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"Why bother the German people with all the details? And why even try to get into the minutia of how disaster relief is organized along local, state and federal lines in the United States when it is so easy and ideologically satisfying to tell the German people that the Bush administration is fully at fault?"

"And of course the mayor of New Orleans is being portrayed as an angry hero who is demanding that Bush and his people get off of their asses and get to work. He and other Louisiana officials have barely been criticized or mentioned as responsible parties."

Your rage is right on target. I think when all is said and done the lion's share of the blame for the failure to evacuate the citizenry of N.O., and for the resulting chaos there, will properly lie where it belongs: with their worthless, carping, plantation-mentality mayor. Doubtless the German media "won't go there" on ideological grounds.

I lived in Germany from 1967-69 and visited in 1976 and briefly in 1998. The Germany you describe today is not the same one I remember. It's sad to see how badly Germany has become a cesspool of political correctness.

Here in America the monopoly the MSM had on public opinion has been utterly smashed by the conservative blogosphere: the US MSM are running scared because the shopworn leftist garbage they sell is subject to relentless fact-chacking and criticism from the new media.

One can only hope that your blog does not remain a lonely voice crying in a vast German media wasteland.

These folks are truly clueless.

Hurricane Katrina was twice the size of Germany (a fact I actually learned from N24) and devastated an area of 90,000 square miles. Germany is 138,000 square miles. What kind of response would the Germans get from their government if something devastated 90,000 square miles (65%) of Germany? And, how long would that take?

Just wondering?

Excellent blog entry/story, and a couple of excellent posts after that.

Of course, this fits in with the "Bush _caused_ the hurricane by not signing Kyoto" meme that's floating about the German media cesspool. And because he didn't make the military show up, like, Tuesday night when the levee broke, he's responsible. Facts? It takes the military at least a day to form up and move, a day to deploy, and a day to organize supplies.

In fact, the logistics of this are _worse_ than a terrorist attack - even a nuke - which would be a very localized matter wrecking at most a few square miles. Even a major terrorist attack wouldn't do the European-nation-sized damage to cities, towns, roads, ports, bridges, railroads, military bases, hospitals, etc done by the hurricane.

There's blame to go around - primarily at the local (what about your 600 rusting busses, Mr. Mayor?) and state level (So, Madam Gov, why did Bush have to beg you to evacuate the city?) - and the usual wasted precious hours getting the bureaucracies to move their asses. But things are moving along now. But this is the biggest natural disaster in the US since the SF Earthquake in 1906, so there's a whole lot of "making it up as you go along".

Anybody remember this from several years ago? I am sure the liberal media has, especially when it deals with a black mayor (Mayor Goode)...it gets good about half way through the article:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

MOVE! is an organisation formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 by John Africa (Vincent Leaphart) and Donald Glassey. It was described by CNN as

A loose-knit, mostly black group whose members all adopted the surname Africa, advocated a "back-to-nature" lifestyle and preached against technology.

Glassey owned a house in the Powelton Village neighborhood of Philadelphia, and his house became the first home base for MOVE. Neighbors began to complain about the sanitation aspects of their back to nature philosophy, and after an armed standoff with Philadelphia's department of Licenses and Inspections, Mayor Frank Rizzo ordered a blockade of the immediate neighborhood, in order to get MOVE members out of the house. The blockade was not successful, and on August 8, 1978, Philadelphia police attempted to clear the house by force.

Every tactical move was telegraphed to the house via bullhorns. One of their first tactics was to turn fire hoses on the house. The police even considered the depth of the basement of the MOVE house and the height of the basement windows, to ensure that nobody would drown if the basement was completely flooded.

Who began shooting is disputed; MOVE claims that they never fired a shot; videotape shows muzzle flashes from the basement windows of the MOVE house. One police officer, James Ramp, was killed. Rizzo had the house demolished the next day. Leaphart and eight other MOVE members were sentenced to prison for the murder.

The MOVE group then moved to a house in west Philadelphia owned by Louise James, a relative of a MOVE member. They continued their back to nature philosophy, and added a new agenda, freeing John Africa (Vincent Leaphart). In a change from their previous tactic of staging protests downtown, MOVE began to pressure their neighbors. The Osage Avenue houses were connected, and their roofs formed a convenient jogging track for MOVE. Neighbors listened to the MOVE physical training program through their bedroom ceilings. Neighbors complained about that, and the public address system that MOVE used for political diatribes, as well as the smell of human and animal waste. Then Managing Director W. Wilson Goode was running for mayor, and the neighbors were convinced that Philadelphia's first African American mayor would be able to reason with MOVE, so they did not press the issue pending the election. Goode was elected in November of 1983. The situation on Osage Avenue did not change.

