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For days after the disaster, help and volunteers of all sorts headed for New Orleans with relief supplies and expertise, only to be stopped and turned away by FEMA.

Last night, one of my friends joined our regular Sunday chat. He had just come home from New Orleans with his group of volunteer firefighters from Houston, after they had waited outside New Orleans for since Tuesday for FEMA to let them help in New Orleans, or use them somewhere else in the stricken region.

FEMA's "reason" -- they wouldn't let anyone in "until the National Guard has secured the city." The details of his experience are below the fold.

Bill is a member of a volunteer firefighter team in the Houston area. He and his team have a lot of experience helping after hurricanes. And they also have special expertise -- a lot of them work for a living on oil infrastructure and repairs. Bill is a professional logistics expert whose assignments have included getting a client's tsunami-flattened distribution facility back operating within a couple of weeks, and pre-invasion logistics work in Kuwait.

On Monday night, his group assembled their rescue equipment and tools, and packed them into their boats along with all the emergency supplies they could carry. By Tuesday morning, they were almost to New Orleans. "We were stopped at gunpoint by FEMA and told to turn back," he told me. When I asked, he clarified that they did not point the guns at them, but they were carrying and displaying their weapons.

FEMA told him that no one was allowed to enter the city to help "until it was secured by the National Guard." The Houston team asked if they could wait. The FEMA staff told them yes, but that they shouldn't expect anything to change.

So they set up camp in the parking area where they had been stopped, and they waited. By Thursday night, when they were still waiting in the same place, some of the team returned to Houston. The rest decided to wait longer. And still nothing changed, so the remaining team members returned to Houston on Saturday night.

Needless to say, Bill is livid about this. I asked him why they had not been sent to some of the other communities in the hurricane-stricken area where security was not as much of an issue.

"We asked," he told me, "but they said that our expertise was more needed in the New Orleans area." The catch-22 -- they were needed in New Orleans, so they weren't allowed to go elsewhere, but they weren't allowed to go into New Orleans, so the upshot was that they did nothing except sit and wait, and then go home in frustration.

What had him frosted more than anything else is that they also have very specific expertise, as individual professionals as well as a firefighter team, in dealing with damage to oil infrastructure in the aftermath of a natural disaster. "We've been doing this more than 10 years," he told me. "We are not amateurs, and we have an enormous amount of experience with areas which have been hit by hurricanes."

"A lot of the damaged oil facilities aren't even in the city of New Orleans itself," he told me, "so they weren't in an area that you would think would have looters or security problems that were different from any hurricane we've worked in. We're used to arriving and immediately going to work."

They didn't just sit and wait -- they kept going back to the FEMA people who were holding them up and making suggestions about how and where they could be useful. But FEMA had no interest in listening, and the line never changed. "You can wait if you wish, but don't expect any change anytime soon. Or you can go home."

You know all that "help is on the way" BS that was spouted? A lot of it wasn't just "on the way" -- it was already there, but blocked from doing anything because of FEMA.

We've heard so much of this over this past week, of help and supplies arriving and not being allowed in, of the USS Bataan cruising off the city with helicopters, medical facilities, and supplies, but doing nothing because they hadn't been asked to help.

I thought my outrage meter was already off the dial, but I discovered it had new levels when I heard the first-hand account from a friend who had left work for a week to bring specific expertise to the disaster, and who was among the thousands of such people blocked by FEMA and their incompetent bureaucracy from doing anything at all.

Originally posted to Ducktape on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 07:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Un*FUCKING*believable (4.00)
    I think everyone should print this story out and send it to their Representatives. (with your blessing of course...)

    This is just wrong...wrong...wrong.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 07:57:50 AM PDT

    •  But FEMA did even more damage. They blocked the (4.00)
      local officials in getting what they needed to help secure things - such as blocking the Coast Guard from giving Jefferson Parish fuel like Aaron Broussard said on MTP.  Along with turning away water.  Not even to mention cutting emergency phone lines!???!

      What excuse do they have for that?

      It is all so unfathomable.  

      Plus, they didn't help the local and state bring up any communications operations which was a big contributer to the confusion.

      •  Surreal (4.00)
        Who are these guys?  What the hell was their game?  Blocking aid, cutting power, denying local people fuel?

        Was this an attempted coup?  Was this the sort of thing our nation did in Central America in order to topple unfriendly governments?

        Is this what FEMA has become?  A domestic branch of the CIA's dirty tricksters?  What next?  Exploding hot links?

        Banana Republicans, indeed!

        •  Here is more information on what they did: (4.00)
          (I'm not sure if this has been posted on Daily Kos or not, all the websites have been on overload with information flying)

          Posted by Flaxbee on DU on Saturday, September 3rd:

          "My husband used to work in disaster preparedness/relief .....he also worked in Russia for years, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and organized relief in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl.

          He doesn't post here, but he wrote this - he's been on the phone day and night for the past five days trying to get someone to OK the offered assistance. Everyone knows this is a first-class fuck up, but here's another perspective.

          Over the years I have worked in and out of government to solve communications and technical problems, save lives and help where possible. I was managing director of a Russian-American telephone company providing rapid communications in the former Soviet Union and have helped with disaster communications projects around the world.

          This is the first time I have ever encountered this unbelievable kind of absolutely uncaring, Washington/political two-step. When the storm approached the Gulf coast I called offering simple suggestions to government types (since this was obviously from all reports going to be a terrible storm) of how to bring communications systems up as soon as the storm passed. I recommended bringing in Blimps with portable cell transceivers and VHF, UHF and other types of broadcast equipment and also equipment to aid in the search and rescue effort. No one was interested.

          When the storm hit and everyone knew the worst had happened, I contacted the Red Cross, (someone there hung up on me) and then FEMA where someone told me it was all up to the DOD -- and I wondered why the Pentagon was in charge of FEMA? I was also told that FEMA was being privatized and a number of the experienced staff trained in hurricane relief had been told they had to resign from FEMA and then be rehired by the private company.

          I called senators and governors, I even tried to get through to my contacts and no one would listen or respond (though a member of Senator Dole's staff did commiserate with me over the level of incompetence that was growing ever more apparent). Then Putin offered helicopters, search and rescue personnel, water purification equipment, and doctors and so much more. Had the State Department allowed the Russian humanitarian mission to proceed, Russian help would have been on the ground a good 24-48 hours before FEMA was in many of the poorer and worst-affected areas.

          Everyone here now knows that all international help was tuned down (Ms. Rice was shopping and taking in a play while these offers were coming in, so she may not be totally lying when she said no offers of help were turned down b/c she wasn't there to turn them down. But she's been caught lying again with a statement that can be proven to be an untruth empirically by simply making one phone call to Putin's offices or the many other nation offering help, or by reading LBN here).

          The screw-ups continue even now. I can name many ways that the Bush administration not only did not help, but also caused people to die and are still causing so many to die needlessly. It is if the government was actively trying to hinder the relief operations.

          I fear there will be the biggest cover-up in the history of America after this is all over (mass graves so reminiscent of Bush 41's Panama disaster). Don't let anyone tell you everything possible was done to prepare or respond when in fact FEMA may have done more harm than good.

          Write, yell, do something, but this has to be fixed before the next disaster. I feel that maybe the only hope for America is to impeach the entire Bush Administration.

          edited for clarification and remove some identifying details

          •  this hurts (none)
            I still wont be going to walmart any time soon but I am giving them credit and thanking them for stepping up and providing the releif they are
          •  Privatizing FEMA? (4.00)
            That isn't public news.

            If FEMA was shown to be incompetent the Bushies could 1) blame them for the failure and 2) make an argument for privatization.

            That said, I really hope that FEMA's miserable performance has been due to incompetence and confusion and not some sinister plot. After the Downing Street Memo though, we cannot rule out the sinister plot option.


            Tracking energy and transportation news.

            by joel3000 on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:01:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I saw a report of someone from Georgia who, on (4.00)
              his own initiative, showed up with boats and gas to do rescues.  He was told, no volunteers - only the contractors could do it.  

              It is like they viewed (and still view it) as primarily an opportunity for their buddies to make billions.  People from all around the country were begging to help save people, but they weren't interested in that.

            •  "public news" or not, privatization (none)
              of FEMA started even before 9/11. Here's a link to a good discussion of such from September 2004 (too much good stuff to quote, just go read it, if you're interested):

              cover story at Best of New Orleans, "A Disaster Waiting to Happen".

            •  FEMA's gutting... (none)
              The Independent Weekly, a small-town, Durham, N.C. free paper covered FEMA's gutting and Mike Brown's inexperience a year ago...

              Excepts follow --

              Disaster in the making
              September 22, 2004

              .. In addition, the White House has pushed for privatization of essential government services, including disaster management, and merged FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security, where natural disaster programs are often sidelined by counter-terrorism programs. Along the way, morale at FEMA has plummeted, and many of the agency's most experienced personnel have left for work in other government agencies or private corporations...

              ... Some FEMA veterans complained that Allbaugh had little experience in managing disasters, and the new administration's early initiatives did little to settle their concerns. The White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea--that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided--seems self-evident to me," he said.

              In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."...

              ..."Pretty soon governments can't do things because they've given up those capabilities to the private sector. And private corporations don't necessarily maintain those capabilities."

              The push for privatization wasn't the only change that raised red flags at FEMA. As a 2004 article in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management would later note, "Allbaugh brought about several internal, though questionably effective, reorganizations of FEMA. The Bush-Allbaugh FEMA diminished the Clinton administration's organizational emphasis on disaster mitigation."...

              ...Nevertheless, FEMA must now get by with a smaller number of in-house specialists. The irony, disaster researcher Claire Rubin says, is that FEMA will now have to hire former employees like Zensinger as contractors. "Now, frankly, the senior brains and the people with 20, 30 years of operational experience, there's more of them in the private sector than there are at FEMA. It's a significant shift. If the government's going to get smaller and the catastrophes keep getting bigger, the net effect will be to outsource what you need. It might be cheaper, it might be more expensive, but it's not a great way to run this part of government." Following the current spate of hurricanes, she predicts, "you will see FEMA contracts flying left and right so they can get these people back who know how to do this stuff."...

              There's a lot more to the article -- it's a good read, especially considering that its tragic predictions were borne-out this week along the Gulf coast.

              A voice of objective reason in the partisan din of the U.S. National Security community.

              by mustang dvs on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:59:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Didn't even see the 12 hr old post (none)
                I'd been floating this article around DKos for the past couple of days -- didn't think anyone had taken notice. Glad I was wrong...

                A voice of objective reason in the partisan din of the U.S. National Security community.

                by mustang dvs on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:01:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  re:Criminal Incompetence (4.00)
            I fear there will be the biggest cover-up in the history of America after this is all over (mass graves so reminiscent of Bush 41's Panama disaster).

            Uh uh.  No way.  No way this baby gets covered up.  For one thing, the whole world has seen and heard the truth behind the pathetic lies coming out of this administration.  For another thing, this firsthand account and others are coming from people who are going to return to their communities and tell all their friends and families, who will tell others, and on, and on.  And when Bush comes on the evening news saying what great work FEMA is doing, they're all going to know they can no longer trust that man: He's been saying the same thing about Iraq and the economy, hasn't he?  Many of these gulf coast areas are heavily--scratch that--were heavily Republican.

            I think Katrina could swamp the Republicans in 2006.  How about this for a stump speech line: Elect me, and I'll call for Congressional investigations into the handling of FEMA  

            You talk about disaffected voters.  Any inroads Republicans may have been making with African American voters are washed out.  Just say Superdome, and you'll hear what black voters (and many more of us) think of the racialized responses to "looting" and to helping the poorer people of New Orleans.

            And just to round things out, electorally, sit down and have a few words with working-class and middle-class voters in colder states this winter.  Let them tell you about their heating bills.  Then ask them if they think the Republicans in Congress care about simple, hard-working Americans.

            Remember how Republicans shamelessly exploited 9/11?  It's time for Democrats to righteously exploit Katrina to clean house on this corrupt administration and the incompetent assholes it appoints to key positions.

