Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina and the Reagan legacy

Whenever the late President Reagan discussed the role of government in solving civic and social problems, he would flippantly declare that "government is the problem, not the solution." The Bush Administration has retained that ideological hostility toward the use of government to serve the public good. That anti-government mindset has been vividly displayed as Gulf coastal communities now struggle to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Despite repeated warnings from the experts about New Orleans' vulnerability to hurricane damage, the Administration slashed funding for strengthening the city's levees and other flood-control measures and for safety-net programs for sick and impoverished Americans. Meanwhile, taxes for high-income citizens were cut and uncounted billions are being spent to finance an unnecessary war in Iraq. National Guard troops have been diverted from their fundamental role in domestic security to fight the war and the top Federal bureaucrat responsible for calamities like Katrina has shown himself to be an incompetent political crony.
The latest demonstration of the Bush Administration's mean-spirited perspective was the President's decision to suspend the law requiring employers to pay local prevailing wages--usually union-negotiated rates--to construction workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to the very Gulf coastal regions where there will now be a boom in new construction to replace the damage caused by Katrina.
But what can one expect from a President whose patrician mother, Barbara Bush, who upon seeing the New Orleans flood evacuees massed in the over-packed Houston Astrodome, exclaimed: "So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
So much for compassionate conservatism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respectively take objection to some of your statements. If the truth be known, it was Congress, not the president, who cut the funds for improving flood control. They wanted the funds to use for their various pork barrel projects in their local districts. While certainly the Federal government deserves some of the blame, the mayor of New Orleans is either an idiot or incompetent or both. He did not declare a mandatory evacuation, he refused to use school buses to evacuate the poor people who did not have their own transportation to leave town because he was holding out for “Greyhound” coach buses. This mayor had no leadership skills, unlike mayor Gulliani. While we are accessing blame, the governor of Louisiana is a mental midget. She failed to call up her National Guard on a timely basis. Once she did call them in, she did not instruct them to maintain law and order. She refused to allow the National Guard to to federalized so that the scum of the city could be prevented from committing murder, rape, and looting. She refuse to order a mandatory evacuation before the levees broke. She refused allowing the Red Cross and Salvation Army to enter the city to help when they first offered. Some of the citizens of New Orleans also share some blame. Even now, people are refusing to leave the city, many of these people had the means to leave prior to the flooding. FEMA was never intended to be a first responder because the various governors did not want FEMA to over step their authority to run things in their states. To blame the whole problem on the President and FEMA is only another example of partisan politics. It is time to stop whining and pointing fingers. It is time to unite and help New Orleans to rebuild and to give the residents of New Orleans some hope for the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 6:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's abrupt decision Wednesday night to take responsibility for her state's inadequate response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster followed an inadvertent confession that was caught on camera where Blanco admitted she blew it.I really should have called for the military," Blanco said, while chatting with her press secretary in between TV interviews. "I really should have started that in the first call."

Unbeknownst to Blanco, her bombshell acknowledgment was recorded on a network satellite feed, and by Tuesday the clip was getting wide exposure in Louisiana news broadcasts.

In the early days of the Katrina crisis, disaster management experts repeatedly blamed the President for failure to send in the National Guard for the city's descent into chaos.

Most observers blamed the White House for the blunder - a misconception that was thoroughly dispelled by the governor's inadvertent confession.
Some say Blanco's blooper was responsible for the abrupt change of tone in her speech Wednesday night to the Louisiana legislature.

Where earlier she and her aides had openly blamed the Bush administration for bungling Katrina rescue efforts, Blanco announced: "The buck stops here, and as your governor, I take full responsibility."

Just as surprising were Blanco's words of praise for the White House: "I want the people of Louisiana to know that we have a friend and a partner in President George W. Bush. I thank you, Mr. President."

Friday, September 16, 2005 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all of Mayor Nagin's pomp and posturing is going to bite  him hard in the near future, as the lies and distortions of his  interviews are coming to light.
On Friday night before the storm hit, Max Mayfield of the  National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of  calling Mayor Nagin and 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  buoy, 240 miles south, had recorded 68' waves before it was  destroyed.
President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings  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 in 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 before the storm hit, the President again called Gov.  Blanco and Mayor Nagin requesting they 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, 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 N.O. a  national disaster area way 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 using it was called into question before the dis!
 Throw in, that over half the federal aid of the past decade to New  Orleans for levee construction, maintenance and repair, was  diverted to fund a marina, and to 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 Blanco  refused to even sign the multi-state mutual aid pack activation  documents until Wednesday, which further delayed the legal  deployment of National Guard from the adjoining states.  Or maybe  ask why Nagin keeps harping that the
President should have commandeered some 500 Greyhound busses to  help him, when according to his own emergency plan and  documents, he claimed to have over 500 busses at his disposal to  use between the local school busses and the city transportation  busses - but he never raised a finger to prepare them or to  activate them. This is a sad time for all of us, to see that a major city has all  but been destroyed, and thousands of people have died, with  hundreds of 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 that we learn from the many mistakes, and avoid  making them again in the future.

Friday, September 23, 2005 10:14:00 AM  

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