On May 13, 1985, in a failed attempt to serve arrest warrants on four members of the group, Philadelphia police became engaged in a gun battle at MOVE's communal residence. About 10,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by the police. With the approval of the mayor, the police eventually decided to drop a bomb on MOVE's rooftop structure, alternately described as a "gun turret" and as a purely defensive fortification, with the objective of destroying it. The structure was unoccupied at the time. This bomb did not significantly damage the rooftop structure, but did start a fire which destroyed the entire block and killed eleven people. Ironically, the city's best firefighting equipment had been trained on the rooftop bunker all morning, but "the decision was made to let the fire burn" in the words of police chief Gregory Sambor. 62 houses burned to the ground; only Ramona and Birdie Africa escaped. Six adults and five children in the MOVE house were killed.

Police initially said they had been fired upon first with automatic weapons, but only a small number of non-automatic weapons were found in the burned-out home. MOVE supporters have described the raid as a revenge attack for the 1978 shooting.

In the aftermath of the catastrophe the city launched a special investigation which found, among other things, that "Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable." The mayor was re-elected in the next election, and no police officer was suspended, fired, or fined.

Philadelphia has paid over $32 million to the victims, including $840,000 to Birdie Africa, $1.5 million to Ramona Africa and the relatives of John and Frank Africa, and has been ordered to pay $29 million to residents of Osage Avenue and Pine Street whose homes were destroyed by the fire. (The city of Philadelphia is appealing the latter award.)

Most people I spoke to had not to be told that providing for food and water for the first time would have been the responsibility of the one who complained loudest about his president. So far I have not heard any good remarks about the mayor of NO. A good sign that people are not as stupid as the media think they are.
I don't like the slightly racist touch I sense in some of the comments I heard. I don't blame the mayor of NO for trying to play the race card because he's an idiot and I don't expect much from him. But I don't see the point in posting examples of other black idiots.

Further to what I was saying before about N.O.'s worthless mayor is an outstanding post at "The Intellectual Activist," http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1026

Here is the heart of it regarding the mayor's malfeasance:

"75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. . . . early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

"There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

"All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

"No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan."

See also http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35690for for more on the "plantation mentality" that I mentioned earlier.

I certainly hope one can publically discuss these things without being considered a racist. I hardly consider myself one given the number of Africans and Haitians I've been proud to represent on asylum claims in U.S. immigration courts.

The next chance to slam the US, Chief Justice Rehnquist just died tonight. Two Supreme Court appointments at once. The whole world is going to chip in on who should be appointed. Excuse me while I go hide, could I get a wake up call for 2007?

Agreed, the responsibility for safety of citizens in a natural disaster lies with the local and State governments which in this case seem to be absolutely clueless and who think leadership consists of whining in the aftermath of the disaster that no one is helping them. What, I must ask, was done by the city and state to anticipate the huge relief effort that everyone knows is needed after a major Hurricane strikes whether it be a force 3 or a force 5? It is painfully obvious that Mayor Nagin is no Guliani and Gov Blanco is no Pataki. Why wasn't the Louisiana National Guard standing by? Why was the New Orleans Police so inept at contolling the criminal element among the refugees? It has been said that the street gangs born in the poorest neighborhoods of NO rule and the police are completely intimidated by them. Of course the disaster was too much for the state and city resources to manage alone but it seems all to obvious that the Louisiana authorities made only the most minor preparations to deal with this storm's destruction.

Sorry to be off topic re: German media reporting on this sad disaster. It's too bad that most Europeans think they know so much about the US and in fact are clueless of our structures, laws and geography.

"Why weren't NORTA's 364 buses used to ferry poor people out of New Orleans before Katrina hit?"

Well actually they should have been used to run their regular routes and take evacuees to the local schools, where they they could take them out of the City.

As I point out in an article on my blog titled

Bus Drivers Go To Work

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/kentuckydan/CommitteesofCorrespondence/index.blog?entry_id=1077936

"The simplicity is ALL the means are already in place and the Bus Drivers will be doing the same thing that they normally do when working."

That they never made the slightest effort to move buses not used for evacuation to higher ground after the storm passed and before the levee breeches flooded the area is yet another fault.

Wouldn't it be great to hear a politician or read a blog or see a news report that said everyone here screwed up, from the federal government all the way down to the local government, in some way, shape or form? What's being lost in all this partisan bickering is the big picture. Why did the levees fail, why weren't people who didn't have transportation evacuated, and why did it take relief so long to get there? Yes, of course these things are being discussed, but only in the context of who is to blame. In the end, the people will get lost in all the political bickering, and as usual nothing will get truly accomplished. What's clear to me is that the government, at every level, is still not prepared for a truly dreadful man-made disaster. We should be encouraging the media to start pressuring politicians of all stripes to put their agenda aside and get to work on putting in place, once and for all, an effective emergency response plan. I realize this is asking too much from the media, be it American or German, but I don't think it's asking too much of those of us who take time to actively put pressure on the media.

