The Real State Of Preparedness/ Nation Strength In The U.S

Posted on Friday, September 02 at 14:35 by Wayne Coady
New Orleans is NOT a photo-op... it's reality and the citizens of the country, I hope and believe, will come to the realization they have been living on a movie set. HOPEFULLY what has happened in their country will leave the citizens of the United States applying a healthy dose of skepticism - never again fully trusting, or blindly trusting, anything their leaders say or do. "SPIN" is and forever will be a poor substitute for real leadership. I don't want this to read as crapping on the U.S. specifically. This would be the situation in my own country of Canada after a similar catastrophe. Perhaps moreso: we don't have the economy or industrial backbone of the U.S. Although the U.S. has sold much of its industrial might out to the WTO, as ours have . . . [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 5, 2005]

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  1. Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:22 pm
    "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." <br><br> - President Bush, September 1, 2005 <br><br> <em>It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday. <br><br> But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however--the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party. <br><br> The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level--more than eight feet below in places--so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it. <br><br> Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. <br><br> When did this calamity happen? It hasn't--yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. <br><br> - <a href="">National Geographic, October, 2004</a></em>

  2. by Patm
    Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:57 pm
    I just submitted that National Geographic article yesterday - while I was listening to the head of FEMA crying that "we didn't know".

  3. Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:45 am
    Here I am watching the American News and CNN has just listed the countries who have offered assistance. Well as always Canada is never mentioned, now this has not been the first time.
    To me this is just one more example what I can say thank God I Canadian not American. Well back to CBC .

    Good government is not a party government

  4. Sat Sep 03, 2005 3:59 am
    <p>shabusen,</p> <blockquote>“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”</blockquote> <p>I don’t know which would be worse here — if he lied, or if he told the truth.</p> <p>The levees were designed to withstand a Category 3 storm, and Katrina far outstripped that. Claiming that people never anticipated the possibility of such a storm is patently false; anyone who examined the costs/benefits of levee enhancement after Camille had done so, not to mention local academics, the Army Corps of Engineers, &c.</p><p>---<br>Shatter your ideals upon the rock of Truth.<br />
    <br />
    — The Divine Symphony, by Inayat Khan<br />

  5. Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:59 pm
    From: <br />
    <a href=""></a><br />
    <br />
    Washington Monthly September 1, 2005<br />
    <br />
    Political Animal<br />
    <br />
    By Kevin Drum<br />
    <br />
    CHRONOLOGY....Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and <br />
    flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration. Read <br />
    it and weep:<br />
    <br />
    * January 2001: Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head of <br />
    FEMA. Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management.<br />
    <br />
    * April 2001: Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush <br />
    administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work. In May, Allbaugh <br />
    confirms that FEMA will be downsized: "Many are concerned that federal <br />
    disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement <br />
    program...." he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should <br />
    be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is <br />
    an appropriate level."<br />
    <br />
    * 2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the <br />
    three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."<br />
    <br />
    * December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he <br />
    is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to <br />
    do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, <br />
    like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.<br />
    <br />
    * March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded <br />
    into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on <br />
    fighting acts of terrorism.<br />
    <br />
    * 2003: Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA's preparation and <br />
    planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness and <br />
    Response. FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and recovery.* Summer <br />
    2004: FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests. <br />
    Says Jefferson Parish flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue: "You would think we <br />
    would get maximum consideration....This is what the grant program called <br />
    for. We were more than qualified for it."<br />
    <br />
    * June 2004: The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction in <br />
    New Orleans is slashed. Jefferson Parish emergency management chiefs Walter <br />
    Maestri comments: "It appears that the money has been moved in the <br />
    president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I <br />
    suppose that's the price we pay."<br />
    <br />
    * June 2005: Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of <br />
    Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million. One of the hardest-hit areas is <br />
    the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created <br />
    after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. <br />
    Tammany parishes.<br />
    <br />
    * August 2005: While New Orleans is undergoing a slow motion catastrophe, <br />
    Bush mugs for the cameras, cuts a cake for John McCain, plays the guitar <br />
    for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his <br />
    vacation. When he finally gets around to acknowledging the scope of the <br />
    unfolding disaster, he delivers only a photo op on Air Force One and a <br />
    flat, defensive, laundry list speech in the Rose Garden.<br />
    <br />
    A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. <br />
    Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to <br />
    be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately <br />
    downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to <br />
    reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation <br />
    and planning functions were taken away.<br />
    <br />
    Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size <br />
    of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did <br />
    happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate <br />
    Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan<br />
    loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush <br />
    administration in a nutshell.<br />
    <br />