            It's time for Trogdor to do some burninatin' on the Republicans' thatched-roof cottages.

            by deminva on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:32:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I just wrote to our dear leaders (4.00)
              on just this subject. It took the Black Caucus to come out alone, god damn it, without the rest of our party to say that the atrocities on the ground were unacceptable. Alone! This won't work. No way. We have to come together, not behind them or hiding away, we have to come out together and make some very bold statemnents that send a chilling message to this country, that this is not only the sickest thing our country has watched and endured but that people in charge will be held accountable.
              •  My letter (4.00)
                Dear Senator Reid,

                The Bush Administration showed a level of gross negligence and breathtaking incompetence in their handling of the hurricane Katrina catastrophe.  Every day I read new stories of FEMA officials turning away expert volunteers, including the American Red Cross.  A public official from Paquemines Parish reported that FEMA cut his emergency communications lines!  I believe that FEMA's actions amount to criminal negligence.  If the Department of Defense is responsible for blocking the rescue of thousands of Americans, the question is, what the hell were they thinking?  And why were they in charge?

                I urge you to demand hearings to hold the Federal Government responsible for this disaster.

                Mr Brown and Mr Chertoff should be fired immediately!  

                President Bush and the rest of his Administration appeared to not even grasp the enormity of the impending disaster as it approached, when it made landfall, and for almost a week of seeing the pictures of people suffering and dying on the streets! Frankly, the President and Secretary of State Rice displayed shocking, callous indifference!

                Now IS the time for finger pointing.  This is no politics as usual spinnable PR issue.  Thousands of people were killed as a direct result of the inaction of our Government.

                The fact that most of the victims are Black and/or poor has escaped no one's notice.  The survivors should be paid a million dollars each as reparation for the horrible suffering they were forced to endure.

                I urge you to address this issue forcefully in the Senate.  

                Thank you,
                x xx

                cc: D.Feinstein
                B.Boxer, G.Miller



                The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

                by x on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 04:05:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  re:Right (none)
                  As far as I'm concerned, any Democrat not out there demanding answers and accountability is playing politics with Katrina.  Not the reverse.

                  It's time for Trogdor to do some burninatin' on the Republicans' thatched-roof cottages.

                  by deminva on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 05:13:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  PEOPLE DIED... (4.00)

        An untypical Negro...since 1954.

        by blksista on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:15:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Communications being jammed? (4.00)
        For what it is worth, Wayne Madsen is reporting that communications in and around New Orleans have been being jammed for days.  I know people here regard Madsen with skepticism, and I was skeptical of his reports myself, but Broussard's claim that FEMA cut his communications lines seems to corroborate Madsen.
        •  Cutting Communications is Standard Rove (4.00)
          In order to control the story you need to control th e communications.

          Look at what they're doing in Iraq.

          Look at how they're handling Roberts.

          The Reps always want control of the information.

          Tracking energy and transportation news.

          by joel3000 on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:03:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Communications? (4.00)
            "A Mole in Gov Blanco's office reports

            Okay, I'm gonna come clean, because I see that Bush and his cronies are going to try to do what I heard they were going to do. I mentioned a few emails back that Bush was doing something despicable and cowardly.

            Well, here is the story: a few nights ago, he met with Gov. Blanco. He isolated her, and attempted to get her to sign an agreement that partly would have exonerated the Feds and FEMA, and placed blame squarely on the state government. Well, I see in these NY Times articles that Karl Rove is orchestrating this cowardly attempt to diffuse blame. This story, by the way, comes from someone very high up in Blanco's administration.

            From someone pretty high up in Mayor Ray Nagin's administration, word also got out just yesterday athta Bush was going to try to aim blame at Nagin and his people. Believe me, this is serious shit. Both the state and city governments have real fears that their lines are being bugged by the Feds (not unfounded by the way). And all this during a disaster such as the aftermath. It is becoming painfully aware that Bush has no conscience, no integrity whatsoever. Okay, so I said if need be, I'd spill the beans on this, and I encourage all of you to pass it around.


            •  Who is "he"? (none)
              Are you saying that it was Bush who cornered Blanco? Before I forward this shocking stuff it would be good to get it clarified. Thanks very much.
              •  I read it as Bush. But I'm not the author (none)
                or the mole.

                I'm just sharing the information that I read.

                •  I sure it was Bush (none)
                  The Times-Picayune reported on Saturday that Nagin had said Bush had taken Blanco aside and offered her two options and that Blanco had said she needed 24 hours.  Nagin seemed to be criticising her though he also appeared not to know just what the details of these options were....Note, though, that Sen. Landrieu whho'd been trying hard to please Bush turned on him on Saturday as well....


                  "the fools, the fools, they've left us our Fenian Dead" (Padraig Pearse - Gay Revolutionary)

                  by padraig pearse on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 02:50:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  They need to come out with this!!!! (none)
              They need to step out from behind the shadows and TALK about this on national media!!!

              SCUZZBALLS!!!!!  If this is true, it's the most cowardly, dastardly thing I've ever heard of ..... "If you will take the blame for the delay, we will send help" .... (at least, I gather that's the "deal")

            •  Wait, when was this? (none)
              Wait, when was this?

              There was Video on CNN, ( Can't link to the popups, click on the video link for CNN, search for "Nagin still outspoken" 07:57 AM, Sep 05) with Nagin saying that he told Bush and Blanco point blank on Air Force One to get things worked out. Bush and Blanco apparently went to the back of the airplane where they met, and when they returned to the room, Bush said that he had given her two choices, and that Blanco said she had to "wait 24 hours to make a decision" on it.

              That sounds horrible coming from the Gov. but what you said just put a whole new spin on it. I hate to even think this low of even Dubya, but could Bush have actually threatened to deliberately withhold aid unless Blanco took the fall for this disaster?

              •  Blanco refused to sign everything over to (none)
                the Feds and look at all the help that is now in the City.  

                She didn't need to sign anything else for them to help.  They just wouldn't give the orders to do it.  

                •  Blanco is already gone (none)
                  Blanco may as well act as if her career is over.
                  The Bushies are after her and even if she gives in to their demands they're still going to attempt to destroy her all the same.

                  When will people learn that if they aren't on the Bush team they aren't going to get on it? Core Bush people will always be protected, everyone else can be sacrificed as the need arises, regardless of prior promises.


                  Tracking energy and transportation news.

                  by joel3000 on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:15:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Questionable (none)
          There were streaming feeds of NOPD, NOFD, Marine Radio and Air Traffic at varoius times last week.  Never heard a drop of interference.  
        •  Here's a diary about (none)
          Madsen's diary...In which he accuses dKos censoring stories about blocked communications.

          Pretty pathetic.

          Sorry to Diary Whore, but this makes me ill.

    •  Bill (4.00)
      needs to write it all down, have his comrades sign and date the document, and this needs to be sent to every damn politician in this country. Quite frankly I am sick of them all, I begged Senator Nelson (D-FL)last Wednesday to step up and do something, I sent him an email and pleaded for him to do something, but nothing, not a peep.  I am disgusted with this country.

      Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

      by panicbean on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:42:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, an affidavit now (4.00)
        get it on paper with witnesses. Please, and Thank you!

        ...conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal...

        by nhwriter on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:11:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  he MUST send it to Hilary Clinton (none)
        from today's New York Times story:

        In one of several such appeals, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, called on President Bush on Sunday to appoint an independent national commission to examine the relief effort. She also said that she intends to introduce legislation to remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security and restore its previous status as an independent agency with cabinet-level status.

        The thought of forming a "commission" of course won't be very reassuring to many dKos readers, but getting on board with the idea -- also strongly put forward in the last year by former FEMA director James Witt -- that FEMA needs to be "restored" is an important political move, in my opinion. And remember, Witt was just hired by Gov. Blanco to have "her seat at the table" with federal authorities.

        •  I can't think of anything less productive (none)
          than having Bush appoint a commission. WADR, the fox guarding the henhouse? cmon, Clinton....

          Be a Carville, not a Colmes

          by seesdifferent on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:08:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's not the commission I think is important (4.00)
            in this news, as I said. Of course, there'll be a commission -- it's just a given.

            What I think is good politics, and good framing, is Clinton's signing on to the idea that it was the Bush administration's POLICIES re: privatization of FEMA and transferring responsibility to an untested and unprofessional (appointing college roommates instead of experts) so-called "Homeland Security" agency that are at the root of FEMA's failures (or criminal dereliction of duty?) here.

        •  As pointed out on another diary- DHS was (4.00)
          formed to respond to terrorist threats, FEMA was brought under DHS and basically gutted FEMA's original charter. DHS has not given FEMA a new one. Then, in this Hurricane Katrina crisis, FEMA under the overarching umbrella of DHS responded like they would for a terrorist attack. Every attempt is being made to manage and control  information, secure the scene, stop the looting, etc. Not a response in any way associated with a natural disaster. Thus, the numerous suggestions  to set FEMA under it's own cabinet post, seperate from DHS.

          Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

          by maggiemae on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:17:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Terrorist, Hurricane, what's the difference? (4.00)
            ... except that they had several days advance warning?

            Don't you imagine that a couple of trucks filled with nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil placed next to those canal levees (which are not hugely thick like the main levees) wouldn't have flooded New Orleans the same way?

            Seriously -- if Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols could do that with the OKC Federal Building as two guys and a truck, do you think it would have taken more than four guys a two trucks to flood NOLA exactly the same way? You wouldn't have had the wind damage, but you also wouldn't have had time for people to get to the higher ground of the SuperDome or Convention Center, either.

            The only difference was we wouldn't have had days of advance warning.

            So tell me how FEMA's focus on terrorism would have made one particle of difference. The only difference I see is that we would be bombing Iran to "get even."

            •  Huge difference is degree of devastation (none)
              9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing were limited to relatively small area of devastation.  Hurricane Katrina combined with levee flooding cover 96,000 miles.

              Additionally, the terror response mentality is one of marshal law, containment, security of site, DHS working with FBI and law enforcement.

              The primary focus is never that of humanitarian aid, as a primary thrust, ala the tsunmi.    

              Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

              by maggiemae on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 06:08:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You very much have my blessing (4.00)
      Please help yourself to this, and post it wherever it will be useful. I will put an email address in my profile if you need to get it touch with me.

      I lurk all the time, but rarely post because I'm just too busy, and by the time I have something written, someone else has said it even better.

      But I really felt like this had to be said, so please help to spread the story. I'll be talking to my friend today to see what he's willing to attach his name to, or perhaps if there are also other of his firefighting team who would like to go public.

    •  Watch for the spin because that's the response (4.00)
      Bush loyalists are going to try to get out of this by saying either:

      1. This is all the fault of the city officials
      2. They would have helped sooner but all the terrible people of New Orleans were shooting and causing havoc

      The response to the first one is simple: in a disaster, FEMA is in charge, end of story.  The city did move to evacuate the city as best they could.  The problem is there's a lot of poor people in New Orleans who simply could not get out.  

      As for the second part, this story points out the obvious screw up: THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH GUARD TROOPS TO GET THE JOB DONE.   Why?  Because they were off in Iraq.  Simple really.  Bush has overworked the resources of this country and this is the result.  Not enough troops meant not enough security meant no relief aid until several days after the Hurricane.


      •  Au contraire (4.00)
        ...not in complete disagreement, I should point out, but there were at least some National Guard available.

        Gov. Bill Richardson offered New Mexico's guard, but the feds botched up the request either by sitting on it, squashing it, losing it or rejecting it.

        Anybody else out there recall whether other states' guard were also offered within the early window of Katrina but botched by the feds?

        This is such a clusterf*ck that it's hard to tell where one screw up began and another ended, any way you look at it, though.

        •  Indiana (none)
          Indiana sent NG south to help.  Some guard units and a whole airwing.  They have not yet come home but I haven't heard if they were allowed to do anything to help yet.  Local EMTs with ambulances were sent too, no word on those either.  
        •  read on here earlier this week... (none)
          ...that mayor richard daily offered help, like, on saturday before the hurricane and was turned down.

          none of this makes any sense to me. i'm so not into conspiracy theories, but this is way beyond the usual ineptitude for this administration. how could they possibly be sooooooo stupid????