This will weigh heavily on Bush in particular, but the USA overall. And rather directing the blame - for the poor view of America and Bush - on to the federal government reaction, the mayor of New Orleans, the local police, the poor planning of governments long gone... let us direct the blame on the media.
All week long I have been depressed to see the deploable conditions of the people in the street. But all week I have been disgusted to see the media spending all their time blaming Bush.
The German media has a huge responsibility to depict the state the world accurately to its subscribers. They are failing in their duties by taking their lead from the US media and then adding it to their own sordid WMD: Weapons of Media Destruction.

I hear Lefties all the time complaining that this hurricane was long awaited and that "nobody" (i.e. Republicans only) thought of taking proper precautions.

Well Lefties, we all know that California expects a gigantic earthquake with a possiblity of part of the state falling into the sea with Millions of casualties. Where are you now that we need you smart people and Monday morning quarterbacks to tell us what to do in preparation for that?? Any suggestions from our German (sudden) experts in catastrophies?

Moonfarer
USA

Interestingly, on the same day Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote a very similar piece.

For those who may not know, there are very clear lines of authority between the various levels of government in the US -- local, state, and federal -- and there are various laws that govern who can do what, and when. For example, the federal government cannot just decide it wants to send federal troops into a state and do so unilaterally (isn't it ironic that the same people who are screaming for the feds to move in are the same people who normally agitate for just the opposite?).

Also, keep in mind that, unless "federalized," the various state National Guards belong to, and are commanded by, the states -- not the federal government. Quite simply, the federal government has to be "invited" into a state before it can go there.

According to this in the NYT (expect details such as this to come out slowly in the next few weeks), as of Saturday the LA Governor did not, and still does not, want to give up her authority to the federal government:

Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301680.html

Some excerpts:

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

"The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

"A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.

"Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.

"The federal government stands ready to work with state and local officials to secure New Orleans and the state of Louisiana," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said. "The president will not let any form of bureaucracy get in the way of protecting the citizens of Louisiana."

"Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort."

In case anyone was wondering, THIS probably isn't the best way to get the federal government to provide help.

Or alternatively... the German media are not too far off the mark. Whose fault is it? Couldn't be GW - No he was on vacation! Had no time to watch the weather reports! Lets find a scapegoat quick... I know! The mayor of NO!
Excuse me but... WHERE does the buck stop exactly?
I always thought the chief executive carried the can... correct me if I'm wrong...
Heavy sarcasm on the Eurocentric view point pointedly ignores the pathetic failings in the Amerocentric viewpoint: Don't blame us! Its the system! Don't you know we have to coordinate local, state and federal here!Wow! That's really heavy! Maybe we should think about getting a system that works...

@greatsageequalto heaven:

Like it or not, agree with it or not, that's the way it is. With very few exceptions (the above-mentioned Insurrection Act being one), the "local" government is granted, and maintains, responsibility for it's own affairs and "higher up" governments have limited authority to over-ride local governments.

As the NYTimes article makes clear, the LA governor has so far refused to allow the federal government to take over the show. That sort of constrains things a bit, wouldn't you say?

What would you have the federal government do? Ignore the lawful wishes of the state government and illegally seize power in the state? That is the very thing our laws are designed to PREVENT.

Again, like it or not, agree with it or not, that's the way it is.

@Scott H.: Good point on the huge amount of area affected. Europeans are simply clueless to the size of the US and what that means. I've put together a list of geographic areas for comparison.

Liechtenstein 59 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 1500 times as big
Belgium 11,231 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 8 times as big
Switzerland 15,199 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 5.9 times as big
Estonia 17,462 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 5.1 times as big
Austria 32,378 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 2.8 times as big
Italy 110,882 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 81% of total area
France 200,846 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 45% of total area
Germany 128,658 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 70% of total area
United Kingdom 88,929 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 1% bigger
Poland 112,090 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 80% of total land area
Hungary 33,990 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 2.6 times as big
Portugal 34,009 sq miles Katrina disaster zone 2.6 times as big

Before Katrina, New Orleans was the closest thing the US has to the Third World. US doctors went there for trainng in tropical diseases, which occurred no where else. New Orleans was and has been the most corrupt, poorly run city in the US, with the police department being not much better than the criminal gangs running around in the most corrupt State in America. Good people have been leaving there for decades, while the New Orleans politicians (all Democrats) fiddled, making it even more difficult to improve the situation. The social pathologies created by the leftwing welfare social state became more and more concentrated in the City of New Orleans. You didn't see, what happened in New Orleans, happen elsewhere even in Louisiana, much less Mississippi and Alabama. The hard hit areas include towns, but also loads of poor rural (black and white) folks.

Am I surprised about the breakdown in New Orleans or the lack of concern by leaving 100,000 people in the city by the race-baiting, welfare-pimping, gun-grabbing, incompetent and evil Democrat politicians? Not at all. Am I surprised that the evil, lying, scumbag, America-hating, self-hating American mainstream media is trying to demonize Bush and blame him? Not at all. Don't get me started on the Europeans, who are totally clueless, while being morally superior, smug, arrogant, cold, unfeeling and generally not worth a bucket of warm spit.