  6. by RPW
    Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:22 pm
    The present US administration is so busy pumping money out ofthe pockets of the American people, it hasn't had the time or inclination to actually see to the welfare and security of the folks at home.................

    Unless Baby Bush is planning on running a third term, why should he care all that much anyway...........?


  7. by RPW
    Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:25 pm
    <a href=""></a><br />
    "In the process it destroyed some 1m acres of coastal marshland around New Orleans—something which suited property developers...."<p>---<br>RickW

  8. Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:23 am
    Do not be fooled , what has happened in New Orleans can happen right here in Canada. Do you think that this elitist government would act any different than the Bush administration did ? No frigging likely, those rich bastards in Ottawa do not mix with we low life except at election time, that is when we prove to them that we are as stupid as they think we are. That is right they think / know we are a bunch of dumb frigger, because we keep electing the Canadian Bar Association members in as our Prime Minister.

    People it is time we put a few middle class representatives in that place we call Ottawa, I do not mean Union sheep either, I mean real down to earth citizens, people who live in the real world, not some fat ass lawyer or some well connected shipping magnet or automobile socialite. Real people who understand how to budget and how to use those hard earned tax dollars on the public infrastructure, instead of filling the pockets of his or her bottom feeder friends.

    Lets face it were are all one good storm away from being homeless and we know full well that so far our "government" past and present do not care and do not have a plan. They know that once you have lost your home, you dignity and you will, they do not have to worry about you because you are to weak to fight back. I think they have pretty much tested this out many , many times, because we have not fought back for one hell of a long time.
    Voting the bastards out and voting the other bastards in is not getting even, because it the same old crew in power. We got to get serious and really kick ass, like stick up a warning at election time, letting politicans know that they are not welcome on your property or in your home. Trust me, this will be a wake up call .

    Good government is not a party government

  9. Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:50 am
    As the consequence of the New Orleans horror stories, there was a news item on BCTV last night, where people openly admitted that the expected and sure to come earthquake on the West Coast could wipe out Vancouver, with the Fraser Delta, where Richmond and other suburbs are located, turning into liquid mud that would swallow the whole area.

    This has been known for 50 years that I know about, yet the development in those areas is going on unabated. I used to have a shop on River Road in Richmond, with the Fraser right across the street, and we often watched the river higher than the road. It used to give me the creeps, but there was no other place to go and Richmond was being turned into a warehouse area, all built on sand washed down by the Fraser over thousands of years. It was bad enough to worry about floods, we lived on high ground in Vancouver, but the thought of that constantly predicted and forecast earthquake was too much. I wouldn't say it was a major reason for our moving from there, but the St Andreas Fault in the neighbourhood certainly contributed.

    If anything like that would happen on the West Coast, there's nothing anybody could do about it, even to help people. It would make New O/ look like a kindergarden game.

    I'm glad to see all the international help going to New O, because that's what the real globalization is supposed to be about, not a stream of hyaenas called "investors" descending on a country to strip it bare. there should be a global force of emergency personnel standing by at all times and whenever a disaster strikes, anywhere on earth, they should be on their way to rescue, help and rebuild without any financial concerns.

    What we have now are these criminal B 52s over our heads all the time, practicing their murder missions. There were several today and yesterday, 2 today within a couple of minutes from each other, while there's supposed to be a great fuel shortage . Ed Deak, Big Lake, BC.

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