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September 01, 2005

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Burkhardt Brinkmann

Here in Germany (or, for that matter, anywhere in Europe) you would probably have to use a mag-nifying glass to find very many followers of president Bush and his like (or ilk). (If you want to get an idea, why I personally don't care for his ideological stance, take a look at my blog - the only one in English, the rest are in German - "THE B(RAT) IN THE BOX AT THE ULTIMATE LEVER?"
- http://beltwild.blogspot.com/2005_04_01_beltwild_archive.html.)

Nevertheless, the liberal use of words like "moron", "asshole", "freeze-dried brain" [I really like that one J] etc. is not an adequate substitute for a rational analysis of the chain of causation which has led to those consequences of the natural disaster, that could have been avoided if adequate measures with a reasonable cost-benefit ratio had been taken in advance.

While nobody in their right mind would blame the hurricane itself on president Bush of his party, politics does seem to have made a few mistakes inside and outside of the timeline that has been given in the opening lines of this blog discussion. Also, mistakes seem to have been made on all three relevant political levels: local, state and federal. Therefore, if I venture a prediction, the De-mocrats will not be extremely eager to dig deeply into the pre-history of the disastrous conse-quences of hurricane Katrina.
Long before Bush came into power, the levees could have been improved on in order to withstand a hurricane of category 5 instead just category 3. With 500.000 people involved, and a lot of valu-able property, any rational cost-benefit-analysis would have called for such action long before.
However, while the Democratic Administrations have not been eager to do more about this than Republican Administrations, also the people and politicians of Louisiana and New Orleans do not seem to have pressured enough (and, when it comes to co-financed measures, spend enough) to change political priorities.
And if you do not spend enough money to raise and enforce the levees, and make sure that the pumps keep working independent of central power supply, why not at least construct the Super-dome as a kind of "dual-use"-building with enough toilets, generators and drinking water supplies to serve as Noah's Arc when the deluge comes?
And if you have not even done that, you still would be able to stock more supplies, if you have a 72-hour-warning for a category 5 hurricane.

From what I have read about the catastrophe, the present budget cuts of the levee program have not been the cause of the collapse of some stretches of levees. So while George Bush may have to bear the possibly belated and inadequate reaction of FEMA, it would appear to me that he can-not fairly be blamed for causing the catastrophe any more than previous administrations.


However, much as the Democrats may not be to keen to have all the political shortcomings uncov-ered, they will of course be happy to lay the blame on president Bush. And, ironically, the Republi-cans (and in particular that upper crust of society, which finds its interests well served by the Re-publicans) might have the very same interest, namely to see the debate focus on persons rather than on long-term political concepts.
Even if the political upsurge of the "I-know-best-what-to-do-with-my-money"-ideology did not cause the disaster, everybody in the world (not just in the USA) might take it as a lesson that the bal-ances between those private interests, that are immediately visible, and those interests, which are termed to be the interest of society as a whole, but which are, in effect, private interests on a dif-ferent time scale and a different intellectually scale (which is not easily accessible for everyone) have to be determined rather differently from what the egoists and libertarians would like to see and to a certain extent have already achieved to have.
I really do hope that the Democrats in the USA and the "Democrats" all over the world will under-stand this and that they will not be content with having some more or less symbolic political figure removed (or simply bashed, and not even removed).


Geänd. Kopie vom 04.09.05 aus Link: http://www.ledgeofliberty.com/2005/09/katrina_timelin.html


As one may imagine, Louisiana has a long and painful history with tropical storms. In 1995, the federal government intervened and mandated SELA, the South East Louisiana project. Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the SELA project pre-empted flood migrations and spent $450 billion dollars doing so up into the early 21st century, i.e. the Bush presidency.
During his time in office, Bush cut off Louisiana, and more specificly New Orleans, to FEMA grants. He reduced the SELA Urban Flood Control Project's federal funding by 80 percent, render-ing the New Orleans U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impotent in the face of natural disaster.
The following is a timeline I have compiled detailing the noteworthy events and history leading up to hurricane Katrina and how George Bush is at fault for the unfunded levees that have distroyed a historic American city, possibly killed thousands, and has left more than a million Americans home-less.

Burkhardt Brinkmann

P. S.

(The last paragraph of the previous entry - "Geänd. Kopie ... etc." got there by mistake, but it seems there is now way to correct that.)