It is ridiculous to put a German spin on this. The world press has condemned the Bush administration for its performance in this tragedy. The incompetence of the Dept.of Homeland Security has led to thousands of needless deaths.

Every news organzation in the US - including Fox News - has criticized Bush for actions - and inactions - this past week.

And for all the commenters who blame the LA Governor for not requesting aid in time, here is her letter to President Bush. Please note the date:

link: http://gov.louisiana.gov/Disaster%20Relief%20Request.pdf

Not that anyone here is really interested....

Just as the Democratic Governor of Florida refused to call help from Washington after hurricane Andrew, the idiotic mayor of new Orleans "forgot" to mobilize hundreds if not thousands of city and school busses to offer people an easy way out of the city.

The problem with this is that the mayor is again a Democrat who runs a proverbially korrupt city government (the Big Easy) and is totally incompetent.

Americas Democrats try, of course, to deflect guilt from the mayor by trying to concentrate on the slower than expected help activities. They were slow because everybody underestimated the combination of a huge hurricane with the incompetenec of New Orlean's city government.

Our mass media followed, as usual, purely the Democratic line and fed this garbage to Germany.

The Germans have no idea of the American independence or interdependence by law of city, state and federal government and loved to see a new opportunity to railroad Bush as the only guilty party.

Moonfarer
USA

Vic, actually I am. I read the letter and it appears to be a request that the federal government fund $130 million worth of state efforts to aleviate the disaster - not for major federal involvement.

It certainly wasn't an offer to put the whole effort under Federal control as proved to be necessary.

In Blanco's defense I'd say there was no way she (or anyone else including Bush) could have forseen the magnitude of the problem which would develop. Nor did anyone realize just how much of the early efforts would have to be diverted into keeping order rather than succoring suffering people. But when aid workers are atacked they have to defend themselves and the suffering victims first.

Apart from that it simply was an incredible logistics problem getting stuff into a flooded New Orleans. Many people assume that helicopters can do it - but do you have any idea how many helicopters would be needed to supply 100,000 people with food, water, and medicin? Or how many would be required to evacuate those same 100,000? A helicopter has a small fraction of the capacity of a truck (for supplies) or a bus (for evacuation, so the problem always was to get the roads cleared. Apparently the feds needed legal clearance which was not immediately forthcoming from Governor Blanco. Her answer ought to have been an immediate yes
- instead she apparently looked to protect her legal position. So the people waited for her to get off the stick.

Why did the drainage levees fail but not the floodwalls of Lake Ponchartrain?

On the Levees of New Orleans

I don't understand these comments that "the Feds needed legal clearance". This is from the White House Web site, dated Aug. 26, 2005.
link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050827-1.html

Read the whole thing: FEMA had absolute discretion.

"The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding."

And for all the commenters who blame the LA Governor for not requesting aid in time, here is her letter to President Bush. Please note the date:

link: http://gov.louisiana.gov/Disaster%20Relief%20Request.pdf

---

Vic, please note the date and TIME:

Mandatory evacuation ordered for New Orleans
8/28/2005, 10:48 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.

Acknowledging that large numbers of people, many of them stranded tourists, would be unable to leave, the city set up 10 places of last resort for people to go, including the Superdome.

The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should. He exempted hotels from the evacuation order because airlines had already cancelled all flights.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding....

-----------------------------

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

Do you understand?

The order is local to feds, not feds to local.

America is a bottom-up country, not top-down.


AND

LA has a multi-state compact w/its neighbors to help out or give help, SHE NEVER ASKED.

SHE controls the LA National Guard. SHE controls the state's school buses. THE MAYOR controls NOLA's public transportation.

THEY DID NOTHING. They didn't follow the plan AND they went thru this last year w/Hurricane Ivan.

W declared that area a disaster zone 2 days before it hit. The part of the levee that broke had already been upgraded. When did the battleships leave Norfolk port? How long does it take them to get there? A poster at another site wrote that in nautical miles, Europe is closer than LA. Is this true?

The Feds can't do anything W/O being asked by the Governor of said state. She didn't ask. Haley Barbour of MS brought out MS' NG immediately, she didn't.

It is clear from the two documents I referenced that states of emergency were declared on both a state and federal level and that at the state's request FEMA had been given plenary powers to mobilize all resources needed by Aug.27.

No, Vic -

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, .

notice the word "supplement?"

Notice the word "coordinate?"

She didn't give approval. . She runs the state of LA, not the feds.

8/28 WaPo article which is also posted above:

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

"The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request....

See "Rejected the request?"

Part of this is Posse Comitatus Act 1878.

If you want to believe that, in spite of the images that were broadcast around the world, the DHS and FEMA refused to act because the governor did not fill out some paperwork, that is your perogative.