          There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are terrorists of the mind. -- A. Bartlett Giamatti

          by FemiNazi on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:41:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Question(s) ... (none)
          Were Louisiana's NG troops truly pressed into service when the governor declared a state of emergency? Or were the numbers that were deemed "available" controlled (as in "manipulated") by the Pentagon?

          The fact that it took until Thursday for the Pentagon to approve Governor Richardson's direct offer of his state's NG seemed like a smoking gun from the moment I heard about it. And it immediately seemed like the number of NG deployed to work this disaster was way too low and that they did not appear to be taking their orders from the governor.

          "If they would rather die," said Scoorge/FEMA/Rethugs, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

          by Robert de Loxley on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:54:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  One more... (none)
        ...way they are trying to spin out of it:

        3.) This was an "ULTRA-CATASTROPHE," so "nobody could possibly have predicted it."

        Of course, there was nothing especially un-predicted about it at all, since we know that various government officials, scientists, engineers have been worried about this sort of hurricane, and about the levees, for quite some time. But "ultra-catastrophe" has a "beyond all reasonable expectations" ring to it that makes it seem like it was the fault of forces beyond human control.  

        This is a clever rhetorical trick to confuse the Category 4 HURRICANE hitting there (a relatively rare act of nature we couldn't affect) with the lack of PREVENTATIVE & RESPONSIVE MEASURES  (levees, evacuation plan/funds for the poor, FEMA), which were within the government's capacity to affect.

        If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

        by ChaosMouse on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 01:29:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry that I Don't Have a Link for This ... (none)
          But I was reading the comments of a meteorologist regarding the amount of devastation. To paraphrase him/her: The wind speed (the current measure of a hurricane) might have dropped from a category 5 to a category 4 when Katrina hit land, but the storm surge accompanying it didn't (and doesn't) drop so fast. That's why the meteorologists were going so apeshit--to them it still packed the punch of a category 5 hurricane.

          The one picture that defines the power of Katrina for me is at

          "If they would rather die," said Scoorge/FEMA/Rethugs, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

          by Robert de Loxley on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:18:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  my right wing mother in law's response (none)
        was "he wanted to be there, but his handlers wouldn't let him" "no one in LA asked for help" "no one in LA thought that they'd neeed help" ..... yep, the kool aide says its a. the handlers' fault and b.  LA city and state persons' fault.

        Fucking incredible ... and get this .... they live in Jackson, MS .... however they frequent Tunica instead of Biloxi

    •  Thanks for bringing this here (4.00)
      So much was said in Flaxbee's husband's statement.  But a couple of things really jumped out to me.  The first being:
      I was also told that FEMA was being privatized and a number of the experienced staff trained in hurricane relief had been told they had to resign from FEMA and then be rehired by the private company.

      Yesterday I posted something that, at the time, I thought was, for me,  a bit of a tin foil hat suspicion

      When they decided to fold FEMA into OHS, I had this nagging feeling that FEMA's days as an active entity were numbered. I could easily see it being completely dissolved before Bush left office.  During the elections in '08, the Repubs would use it as one example of getting rid of tax dollar waste, since its role had become nothing more than a duplication of duties the Office of Homeland Security had absorbed.

      I guess I wasn't too far off.  

      The second thing that made me think was this:

      Had the State Department allowed the Russian humanitarian mission to proceed, Russian help would have been on the ground a good 24-48 hours before FEMA was in many of the poorer and worst-affected areas.

      As with so many people and groups who had tried to get into NO and were turned back or with the aid from outside the US that had been turned down, my reaction has been the same.  I can just imagine Rove counciling Shrub that,  "It would be too embarrassing to the US and to the office of the President to have outside forces getting in before FEMA or the National Guard.  The first respondents there have to be ours or we'll look weak and ineffectual."  Of course, if that is the advice that was given, it was the absolute wrong advice by exactly 180 degrees.

      If any event could have shown just how self absorbed this administration is, it was this one.  In this case, it wasn't, "You're either with us, or against us," it was just a blatant, "Thanks, but no thanks.  We can do this on our own."

      I'm not sure how much longer I can live with the rage I feel everyday and I wasn't even there!  I snark and gripe about alot of things this Whitehouse has done, is doing and is planning for the future, but I've always been able to find something that will take me out of the bad mood they put me in.  This time I just can't seem to find any outlet for my anger.  If I can't find release, how are the people who have lived through this supposed to find peace anytime soon?  In the years to come, what is going to be the effect to the collective psyche of this country, as those displaced try to find a way to survive?  

      Reporters have been talking about how the Preznit has this huge opportunity to set his legacy by being able to shape SCOTUS for years to come with the vacancies he has the opportunity to fill.  Well, let's not forget that along side that legacy will also be his glaring failures with his slowness to respond during the first hours of 9/11, the hubris with which he invaded Iraq and the total ineptitude with which the war has been conducted, the push for legislation that does nothing more than pad the coffers of his rich friends and supporters,  and now the totally ineffectual way he handled one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the US in a century. He better pray and pray hard that another severe hurricane, major earthquake or devastating fire doesn't hit anywhere in the US.  His resources are so stretched now that another disaster will only open us up to bigger threat, which is a major terrorist attack.  We've still got 2 months of hurricane season left.  The National Hurricane Center has redone their estimates and they are predicting at least 3 more catagorey 3-5 hurricanes before it's all over.  Now that I think about it again, maybe we'd better all pray.

      What's amazing is that he's got another 3 years and 4 months to add to his list of fuck-ups.  So, I wonder just how kind history will be to this poor excuse for a Commander in Chief.  I can imagine that if any of us or those beaten back or ignored by this guy and his cronies have anything to say about it, he's going to be seen as one of the worst leaders we've ever had.

      Just because a person has faith doesn't mean that he isn't full of crap.-- Pastordan

      by Maggie Mae on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always goes back to the bloody resume, doesn't it? (4.00)
        This piece-of-excrement masquerading as a human, let alone as POTUS, had a pissy resume before he was elected.

        He sank companies, indulged in illegal activities, or indulged in activities that he believes are illegal for anyone else to partake (like the college girlfriend who was "encouraged" to get an abortion).

        His work to date mirrors the calibre of his previous work history.

        He sucked -- and expected everyone else from his family, friends to countrymen to bail out his sorry ass.  If he was running a publicly-owned business, I don't know how he'd not have been run out on a rail or jailed by now.

        Only difference now: the stakes are no longer tanking stock values, but human lives.  For as long as he lives we should be on hand to protest everything he does, from golfing to speeches.  We owe this much to our fellow citizens who died in vain for a "noble cause" or for the lack of real leadership.

  •  I believe... (none)
    ... someone is compiling a list of stories like this. Anybody got that info?


      •  I hate I didn't see that diary (none)
        I would have recommended it. Very important that there is a central location for these types of stories. Together they are a major indictment against the incompetence that led to the deaths of perhaps tens of thousands (heard an estimate of 20,00 in New Orleans alone).
        •  Wiki, wikki? whatever (4.00)
          we need a wikki on this asap.
          •  Yes (4.00)
            And then it needs to be turned into a book. A well written, fast-paced, suspenseful, hour-by-hour account of team after team of volunteers turning up, Air Force and Navy personnel at the ready, public officials pleading for help, AND FEMA TELLING THEM EACH AND ALL TO TAKE A FLYING FUCK.

            This would sell. Internationally. Top of the lists. All proceeds to hurricane relief.

            •  Eric Klinenberg perfect writer, HEAT WAVE (4.00)
              I would like to suggest Eric Klinenberg as the perfect writer of this human and natural disaster. His experience, perspective and insight is valuable for the many historical parallels in his book HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.

              Quoting from Siva Vaidhyanathan
              September 03, 2005

              Chicago: The Precedent for New Orleans
              My buddy and NYU colleague Eric Klinenberg wrote a powerful, important, award-winning book called Heat Wave.

              Friday he wrote an article for called When Chicago Baked - Unheeded lessons from another great urban catastrophe.

              Sept. 11 was an epochal event in American culture, so it's no surprise that it's everyone's favorite comparison to the destruction of New Orleans. But the more instructive analogy is another great urban catastrophe in recent American history: The 1995 Chicago heat wave, when a blend of extreme weather, political mismanagement, and abandonment of vulnerable city residents resulted in the loss of water, widespread power outages, thousands of hospitalizations, and 739 deaths in a devastating week. This summer is the heat wave's 10th anniversary. Yet the event has been largely forgotten as government agencies charged with protecting Americans from disasters have ignored the lessons it offered -- and people are dying on the Gulf Coast as a result.

              Long before 1995, American public-health officials warned of the dangers of extreme summer weather. Heat waves in a typical year kill more Americans than all other extreme weather events combined (between 400 and 1,500). After cities including Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Chicago itself experienced heat disasters in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began prodding government agencies to develop plans for preventing heat-related casualties. But few cities took this advice seriously. Chicago's Health Department shelved its heat-emergency plan in the office's back regions.

              A strong emergency response might have compensated for the poor advance planning. As with Katrina, meteorologists identified the treacherous weather system at least a week before it hit Chicago and advised the city to prepare for the worst. Instead, Mayor Richard M. Daley and many of his Cabinet members set off on summer vacations, returning to Chicago only after dead bodies began piling up at the morgue. In the absence of its leaders, the city failed to pull its forgotten heat-emergency plan from the shelf. Local emergency managers refused to call in additional resources to help with the unfolding health crisis, even though paramedics and ambulances were readily available.

              Affluent and middle-class Chicagoans had little trouble getting out of harm's way. They either turned on their air conditioners or fled for cooler destinations. Thousands of poor, old, isolated, and sick people, especially those concentrated in the city's segregated African-American ghettos, on the other hand, were effectively trapped in lethal conditions. Neither federal nor local agencies did much to assist them. Instead, city patrols cracked down on young people who opened fire hydrants.

              Images of the "water war" between the teens and the city workers featured prominently in the local media, as did long sound bites from political officials who insisted that no one had foreseen the danger of heat waves and that they had done everything they could to respond. The commissioner of human services said that people died because they neglected to take care of themselves. The mayor blamed families for refusing to protect their kin. Outraged representatives of Chicago's African-American neighborhoods argued the obvious: Everyone knew which people and places were going to be most affected by the heat. The victims' vulnerability was predictable, and so was the city's neglect. Yet their complaints got little attention, and the story of what happened to their communities remains largely unknown.

              Katrina is in some ways a different species of trouble. The hurricane has destroyed New Orleans and damaged smaller cities in addition to killing people. Yet the parallels are striking. Federal officials ignored several urgent pleas--from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, members of Congress, Gulf Coast politicians, and scores of disaster experts--for major infrastructure improvements to prevent catastrophic flooding on the Gulf Coast. Paul Krugman reports in the New York Times that FEMA rated this crisis one of the top three threats to American security. Yet the White House denied requests to shore up levees or build larger drainage systems for the lower Mississippi River.

              Emergency preparations during the week before the storm were also weak. As in Chicago, top political officials--this time President Bush and his Cabinet members--refused to interrupt their vacation schedules until the death toll spiked. As in Chicago, city leaders neglected poor African-American neighborhoods where residents were certain to be vulnerable, failing to send evacuation buses there or to the hospitals and homes where the frail, elderly, and sick are clustered.

              In contrast to Chicago, however, New Orleans officials have clamored for more assistance from Washington. The New York Times reported that Col. Terry Ebbert, director of Homeland Security for New Orleans, said the disaster response has been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days. ... It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane."