Let me add the following lines to my previous comment:

In this context, the most strange and worrying comment on Katrina that I have read was this article "Katrina’s Triage. It is a grim but inescapable fact that not everyone in New Orleans could be saved" by Marc Gellman (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9178815/site/newsweek/). I do not know which political preferences Mr. Gellman has, but to me his words sound very much like he wants to take the heat off president Bush. This is not the worst though (because, even in my own opinion, Bush gets – on this occasion – more criticism than ne actually deserves). What really upsets me, are the words in his last pagraph:

"Finally, I believe we are compelled to acknowledge that no possible scenario of human existence will ever free us from more than occasionally having too much need and not enough help. Killer storms, wars, famines and other natural catastrophes will test us forever. That is the most sad fact of life here on planet earth. And in the face of temporarily scarce lifesaving resources, there will always be those whose idea of helping is to scream, accuse and point fingers at people they hated before the storm. Thank God, however, there will also be people like the smiling nurse on the hospital rooftop. I am glad I am not in New Orleans now, but if I were there, I would want to be standing right next to her."

Wars are not, and famines very often not "natural catastrophes", and whether we will be having "too much need and not enough help" depends, in many situations, on whether we have prepared for such catastrophes (or, thinking of clima change, tried to avoid them) or whether we have funneld the funds into private pockets. Even and particularly the religious fundamentalists should pay heed to the biblical simile of the foolish virgins.
And those, who do not have the money to construct their own levees around their own property (as has been suggested, ironically, I assume, in some blog comment) have any reason to question the libertarian and related ideologies.

John

review

George R Sands

I takes enormous stamina and emotional stability to run this country and all presidents need help.and the advisors and top leaders in the administration need to care enought about the President as a person and for the presidency enought to take him by surprise and insist he listen to ideas and other views I think he has been escapeing his roll because he does not like to stay on top of the job ie his country , it is work and it interfears with his time ,to say he has been preocupied would be a correct statement I think. Our Bosses would have run us off a long time ago if we were always coming up after the fact and trying to look interested .the job as a president of anything is demanding and . brash ways of handling the business of the president is going to backfire , like deciding to have a war (lives and money) and telling the leaders of other countrys they can just more or less get out of the way. now he needs to mend that issue , health care is worse than when the guy took the reigns and we are totally in debt,now KATRINA it must have surprised him again because here he is again after the fact popping on the seen like the late teenager to pickup his date apologiseing for being late and SHE says well George you could have called at least, I will make up for it I will make sure the restr. and the waitress know we are in a hurry and I will tell my buddy to pick up the movie tickets. so he thinks to himself I will also leave the rushed waitress a huge tip and when he drops his girlfriend off that night she is totally impressed just like 911 but this stuff showing up late to be in the game is getting old and you know your being dupped and trust is broken and that big boy or good ole boy stuff just does not impress her anymore.I kinda think if fla. and the ole brother JEBB was about to receive a catgorie 5 wind he would be calling the people to get stared to Fla. and if his family was in the city of New Orleans he would have probably been a little more aleart. all the babling about politics and the logistics and who is at faultis is still over looking the most important fact (Next to getting the people helped) that the president was not on top of it again and he knows this.pawning the business of being the president off to other people is not good because if the president is not accoutable other leaders will pick up on it without really being mentally aware that there is a problem him not being accountable .Ask our Managers of our industrys here and the first and most important thing is that the CEO BE ON TOP OF THE GAME or the STOCK HOLDERS WILL SOON NOTICE THE EFFECT OF LAZY LEADERSHIP, THE MANAGERS BELOW THE CEO WILL BE LESS ASOREBED IN THE AFFAIRS AND THE HEAT WILL NOT TOUCH THEM TILL THE THE BOSS IS FIRED AND THEN THEY WORRY ABOUT WILL I BE NEXT AND WILL I MAKE IT THRU THE CLEANSING .NO GW is no to blame for the wind in the south and of course he did not wish it and I think he dislikes all the bad stuff that happened.please don't give the man credit for that his followers are allready dased enought, the lip lickig delearium of his followers over a bloody war I hope will be enought of saiate them till he is over his term and out of the office . the matter of war and two major blows to this country has them hopefull of more sence New Orleans was only half as bloody as some of the fundamentalist followers George Sands

Davis

On Friday night, August 26, 2005 before the Hurricane hit, Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Mayor Nagin of New Orleans and Lousiana Governor Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of New Orleans and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA bouy 240 miles south had recorded 68 ft waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in mettings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance(and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act.)

Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up. He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet.

After the President's final call to the governor, she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed, so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in.

Saturday, August 27, before the Hurricane hit, the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting the please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation.

After a personal plea from the President, Mayor Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action. In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations.

Rumor has it that the President's legal advisers were looking into the ramifications of using the insurgency act to bypass the Constitutional requirement that a state request federal aid before the federal government can move into state with troops - but that had not been done since 1906 and the Constitutionality of it was caled into question to use before the disaster.

Throw in that over half the federal aid of the past decade the New Orleans for levee construction, maintenance, and repair was diverted to fund a marina and support the gambling ships. Toss in the investigation that will look into why the emergency preparedness plan submitted to the federal government for funding and published on the city's website was never implemented and in fact may have been bogus for the purpose of gaining additional federal funding. As we now learn that the organizations identified in the plan were never contacted or coordinated into any planning, though the document implies that they were.

The suffering people of New Orleans need to be asking some hard questions as do we all, but they better start with why Governor Blanco refused to even sign the multi-state mutual aid pack activation documents until Wednesday, August 31, which furthur delayed the legal deployment of National Guard from adjoining states.

Or maybe ask why Mayor Nagin keeps harping that the President should have commandeered 500 Greyhound buses to help him when according to his own emergency plan and documents he claimed to have over 500 buses at his disposal to use between the local school buses and the city transportation buses - but he never raised a finger to prepare them or activate them.

This is a sad time for all of us to see that a major city has but all been destroyed and thousands of people have dies with hundreds and thousands more suffering, but it's certainly not a time for people to be pointing fingers and trying to find a bigger dog to blame for local corruption and incompetence. Pray to God for the survivors that they can start their lives anew as fast as possible and we learn from all the mistakes to avoid them in the future.

Carol Dagg Sterritt

I think that there is a type in the intorductory paragraph.

The article states that "450 BILLION dollars" was allocated
for levee and other Corps of Engineers projects.

I believe it should state "450 Million."

Otherwise an excellent article

A concern American

It is easy to blame others for their mistakes, but face it, Bush-haters, NO is to blame. Their levees were sinking. Wonder why? Could it be that someone is smart enough to not put money into a city that sinks. Is it that we as tax payers should want our money to go to a town already below sea level. Is it a strange thought that NO makes enough money off of tourist a year to rebuild their own levees, but instead spends it on other needs-more tourist traps. No matter what side of the political line you are on, this is a disaster. The sad part is the disaster is not about the levees, but about the people. If they had been told once more to get out, would they have listened? If I am told to take cover, I take cover. It is not the nation that is responsible for my behavior. I am in control of my behavior, not the government. If a storm the size of Katrina was heading my way, I could manage to walk a few miles or find safety on my own. I would not wait to loot afterwards. Blame who you want, but the true sad story here is the people of NO not taking care of themselves. Before Welfare, the black men would have been the first to help, now they were the first to loot, rape, and rob. How sad! When help was sent, did they not get fired upon? If you point your finger, point it first at NO and its people.

Ms.Andrews

It is a fact that this world will always be seperated in groups. Poor and Rich, Happy and Sad and so on. Unfortunately, we have storms greater than ourselves. Just another reality to let us know God is THE ONE. This city should always have funding for these things.It is one of our STATES in the great UNITED STATES. This is why we pay taxes for,blacks and whites. Unfortunately, we all don't have a place to run in a natural disaster, that's life. Would the funding provide this for those who have to evacuate and don't have savings or vacation homes to do so. God knows we are poor and rich. Some of our huge bank accounts should be empty, especially when you make enough to survive quite comfortably on a month's salary and have enough for a rainy day ; I say this meaning all situations needing currency. God told the rich man to give up everything and distribute to the poor and needy equally. I am not one to give opinions when I have my own issues, but.... Bush made a bad decision, we all or most do. Just make it right. And now he has too; something brand new! Late response to this article, but still potent.

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