I've spent the morning listening to LA officials - including the Republican senator Vittner - talk about how FEMA acted incompetently, and -in some cases blocked efforts - in the recovery effort. Go to the Web site for Meet the Press and listen to the interview with the president of Jefferson Parish: it will break your heart.

One other thing: the president has the authority to deploy the state national guard whenever and whereever he wants - something he did on 9/11.

It's not signing some paperwork - it's giving up her authority - she did not. --"The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.---

Posse Comitatus Act 1878 -

Americans do not give the King the authority to deploy the troops whenever and wherever he/she decrees.

The state controls its' guard.

PA just took DOD to court because DOD was cutting its' NG. IL was thinking about it because of cuts here, too.

The Court ruled PA - not DOD has the authority to make that decision.

AND - if W did that before the hurricane and the levee didn't break - imagine that scenario.

MS called its guard up Tuesday.

As to "not acting" FEMA is not 1st tier - the state and municipalities are.

72-96 hours - how do you get people in when roads/bridges are washed away?

They didn't think the levee would break, actually, the section that broke had already been worked on.

--- Instapundit actually has a discussion on this, they can clarify better than I.

Also, read blogger Brendan Loy.

He was yelling SAT for everyone to leave, via Instapundit thru Kaus:

Update: Blogger Brendan Loy was screaming before Sunday, notes Instapundit, who was linking to him. Loy ragged on Mayor Nagin in real time--this, for example, from last Saturday:

I can't emphasize enough what a bad decision I think it is for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to delay the mandatory evacuation order until tomorrow morning.

and a bit later that day:

Okay, so let me get this straight: the governor calls the mayor during dinner, and basically says "HEY, IDIOT, CALL THE F***IN' HURRICANE CENTER!" It took a phone call from the governor to convince him to make this call?!? Well anyway, the mayor calls the NHC, and they basically tell him, "GET EVERYONE OUT OF YOUR CITY NOW!!!" So now, finally, the mayor is apparently planning to order first mandatory evacuation in city history tomorrow morning. About damn time.

And this from a day earlier, on Friday, August 26:

Much of the media seems convinced that this is still exclusively a Florida issue, which is just not true. Drudge's headline is "Katrina could be Cat. 4 at second Fla. strike," which is ridiculous, considering the current expected landfall is along the Alabama/Mississippi border, and that's on the eastern edge of the computer-model guidance. That's not to say a Florida landfall isn't still possible -- it certainly is -- but people need to be making preparations RIGHT NOW all along the northern Gulf coast, especially New Orleans.

--

BTW, how are you supposed to land people in a hurricane or during a levee break?

@Vic
Did you know that Pres. Bush signed an emergency order for the Gulf coast on August 26th, 2 days prior to Katrina hitting land?

Did you look at the picture of hundreds of busses flooded, Wouldn't you like to ask the question why they weren't used by the local authorities for evacuation?

Why hasn't the democratic Governor Blanco as of today turned things over to the US Government?

Why were the billions of Dollars that flowed into N.O. over the years used for everything from Casinos to Airplanes etc., but flood controls even though the money was earmarked for that?

Why did 2/3 of the N.O. police force abandon their posts?

Local and State resources are to accomodate and provide food and Water for 2 days until help arrives. Did you know that it is faster for a ship taking off from the East coast to arrive in Germany rather than the affected Area?

Did you know that there was almost no way to get into the Area since most bridges and roads were gone?

What would your Armchair quarterback solution be if 70% of Germany was inaccessable, flooded and people were dying from the heat, lack of Water and supplies?

Armchair Quarterbacks are definately excellent at expecting those who do the yeomans work trying to help to wave a magic wand, instantly transporting them to the area without delay and rescuing everyone. Get a Life or grow a brain. Last year I sat through 3 Hurricanes, I have an inkling what they are all about, I don't make my job easy by pointing fingers.

Please don't give me your usual diatribe, just answer the questions posed with yes or no, or at least confine your answers to short sentences?

BTW, Vic - start perusing some US blogs, you might learn a few things:

Marc from Cranial Cavity notes that the issues of evacuation had come to light before in New Orleans, almost exactly a year ago, in the advance of Hurrican Ivan through the Gulf. This report demonstrates that the problem experienced this week in The Big Easy did not arise from ignorance or a failure of imagination, but directly from incompetence in the city administration and specifically by Mayor Ray Nagin:

Those who had the money to flee Hurricane Ivan ran into hours-long traffic jams. Those too poor to leave the city had to find their own shelter - a policy that was eventually reversed, but only a few hours before the deadly storm struck land.
New Orleans dodged the knockout punch many feared from the hurricane, but the storm exposed what some say are significant flaws in the Big Easy's civil disaster plans.