              In part because of such open condemnation, the media coverage of Katrina has been more critical than the coverage of the Chicago heat wave. Yet little of the most valuable coverage, local radio broadcasting, is available inside New Orleans. Without TV, Internet access, newspapers, and telephones, people are depending on radios--battery-powered, in automobiles, or hand-crank--for emergency information. But as of Thursday evening, only one station, Entercom's WWL-AM 870, had its own reporters on the air. Clear Channel Communications, which owns roughly 1,200 stations nationwide (about six times more than any other company) owns six stations in New Orleans. The company has been criticized for failing to provide emergency information or expansive coverage during other local disasters in recent years. During the first days of the disaster, none of the Clear Channel stations provided their own reporting on the crisis. One, KHEV, retransmitted audio from WWL-TV. On Friday, the Web sites for Clear Channel's New Orleans stations announced that they had joined other broadcasters in setting up "United Radio for New Orleans" and removed the promos for syndicated programs and paid advertisements that had been visible on the site over the previous days.

              It's important to keep asking questions about all the things that have gone wrong in New Orleans. Let it not be another Chicago disaster story, in which wasted lessons compound the catastrophe of wasted lives.

              many blue, yellow and green dogs are a majority

              by Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 12:25:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Klinenberg's book is great (none)
                I wrote a paper last year, when all of the hurricanes hit Florida, about the ways in which the Orlando Sentinel newspaper presented the events. In short, they were presented as events requiring official and corporate response, and the reports effectively undermined what I called "place-making imagination". Bureaucracies and governments tend to want to treat places like morality - the simpler the better. Bush's moral code, very black and white (true in more sense than one) is presented as character when it is really the lack of moral imagination to not see possibilities that are between the extremes. The same is true for places - they can be presented in very flattened ways (public/private, good/evil, safe/threatening), and so the ways of making place are essentially not seen.

                The result in Orlando last year was that the truism that communities pull together in times of disaster was not presented at all. In fact, there was one story titled "Want to help? Stay out of the way", which reflected the idea that the corporate and official response was the only correct response.

                In many ways, NO is the opposite. The response was neither corporate nor official, and all people had to fall back on was each other. That wasn't enough for very many. But NO is renowned as a place of community, a place where no one wants to leave as they grow up because it is so strongly home.

                NO has the reputation of being a rich place, from the point of view of quality of dwelling. People matter to people. From the point of view of money, on the other hand, it probably isn't. True (classical) conservatism would agree with contemporary liberalism, in that it would celebrate that richness, seeing it as rooted in the complexity of human culture. This present version of conservatism, on the other hand, is scared of rich places. The quintessential neo-con place is the gated community, where everything is controlled and the scary world is kept out. And, you are told which 3 colors you are allowed to paint your house. Both moral imagination and place-making imagination are all but extinct.

                Except, they can't be extinguished forever. I think we're going to hear a few things about the people who were left behind in NO. One, they are going to be livid at a government that didn't care, and so should we all be. But second, once the dominant stories about looting have run their course, I think we're going to hear about the ways in which that community supported each other. I think they're going to remind us what a place looks like, and that it really did shine at the worst moment, and that it isn't lost even with people scattered all over.

                To me, that's one thing that those who are sick of this status quo should latch onto. It is life together that people want, and that the current administration (and any I could imagine with similar people) can't even imagine, and certainly can't provide. The president's disingenuous first name/nickname familiarity ("Browny"?!!? What the hell is that, something left on someone's underwear?) will be seen as completely fake, compared to real community. His is just in-crowd cronyism, not real community.

                I pray to God to be rid of God. - Meister Eckhart

                by mitumba on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 02:33:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps a contribution to dKospedia (4.00)
            And link to the diary of collected stories and other important diaries.

            One stop shopping, conserve bandwith.

            Folks can link to that site in their sig lines.

            Just some suggestions for keeping a record.

          •  I've added (none)
            this to the Hurricane Katrina Chronology.  I am trying to add entries for any incidents like this where FEMA turned away help.

            Also, this is definitely a story to take to local Houston media.  I think they'd pick it up and then it might go national.

            •  excellent! (none)
              How do I/can I/we create something like this in dkosopedia that people can update with links to answers?

              PROBLEM: People in Superdome not provided security, provisions, evacuation after hurricane.  
              CAUSE:? Nobody came. RESPONSIBLE: ? Why wasn't the Red Cross in there from the start, from before the hurricane? Who made that decision? Were they asked to be there? Mayor announced use of Superdome as facility at noon on Sunday. What was the expectation of the Mayor for how long people would have to be there? What was the expectation for who was responsible for providing resources for provisions and evacuation? Coast Guard was Johnny on the Spot. Who called them? Who coordinated that?   Clearly it was never possible for local resources to handle the scope of the needs even just at the Superdome without outside assistance (or at least clear to me. Is that self-evident or not?) Local police were considerably overwhelmed: 1,000 police officers on the force, with approximately 100,000 people left in city, NOT counting the Superdome and Convention Center.  EACH AND EVERY ONE of those people needed either rescue, medical help, evacuation, or to be handcuffed and put in jail, WWAY beyond the scope of local officials. Some of those officials were initially stranded as well, and then later some deserted. How many STATE Natl Guard went to NOLA, as opposed to other areas of Louisiana, other counties? Sheriffs Dept also needed to secure jails and make sure there weren't jail breaks. (Where are THEY now, by the way? They were camping on that overpass in handcuffs for days. Now what? Presumably the jail is in the same condition is was before.)

              CONVENTION CENTER filled up after flooding began, I presume. Local officials had knowledge, presumably, that it was being used. Were they expected to communicate this need to Fed officials? Press was reporting on existence of need there starting when? Tuesday?

              Where was central search and rescue command post and who was in charge of that? Honore? When did Honore arrive? What exactly is the scope of his responsibility? Just NOLA? Does he command Coast Guard too? Does he command STATE National Guard as well asWho was he reporting to? Was HE responsible for reporting on existence of and needs at the Convention Center as well, since presumably he was Fed Man in Charge in NOLA? Did he? Did it go unheeded?

              FEMA is not in charge of security, I presume, but is in charge of provisions, along with Red Cross, but can't go where it's not secure. Who tells Red Cross where to go and when?

              PROBLEM: NOLA not secured after hurricane
              CAUSE: Not enough security personnel to handle it. No leadership?
              RESPONSIBLE: Louisiana Gov called in STATE Natl Guard. How many were there? Clearly not enough. FED NATL GUARD - many offers came in, apparently paper didn't go through. When did it finally come?  Friday with the President's press junket, or where there more before that? How many STATE National Guard w/ equip, if any, are in Iraq? Did that have an effect? Clearly (to me) there was no leadership in NOPD. Can you imagine desertions of police officers under William Bratton? Doubtful, but still only my opinion and assumption. However, presumably personal issues with family members missing and security as well as communications breakdowns were factors. Stories of abuse and negligence and disregard for the emotional state of evacuees on the part of police officers around the Superdome and Convention Center were also evident.

              What are examples of timelines for other national guard deployments? How fast?

              Were there different people responsible for rescue and evacuation? Coast Guard and others left people who had been evacuated from rooftops and homes on overpasses and piers, and then nobody came to get them causing possibly hundreds of fatalities as they waited. Was the Coast Guard responsible for communicating need for evacuation and specific info about urgency based on medical conditions of specific groups of people? To whom? Who then was responsible for further evacuation?

              PROBLEM: Hospitals not evacuated in timely manner
              CAUSE: ?  Not enough help came
              RESPONSIBLE:?  Clearly above the capabilities of local resources. Coast Guard?

              •  I'm not enough (none)
                of an expert on wiki to be able to tell you how to set one up, but it sounds like good material for an article.  If you do set it up, please add a link to the Hurricane Katrina Chronology so that the material can easily be navigated and collated together at some future point.
              •  What did LA do wrong that MS did Right? (none)
                Or, is the answer, MS is covering up what went wrong in order to get preferential future treatment.  Or are they pulling in their markers?

                "Let the city of New Orleans Rise Again"

                by murrayewv on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:50:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Barbour (4.00)
                  They elected a Republican Governor???? Also, they're just not getting as much coverage. I would imagine fewer people evacuated, though, from Mississippi than should/could have also. It's just less dramatic than the whole NOLA flooding, and all the evacuees in the Superdome, etc. Plus more people have cars because they're not so much in the urban center.
                •  They are covering it up (none)
                  In MS all the small cities with largely African American populations had nothing from the feds as late as yesterday. They were told they didn't send the right paperwork.

                  SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

                  by mollyd on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 01:29:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  All Mississippi had was a hurricane. (none)
                  FEMA knows that routine.  The floods in New Orleans raised many more problems which FEMA wasn't prepared for.
              •  I've add a dKosopedia page with this info (none)
                It's here.

                It's linked from the main Hurricane Katrina page. I've also taken the liberty of starting it off with your list of problems.

                If you're looking for love in a looking glass world, it's pretty hard to find

                by patop on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 01:40:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  USCG (none)
                The Coast Guard would not require a specific order allowing them to go in after the hurricane hit (such as the USS Bataan needed from the preznit)  Search and rescue is a normal part of their mission - but coordinating the whole enchilada wouldn't be. They may have been ordered to place people on overpasses for another agency to pick up. I'm sure we don't need to blame the CG Commandant.
                I find it incredible that this much holding off and sealing off NO from rescue teams was merely disorganization. The question is WHY???
                •  answering my own question (none)
                  This holding off on sending in aid to NO was NOT mere bungling. The USS Bataan had followed the hurricane and was ready to go with rescue helicopters, MRE's, water, etc - but they are military and can't go in without the president's OK. FEMA personnel deliberately refused other rescue groups from getting in. AFTER the preznit had a private discussion with Gov Blanco, help could get in, and nearly dead people could get out. So just what demands exactly did he have? No-bid contracts?
          •  We have a wiki here already (none)
            With a Katrina section, among others. dKosopedia

            "The palace is not safe when the cottage is not happy." -Benjamin Disraeli

            by meg on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 04:47:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  How about an accountability list? (4.00)
      Has anybody started compiling a list of answers or gaps in answers to questions like:

      - How many LOUISIANA State National Guard were deployed (deployable by Gov Blanco without waiting for feds) vs. those deployed from elsewhere? How many went to NOLA to secure city, and how many went elsewhere?

      _ Which entity/agency/accountable leader was responsible for evacuation AFTER search and rescue dropped people on overpasses and piers, etc?

      • Who exactly was/is responsible for where Red Cross goes?

      • Is Honore in charge of Coast Guard, Police and National guard? Is he also responsible for communicating to FEMA? Who exactly is he reporting to?

      •  Honore is not in Charge of Coasties (4.00)
        The USCG has it own command and control structure, basically they answer to no one.  Not the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, not even the FAA.  They have their mission, the mission is always the same, protect lives, secure navigation, protect property.  They may coordinate with other units, but they are never under the command of anyone else.  
        •  ok (4.00)
          So that brings me to the question of how they decide where to go first, and when they drop people off on some pier, who is then responsible for the evacuation part? Who do they tell that to? I'm trying to figure out who exactly should have been responsible for making sure that those 100 people didn't die waiting on that pier.
          •  Not sure (none)
            From what I've picked up, Monday Afternoon USCG was flying assessment flights, then communicating to State Emergency Response & FEMA the extent of the damage.  
            At this point the levee's were holding.  So they started with helo's on the barrier islands and later in the night they got the small boats in the flooded areas, south of the city.  At this point it was essentially nearest acessible high ground.  At one point they had to move a couple hundred from a high school shelter which had been a collection point but then began to flood.  
            The pier became a collection point.  I believe the intent was to get a ferry which had been displaced by the storm going to evacuate the people on the pier.  Whose responsibility, don't know, but I'll try to find out.  Late monday, the levee's collapsed, at this point resources were split and some moved into the city.
            The news release Monday evening stated 7 Helos flying rescue, later Monday evening I believe the small boats were out running rescue.  
            As far as where the boats and helo's were going, the statement said "numerous calls for assistance prioitized based on need".  This was night operations, so I'm pretty sure they were heading for locations they knew had victims.

            The press release, Tues Noon, reported 1200 saved overnight + 1000 Tuesday morning.  This point they also report victims with medical needs were going to the superdome, others to the nearest high spot.  First mention of coordination:

            "Coast Guard rescue boats, hazardous materials disposal teams, aids to navigation teams and Disaster Assistance Relief Teams are coordinating with local, state and federal agencies in land-based rescue efforts"

            Starting with a 5am briefing on Sept 2nd, the press releases start referring to "joint-agency" Rescue operations and references to FEMA.

