Michael Brown’s incompetence as head of FEMA just takes a person’s breath away. The only reason he got the FEMA director job, was because he was former FEMA head Joe Allbaugh’s college room-mate and Bush campaigner.
I watched the segment and found it really disturbing. I am glad, however, that reporters in this country seem to be learning how to tell the truth on television. It’s about time.
It might even overcome some of my doubts about human nature. pl
Footage of the putting down of this “insurgency” will make a large segment of The Catastrophe Show audience forget all about its origins.
They created a problem that requires a military solution, and/but it took a whole bloody week to do it.
Oho, now you have some idea what has been going on in Iraq for the last 2 years – on the civilian side.
You poor fellow.
“It might even overcome some of my doubts about human nature.”
Get a grip.
It is too early to feel reassured about human nature.
The MO of The Regime is “Let No Decent Impulse Be Rewarded — or Go Unexploited.” Negative conditioning.
Look at the track record of CLUSTERFX-R-US: anything that CAN be made worse, WILL be.
One more consequence of their incompetence – or depraved indifference ..
They are setting the young men, who are running in packs for survival, loose on the surrounding countryside. A few of them will be scum, most will be merely opportunistic, all will be hungy, none will have any money. They will have to raid to survive. People in the countryside will go into siege mode. After the displaced people are fired on several times by the people defending their turf, they will become increasingly predatory.
This is forseeable. This would happen in any major urban area, so it is part of any disaster planning.
The message urban minorities are getting is that patience and fortitude earns you a Darwin Award, so get ugly early.
drat. that post is seriously sequitur-challenged. call it a rant.
Yeah. Always glad to see a man cry over something other than himself. Pat
I am addicted to irony.
‘privatizing’ disaster preparedness disaster planning, one gets what one pays for. and IEM Inc. was a disaster for disaster preparedness.
IEM Team to Develop Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan for New Orleans & Southeast Louisiana
June 3 , 2004
IEM, Inc., the Baton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In making the announcement today on behalf of teaming partners Dewberry, URS Corporation and James Lee Witt Associates, IEM Director of Homeland Security Wayne Thomas explained that the development of a base catastrophic hurricane disaster plan has urgency due to the recent start of the annual hurricane season which runs through November. National weather experts are predicting an above normal Atlantic hurricane season with six to eight hurricanes, of which three could be categorized as major.
The IEM team will complete a functional exercise on a catastrophic hurricane strike in Southeast Louisiana and use results to develop a response and recovery plan. A catastrophic event is one that can overwhelm State, local and private capabilities so quickly that communities could be devastated without Federal assistance and multi-agency planning and preparedness.
Thomas said that the greater New Orleans area is one of the nation’s most vulnerable locations for hurricane landfall.
“Given this area’s vulnerability, unique geographic location and elevation, and troubled escape routes, a plan that facilitates a rapid and effective hurricane response and recovery is critical,” he said. “The IEM team’s approach to catastrophic planning meets the challenges associated with integrating multi-jurisdictional needs and capabilities into an effective plan for addressing catastrophic hurricane strikes, as well as man-made catastrophic events.”
IEM President and CEO Madhu Beriwal is the recipient of a s pecial merit award from the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association ( LEPA ) for her work in New Orleans hurricane emergency preparedness.
IEM, Inc. was founded in 1985, and is one of the leading emergency management corporations in the U.S. While some organizations include emergency management as one of many business areas, helping to plan for and manage emergencies is IEM’s core business . IEM’s clients include some of the foremost federal emergency and defense organizations in the U.S., including the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.ieminc.com
Established in 1956, Dewberry is a multidisciplinary planning, engineering, and design firm, employing more than 1,600 individuals. As FEMA’s largest contractor, Dewberry plays a significant role in the national effort to reduce the impact of both natural (flood, fire, earthquake, tropical storm, cyclone, hurricane, tornado, and winter storm) and man-made (hazardous waste, terrorism, etc.) hazards on people, property, and the economy. http://www.dewberry.com
URS Corporation provides planning, engineering, architecture, and applied science to hundreds of government agencies and private industrial and commercial companies worldwide. The company has more than 26,000 employees — the largest Architectural & Engineering firm in the U. S. for the fourth consecutive year.URS has approximately 500 employees in Louisiana. URS has over 30 years of experience in hazard mitigation planning and engineering support work for FEMA and other customers. http://www.urscorp.com
James Lee Witt Associates, LLC, established in 2001 by the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a leader in public safety and crisis management. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Sacramento, James Lee Witt Associates works with state, local and foreign governments, corporations, hospitals, universities and utilities in conducting vulnerability assessments, after-event audits and reviews, developing all-hazard emergency and continuity of operations planning, as well as with the telecommunications industry on wireless interoperability. http://www.wittassociates.com
WHY is LA Gov. Blanco paying James Lee Witt (former FEMA dir.) to assist in hurricane recovery? Witt’s firm was part of the IEM Inc team that came up with the non-existent $500,000 FEMA N.O.-SELA catastrophic hurricane disaster plan. Why pay Witt again for his incompetence?
BEHIND THE CURTAIN….George Bush’s photo-op tour of New Orleans yesterday has apparently driven Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu over the edge. Today she blasted FEMA for its feeble response to Hurricane Katrina and Bush for his phony, stage managed promises of action:
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.