Much of New Orleans is below sea level, kept dry by a system of pumps and levees. As Ivan charged through the Gulf of Mexico, more than a million people were urged to flee. Forecasters warned that a direct hit on the city could send torrents of Mississippi River backwash over the city's levees, creating a 20-foot-deep cesspool of human and industrial waste.

Residents with cars took to the highways. Others wondered what to do.

"They say evacuate, but they don't say how I'm supposed to do that," Latonya Hill, 57, said at the time. "If I can't walk it or get there on the bus, I don't go. I don't got a car. My daughter don't either."

Advocates for the poor were indignant.

"If the government asks people to evacuate, the government has some responsibility to provide an option for those people who can't evacuate and are at the whim of Mother Nature," said Joe Cook of the New Orleans ACLU.


Please note the date of this report: Septemer 19, 2004. Nagin and New Orleans knew these problems existed almost a year before Katrina hit and the levees failed. In fact, both Nagin and Kathleen Blanco noted the failure of the New Orleans effort to evacuate people from the city....

---

Some just refuse to get it, ABC.

Some more quotes.

This one from a WaPo article that is taking FEMA to task. Buried near the end is this interesting tidbit:

"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."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301653_4.html

Here's a tidbit from another blog about "federalism:"

"Attorney D.J. Quigley then provides the legal gloss:

"Here’s the quick legal skinny: There’s a difference between money and boots on the ground; the governor (surprise!) immediately asked for the former.

"Undert the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385), the president can’t use armed forces (including national guard in federal service) for law enforcement absent congressional directive. (Some courts, however, have held that this does not apply to the Navy (U.S. v. Yunis, 924 F.2d 1086 (C.A.D.C. 1991)) and the Coast Guard (U.S. v. Chaparro-Almeida, 679 F.2d 423 (5th Cir. 1982)), both of which seem to be more useful here, since it looks like that nobody without boats can provide any serious logistical or enforcement functions in NO.)

"But upon request of the governor, or perhaps on his own initiative, the president can use the federal military by invoking the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. §§ 331-34). What’s happening in NO might be called “insurrection” or “rebellion,” but that’s a politically-dangerous stretch."

Read the rest here:

http://www.proteinwisdom.com/index.php/weblog/entry/18954/

Vic you are suffering from BDS I fear. The facts are the facts. Your trying to make them something else is really off the wall. My wifes whole family is in and from Louisiana. You have no idea of the corruption in Louisiana government. You have no idea of how rotten the government of New Orleans is. In fact I bet you have never even been there. I have an this is first hand knowledge for me. The Federal law prohibits Bush or FEMA from doing anything until formally requested by the Governor of a state. Bush could be impeached for acting without a formal request. But that would suit you fine since your BDS is so complete Bush will always be wrong.

Folks don't waste your time on this foolish person.

This correction just appeared on the Washington Post Web site:

"A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26. "

Did anyone watch The McLaughlin Group? Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan asked "Who lost New Orleans?" Then he answered: George W. Bush

Here is a good timeline of events.

Oops, bad link.

Let´s try again.

Timeline

@Vic
I know you are trying hard to blame the president, but I believe you should get your facts straight first.

This is what I was able to establish from various news reports and National Guard News releases. (It is unclear whether the Governor ever did declare an emergency or whether the President declared it and then legalized federal involvement through a subsequent declaration of an “Incident of National Significance”.I have seen one article where an emergency was declared on Friday. Another ehere the President requested a declaration by memo to the Gov. This was followed up with the urging phone call on Saturday and his declaration. Muddy.)

(1) It was well known that NO emergency plans were inadequate. There was an AP report from September 19, 2004 by Kevin McGill titled "Ivan exposes flaws in N.O.'s disaster plans." The Times Picayune also did an expose. The American Red Cross informed the mayor that they would no longer be setting up shelters within the city for hurricanes over category-2. They informed the mayor that is was just too dangerous and that his city was ill-prepared to handle the crisis.

(2) The Governor knew of the possibility of a CAT 5 hitting head-on in NO five days prior to the event. (Hit Florida Aug. 25-26)

(3) Friday, President Bush sends a memo to the Gov. suggesting she declare a state of emergency. President Bush called Governor on Saturday urging her to declare a state of emergency and issue evacuation orders.

(4) President Bush declared a state of emergency on Saturday. FEMA aid was authorized http://www.fema.gov/news/dfrn.fema?id=4489

(5) Once a state of emergency is declared, the Governor can request federal resources, including the federalization and deployment of the National Gurad from surrounding states. It is not clear that she did either before this storm.

(6) Max Mayfield, director of the NHC called the Mayor Saturday evening to make sure he knew the severity of the threat.

(7) Mayor Nagin declared a state of emergency and ordered evacuation of NO on Sunday.

