Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 1330 PDT
As we wait for the president's Rose Garden statement, I feel it necessary to demand that we right now begin criticizing this president for his policy decisions, which have exacerbated the tragedy, his dereliction of duty as president, his overall callousness and his inert response. The questions must be asked. So I've began identifying articles that substantiate the Bush administration's culpability to this catastrophic event.

QUESTION: What did he know, and when did he know it?

Via ThinkProgess, in early 2001 this article appeared in the Houston Chronicle:


[In early 2001] the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country. The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.
QUESTION: Did the president do all he could do to prevent the disaster?

The answer is not only no, but he actually drastically cut the budget:


Until recently, efforts to squeeze coastal protection money out of Washington have met with resistance. The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. Ultimately a deal was struck to steer $540 million to the state over four years. The total coast of repair work is estimated to be $14 billion.

In its budget, the Bush administration had also proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need.


More:


In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.


QUESTION: What was the concrete impact of these cuts?

According to a July 8, 2004 article (via Josh Marshall), the project basically stopped:


For the first time in 37 years, federal budget cuts have all but stopped major work on the New Orleans area's east bank hurricane levees, a complex network of concrete walls, metal gates and giant earthen berms that won't be finished for at least another decade.
[....]
"I needed $11 million this year, and I got $5.5 million," Naomi said. "I need $22.5 million next year to do everything that needs doing, and the first $4.5 million of that will go to pay four contractors who couldn't get paid this year."

QUESTION: Why were there such drastic cuts?

The Army Corp of Engineers comes out and says it:


The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

QUESTION: How has the fact that 40% of the Louisiana Guard is deployed overseas impacted the response to the flooding?

The major levee at the 17th street canal didn't get patched:


New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is "very upset" that an attempt to fix the breach in the levee at the 17th Street canal has failed, and he said the challenges that the city is facing have "escalated to another level."
[....]
Nagin said the sandbagging was scheduled for midday, but the Blackhawk helicopters needed to help did not show up. He said the sandbags were ready and all the helicopter had to do was "show up."
[....]
He said he was told that the helicopters may have been diverted to rescue about 1,000 people in a church.

QUESTION: How did the president respond to the catastrophe?

He maintained his vacation schedule by:

-Traveling thousands of miles away from the disaster area to have a good old time during a staged Medicare event:

http://www.livejournal.com/~mparent7777/2405349.html

Always Remember that: "Anytime We As A People Are Not Having Our WaySomeone Else Is Having Theirs...And It's Never To Our Advantage."

Original Post
Was this the first report detailing this threat?

What do you say of the past responses that didn't rise to the challenge?

The city is now 80% flooded. Do you know the approximate percentage of this water that came in from the breach versus the amount that had collected from direct rainfall?

Does the damage to the various structures due to wind and debris have you to expand beyond your "get Bush" strategy?
It seems to me that YOU and the author are after Bush more than you are after TRUTH.

The 40 year concern about the current design of these levees is now focused upon a decision to cut $141 million in spending down to $82 million.

The area of the CANAL that failed had already been serviced by the project that provided the funding that is the focus of the budget cut.

The entire levee system was designed to withstand a Category 3 storm and they got a Cat 4 storm....yet in one of these posts the fact that SOMEONE PUT FORTH A PROPOSAL TO MAKE THESE LEVEE CAT 4 STRONG but it had'nt been followed up on makes this BUSH'S FAULT AS WELL?

What if this had been followed up on 3 years ago but had just chosen a contractor to perform the work so no work had been done? Would this ALSO be the fault of Bush?

If Bush had done all that you had expected of him and the system still was comprimized do YOU think that you would be reporting this on HIS BEHALF today rather than attacking?

I just know you would because I have little doubt of your objectivity.
It seems that there are two separate and discrete issues here. What happened before the storm and what occurred after. To a certain degree what happened prior to the storm is irrelevant in looking at what happened after. The situation was what it was. People were and are in extraordinary need. The federal government and President Bush should be responsibile for their actions in responding to the crisis.

Yes - the city and state could have, and should have, done more. That seems moot however in evaluating the federal response, post Katrina, once people were in severe need.
There once was a President who had name-plate on his desk the read: 'The Buck Stops Here.'