I’m almost worn out with anger reading about the decimation of FEMA under Bush’s watch; the pathetic lack of response to Katrina from the federal government; the relentless television images of human degradation; and the endless excuses from administration hacks pretending that nobody could have predicted Katrina’s devastation. I realize that it’s no different from what’s been happening in Iraq for the past two years, but Iraq is 8,000 miles away and the truth is that no matter how angry we are at what’s going on there, it’s to some extent an intellectual anger. What’s happening in New Orleans is like a punch in the gut.
What Jon Chait said about Iraq last week is perhaps even truer about New Orleans. The hallmarks of the Bush/Rove governing philosophy — partisan discipline, industry giveaways, and relentless lying — work pretty well as long as you can disguise the results of your policies. When you can’t, it suddenly becomes obvious even to your supporters that the emperor has no clothes. It’s taken two years for a lot of people to realize that about Iraq. It’s taken less than a week to realize it about New Orleans.
UPDATE: Good God. Laura Rozen passes along the following report from a Dutch reader:
There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.
ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of ‘news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.
The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.
This goes beyond stage management. This is criminal.
J, I haven’t yet heard that there was anything wrong with what IEM did. They came up with a description of something like a worst case scenario, and their description appears to be quite accurate. Then they helped set up a plan to deal with it. That plan depended on available funding, and with that funding it was somewhat inadequate. Particularly, nobody could figure out how to evacuate the poor people who didn’t have cars, and it was a big job that would take a lot of money, and there was so much else to do that it got slid over — saying the Red Cross could set up stations for volunteers to pick up hitch-hikers was admitting they didn’t have an answer. But looking at how they’d fumble the worst case helped them prepare for the cases they actually could handle.
Should they have started a big publicity campaign to get money to prepare better for the worst case? I’m sure that wasn’t in the contract.
They might be pretty much blameless, I don’t know. Maybe they did something wrong, it isn’t clear.
On the other hand, FEMA is supposed to be set up to run crisis management on a hierarchical model. One boss at the top has 3 subordinates who have clear areas of authority. They each have 3 subordinates with clear areas of authority and so on. When something needs to be coordinated between people in different chains of command, the requests go up the chain until they get to the guy who bosses both, and then orders go down the chain.
When this method works properly it eliminates a lot of chaos. When it works badly it prevents things from getting done. Various offers to help are being processed slowly if at all. I have the strong impression they dismantled the organization that was capable of using the method, but they neglected to release the authority.
J, have you seen the ZDF report yourself? I got a link to a wmf file that’s all in german, I can’t verify it.
Suppose that it’s true, suppose they actually do photo ops like that. Then they are the sort of people who would fake an awful story about themselves, and release it, and then prove it’s a fake. “See, there are people who are faking the news for crass political purposes, trying to make the US President look bad! When people are dying!” They’d try to make that into the story, and try to get people to believe that all the bad news is manipulated to look bad. Kind of like RatherGate. There has been no indication yet that the information in the faked document was actually wrong, but the fact that the document was faked got the media to drop the whole story about Bush.
So it’s predictable that this will happen, probably not the ZDF story but some story soon.
Quoth J. (to line):
“FEMA is supposed to be set up to run crisis management on a hierarchical model. One boss at the top has 3 subordinates who have clear areas of authority…then orders go down the chain.”
“When this method works properly it eliminates a lot of chaos. When it works badly it prevents things from getting done. Various offers to help are being processed slowly if at all. I have the strong impression they dismantled the organization that was capable of using the method, but they neglected to release the authority.”
Another possible explanation:
(There is an old ethnic joke which has a group of peasants standing around talking about a hammer one of them has bought from a peddler. They go on and on about how Sergiuz has bought himself one really, really lousy hammer, it doesn’t work worth a damn — but the object they are referring to is a fork.)
The FEMA operation rates an F as a rapid disaster relief operation, but if you look at it as a Homeland Security urban siege exercise they did a pretty good job. While nature did most of the containment, they deserve at least a C for sealing off a city — with mop-up to follow.
(There was a different article at Army Times which which referred to “insurgents” in stronger terms than the one at the above link.)
I never cared much for these two guys before but it looks like they are real people. Pat
They’ll get over it.
Decompensating media people, reports of corpse-eating dogs, and scapegoating some figurehead crony in a patronage position in an agency that was on its way out are a spectacle. People might want to keep a concerned eye on the the people who were transported to Texas.
Whatever FEMA did or did not do, some people are very good at forward planning. Rick Perry whipped his little bulleted list of all the ways he was going to help the people of Louisiana as if it had been lying in a drawer – or on a hard drive ready for the ^P command.
I marveled at that. Texas is prepared! Texas wouldn’t be caught napping! But Texas is Enron country.
Some Black politician in Baton Rouge asked, “Why are they taking them to Texas when we have room here and they will be close to people they know?” Good question.
There have been so many reports about denial of access. Were the only buses they allowed in the ones that were going to Texas? I don’t know.
But if only one in a thousand of those 100K people owns a lot in NO, and the lot can be acquired for a thousand dollars + a ticket out of town, that act of mercy will almost pay for itself. After a week or so in a Texas refugee facility it will begin to look like a good deal.
Thanks to the wonders of automation and connectivity some deeds and records are online. If not online, any records that have been automated will be available via one of the data mining services.
Nobody would impugn the motives of the governor but, after Enron, one worries that some Texans might spell succor– S-U-C-K-E-R.
By way of “they’ll get over it” – some good-natured joshing from colleagues and difficulties in negotiating the next contract will convince them they were suffering from a touch of battle fatigue or mid-traumatic stress, or … – at any rate, something morbid.
Or else their visceral experience will be reified into “One of the All-Time Great Media Moments.”
grumble. grumble. grumble. grouse.
Sounds like you work there. pat
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