(8) There was an evacuation plan in place to evacuate the poor involving school buses, but it was not followed

(9) Two hundred Louisiana troops assisted civilian authorities by conducting security and screening missions at the Superdome

(10) The hurricane hit on Monday morning

(11) The levees broke on Tuesday by Wednesday, 80% of NO is flooded

(12) Tuesday, about 2,800 Louisiana National Guard were deployed for security, but not used for law enforcement. An estimated 7,500 National Guard troops from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi were on hurricane duty in their Gulf states. National Guard units and members in 17 more states were on standby, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage

(13) Wednesday, President Bush directed Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to chair a Cabinet-level task force to coordinate all Federal assistance and recovery efforts in response to the catastrophic effects caused by Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Northern Command Joint Task Force Katrina is coordinating search and rescue, medical help and supplies from Mississippi. At this time, more than 11,000 Army and Air National Guard members and 7,200 active-duty troops, mostly Navy, are supporting hurricane relief operations along the Gulf Coast. 10,000 National Guard units from neigboring states are ordered to be deployed within the following 48 hours. Evacuation of Superdome begins. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that 1,000 additional staff people are needed within 48 hours and 2,000 within a week. President Bush tours disaster sites.

(14) By Thursday 8 a.m The President makes a declaration of an “Incident of National Significance” activating the National Response Plan and the Interagency Incident Management Group Including out of state units, the Guard presence in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida has jumped to 15,000 troops. An estimated 1,400 National Guard military police has arrived in NO. Governor issues orders to shoot to kill looters. The Guard is not enforcing martial law. The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits active-duty forces from conducting law enforcement operations, but does not cover National Guard members operating under their state governors’ control. Six hundred 25,000-pound sandbags were delivered to the Gulf Coast on Sept. 1, with another 200 expected on Friday as part of the effort to repair broken levees. To date, the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued more than 3,000 people off rooftops and from flooded neighborhoods. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin orders 1,500 police to leave their search-and-rescue missions and return to the streets to stop looting. Meanwhile, by unanimous consent of those present, the Senate has approved $10.5 billion in aid for the hurricane victims. The House passed Friday

(15) Friday, There are now 35,000 National Guard troops on the ground. The 82nd Airborne is also on the ground in NO. More than 400 members of the Army Corps of Engineers are working to repair the levee system in New Orleans and removing floodwaters from the city. Mayor Nagin gives an angry speech, and wants people to flood the offices of the president and the governor with letters calling for help. Convention Center refugees grow angry.

(16) Saturday airlifts, final evacuation of Superdome and Convention Center. President George W. Bush orders 7,000 active-duty military personnel to the Gulf Coast to join the 4,000 already there. They should arrive within 72 hours. To date, the Coast Guard has rescued 9,500 people in areas ravaged by Katrina. A $62 million National Emergency Grant to provide temporary employment is announced.
The L.A. Governor still hasn't officially declared a state of emergency.

Why is getting the facts straight important? Because the MSM is widely circulating false information that is whipping up furious and widespread public anger at the President and the "lack of federal response." Leftists are using this event to fan their hatred. That is wrong and should be nipped in the bud before it spreads, particularly those tactics fanning race anger. It is also important to understand where the break down points and bottlenecks occurred so that they can be fixed to present the repetition of failings in the future.

I’m glad that some posted the area of destruction versus size of countries. This gives an excellent perspective regarding the wide spread damage. Frankly it is mind boggling and even here in the U.S. people can’t totally grasp the size of this damage. Second the only way in to New Orleans is the east and west bound I-10 (I-55/State Highway51) connects west of the city. I-10 east of the city of out of commission (flooded or sections of bridges totally out) all the way to Alabama. From a logistics standpoint after this disaster getting any help to the city was a night mare. The federal response was pretty good considering all things. The state of Louisiana could have done better but the real failure, at the very beginning, was the city of New Orleans. Even today some residents still refuse to leave their homes. For an urban rescue in water on a grand scale I’d have to say their doing a pretty good job.

Sandy P. posts:

"The order is local to feds, not feds to local.
America is a bottom-up country, not top-down."

Sandy has highlight perhaps the crux of the European lack of understanding!

Tyranno

Sandy P.
I have enjoyed your posts, however, I know you know that you are tilting at windmills attempting to change Vic and that ilks emotional need to blame Pres Bush for this and all the woes in the world.

Tyranno

This does a good job of summing up some of the frustration those of us who keep pointing out the magnitude of this thing feel:

"Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, who is coordinating federal relief efforts on behalf of the National Guard, could not say when people can expect to be rescued. “If you’re human you’ve got to be affected by it, Blum said. “These people, their heartstrings are torn as are yours. (But) the magnitude of this problem is you cannot help everybody at the same time.”"

I can't believe all this BS apologetics for GW...
And all this talk about 'bottom up' controls - I mean who seriously BELIEVES this stuff?
If you are hurting - ok blame a German... If it feels good. But why not read what the US press are reporting?
Maybe start with http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/opinion/05krugman.html
or
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/opinion/05herbert.html
The German Press is hardly alone in their criticisms... and the tabloid press are not restricted to Germany...