            Cutters and larger craft were just starting to arrive from staging locations.  Helos still spread across entire affected area.  As SAR operations wound down in MS & AL helos and other craft moved to NO.  

            There was a post last week from the brother of LT Commander on boats in NO.  I'll try to find it.

            USCG Press Releases

        •  US Coast Guard is under Homeland Security (4.00)
          That might explain why the Coast Guard was so busy on Monday/Tuesday, plucking people off of roofs (something like 1200 rescued I believe on Tuesday) but then they were suddenly AWOL.

          Did Homeland Security also order them out because the city had to be first secured by the National Guard?

          I still can't get the image out of my head of the president's Thursday press conference where you can see two orange/white Coast Guard helicopters and their crews standing around in the background. My God, what must have been going through their minds?

          You can make anything look good if you can write billions of dollars of hot checks. --Ross Perot

          by lanshark on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:35:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Coast Guard (none)
             "but then they were suddenly AWOL. "

            Really? Link, please? I thought they've been the only constant in this whole effort. The helicopter roof rescue footage has been non-stop since Monday night.

            •  maybe I'm wrong? (none)
              It seemed that they rescued lots of people on Tuesday but then weren't visible anymore. Maybe it's just my scewed perception, because so many people were at the superdome and the convention center and there was nobody there to help them.

              You can make anything look good if you can write billions of dollars of hot checks. --Ross Perot

              by lanshark on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:49:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yeh, but it's always the same footage. (none)
              Have you noticed that there hasn't been much new footage from inside NO in days.  They
              just reuse the same clips over and over again.  What is really going on in there and why don't they want us to see it?

              Bring them home. Now.

              by nargel on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 12:54:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Not AWOL just quietly doing their job (none)
            New Orleans (New Orlean Station Destroyed) - 1200 Rescued by noon Tuesday
            Average about 1500 Tuesday & Wednesday
            Thursday they were able to bring in Larger Craft (Ferrys Barges Etc) By 8am Sun over 17,000 and still counting

            Station Mobile AL - (no real flooding so lower numbers, mostly medevac - Over 300 Monday night, about 800 total as of Saturday, Most of the Resouces moved to New Orleans area.

            They are part of DHS, but have an entrirely separate budget and command and control structure.

      •  Honore is in charge of the active duty military (4.00)
        The Admiral who is the Commander of the United States Northern Command (basically, he is Honore's boss) was in a press conference a little while ago.  He said that Lt.Gen. Honore is in charge of all of the active duty military, with the Governor being in charge of the National Guard, and the Governor and local officials being in charge of police and other state and local governmental operations.

        He also said, as Lt.Gen. Honore did earlier, that although he understood that the subject of federalizing the National Guard had been the subject of some discussion between the White House, Defense Department, Sec. Chertoff of DHS and Director Brown of FEMA, that he didn't think there was any particular need to have the National Guard federalized, and that the National Guard and state and local police were responsible for law enforcement, while the active duty forces were operating in support of the federal civilian authorities (namely, FEMA).

        As a practical matter, it sounds like Lt.Gen. Honore is a forceful enough guy that a lot of people who aren't formally reporting to him are sort of de facto reporting to him, but one thing the military is used to is having different reporting relationships for different purposes.

        I think that when the investigations finally take place, we're going to find out that a lot of the delay was attributable to some FEMA bureaucrats not being comfortable with National Guard reporting relationships that the active duty military found not to be a significant problem.

        •  helpful but still confused. (4.00)
          But I thought they hadn't even deployed active duty military yet until this weekend? Plus, the reports I've been hearing have been saying that he's "in charge of NOLA operations."
          •  He's in charge of NOLA operations for DoD (4.00)
            I think the distinction is that he's LEGALLY only in direct charge of the active duty military personnel, but when a 3-star General tells a Colonel or somebody of lower rank (active duty or non-federalized National Guard) to do something, they generally salute and do it, rather than say, "F*** you, you're not legally in my chain of command."

            It only becomes a problem if they have directly contrary orders from somebody who IS in their direct chain of command, and then only if things can't get promptly worked out.  Since it doesn't sound like either the Governor, or the LA National Guard commander, or anybody else in the National Guard chain of command has had a problem with the National Guard personnel following Honore's orders, as a practical matter, it's a non-problem.

            I'm a lawyer, and I've been involved in some cases involving the National Guard, and the relationship between the National Guard and the active duty military has always seemed a little screwy to my lawyer brain.  But all of the military personnel I've ever talked to, both National Guard and active duty, tell me that's it's virtually never a problem in the real world, which is maybe because the military folks (even the JAG officers) are more attuned to actually accomplishing a mission than worrying about precisely who is legally responsible for what.

            Here's my theory:  Chertoff, the head of DHS, is a lawyer.  Brown, the head of FEMA, is a lawyer (when he's not a horse show administrator).  My hunch is that Chertoff and Brown were dithering around trying to get all of the legal niceties worked out, while the National Guard and active duty military were waiting for orders that never came while the lawyers were trying to solve a problem that didn't exist.

            I've always thought that the head of FEMA should in normal circumstances be a recently retired top-ranking general or admiral who is used to dealing with crises, dealing with logistics, and giving orders -- and if it's not somebody with that background, it should be somebody with as similar a background to that as you can get in the civilian sector.  The LAST occupational qualification I'd look for in a Director of FEMA is a law degree, and as I told some of my friends when Chertoff was appointed, that's also the last qualification I'd look for in a Secretary of Homeland Security.  It might not be an absolute disqualification, but it would come close -- and I say that as somebody who has spent nearly 28 years of my life practicing law.  I think I could count on the fingers of my hands the number of lawyers I've met who think the way a Sec. of DHS or a Director of FEMA should think, and with all due respect to estate lawyers, NONE of them have been estate lawyers, who tend to obsess (with good reason) over the legalities of dotting every "i" and crossing every "t."  

        •  People on the ground need and want a commander (4.00)
          And Hornoree is that guy.  He might have authority over everyone, but if he can tell them where to go to be of most and best use, they'll follow his orders willingly.
        •  I heard the press conference and I thought it (4.00)
          was very important.

          The Admiral was asked how federalizing the operation would help. His response was that it would make NO DIFFERENCE in their operations although he knew it was a big point of debate between the Pres, VP, Chertoff, Rummy, and Gonzalez.

          That is what they were debating for days while people were dying. No additional actions from the Governor was required for the help from the Feds. They just argued over stupid bureaucratic details while people died.

          He just blew away their excuse for blaming this disaster on the Governor. He also showed that the battle was at the very top of the Administration.  

          Thanks, Admiral.

          Thanks, Admiral.

          •  My first thought when I heard him . . . (4.00)
            My first thought when I heard the Admiral was, "Admiral, have you met General Shinseki?"

            But once you've got 4 stars, unless you do something criminal, there's really nothing they can do to you for telling the truth.  They can publicly diss you, but somehow I doubt that General Shinseki minded the absence of the senior members of the Pentagon political leadership at his retirement party.

            •  They cashiered 4-star Gen. Byrnes. (none)
              Pretext: he was having an affair with a civilian woman, at a time when he was separated from and about to divorce his wife.

              Real reason: we can only speculate.

          •  Bush was trying to politicize (none)
            This is the third (unsubstantiated) report claiming that the feds were (and to some extent still are) in total chaos about this.  They're wrangling over jurisdiction and paperwork rather than sending help.  It exposes what the Bush administration's goal is here - trying to extract political advantage rather than help people.  That's their MO in everything.  Not much argument needed over what to do to help people.
        •  ***Star Gen Honore - Cussin' & Orderin' (4.00)
          Is from Louisiana by birth, got the asses movin' and as the troops rolled in by open trucks gave them hell when a M16 was held up in view of the residents. "Soldier put the M16 down and out of sight, you are here to help the people of New Orleans," three star General Honore cussed and gave each truckload of soldiers hell for the wrong attitude in the approach of fellow Americans near the Convention Center on Saturday.

          (CNN) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin calls Lt. Gen. Honore a 'John Wayne dude' who can "get some stuff done."

          "He came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving," Nagin said in an interview Thursday night with a local radio station. (See the Nagin video -- 12:09 )

          Lt. Gen. Russel Honore barks at troops as a convoy arrives Friday in dowtown New Orleans.    

          The three-star general directed the deployment of an estimated 1,000 National Guard troops from a New Orleans street corner Friday, making it clear that it was a humanitarian relief operation. Getting food and water to the people at the city's convention center was a difficult process, Honore said. "If you ever have 20,000 people come to supper, you know what I'm talking about. If it's easy, it would have been done already."

          Honore recognizes that storm victims have waited days for relief, and his troops are trying to get them out of the city and into a more comfortable environment. "Our number one task is to deal with the concentration of people in New Orleans, as well as those that are isolated. And we're going to get after it," he said. (Watch video report of the general sent to the rescue -- 10:02)

          "By-and-large, these are families that are just waiting to get out of here. They are frustrated, I would be too. I get frustrated at the cash register counter when the paper runs out."

          Hundreds of are carrying weapons in the city. But the way they carried those guns was a concern to the general.

          Lt. Gen. Honore ordered all National Guard and active duty troops he encountered to point their weapons down, said CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr, who was with the general. Honore repeatedly went up to military vehicles, National Guardsmen standing sentry and even to New Orleans police officers, telling them to please point their weapons down and reminding them that they were not in Iraq.

          Honore commands the 1st Army, based at Fort Gillem in Forest Park, Georgia, outside Atlanta. The general is a native of Lakeland, Louisiana, which is northwest of Baton Rouge. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in vocational agriculture from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge in 1971. Honore was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the infantry upon graduation. He also has a master's degree in human resources from Troy State University.

          KSLA News12 - Inside NOLA Superdome
          VIDEO News - Unedited Report from Inside New Orleans:
          • evacuees at the Superdome
          • shelter at Hirsch Coliseum
          • prescription help for all.

      • NOLA Aftermath :: Disease and Chemical Pollutants

        ▼ ▼ ▼ HAVE YOU READ MY DIARY YET? ▼ ▼ ▼
  •  And this is exactly why it's not going away (4.00)
    These aren't the military. You're not going to stop them from talking. They're not foreigners. They hadn't gone to help foreigners.

    This is US. US. They weren't allowed to do what they were trained to do, where there wouldn't be any language barrier, where they would know exactly how the equipment was constructed, and where they could help get it back online FAST, to minimize the damage to the ECONOMY.

    This is a screw up of enormous proportions, and it's NOT going away anytime soon.

  •  Can your friend write up his report and submit it (4.00)
    to every newspaper and network in the country? And international as well -- Reuters, AP, BBC, CBC, etc.

    They will check, they will verify. He needs to give the details of where they were from, who can verify the response and when they initially left, etc.

    Did anybody happen to take pictures?

  •  When the moving blame finger tries to tar Blanco (4.00)
    Let it never be forgotten HOW MANY people of all kinds, including the military in various positions, offered help, came to help, brought everything necessary to support themselves and not burden the system


    When this time is compared to 9/11, will it be remembered that the people came and gave themselves and were welcomed and supported, to do whatever it took to bring NYC back to life?

    When the same kind of outpouring of support comes to NO, they were turned away.

    It all lands at the feet of FEMA.
    Never forget it.

  •  So many stories like this (4.00)

    Thoughts from Connecticut -

    by ctsteve on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:05:38 AM PDT

  •  I'm starting a list (4.00)
    of these kinds of events, FEMA refusing help from various sources.  I'm keeping it on my blog at Constructive Interference.  I'd appriciate any information on other items that I've not listed.  Or, if someone else is keeping such a list, I'll send the examples I gather there.  Especially considering the Bush effort to blame the locals, I think that this list could be a valuable resource.  Also, I hope I can be forgiven for this apparent blogwhoring given the circumstances and the fact that I haven't been using the space for much in several months now.
  •  Blocked Assistance (none)
    FEMA actively blocked assistance.  Why?

