I've been traveling for the last several days and while I've seen a lot of the news I haven't been listening/watching as closely as I normally do until today. As I catch up on the news, I'm increasingly disgusted by the Republican/Bush/Federal response to this disaster in New Orleans. First there is mounting evidence that FEMA was briefed BEFORE the hurricane hit, that the destruction of New Orleans would be a likely event (which is why the Mayor of that city ordered the mandatory evacuation). See this article from the Times-Picayun. See especially: "Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Sunday that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA Director Mike Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, listened in on electronic briefings given by his staff in advance of Hurricane Katrina slamming Louisiana and Mississippi and were advised of the storm�s potential deadly effects. Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the potential disaster it could bring were made clear during both the briefings and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise buildings. He said the briefings included information on expected wind speed, storm surge, rainfall and the potential for tornados to accompany the storm as it came ashore.... In the days before Katrina hit, Mayfield said, his staff also briefed FEMA, which under the Department of Homeland Security, at FEMA�s headquarters in Washington, D.C., its Region 6 office in Dallas and the Region 4 office in Atlanta about the potential effects of the storm. He said all of those briefings were logged in the hurricane center�s records."
Third, my Republican relatives are emailing furiously about how awful it is that the victims of this disaster are angry. Railing about "entitlement" (on the part of New Orleans' displaced population who are demanding more immediate aid) and "lawlessness" (i.e. the looting), my republican relatives hold up FOX News as the only place that isn't playing what they see as political games with the disaster.
Bush praises his FEMA director while journalists repeatedly show him to have lied about what he's done and shown him to be far slower to actually get to the city than either journalists, private rescue operations or local authorities (again, this despite several days warning that a hurricane large enough to breach New Orleans' sea walls was coming).
The situation got this bad because of the near sighted and narrow minded policies of modern conservatives. The suffering is being born by the poor (overwhelmingly African Americans) of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The bill will be paid by tax payers in "Blue States" and "Swing States." But Bush will try to claim the credit! I think I have good idea WHY this sort of thing happens but that doesn't mean I should sit back and condone it or ignore it.
Shame on our government. Shame on those who make excuses for them. Shame on us all for our part in this!
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 6:03 PM