.  those attitudes of leaving the poor to fend for themselves in the name of lower taxes have crippled our infrastructure in so many places across this country, and will continue to do so until we point it out and stop it.  

          This IS a political issue.  it goes to the very heart of what we think our govt should even be for.

  •  hold these assholes accountable (none)
    If anyone is responsible for making this tragedy worse, by their incompetence or lack of concern or blind adherence to a ridiculous and selfish ideology, then there should absolutely be hell to pay for them.

    The only people concerned about pointing fingers should be the ones getting pointed at.  there's a big reason why rush limbaugh's first comments about katrina were that the liberals were trying to politicize this.  because he knew exactly where blame should lie, and he's trying to change the subject. it is classic gop ass-covering, trying to negate the argument before it happens because they know damn well the argument is right.  the fact that any liberals would buy into that and back off makes me sick.

    the idea that we should be all nice about the lack of preparation and should come together is complete and total bullshit.

    this was a big fuckup on the magnitude we haven't seen since, well, Iraq.  and pretending that the president actually gives a rat's ass about the suffering down there doesn't help one bit.

    it took him 3 days to cut short his golf game and get off his ass and pretend like he's even paying attention.  only the president has the authority to coordinate the various agencies in the manner that the gulf coast requires, and the gop's libertarian bullshit domestic policies have directly led to this disaster.  sadly, we actually need bush's involvement on this, he's the only president we've got.  but letting him off the hook for his incompetence helps no one, certainly not the people on the gulf coast.

    This disaster has already happened, yes.  but that doesn't mean another one's not barreling toward us.  We're already in Iraq, too, and being nice about the moronic policies that got us in there aren't helping us in that situation either.

    trying to share the blame on this and be nice about it helps absolutely no one.  holding these assholes accountable is the only way they will ever pay any attention to the needs of this country. dammit, they must be held accountable for ALL of their disastrous policies.  

  •  I say Scream and Scream Loud (none)
    You know if the tables where turned the GOP would have NO PROBLEM with pointing fingers.
  •  getting our priorities straight (none)
    You know after 9/11 most people did exactly what bin Laden wanted; they panicked.  We never did think through exactly how many people the attacks killed and compare them with other threats.  If we had we'd have realized that natural disasters, communicable diseases, and even street crime have the potential to take a lot more life than do terrorism of the sort we've seen so far (nuclear and biological terrorism are different stories but we haven't exactly been on the ball as far as those two go).  The administration of course fed our panic, and for no other reason than it was in their interest to do so.  I don't think much of Tony Blair (the sooner Gordon Brown gets him pushed out the door the better), but you have to hand it to him that his response to the London attacks were exactly how a leader should respond.  Bush scared the bejesus out of us for his own gains (because both Bush and bin Laden know that a scared populace is not a thinking populace), and in doing so he not only aided and abetted bin Laden but damaged our political process.
    So how does this relate to Katrina?  Well this is going to be nasty; my bet is that death tolls are going to top five digits, and that is truly terrible.  But maybe, just maybe it will finally give us some perspective as to 9/11, and allow us to start thinking about terrorism sensibly again; not as some apocalyptic threat to prevented at any and all costs (because it really can't be totally prevented no matter how much we spend), but as one more threat to life among many, and not even the worst of that many.   It's only too bad we didn't get some perspective beforehand.

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