Katrina aftermath; Taking the blame

             Katrina aftermath; Taking the blame<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Since the can of worms was opened by the left, I feel obliged to chime in as a voice of reason and truth. The lies being disseminated need rebuttal. We all know that the more often you tell a lie, and the louder you scream it, the more people start to believe it is the truth. The left relies on that strategy. It’s been working for them for 40+ years.
One question which I have not heard anyone in the national leftist media ask yet is, "Why didn't Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco act sooner?" I've heard so much rhetoric from the left, seen so many fingers being pointed at the Bush Administration and FEMA by government officials, the press, and the other self‑appointed "saviors of the downtrodden," that I am literally sick of it. Could the answer to the question simply be that Governor Blanco is a woman? Or maybe it's because she's a Democrat? What about Mayor Nagin? Yup, he’s a Democrat, too.
In case you didn't hear about it, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. went as far as to basically blame Hurricane Katrina on President Bush and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Could anyone be any more out of touch with reality? Maybe there's some strange filter in his brain which won't allow simple things like meteorological history pass through. I'm pretty certain there were hurricanes long before President Bush or Governor Barbour took office.
Time for a reality check. According to Governor Blanco, and as reported by the Associated Press on Sunday, August 28, President Bush called her and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation. How totally heartless of our President to ask people to leave their soon‑to‑be‑sunken city just to save their lives. And yes, some people of questionable faculties are already saying this whole thing was just a vast right-wing conspiracy in order to rid <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New Orleans of the poor people and turn it over to the rich. If that's the case, President Bush, please make it rain here in the desert. We've been in a drought for years.
Surely some people who wanted to leave New Orleans but had to stay. But many others stayed voluntarily to protect their possessions. Those individuals evidently decided that their property was worth more than their lives. Many paid just that price. Still others stayed to victimize an already‑victimized city by raping, murdering and pillaging. That goes beyond disgusting, bordering on inhuman. Thank God it is a small segment of the population.
Fully 20% of the New Orleans population remained following the mandatory evacuation order. All of them had their reasons. I can understand it with those who are elderly or infirm, or truly physically or economically lacked the ability to leave. I will even give a little bit of credit for the fact that Interstate 10 west out of the city became completely choked with traffic. But some reasons given are truly pathetic. I saw one gentleman on TV say that the reason he didn't leave was because he "only had a quarter‑tank of gas." Okay, and have you ever heard of gas stations? They sell gas. They're very popular with most of the driving public. Or maybe you could have carpooled.
Next question; why didn't the City of New Orleans utilize the HUNDREDS of public transit and school buses at their disposal to transport people without means out of the city? If you have thousands of people who you know lack the means to evacuate, and you have hundreds of high‑occupancy vehicles at your disposal, can you not put two and two together and realize that the most efficient way to evacuate the city is by using these vehicles? Evidently that's what someone did, because that's exactly what the City's evacuation plan calls for. Maybe the buses only had quarter‑tanks of gas, also, because they were only used to move the residents to the shelters within the city.

Those who were left behind I truly consider to be innocent victims, and they are suffering. But they do not seem to be the ones complaining. The ones who CHOSE to remain and are now suffering physical hardship are victims of their own defiance. Even they are not the loudest critics of the Federal government. They want help, and they don’t care who gives it to them. No, the loudest critics are, once again, the leftist government officials, press, and the other self‑appointed "saviors of the downtrodden."
Don't get me wrong. I feel for all the victims. I made a donation before I asked anyone else to do the same. I think, however, we should acknowledge that the reason many of the individuals, hundreds of them children, are suffering is not because the Federal government was not there in 12 hours to take care of them. The residents would not have been in need of rescuing if they had evacuated. Aside from that, the City did not take care of its own. It seems the only thing the City did was treat their residents like cattle, corralling everyone together in different facilities and placing the police out to keep the "herd" under control. Shame on the City for that!
So back to Governor Blanco. We all listened to her talking about how bad the damage was, and how the people were suffering. We listened to it for several days. But exactly what was she doing during that time? On Friday, August 26, Governor Blanco declared a state of emergency and activated the State's emergency response and recovery program, but what exactly did that do? Here is a little excerpt from the Louisiana Constitution which might give you an idea of what she COULD have done:
(J) Commander‑in‑Chief. The governor shall be commander‑in‑chief of the armed forces of the state, except when they are called into service of the federal government. He may call out these forces to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency.
The bottom line is this: States are independent subdivisions of the United States. Governor Blanco had the responsibility to call out the National Guard. Some Governors, in the face of impending disasters such as Katrina, would have even called up the Guard and put them on alert BEFORE the storm so they could go into action immediately thereafter. Maybe that's what was supposed to have happened when she declared the state of emergency. Maybe she simply relied on a system which was untried, and ultimately failed the people of Louisiana.
As far as I know, Governor Blanco has still NOT requested Federal coordination. Instead, as reported in the Washington Post, on Saturday she hired former Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt to advise her. I have a little advise, in retrospect, for Governor Blanco. Next time just admit that your administration and system was a failure to your constituents and turn over authority for the relief effort to someone who is capable of doing the job. And don't wait a week to do it. Politics should NOT dictate who is and is not helped, or when that help is administered! And remember, hurricane season isn't over yet.