Trying to compare rainfall with stream flow is to not understand the phenomenon. Rainfall is comparatively an even application across an area. The amount collected over a given period does not have the same effect.

Example: Fifteen (15) inches of rainfall is just that 15 inches of water. It may, or may not accumulate, but say that it does.

The same amount of water coming through a levee breach has momentum, meaning weight and velocity. It breaks things. And...it all crosses the first foot of the breach.

It is trauma.

The failure here was governmental.

It failed first in Office of the Governor.

Cities DO NOT have the resources to plan for catastrophic emergency.

States, typically, cannot get beyond identifying vulnerabilities the extent of its resources.

The planning resource of States for environmental response is EPA.

The technological designer of plans for that response the EPA National Response Team and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Until the Department of Homeland Security, the direct boss of both of those agencies was the President of the United States, whatever the name.

Those agencies operate with the DELEGATED POWER of the President of the United States.

NONE OF THOSE AGENCIES MOVED WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRESIDENT.

Notice I did not say consent. To specified levels delegation may also carry the authority to act.

There was no plan to act.

There was a reluctant will to act.

This system of capable of responding in hours, in some cases minutes.

Don't inject a top that won't spin.

PEACE

Jim Chester
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The indisputable fact is that the upgrade to the levee HAD already been completed, there was nothing more scheduled. Why you didn't get this important info has to do with the sources of news you choose or ignore I suppose.

Also, New Orleans is but a small fraction of the areas actually devastated by the storm. Southern Mississippi was hardest hit judging by the photos, as well as vast areas along the coast in Alabama, these are where the hurricane hit hardest. There you have TOTAL devastation, not just flooding. Thousands there are trapped under debri. Some are suggesting the focus on New Orleans may be delaying responses elsewhere, and there's much to be said for that.

If you could demonstrate that other areas were helped faster, then lets hear what you got. Otherwise you don't know what it is you are talking about.

The reality is that the federal response was as quick as was practical. Amassing that response in just a few days is actually incredible given the logistics needed. And Bush actually went beyond anything ever done before, by clearing the way for Active military, which previously was unthinkable, and had to be cleared thru multiple agencies. So far noone here has demonstrated the federal response could have been quicker, as there hasn't been a review performed yet.

TIMELINE:
The flooding emergency issues became apparent late Tuesday/early Wednesday, took some time to see the National Guard was overwhelmed, mostly by idiots firing shots at them and looting, sometime early Thursday, the active forces boots on the ground by late Friday, that doesn't seem very slow to me.

You have brought up nothing to suggest otherwise. The timeline is very plain to see, and you're silly Bush bashing will be seen for what it is, just pure hate and a waste of everyone's time. Its not going to win anyone elections if thats your goal.

Playing politics isn't whats needed right now. I mean the left blames bush for everything including the weather, and its becoming comical in most people's minds. If there are credible accusations, they'll be time to hash those out in the coming months. So far you've nothing credible.

Hurricanes and floods kill people, not a surprise really. THAT is the truth here, not you're misdirected hate for bush. The failure to get more folks evacuated beforehand is the real tragedy here. The Mayor Ordered a Mandatory Evacuation. So what to do about that?

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Hell, I can't prove the levys existed at all.

Maybe there were no levys?

In fact, maybe there was never a New Orleans, kinda of like that first moon landing, it was just staged for film?

Sorry, don't got time to be bringing you up to speed. Get your tv fixed or learn to read or something, its not my problem. I am sure all will come out in the near future, for those of us who need more time.
You can look at the post that I made in the other message thread for the quote from the professor at the local university that confirmed the upgrade to the CANAL WALL that failed.


The fact remains the system was designed to handle a Cat 3. They got a Cat 4.

It will take no less than 6 or more years to go from design to construction and completion of upgrades to resist a cat 4 or cat 5 storm.

It is clear that there are many CRITICS but too few people who are into LOGISTICS and PROJECT MANAGEMENT. In these cases SPOKEN WORDS are translated into a Gant chart in which what needs to be done is actually broken down into actionable items.

As with the schools in Black neighborhoods we see that the constant cry of "We need more money" in and of itself is not enough to PRODUCE EFFECTIVE RESULTS.