Note from David: Krugman!! Herbert!! Both avid Bush-bashers!! Who's next in the quotation line - Maureen Dowd? Michael Moore ("Even MM criticized the president...")?

@greatsageequalto heaven -
Excuse me but... WHERE does the buck stop exactly?

I always thought the chief executive carried the can... correct me if I'm wrong...

In a top-down system, like the military, he would. In a bottom-up system, like our disaster relief, it's the locals.

Maybe we should think about getting a system that works.

It's worked in many disasters, and it doesn't seem to be having the problems in Alabama and Mississippi that it's having in Louisiana. No system works if people don't work the system.


@Vic - when the dead haven't even been collected and the mayor is already scrambling to reach as much media as possible to play the blame game, it seems pretty clear that he's screwed up and he's trying to get out in front of it before someone starts doing a postmortem on the preparation and recovery effort. Again, the going isn't easy in Alabama or Mississippi either, but they don't have the kind of problems he seems to be swamped with. Ah, no pun intended.


@greatsage -
And all this talk about 'bottom up' controls - I mean who seriously BELIEVES this stuff?

Anyone who understands the principles our government is built on.

The ignorance about U.S. laws by some (especially Europeans) is simply horrendous.

When will they ever stop comparing us to Europe? We have an entirely different governmental infrastructure, our histories could not be more different if we had lived on Mars and our value system comes closer to a Europe of the 19th century (thank God) than the European values of today.

Europeans were already totally baffled when Bush won his first election with a minority of the public vote because they did not undertand our well devised system of checks and balances.

They are wrong again in their eagerness to blame our President for the New Orleans disaster, even though the facts point clearly at initial disastrous failures on the local government level by not moving people out of the city by any means possible.

It is this ignorance of Europeans about America that has bothered many of us European immigrants from the start of our life in America.

Oh yes, particularly Germans were quick to adopt our music,our superficial lifestyle and language. All of this was flattering on the surface. However,it remained very worrysome that little or none of our deeper American values of charracter, bravery, religiosity, freedom and love of neighbor or country took root overseas. It was to be foreseen, therefore, that if Germany and America would be at odds in the future, the reason would become most likeley a great difference between us in our basic human values.

Moonfarer
USA

Moonfarer said: The ignorance about U.S. laws by some (especially Europeans) is simply horrendous.
When will they ever stop comparing us to Europe? We have an entirely different governmental infrastructure, our histories could not be more different if we had lived on Mars and our value system comes closer to a Europe of the 19th century (thank God) than the European values of today...blah blah...

What blather! And with just the right tinge of xenophobic arrogance that seems to be so politically correct on this page.
And as for blaming Bush - this is *still* not an idea restricted to European tabloids...
The rest of the world's press is online if you can be bothered...

This is interesting too: earlier I posted: why not read what the US press are reporting? Maybe start with:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/opinion/05krugman.html
or
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/opinion/05herbert.html
The German Press is hardly alone in their criticisms... and the tabloid press are not restricted to Germany...

And I had this rant appended:
Note from David: Krugman!! Herbert!! Both avid Bush-bashers!! Who's next in the quotation line - Maureen Dowd? Michael Moore ("Even MM criticized the president...")?

Apparently,'Bush bashers' have opinions that don't count! In this forum we only want to hear the opinions of staunch Bush allies... And most definitely only those with an unshakeable belief in the moral and cultural supremacy of the US over all those degenerates in Europe!

OK... let's read ourselves to sleep with fairy stories...

greatsage posts:

Apparently,'Bush bashers' have opinions that don't count! In this forum we only want to hear the opinions of staunch Bush allies... And most definitely only those with an unshakeable belief in the moral and cultural supremacy of the US over all those degenerates in Europe!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
No, it seems to me what this forum is after is informed opinions by people who glean information from more than a michaelmoore satire or the NYTimes editorial/satire page!
We all have watch the "objective" MSMs in both America and Germany skip over multiple layers of elected New Orleans and Louisiana officials and their designated responsibilities to focus like a laser on their (tired) preferred "Bush is to blame!" mantra.
If you can intelligently explain to me why the city Mayor, the city Police Chief, the Parish Councilmen, the state Governor et al . . . did fu*k all in implementing disaster plans that were sitting on the shelf, leading up to the disaster and then immediately afterwards initiated the finger pointing . . . as opposed to going to the head of the class with the usual pedantic, "Bush screwed up!" . . . I will reconsider my opinion.
But please do a little research first. No one suffers fools gladly, and I have pretty much lost my patients on this subject.

It is always amusing watching 'progressive' when challenged on the froathing emotional opinions they were given, snivel and whine about their free speech . . . unfortunately for those unable to unemotionally defend their position, free speech isn't defined as "you get to speak and no one gets to disagree or challenge" . . . although Uncle Joe would appreciate their statist definition.

Tyranno

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