    "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

    by bink on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:22:46 AM PDT

  •  If this administration (none)
    put 1/10th of the resources into managing the water flow as they do into managing the information flow (after all, that is what this is all about) this would have been a whole different story.

    'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it'. - GBS

    by stevej on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:25:50 AM PDT

  •  What kind of resistance is FEMA? (4.00)
    Just curious -- I probably watch too many movies like "Ghostbusters" where some federal pencil pushers says "you can't do that" and the "hero" then tells him to stick his pencil up his ass and walks right by.

    Are these FEMA officials surrounded by police with guns?  Do you really think that they would arrest a citizen being civilly disobedient in that situation?  Again, I am not criticizing at all, just wondering if next time a FEMA official stands in the way, we shouldn't just bring guns and force our way in.  (I use "our" a bit too lightly, as I personally have done nothing other than give $, so again I apologize)

  •  The real purpose of DHS revealed (4.00)
    Is to keep America safe from good deeds.

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:26:52 AM PDT

  •  Adding this to your excellent diary (4.00)
    since it's relatively new and recommended. I posted this last night in one of Armando's FP diaries last night. While it's not specific to FEMA, but to the National Guard (NorthCom) it's still very important:

    I diaried about a post that I found over at DU the day before yesterday:
    Northern Command Unit READY - BUT WAITED on Bush Orders

    The video is now being hosted by GlobalFreePress and can be downloaded here.

    I asked DU'er drm604 if it would be alright for anyone to host if they wanted to, and s/he said Sure and that if anyone does decide to host it, they'd like a credit saying that it was obtained from GlobalFreePress.

  •  Could it be (4.00)
    as simple as this? Is it all FEMAs fault? I've been thinking for days that something really odd is going on. Why would they not let anybody in. It just makes no sense. None.

    I'm not a big conspiracy person, but this is just too strange. Is it just incompetence where someone in charge said no one can go in until the city is secure?

    If it isn't incompetence, what are the motivations? What could possibly motivate someone to keep rescue personnel waiting?

    I think this needs to be a lesson to any rescue personnel who read this. When something like this happens again, ignore FEMA. Call the local officials directly and get them to help you. They have troops as well and can possibly secure you passage into the area.

    We're fighting our own to save our own...

  •  murder by bureaucracy (4.00)
    This just brings back the voice of the man crying on meet the press that bureaucracy was committing murder.
  •  And I repeat my question... (4.00)
    why did the trucks, food, medicine, troops and Bush all manage to arrive at the same time?  The aid and assistance should have been rolling into New Orleans in an never-ending stream by Wednesday, if not Tuesday.

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by stumpy on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:36:17 AM PDT

  •  And let's not forget (none)
    Homeland Security (Chertoff) is overseeing FEMA now.

    Bush could have superceded with his authority as President. people lay dying......

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:36:23 AM PDT

  •  Oil facilities were filled with roving (none)
    rape gangs and snipers so it wasnt safe for them to go in. Bullshit.
  •  USS BATAAN's Public Affairs Office's (4.00)
    report, dated 9/4/05, from its official website:

    GULF OF MEXICO, 25 MILES SOUTH OF GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI -- A 24-member medical team from the Navy's Casualty Receiving and Treatment Ship Team (CRTS) 8, based at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla. left the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, to provide medical support to Hurricane Katrina survivors at the New Orleans Convention Center.

    "We have everything we need,  " said Lt. Timothy Rousselow, a nurse with CRTS 8. "We have every specialty we need to run a small hospital. From general practitioners, surgeons, pediatricians, obstetrics/gynecology specialists, anesthesiologists and general Hospital Corpsmen."

    The team also embarked Bataan with medical supplies, including a portable blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oximetry monitor, 25 folding pole stretchers for transporting patients and five portable medical lockers.

    "The PMLs contain basic first aid items, a large quantity of intravenous solutions, some airway management items and Pedialyte solution," said Lt. Jori Brajer, Bataan 's medical administration officer. "We based the supplies on the reports we were receiving from the beach. The team is well equipped to treat dehydration."

    "Everyone here is very excited," Rousselow added "We're ready to be utilized. We have the specialties, we have the personnel to help, and we're a very effective team."

    Rousselow went on to say that many members of the team have experience providing medical treatment in other countries, but being able to help their fellow countrymen is a great opportunity. "I've been thinking since this storm hit `get us in there, let us help these people'," he said. "Being able to help other Americans is the basic reason most of us wear the uniform."

    Bataan and CRTS 8's involvement in the humanitarian assistance operations is part of the Department of Defense's support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) hurricane Katrina disaster response. Bataan is on station in the Gulf of Mexico , and has been tasked to be the Maritime Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Navy's role in the relief efforts.

    Is this not damning to the maximum possible extent???

  •  the ultimate catch-22 (4.00)
    is this: how do you "secure a city" with almost one million people living rhere?


    do you wait for all black people and/or democrats to be dead to declare it secure for the ironic relief efforts?

    In his experience, can he think of any reason why nationalizing the rescue program - taking it from the Governor?  Would it be to the advantage of the oil industry?  Or something else we can't imagine...  

    It is also a question for the lawyers to ponder.

    I think this all circles back onto a deliberate plan, but I can't pin point what the gain is for BushCo.  Of course there is the great advanatage of creating a military-based totalitarian regime - but we may be ahead of ourselves at this point.

    But consider the fact that Bush did not immediately make plans to reurn Governor Blanco's National Guardsmen and their equipment from Iraq. Blanco had no other choice but to accept the President-controlled US Military in her state.  That in and of itself is quite irregular.  Also consider the fact that they seem to have allowed no one at all into the region and more a more reports come out every minute.  Don't forget there are many people in Mississippi who are also saying no one came while their Governor keeps saying they are getting help.  And the question we are all naturally asking: Rescue and relief workers can't go into a dangerous situation to rescue people from the dangerous situation?  Isn't that what rescue and relief workers do?

    Someone gave orders not to let anyone at all in for some reason.  We have to figure out what the end-goal is in order to counter them.

    There is a much bigger story here.  

  •  All nice and swell (4.00)
    that they didn't want people hurt. It almost seems like it was some kind of "legal" decision -- if someone with FEMA got shot, could they sue?

    Was this the issue? Or was it simple cowardice?

    I cannot believe that they would allow people to die because they didn't have the damn common sense to realize that those out shooting were in a small minority?

    Could they have told every single person that wanted to go in "Go in, but there are some problems out there." Let those that wanted to help make the choice?

    And I'm not EVEN talking about the fact that the ARMY was waiting for the police to secure the area before going in.

    No wonder police were walking off the job. If you can't even get the US ARMY to help you!

    Where in the hell was the leadership? This still goes back to Chertoff and Brown and Bush. Nobody else.

    "Getting on with my life means a life without my dear, sweet boy. I wish a little bike ride could help me get on with my life." Cindy Sheehan

    by Dunbar on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:45:45 AM PDT

  •  If this is true (none)
    then a handful of terrorists with light arms could stop any rescue efforts at all just by killing a handful of people.

    ==> Can't be allowed to happen.

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:49:43 AM PDT

  •  Preemptive Contract KBR - pre-Hurricanes (4.00)
    An Arlington-based Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has been criticized for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

    The subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc., won the competitive bid contract last July to provide debris removal and other emergency work associated with natural disasters.

    I have found a solid cooperative position from Navy Officers in many of the key moments of change in U.S. political history. A quiet coup d'etat of change, paid for by innocent victims no one has on its radar screen.

    ▼ ▼ ▼ HAVE YOU READ MY DIARY YET? ▼ ▼ ▼
  •  Great diary - recommended (4.00)
    We have to get to the bottom of this. The irony of the diary title is though, we still don't know "why" help was turned away. It doesn't make any fucking sense. I keep saying to my wife, this disasterous response by FEMA almost seems deliberate. I can't prove they deliberately sabotaged N.O., but they have failed so badly on so many levels, I don't know which is easier to believe: extreme incompetance, or extreme...evil? I just don't know anymore. Why would the agency responsible for getting aid to people who need aid turn away all the aid?

    Un-fucking believable

    "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Rep. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

    by bejammin075 on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:53:41 AM PDT

  •  More PROOF (none)
    of the total ineffectiveness, incompetence and uselessness of our gargantuan federal bureaucracy.

    I thought conservatives believe in smaller, less expensive, more efficient government?

    the feds are MORE concerned with paperwork then they are helping suffering citizens. numerous mayors who offered aid immediately (Chicago's Mayor Daley was one of many) were told to "wait"... wait for what? people to die of heat exposure and no water??

    the "security situation" in NOLA? gimme a break. off duty police officers from any U.S. city could have gotten the situation under control in a day or two, not to mention a real show of force from the National Guard which took too long to get there.

  •  It's all about control (none)
    shrubco et al is far more interested in controlling people rather than helping them.  Especially controlling the "wrong kind" of people, i.e., those not in the club. How else to explain the active obstruction of emergency relief services?  It's a criminal thing FEMA did, horrible!!
  •  Categorization (4.00)

    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:58:40 AM PDT

  •  If the feds rand the F.D. (none)
    If FEMA and folks like Bush's incompetent appointees ran your local fire department we could expect them to never go into a burning building because, well, it's HOT in there!

    One really gets the feeling that not only were these fools incompetent, but that they really didn't want to help those who were starving, drowning and dying. It is terrible to contemplate, but inescapable to conclude that the lives of the mostly poor and black meant nothing to them. Better that they should drown than steal a TV.

    Just how ashamed of ourselves do we have to get, and how despised by others must we become, before we actually do something about this?

    A liberal is a man so broadminded he wouldn't take his own side in an argument........Robert Frost

    by mjshep on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 08:59:07 AM PDT

  •  Yet another article of impeachment (4.00)
    How in the world do you justify blocking firemen from coming in?

    If there was any doubt that Chertoff and Brown's actions in this border on criminal, this erased it.

  •  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (4.00)
    Sounds as though FEMA developed a Nurse Rached complex.  An outsider charges in saying, "What if we do it THIS way?  Wouldn't THIS be a better idea?"  The outsider must be silenced. Give the rest of us our medications, our usual dose of soporific talking points, and the nation will go quietly back to sleep.
  •  The Insurgency in New Orleans (none)
    The federal government encourages people to join the army.  If these firefighters were willing to risk their lives not only in the task at hand but also among the so-described insurgency in New Orleans, they should certainly be permitted.
  •  Who was behind the gunpoints? (none)
    FEMA doesn't have it's own army, does it? If it's waiting for the National Guard, fine, but who was it using to enforce that? I could visualize FEMA officials stating to the firefighters that they might be out of order, or take responsibility on themselves, but where do they get firepower to back it up???
  •  People like your friend are heros.... (none)

    Even if they were not allowed to contribute...

    I would think someone like Anderson Cooper would be VERY interested in your friend's story... He and his team should start contacting the news organizations and get THIS story out!


  •  Shadow Government? (none)
    For real conspiracy theorists, heres a frightening link

    Maybe (as question in my previous post) FEMA DOES have it's own army....

  •  My husband (none)
    has connections with our city's local "DMAT" team.  They were mobilized and sent last Monday night, I believe.  Problem was, that when they got down there, they were not given anything to do.  They were sent back and forth for several days by FEMA between different areas but never allowed to act.  Don't know what they are doing now, but this was as of Friday night, I believe.
  •  "Help is on the way" reminds me (none)
    of Edward's Democratic Convention speech and his "hope is on the way" reference.  I have to say that the American people and the people of New Orleans and Mississippi have to be getting pretty tired of this administration's empty promises (unless you're rich).

    It's too bad that a slim majority of America decided to deny the least fortunate among us the hope that they have been desperately holding on to these past dark years under complete Republican control.

    Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

    by mapKY on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:45:28 AM PDT

  •  TX-22 (none)
    hopefully some of these guys live in delay's district.  i hope they talk about this to their friends and neighbors.  i hope they tell people about it a lot.

    we'd better decide now if we are going to be fearless men or scared boys.
    — e.d. nixon, montgomery improvement association

    by zeke L on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:49:12 AM PDT

    There are many experiences like this with articles and links to back it up.  Let us give these articles to Sen. Reid so that Democrats can have a strong unified condemnation of these incompetence.

    Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!!

    by timber on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 09:58:20 AM PDT

  •  Amtrak (4.00)
    I suspect FEMA's "feet-dragging" with respect to Amtrak's offer of help with evacuation may come out as being one of their most atrocious acts. I've written more about it here.
  •  This is the $64,000 question (4.00)
    WHY did FEMA turn help away?

    There has to be at least 15 credible examples of this behavior.

    It now appears certain that the behavior was intentional, not just stupidly incompetent.

    This means that they turned away help for DYING PEOPLE to

    1. protect stuff, and

    2. to keep a "prick fight" going with Giv. Blanco, because she didn't get out of the way immediately.

    Corollary question:  Did Haley Barbour get the same Saturday night ultimatum?

    Our job now is to ask one and only one question: Why did FEMA turn help away?  Everytime they try to blame Blanco, just ask this question instead.

    What is essential is invisible.

    by bebimbob on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:07:03 AM PDT

  •  HLSA is a proven disasterous idea (none)
    For those of us who opposed it on the grounds that it would create a costly and inept, massive bureaucracy- well, I can say for myself I take no satisfaction in being proven right.

    HLSA is the ultimate party at fault- not even FEMA. HLSA set the rules, called the shots, and created such a mess that the Bush Admin has now had to kick into high gear to spin this as somehow being the fault of the states.

    "As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together, we make a mighty fist" Watanka Tatanka (Sitting Bull)

    by wild salmon on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:19:57 AM PDT

  •  US Coast Guard Suspended Rescue Efforts (none)
    Info earlier last week -- U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carter told CNN that its rescue efforts had been suspended in some areas, although they continued in other parts of the city. "We're having to hold off going in until we're assured that the areas are safe to transit. We're following the lead of FEMA on that."

    Field Hospital NOLA Airport - 800 patients /hr

    At Armstrong airport, a field hospital set up by FEMA was overwhelmed with patients. Equipment normally used to move luggage was instead ferrying patients to a treatment center and to planes and buses for evacuation.

    Ozro Henderson, a medical team commander with FEMA, said staff was "so overwhelmed, it's not funny."

    "I do not have the words in my vocabulary to describe what is happening here," Henderson said. "Catastrophe and disaster don't explain it."

    One bright spot Thursday was news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to complete the sealing off of the 17th Street Canal, in western New Orleans, where a flood-control levee breached, sending floodwater cascading into the downtown area.

    Evelyn Turner cries alongside the body of her common-law husband, Xavier Bowie, after he died in New Orleans. Bowie and Turner had decided to ride out Hurricane Katrina when they could not find a way to leave the city. Bowie, who had lung cancer, died when he ran out of oxygen Tuesday afternoon.   AP Photo/Eric Gay    

    Breaking - NG | DHS Orders :: Red Cross Not Allowed In NOLA ◊ cross-posted by Oui @BooMan

    KSLA News12 - Inside NOLA Superdome
    VIDEO News - Unedited Report from Inside New Orleans:
    • evacuees at the Superdome
    • shelter at Hirsch Coliseum
    • prescription help for all.

  • NOLA Aftermath :: Disease and Chemical Pollutants

    ▼ ▼ ▼ HAVE YOU READ MY DIARY YET? ▼ ▼ ▼
  • Oui - Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité

    by new creve coeur on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:27:10 AM PDT

  •  American Recessional by James Moore (4.00)
    I read this diary on the Huffington Post this morning. It sums up beautifuly why FEMA turned away those firemen. FEMA is no longer a disaster and relief agency, it is a political organ of  Bushco., as are now all agencies of the federal government. The bottome line, to the question as to why the federal government didn't come to the help of the NOLA, the answer is, because we no longer have a functioning federal government. Americans having been voting for its demise for decades.

    To avoid copy right issues, I have deleted a few paragraphs; if you want to read the whole diary, go to Moore, by the way, has become one of my favorite diarists on the Huffington Post. Forgive my html formatting; for some reason I cant get a space between the first and second paragraph. Oh well, here is AMERICAN RECESSIONAL, by James Moore, written 9/5/2005:

    ......Every vote we have ever cast for every charlatan selling tax cuts and less government has had an affect on lives in New Orleans. No one wants big government in America; nor should they. But they want a government that is big enough to help when help is needed. They want functional institutions and a enough money to make them responsive. Instead, particularly with the Bush administration, we have institutions that have been turned into political organs. Every position and appointment is based on patronage and the agency's job is to shrink and do as little as possible. And that's exactly what they have done along the Gulf Coast.

    The fault is ours; those of us who gave two terms to the PR president by casting our votes and believing we could get something for nothing. These are the people we have been listening to for decades. And we keep choosing them. They tell us the problem is entitlements and welfare moms driving cadillacs. We vote for people who take the underprivileged off of state health programs. Our silent support and inattention to detail makes possible illegitimate wars and corrupt contracts. People who follow the party line get promotions and jobs of influence. Companies that make political donations are purchasing future influence, lucrative government business, and relaxed regulations that will enrich their shareholders. A federal regulation called the "Healthy Forests Initiative" is really a license to clear cut old growth forests. And a reduction of emissions controls from factories is accepted by each of us as the president's "Clear Skies Initiative."

    Our democracy has been broken for many years because we have not been active participants. The current Republican administration has succeeded by developing communications that comfort us, regardless of the truth. "Freedom is on the march." "Mission accomplished." "I think you can come up with better ways to spend your money than the federal government." They took power while we were taking our children to soccer games, worrying about retirement, how to pay for health care, or mowing the lawn. They knew we were too busy to read a 3000 word story in the newspaper about the risks of a tax cut. "I run every campaign as if people were watching television with the sound turned off," Karl Rove once told me. Because, it turns out, they were.

    In New Orleans, we got what we paid for. While people were dying, trapped in their homes as floodwaters rose or becoming victims at the New Orleans Convention Center, the head of Homeland Security was holding a news conference in Washington to keep up the spin. A lot of resources were on the way. This presidency operates on the premise that you only need to say something; it need not be true. The FEMA director, whose qualifications for the job were that he was the college roommate of the former FEMA director and a major fund-raiser for the president, will likely end up in the Rose Garden with a Congressional medal around his neck instead of a noose. "Brownie, you're doing a great job," the president told him as the body count rose faster than the water.

    As they do with their federal mandates and various efforts to pay for tax cuts, the Bush administration has pushed responsibility downwards to the state and local level. It's the governor's fault. No, wait, it's the mayor's. It's anyone's but theirs. But it was the Bush administration that took the money for levee improvement and dumped it into the war in Iraq or tax cuts or something else. Too many troops in Iraq meant the strained National Guard had to travel from other states to reach significant numbers in New Orleans. And now those states are exposed.


    Our government, and all of the great institutions that have maintained our democracy, is dying. And we have let it. We have not listened for the truth. We have voted for those who made us impossible promises. We took our knowledge from 30 second campaign ads and sound bites or we completely ignored the importance of our citizenship. We vote for people who tell us government is an evil beast that rides our backs and feeds off of our wallets. Our own democracy has been turned into an enemy within. Washington, we have been convinced, isn't the seat of history's greatest democracy any more and a place where freedom is protected by public servants. It is a cesspool that takes our money and destroys our hopes. Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Iraq, Plamegate and other scandals have taken away our trust. And we have never gotten it back so it becomes easy to support those who are going to Washington to take on the enemy.

    The question remains unanswered as to whether men make history or history makes men. But there is no longer any doubt about the Bush administration. It is in a state of collapse and total failure. The responsibility for the future once more moves in the direction of the public. How will we choose to remake ourselves and our government? We have now seen what can happen when we leave things to the liars and the politicians. It can be fatal; and not just for people in the path of a storm. It can be a disease that rots a great democracy.

  •  Phase II of voter suppression efforts (none)
    The elections of 2000 and 2004 used simple voter suppression techniques: minimizing the voting machines in unfriendly precincts, purging names from the list of registered voters. FEMA has moved to a much more effective means of reducing the number of likely Democratic voters: blocking lifesaving aid, and letting them die.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:34:24 AM PDT

  •  This is all sickening... (none)
    Please tell me the administration will be HELD ACCOUNTABLE for this. My God.....THEY LET THOSE PEOPLE DIE! Keep up the digging and dont let this fall to the spin zone!
  •  Billmon on neo con use of govt (none)
    I liked this piece by Billmon:

    whose basic point is that yes, there is an ideological position regarding the use of government to promote the common good or help poor people, but that doesn't mean they aren't great at using big government to help their friends or ensure reelection. Ideology didn't stop Bushco from reacting lickity split to the Hurricanes Charley and Frances in Florida so that Bush could win reelection, or restructuring taxes to please their donors, or pursuing an energy policy that increased demand for gas and lined the pockets of their donors. Basically, they just didn't care very much about the New Orleans demographic, so why bother? Or, if you wish, it's also political in the sense that they want to starve government in a bathtub, etc. Read the whole thing, but I can't help but print this punchline:

    "But for the citizens of staunch, deep red Mississippi and slightly less staunch but still red Louisiana, the lessons are painfully obvious. If you're going to insist on living in a hurricane alley, then you need to take personal responsibility for your own actions, stop whining about government incompetence, and embrace the free market solution to your problems -- by moving to Florida."
    --Billmon's Whiskey Bar

    All currency is neurotic currency. --Norman O. Brown

    by MikeRayinBerkeley on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:36:07 AM PDT

  •  Why FEMA Was Missing - LA Times Article (none),0,685581.story?coll=la-home-headline s

    This article savages/explains Bush's evisceration of the agency that is supposed to protect us in disasters.

    Maybe Bush figured that his presidency was destined to be such an extensive disaster, everything else would be obviated.

    "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:39:17 AM PDT

  •  I think (4.00)
    that the reason why FEMA turned away help was not because of some diabolical plot but because the whole organization had been rendered diabolically incompetent.  First, Bushco subsumes FEMA under Homeland Security.  Then Bush installs a f*king idiot as its director.  Obviously, so thinks "Brownie," since everything is about security, everything has to be "secure" before anything can be done.  Of course, he is f*king clueless what "secure" could possibly mean.  Really, it's as though Bush put Homer Simpson in charge of the nuclear plant.

    "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life." - GWB 8/14/2005

    by blueinnc on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:39:25 AM PDT

  •  After watching a ton of t.v (4.00)
    this last week I think the story is getting away from Bush Co. in how they want to twist the truth as it comes out. I've never seen reporters so exasparated, emotional and on edge as this week. And as it calms down I'm noticing direct, tough questions from key people. When Russert asks Chertoff if he's handing in his resignation,that's a start. What we need to do is bombard them with emails pointing to simple facts , pick one or two out of the hundreds,and just make it your daily routine this next week. My feeling is these reporters saw shit we can't even fanthom and they've exposed us just enough to bring on all these questions. The other sad , sad fact is that now the bodies will start being collected. The official numbers have been extremely low all week and there going to jump to high heaven this week. It will re-open all the emotional wounds the media has been feeling over this and with the pounding emails we might continue to get some honest coverage. I think we've seen the bowling ball start to roll, but we need to help it take down the pins.
  •  Security comes before rescue in BushWorld (none)
    That's the meme. A couple of choice quotes from the Interdictor's journal from his Internet center in the Downtown Business District:
    "Law enforcement have absolutely lost their minds. Some guy wearing khaki fatigues and black vests which say Police on them have their faces covered in black ski masks and are touting M4-A1s with front hand grips -- like they're some kind of Delta Force operators waiting to hit the tire house. They're guarding the four corners around the Bell South building for crying out loud. And what, they need secret identities? Come on. You can just tell some of these guys have never gotten out before. Now's their big chance to play Army."

    "I hope these are false rumors, but we're hearing that the people who were shot on the bridge were Army Corps of Engineer. I told you these military wannabes were gonna get someone hurt. Someone needs to reel in these paramilitary types."