Sadly for some of you the fact that you were chanting is enough for you to both cast blame and eschew responsibility for doing something yourself.

If it is really "Nation Building time" your current skill at projecting blame in the mode of a CONSUMER is certainly not going to build a nation.
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:
It seems to me that YOU and the author are after Bush more than you are after TRUTH.

The 40 year concern about the current design of these levees is now focused upon a decision to cut $141 million in spending down to $82 million.

The area of the CANAL that failed had already been serviced by the project that provided the funding that is the focus of the budget cut.

The entire levee system was designed to withstand a Category 3 storm and they got a Cat 4 storm....yet in one of these posts the fact that SOMEONE PUT FORTH A PROPOSAL TO MAKE THESE LEVEE CAT 4 STRONG but it had'nt been followed up on makes this BUSH'S FAULT AS WELL?

What if this had been followed up on 3 years ago but had just chosen a contractor to perform the work so no work had been done? Would this ALSO be the fault of Bush?

If Bush had done all that you had expected of him and the system still was comprimized do YOU think that you would be reporting this on HIS BEHALF today rather than attacking?

I just know you would because I have little doubt of your objectivity.


What difference does all this make now? There's a lack of leadership from Washington. A void. They looked the other way and dropped the ball.
"IF A GOVERNMENT'S primary responsibility is to protect its citizens, then the heartbreaking aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans illustrates the utter abdication of that responsibility. Was the evacuation order for New Orleans issued in time? Sure "” but only for people with sufficient money in their pockets and a car in their garage.

It was no secret that there was going to be a problem. As early as 2002, the New Orleans Times-Picayune speculated about "the big one." The newspaper noted, "Once it's certain a major storm is about to hit, evacuation offers the best chance for survival. But for those who wait, getting out will become nearly impossible as the few routes out of town grow hopelessly clogged. And 100,000 people without transportation will be especially threatened."


.....More so than the federal level, there was a serious lack of leadership on the local level!

President Bush has ample ammunition to clear himself, and the Bush Administration of being responsible for the death of numerous indigent Black residents of New Orleans, whose chances of survival would have been much greater had Mayor Ray Nagin taken action earlier to evacuate anyone willing to leave before the Hurricane Hit.

Those with the resources left, while those without resources were ignored by local government authorities, who definitely had the power, and enough time, to evacuate the indigent before the wrath of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.


Other thoughts
quote:
Originally posted by Michael:
"IF A GOVERNMENT'S primary responsibility is to protect its citizens, then the heartbreaking aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans illustrates the utter abdication of that responsibility. Was the evacuation order for New Orleans issued in time? Sure "” but only for people with sufficient money in their pockets and a car in their garage.

It was no secret that there was going to be a problem. As early as 2002, the New Orleans Times-Picayune speculated about "the big one." The newspaper noted, "Once it's certain a major storm is about to hit, evacuation offers the best chance for survival. But for those who wait, getting out will become nearly impossible as the few routes out of town grow hopelessly clogged. And 100,000 people without transportation will be especially threatened."


.....More so than the federal level, there was a serious lack of leadership on the local level!

President Bush has ample ammunition to clear himself, and the Bush Administration of being responsible for the death of numerous indigent Black residents of New Orleans, whose chances of survival would have been much greater had Mayor Ray Nagin taken action earlier to evacuate anyone willing to leave before the Hurricane Hit.

Those with the resources left, while those without resources were ignored by local government authorities, who definitely had the power, and enough time, to evacuate the indigent before the wrath of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.


Other thoughts


How does that whitewash bath feel?

1) The Bush mafia cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for their illegal war in Iraq. The government knew a category three hurricane or higher was going to hit the Gulf Coast. You said this yourself.

2) If the local government drops the ball during a *NATIONAL* emergency, then it's the resposibility of the federal government to supercede local authorites to get things on track. Bush and company have failed miserably!

3) And this is hysterical. You post a link stating 'race isn't a factor' from Condi Rice. Condi Rice!!! LOL! She has a lot of credibility. Condi Rice - "We didn't see terrorism coming." Yeah, I can see she has a lot of credibility. Rather than shopping for shoes in New York, Condi should get her ass down to New Orleans and put our tax dollars to good use.

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