I believe Mayor Nagin did what he could with the limited resources available to him in the after condition. But how do you explain the City's complete lack of preparedness to even man their own temporary shelters? There were no meals or water there for the residents, yet those were the places the City instructed the people to go, or even took them! Another gentleman I saw interviewed over the weekend told how he and others had broken into a concession stand in the Superdome to prepare food, and were subsequently run off by the police under the threat of death. That reaction may have been a little rash considering the people had already been there for five days. Under such inhumane conditions it is incredible that full-fledged riots did not break out in the Superdome. Kudos to most of those people for keeping their heads in such deplorable conditions! I can't say I would have done the same.
There is no doubt that the City of New Orleans did not have an effective plan in place to handle this emergency. Even that system, however, was not followed. The Mayor was supposed to utilize the Transit System buses to EVACUATE the city, not RELOCATE the residents to shelters WITHIN THE CITY. And I understand Mayor Nagin suggested that the residents take their own food and water with them to the shelters. Is that part of the City’s official disaster plan? We’ll transport you to someplace and imprison you there for a few days, but while you’re there, you’re on your own? Suddenly I’m having visions of the movie Escape from New York.
Barring the City's complete failure, there exists a hierarchy within the government. The next line should be the Parish, then the State, then the Federal government. The Feds are supposed to be INVITED IN by the Governors, if we are to follow protocol. An unrequested Federal takeover of the situation in New Orleans would have been tantamount to Federal Martial Law. On Friday the Feds offered to take control and their proposal was REJECTED by Governor Blanco!
I think Mayor Nagin realized early on that the City was not going to be able to handle the situation. He started asking for help. The problem is, he was not aiming his pleas in the right direction. He was directing his requests for help to the Feds, when they should have gone to the Governor. So while Mayor Nagin was whole-heartedly pleading with the Feds for help, Governor Blanco was basically standing beside him telling us how bad things were, but not doing what she was supposed to do to bring in the Cavalry.
Here is another little tidbit reported by the Washington Post in Sunday's edition. Of course, this was buried at the end of the story.
"Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana's failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self‑sufficient for at least that period. "Fundamentally the first breakdown occurred at the local level," said one state official who works with FEMA. "Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no."
It is obvious that neither the City of New Orleans nor the State of Louisiana was prepared to be self-sufficient for even one day. The police were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of trying to rescue and evacuate so many, nevermind trying to maintain or restore order. The National Guard should have been called in en masse immediately to help with the process.
If you read or listened enough, you would have found that there were red‑tape stumbling blocks all over the place. Some of the stories sound like the Keystone Kops or the old Abbott and Costello "Who's on first" skit.  The details would be completely laughable if the situation wasn't so dire and so many were not dead or in peril. There is nothing humorous about it. The City failed miserably, I don't know if we ever heard anything from the Parish, the State fell on its collective face, and FEMA hung in the wings not quite sure what they should do. So far, President Bush and FEMA are ‑ relatively quietly for now ‑ taking all the blame. But here are some words of wisdom for the left who are pointing their finger at the President and his administration:
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Luke 6:41‑2, NIV)
I think there is some serious plank‑plucking to do. It seems the far left are only capable of seeing with rose‑colored glasses, or are going through life with blinders on. Heck, it could be both. But rest assured, the time will come very soon for those who didn't do their jobs correctly to own up to it. There will be consequences to pay for failure. The list is just starting to be populated. That list might include FEMA Director Michael Brown and additional Federal, State and Local appointees and other bureaucrats. It most certainly, however, should have Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin on it.
This is a sad chapter for many reasons, and on many levels. It is sad because the people of New Orleans were victims first of Hurricane Katrina, then of the flood, and finally of their government. It is sad because various agencies had been warning of such a catastrophe for years. It is sad because the government knew, or should have known (very important words) that the disaster plan for New Orleans was insufficient but evidently did nothing to remedy the situation.
It is also sad because many within our national media took it upon themselves to purposely disseminate misinformation and disinformation; to utilize the pain, death and suffering of others to try and further their own political agenda. Members of the broadcast media looked right into the eye of America and told us, with a straight face, that one party is responsible when they knew, or should have known (there’s those words again) that the ones they were blaming were NOT the ones responsible. It’s just another case of that segment deciding either it was okay to report incorrect information, or it was okay to state their opinions as fact when they did not have, or did not use the information necessary to draw the proper conclusions. It used to be known as “yellow journalism.” I call it a pathetic replacement for actual news being reported by pseudo-intellectuals in a blatant attempt to deceive the American public into believing their rhetorical dribble, which is only slightly laced with fact. I have news for you guys. Most of us aren't anywhere near as stupid as you seem to think we are. And it wasn't limited to the broadcast news. Be watching for a lawsuit to be filed by Geraldo Rivera, Fox News, against the New York Times for a smear job they did to him, ostensibly one of their own.
 As a closing note to those who feel compelled to write in about Mr. Brown's comment concerning the government not knowing about the people in the convention center until Thursday, let me make this as clear as I can. He said "CONVENTION CENTER," not "SUPERDOME." They are two different facilities more than a mile apart as the crow flies. Now, can I hear a collective "oh?" Also, to the editors of the New York Times; It was the levees on the north side that failed, not the ones on the south. More precisely, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, it was the REBUILT levees that failed, not the OLD one

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