    This is just fucking crazy. It's like they want to drive everyone there direct into a big prison somewhere.

    The Interdictors journal is here:

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:09:44 AM PDT

  •  Help from the Netherlands (4.00)
    I have it on very good authority that the Netherlands offered engineers and pumps. They are very good at draining water from below sea level land. The Dutch have had two disasters, '42 and '53 and the water board is a level of government and taxes people as a government does. They are geniuses at managing water and only the very best engineers and government bureaucrats can work for them. They had not been able to get anyone to answer the phone and unloaded the pumps yesterday from a transport plane. They were very dispirited by this seeming rejection.

    We all complained when Bush was first appointed that he knew nothing about the outside world and held no regard for anything not American. His appalling lack of respect for science combined with this has not served America well. The next time the SCOTUS appoints our president we must be certain they appoint someone who has an inkling of sense and appoints people to high places with some experience under their belts, other than being someone's roommate at college or someone's driver.

    We will have to get the senate to extract a promise from Roberts about this. Ha.

  •  Let's take them at their word. (none)
    Red Cross says FEMA/Homeland Security told them relief would discourage people from leaving the city.

    I believe FEMA said that. I believe they think the poor are so lazy and stupid they would choose to live in shit in exchange for bottled water and meals that don't require cooking.

    I believe FEMA is terrified of a contingent of urban campers who know the city well and want to stay at all costs.

    I do wonder what they think a city with no citizens will accomplish, however.

    In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Dalai Lama

    by leolabeth on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 11:44:45 AM PDT

  •  Lt. Gen Russell Honore (none)
    At Chertoff's just held newspaper, was really p.o'd and made it quite clear to Chertoff and the resporters that he was on a short fuse.
  •  FEMA Worse Than Nothing (none)
    The irony is America has risen to help their fellow citizens in New Orleans and FEMA kept them from getting in. And we're not talking random naive wanna-be-do-gooders, we're talking skilled emergency responders, from fire to public health to transportation companies.

    FEMA = Federal Evacuee Misery Administration

    The Repuglican Party:  Proving to America that government programs suck, so we can defund them and drown them in a bathtub.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 12:00:33 PM PDT

  •  Wait a minute. (4.00)
    This is more than incompetence. Nobody's this incompetent. If they're incompetent, they'd eagerly accept extraction from the mess by letting help in. Then they'd take credit for it.

    It's more than malice and racism. If they're falling in the polls like a rock, they'd accept help and take credit for it.

    What happens when you have a catastrophe this huge and it's all over the TV, the papers, the Internet? People get enraged. What happens when they get enraged? They take action.

    Then you can have martial law.

  •  Chavez of Venezuela on Katrina (none)
    From the 8/31/05 WaPo:

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a vocal critic of the U.S. government, on Wednesday called President Bush a "cowboy" who had failed to manage the Hurricane Katrina disaster and evacuate victims.

    "That government had no evacuation plan, it is incredible, the first power in the world that is so involved in Iraq ... and left its own population adrift," Chavez said in a cabinet meeting broadcast live on television.

    Use American taxpayers' money to rebuild our country - not Iraq.

    by Sharon Jumper on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 12:36:51 PM PDT

  •  Was the Fed response first priority aim (none)
    to achieve total information/message control, like they do in war zones like Iraq, rather than effective and substantial disaster relief and aid?

    When I heard that (Jefferson?) Parish President who was speaking on Russert's  Sunday morning program said how FEMA people cut his communications lines a couple times last week, I thought hmm, why would they ever do that?

    Then I saw this thread.

    Also (sorry to keep hammering on this) why were there no major media reports of the terrible developing  NO Convention center situation for 2.5 days from Tuesday until Thursday afternoon when a sudden dam-break of video finally started coming out? Did FEMA force the media to hold back on reporting the slo-mo death camp story going on   at the CC  until then for "national security" reasons?

    Has the essential aim of the FEMA directed federal "relief" effort through the first several days following the hurricane been focused at limiting and controlling the flow of information out of the disaster region, with only a weak secondary priority given to disaster mitigation and aid delivery?  

  •  Honore just said BS (none)
    to a reporter that said people that wanted to help were being turned away...He pretty much overpowered the reporter claiming that no help was being turned away.  
  •  Can we keep a log (none)
    of all these reports of help that was refused?  I've seen and hears many of them and the time will come when FEMA will deny these things ever happened.  That's when these folks need to come forth and tell their stories...should tell their stories to Congress.
  •  My husband's comment after reading this (none)
    the new acronim for FEMA should be, Fuck Them Massively Again
  •  Another Conspiracy (none)
    I believe there are enough indications than an egregious breach of trust has occurred. The current disaster, 9/11 and Iraq have all involved major deception on the part of Mr. Bush and his cabal, defrauding the citizens of the United States and its elected officials for base motives. All have involved the reckless endangerment of innocent human beings be they the people of New York City, young American soldiers or those left behind in New Orleans.
  •  Question: (none)
    Since FEMA's donation to charities list is all religious organizations and one of the top 3 was Robertson's Organization Blessing (no United Way, ASPCA, etc...) and Bush's photo ops have him praising and giving credit to religious orgainzations, could the turning away of folks wanting to volunteer to help be that they were not the "Right" people - seen as secular? Is there a serious issue with regard to the continuing denigration of boundaries between church and state involved here? What is Robertson's group doing? How much money have they gotten? Is the Federal Government favoring volunteers connected with religious organization?
    Some of the information coming out about the Abramof/Delay/Ralph Reed group using religious organizations to bury money makes me wonder.
  •  The sickness grows, and history washes away (none)
    Reading all of these reports about aid denied is getting to the point that I'm finding myself more horrified by the minute.  It's a horror that began Sunday a week ago as it became obvious who was being left behind.  It's only grown exponentially over the days.

    Someone must be indicted over this fiasco and that person lives in Crawford, TX and sometimes in Washington, DC.

    Beyond the human despair and murder, the sadness of seeing animal companions left behind to die, are many other small horrors as well.

    While history is not people, it is people who guide history.  Today, there is a report of archivists trained in disaster recovery being denied access to the historical documents (and routine records) in NO.

    From this link at

    Specialists working for the New Orleans Notorial Archives have been stymied in trying to return downtown to rescue some of the most historic documents in the city's history, from original land grants to slave sale records and title records.

    Federal troops have refused to let them through checkpoints into the city.


    "These records are a historic treasure trove (that) would go to the Vatican or Smithsonian and be under armed guards and in vaults," Bruno said. "This is extremely frustrating.''

    "Of course, the most important thing is the people and the bodies, but now we're really concerned about the records,'' he said.

    Most governments have digitized their real estate records, and Bruno was just about to hire a firm to transfer many of the documents in the archive to the computer.


    Bruno was quick to point out that homeowners shouldn't worry about others making claim to their properties. Further, "there won't be any (real estate) transactions until this problem is solved. Sure, a lot of people are going to want to sell and a lot of speculators are going to want to buy." But without access to the records by abstractors, "It isn't going to happen,'' Bruno said.

    Unless those records can be saved, there may be no way to prove ownership, title histories, and it may be impossible for survivors to sell their property quickly if they want.

    My fear is that allowing the history to wash away will make it much easier for the feds to go in and seize property during the recovery for "economic development"

    There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.--John Adams

    by tvb on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 02:53:59 PM PDT

  •  500 Airboats Turned Away (4.00)
    September 2, 2005

    500 Florida airboat pilots have volunteered to rescue Hurricane Katrina victims, transport relief workers and ferry supplies. We cannot get deployed to save our behinds," said Robert Dummett, state coordinator of the Florida Airboat Association. For anyone not familiar with airboats, they only require the water depth from a heavy dew.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency will not authorize the airboaters to enter New Orleans.

    Story Here:

    The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

    by JohnInWestland on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 02:56:41 PM PDT

  •  Link--More turned away (none)
    kos' diary re:  DART Canadian Disaster Area Recovery Team was refused clearance to land by Homeland Security!!!

    bush jams while thousands die in NOLA=Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

    by Street Kid on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 03:06:21 PM PDT

  •  FAUX NEWS POLL (none)
    The demons at Faux News are having a poll on the handling of Katrina.  You know what to do...,2933,168286,00.html#poll
  •  In-action to hide the Body-count! (none)
     Why our guardsmen, Red Cross and all others were not allowed into the city when our newscasters were driving in and out in SUVs is unbelieveable except for the believing that some in our Federal gov't wanted to make it a federal disaster! Our gov't  probably killed 10's of thousands  of Americans intentionally!  Hard to accept but true!  My son deployed from Camp Shelby, MIssissippi for Afghanistan in July.  A huge base that Bush should have deployed all soldiers to New Orleans and they should have flown back people from New Orleans back to that huge base! My one smart example of one base, within 1 hour of Louisiana!  They tried to destroy New Orleans by stopping help entering the city and I hope the whole gov't goes down involved in this!  I hope someone stays in New Orleans to keep a real body count because I fear with transporting people everywhere in this country and several times, that they say that the dead actual left , for elsewhere!
  •  Sorry about my bad sentence structuring/ Spell! (none)
      Can some organization stay in New Orleans and keep tract of the people that died?  I have struggled all week with why relief people weren't allowed in and why the media fussed about 5 shooters on a bridge yesterday when the military was finally there in full force!  Why is the military there now in  full force 7 days too late, with only people that survived and want to protect their homes!  I fear it is for the government to hide all of the deaths and the people of New Orleans deserve to know the truth of why rescue was stopped and hiding the number of deaths is unacceptable!
  •  Cover up of radiological/chemical/bio. disaster (none)
    Search for Lush's diary and comment about a Baton Rouge press conference aired on WWL TV that featured an FBI employee who implied that carjackers had interfered with some kind of evacuation or other effort that threatened to wipe out the "entire Southeastern United States."

    Maybe radiation and chemicals are more likely culprits here than biological agents, because of the idea about there being a geological limit on the damage.


    • Carjackers hijacked some particularly deadly chemical samples from Tulane and now the samples are back in federal hands. But the feds just got the samples roughly around Thursday or Friday, when relief and rescue operations really started moving.

    • There's some kind of nuclear facility on the Gulf Coast that is having serious problems. The feds don't want any competent people from other governments around because those people might bring radiation detectors and announce the results.

    Otherwise, if this is really just about forms not being signed or no one wanting to see civilian rescuer fatalities, what the f. Honestly, who cares if 50 civilian rescuers die if that helps save the lives of 10,000 storm victims. Just make sure that the people that you let in don't have babies or small children. Otherwise, just tell them that they're entering hell at their own risk.

    Even if the FEMA people have legal orders not to let rescuers in, why on earth are they following those orders? They should simply resign, or refuse to enforce the orders and see what a review board says, or become whistleblowers and call the DHS inspector general and ask him to overturn/block those orders.

  •  The Cutting of Communications by FEMA perplexing.. (none)
    at a time when  there was a dire need for communications sytems,communications were being cut or commandeered by FEMA. The Red Cross was kept out as,well as other volunteer groups dedicated to immediate aid and assistance, again by FEMA.
    At the time it seemed to me that these were such irrational directives. So counterproductive  to the unfolding calamity.
    Then I thought about it.
    The government was not only dead set on federalizing the entire rescue operation, they were confident they would.  When operations were federalized, the government could begin to contain  and control the nastier elements of this disaster. By controlling communications, they  could  begin control the spin on what was truly occuring in Lousiana and perhaps buy some time for damage control. By controlling entry of those humantarian groups attempting to provide aid, they were controlling the number of witnesses who might have a disfavorable view of the management of this catastrophe.
  •  FEMA = Florida Election Management Agency (none)
  •  Dear JSM (none)
     You expressed my fears better than me! I believe so many of our officials are cowed into compliance or don't understand why or from whom their orders come!  I believe us Americans were to buy the Natural destruction of New Orleans once the powers to be didn't save it!
  •  A government agency protecting its turf. (none)
    They had no idea what to do, and they sure as hell wouldn't let anyone make their cluelessness even more apparent than it already is.
  • Close


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