Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Watch the ball...


So, friends, are you paying attention? Do you see the massive disinformation campaign underway? Is it good to see the current administration actually can work fast, when it doesn't involve helping people who are dying?

Are you as sickened as I am, or are there no untapped reserves of revulsion left for this debacle we call our leadership? With every new spin ball they lob at the public, they're trying to get a walk. Don't give it to them.


Because this isn't about whether or not evacuation proceedings went smoothly. In the short focus, it seems that way, but really? It's not. When there's an earthquake, tornado or, God Forbid, another terrorist attack, there will be no time for evacuation -- only rescue and relief efforts headed by FEMA. Yes, that's right. You and your loved ones will be dying in the streets if we don't fix these problems.

Ball number one:

"Do not play the blame game."

In the neverending display of callous mendacity since Hurricane Katrina, this statement takes the prize.

Needless death is not a "game." This is not blame. It's called accountability. Every president before this one understood that when you sit in the big seat, you own the failures as well as the successes. Goes with the territory. You cannot simply take credit for what went right (Rudy Guiliani's response to 9/11 being one of them) and absolve yourself of accountability for what went wrong. None of us is allowed to do that in our jobs; you're not, either.There must be a reckoning.

Alarm and horror at what happened are issues relative to humanity. It's about trust. It's about caring. It's about protecting ourselves. It's about veracity.

The only thing it's not about is politics. But they're going to try and use that charge as a shield. Venal.

Ball Number Two:
"State and local government's preparation was inadequate."

Two things, here:

One, perhaps it was. Of course, that's weird coming from the administration now, given that both FEMA's Michael Brown and President Bush spoke glowingly of Mayor Nagin's evacuation in the immediate aftermath. But assume for a minute that the state and local guys didn't do a good enough job. It's inherent in any natural disaster - which is why Homeland Security came up with the National Response Plan (NRP) in 2004.

The NRP, signed by President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Porter Goss, dictates the following:

(NRP, 7)

At such point a disaster or emergency is declared, according to the NRP, the federal government can and has a duty to supercede protocol when it means preservation of life and assets:


"Federal departments and agencies are EXPECTED to provide:

* initial and/or ongoing response, when warranted, under their own authority and funding;

* alert, notification, pre-positioning and timely delivery of resources;

* proactive support for catastrophic or potentially catastrophic incidents using protocols for expedited delivery of resources. (NRP, 6)

Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources."

Also, troop deployment issues are covered:


"The Secretary of Defense authorizes Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) for domestic incidents as directed by the President or when consistent with military readiness operations and appropriate under the circumstances and the law.

And NRP covers the issue of immediate action:


Imminently serious conditions resulting from any civil emergency may require immediate action to save lives, prevent human suffering, or to mitigate property damage."

Finally, the NRP gives the President a fiduciary duty during said times of crisis:


"The President leads the Nation in responding efficiently and ensuring the necessary resources are applied quickly and effectively to all Incidents of National Significance."
(NRP, 15)

Legally, this clears everything up. But legality is not the primary issue, at this point. That brings us to the second reason we cannot be lulled into allowing only state and local government to bear primary responsibility for this horror.

The second reason is the most important to all of us:

In the event of a terror attack in any state, there's a good possibility that state and local government will be unable to adequately marshall the necessary resources to completely handle the problem. Like a snake eating its tail, that's what brings us back to the Federal Government, the President and FEMA.

The FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT organization has a job. For those who need a hint, look at its name. And it exists for the reasons outlined above.

We will NOT be safe, anywhere in this country, if we do not hold this organization and these people responsible for fixing whatever went so horribly, devastatingly, nightmarishly wrong in New Orleans. Period.

Ball number three

"It is the fault of those citizens for not evacuating."

This one pains me the most. Just thinking about it being currently floated by the administration as a viable reason for people to essentially not give a damn makes me literally spontaneously weep. What exactly do we not get about poverty, or the elderly or mentally and physically handicapped people being unable to evacuate?

Think about it. I would never, ever leave my parents, kids or pets to die, simply because I am "able-bodied" and could get the heck outta Dodge before a tornado hits. I'm betting you wouldn't either. If they could not or would not evacuate, I would be forced to stay with them and attend to their needs. This does not excuse FEMA or the state or local government from attempting to rescue me. Again, what purpose does FEMA serve if not to handle emergency and disaster, including saving lives, as their National Response Plan indicates.

In the average large urban area, there are upwards of 80,000 people or more who, for many reasons, cannot or will not evacuate. This also includes many who stay behind to help rescue others. Trying to demonize them for political expediency should automatically earn someone an eternity in Hell. If said demonizers purport to be Christians while blaming victims, two eternities.

And, again, evacuations, those that stayed behind and their reasons, and garbage about "blame games" do not matter.

They are the various political footballs tossed around by a government that refuses to allow us to believe what our horrified eyes have shown us for over a week on television. It's not that they cannot allow it because they did everything they could, but because they didn't do anything until it was too late for many.

If we, as regular, good-hearted human beings, allow this administration to muddy the waters in order to escape what is their legitimate responsibility, we can expect worse the next time around. And we will not have the luxury of time to consider evacuation.

Also, we will have killed 200 years of precedent, from the time our Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution stating government's job is to promote the general welfare and provide for a common defense.

Neither of these were done after Hurricane Katrina.

If we allow for no accountability of our paid, public servants, why don't we just replace the Federal Government with Fed-Ex? After all, at least they know when something absolutely has to be delivered overnight.

9/11; 8/29

Feel safer?
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hear hear!
or is it here here!?

I'm in full agreement with you, Bush really dropped the ball this time. 7 minutes on 9/11, this time? Go to San Diego and pose with McCain for a birthday shot and some PR.

Is there nothing this administration cant make sound like they meant to do it?
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