BUSH’S UTTER FAILURE TO PREPARE FEMA
You would have to be an idiot to have not known Katrina would happen
So Bush is, technically, qualified!
Here's an article I read three years ago in Scientific American that predicted exactly what happened. As I was watching Katrina on Saturday and Sunday bulls-eyeing its way toward NO, I said, "this is the one I read about that's going to sink New Orleans." Anyone in a position of responsibility who was surprised by the levees breaking is an idiot and should be fired.
Mr. Bill Tells All
It would be funny if it were not all so bad. Apparently everyone in the southern elementary school systems, and even Mr. Bill knew this was going to happen! But George is not as smart as Mr. Bill, and certainly not as smart as school children, so I guess I see how he might have not known.
Timeline of FEMA deterioration under Bush administration
There's not one beautiful city in the US these guys can't destroy if they get their minds together, is there?
In January of 2001, George W. Bush appointed Texas crony Joe Allbaugh to head FEMA, despite the fact that Allbaugh had exactly zero experience in disaster management.
By April of 2001, the Bush administration announced that much of FEMA's work would be privatized and downsized. Allbaugh that month described FEMA as, "an oversized entitlement program."
2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."
In December 2002, Allbaugh quit as head of FEMA to create a consulting firm that advised and assisted companies doing business in occupied Iraq. He was replaced by Michael D. Brown, whose disaster management experience was earned while working as an estate planning lawyer in Colorado, and as counsel for the International Arabian Horse Association legal department. So - to be crystal clear: Bush chose back-to-back FEMA heads whose collective ability to work that position could fit inside a thimble with room to spare.
By March of 2003, FEMA was no longer a Cabinet-level position, and was folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its primary mission was recast towards fighting acts of terrorism.
In June of 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for levee construction in New Orleans was cut by a record $71.2 million. Jefferson Parish emergency management chief Walter Maestri said at the time, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay."
From 2004 to 2005 nine Times-Picayune articles cited "the cost of Iraq" as the number one reason for cuts in programs that would have clearly reduced the death toll of this hurricane and flood.
August 2005: While New Orleans is drowning, Bush poses for cameras, eats cake with John McCain, plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his record-holding vacation. When he can finally be bothered to address the disaster, he gives the millions of homeless a photo from Air Force One and a typically awful speech in the Rose Garden.
Bush's House of Cards in New Orleans
Landrieu Implores President to "Relieve Unmitigated Suffering;" End FEMA's "Abject Failures"
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., issued the following statement regarding her call for President Bush to appoint a cabinet-level official to oversee Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts within 24 hours. Sen. Landrieu said:
"Yesterday, I was hoping President Bush would come away with a new understanding for the magnitude of the suffering and for the abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management Agency. 24 hours later, the President has yet to answer my call for a cabinet-level official to lead our efforts. Meanwhile, FEMA continues to be overwhelmed by the task at hand.
"I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims -- far more efficiently than buses -- FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.
"But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government.
"Mr. President, I'm imploring you once again to get a cabinet-level official stood up as soon as possible to get this entire operation moving forward regionwide with all the resources -- military and otherwise -- necessary to relieve the unmitigated suffering and economic damage that is unfolding."
Think Progress obtained talking points Bush's speech on Katrina
Now you can sing along when Republicans are interviewed!
Think Progress obtained the following talking points on President Bush's primetime speech on Katrina tonight that were distributed to right-wing pundits. The text is as follows:
President Katrina Speech Talkers:
* America and the Gulf Coast are recovering from one of the greatest natural disasters this country has ever faced.
* Tonight President Bush will talk about how there is some optimism that we can see as we move forward. We're going to build a better Gulf Coast, a better New Orleans and we'll work with local officials to make sure that happens.
* This will be a massive funding effort at every level of government. We shouldn't just look at government - we're seeing private charities, and the American people's enormous compassion.
* There were breakdowns of communication and planning at all levels of government - federal, state and local levels. It is very critical we learn why those breakdowns took place in the first place.
* Many parts of this will be chalked up to the fact it was one of the worst storms our country has ever faced. But there were things in a post-9/11 world that our government at all levels should be doing better and President Bush more than anybody else wants to find out why it took place and how it took place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
* Bottom line now is all levels of government must take responsibility. This President is taking responsibility and what we have to do now is look forward.
* Senator Frist and Speaker Hastert have indicated that Congress will conduct a thorough investigation modeled after some of the most serious investigations that Congress has ever undertaken: the 1973 Watergate Committee, the 1987 Iran Contra Committee, the 1994 and 1995 Whitewater Committees and the 1997 Campaign Finance investigation.
* Tonight President Bush will talk about specifically what we'll talk about to help these tens of thousands of people who are literally living with only the shirts of their backs spread out throughout the country. We have to have a strategy for education and heath care, and he'll spell those out.
* It's wrong to say it's either winning the war on terror or funding aftermath of Katrina. We have to do both that means we'll have to cut spending where else to make sure we are fiscally prudent with the taxpayer's dollars.
* There's always discussion about raising taxes but right when businesses and people are trying to get back on their feet in the gulf coast region, the worst thing we can do with these families is pop them with another tax.
* This is going to require difficult decisions in Washington. It's going to be important that we don't have the same ol' same ol' that we see in Washington. Tough choices will be to have made and President Bush is willing to do that
Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans
Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.
Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.
What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments.
Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation. Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.
Halliburton Always Gets Its Share
Does this all sound familiar? Halliburton enjoys some Katrina clean up through a long-standing contract and hires the former FEMA director!
Just about the only thing these crooks *didn't* do is create the hurricane!!
September 1, 2005 - The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary was part of a $500 million Navy contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Since 1989, governments worldwide have awarded $3 billion in contracts to KBR's Government and Infrastructure Division to clean up damage caused by natural and man-made disasters.
Earlier this year, the Navy awarded $350 million in contracts to KBR and three other companies to repair naval facilities in northwest Florida damaged by Hurricane Ivan, which struck in September 2004. The ongoing repair work involves aircraft support facilities, medium industrial buildings, marine construction, mechanical and electrical improvements, civil construction, and family housing renovation.
In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh was director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration.
Today, FEMA is widely criticized for its slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Allbaugh managed Bush's campaign for Texas governor in 1994, served as Gov. Bush's chief of staff and was the national campaign manager for the Bush campaign in 2000. Along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh was one of Bush's closest advisers. "This is a perfect example of someone cashing in on a cozy political relationship," said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog group. "Allbaugh's former placement as a senior government official and his new lobbying position with KBR strengthens the company's already tight ties to the administration, and I hope that contractor accountability is not lost as a result."
You hope? Have we learned *anything*?
Barbara Bush: Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans
By E&P Staff - Published: September 05, 2005
Accompanying her husband, former President George H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."
The former First Lady's remarks were aired this evening on American Public Media's "Marketplace" program. She was part of a group in Houston today at the Astrodome that included her husband and former President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son, the current president, to head fundraising efforts for the recovery. Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama were also present.
In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I've talked to says we're going to move to Houston."
Then she added: "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."