a decision to protect New Orleans from a Category
3 storm. A more powerful hurricane would -- by our
and choice -- send water over the levees and, in doing so, possibly
breach them. A breach inundates a city that sits below sea
level. You can call it a pact with the Devil or shrewd cost-benefit
analysis, but either way, going for Level 3 is the decision
which we live or die.
Bush and Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff have said that the scope of the New Orleans disaster,
caused by the levee breach and city-wide flooding, could not be
1 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America,
President Bush acted as though the breach of the levees was an
unforeseeable fluke occurrence: "I don't think anyone anticipated the
breach of the levees."
Director Michael Chertoff called Katrina an
"ultra-catastrophe" that exceeded the worst expectations of disaster
experts. Chertoff said he couldn't think "of another incident, even the
tsunami, that presented this combination of events ... And that perfect
storm combination of catastrophe exceeded the foresight of planners,
and probably everyone's foresight."
This man is the leader of the Cabinet-Level Department of Homeland
Security. He shares responsibility for the deaths of
American citizens. Something
is wrong in the Department of Homeland Security
if an outfit
to protect citizens places them in harm's way and they
Something seems to be
wrong with FEMA also
(the Federal Emergency Management Agency).
SEE IN COMING ON 9/11"
Hey, remember this? Seems to me, we've been here before.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these
would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, that
they would try to use an airplane as a missile - a hijacked airplane as
Rice, May 16th, 2002.
"David, look, let me just say it again: Had I known there
going to be an attack on America, I would have moved mountains to stop
the attack. I would have done everything I can. My job is to protect
the American people."
White House news release available here.
The Phoenix Memo
On July 10, 2001, an FBI agent in Phoenix sent a memorandum
headquarters in New York listing evidence that Osama bin Laden was
helping his operatives in the U.S. attend flight training schools.
Presidential Daily Briefing
Title line: bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US
August 6, 2001 Page 1 of 2
(Declassified and Approved for Release: April 10, 2004)
The Whistle Blower
Coleen Rowley was FBI Special Agent and Minneapolis Chief
Counsel in Minnesota.
In a 13-page memo to FBI Director Mueller in May, 2002,
documents that, before 9.11, higher-ups at the agency wantonly
disregarded intelligence about suspected high-jacker Zacarias Moussaoui
and missed a real opportunity to prevent the attacks. Rowley is running
for Congress in 2006.
Civilizations that can't face their problems could teach us a lot,
except that they aren't here any more.
THE BIG DECISION NOW
in 1999 authorized the corps to conduct a $12 million study to
determine how much it would cost to protect New Orleans from a Category
5 hurricane, but the study isn't scheduled to get under way until 2006.
It was not clear why the study has taken so long to begin, though
Congress has only provided in the range of $100,000 or $200,000 a year
manager in the corps' New Orleans District, said it would cost as much
as $2.5 billion to build such a system, which would likely include
gates to block the Gulf of Mexico from Lake Pontchartrain and
additional levees. If the project were fully funded and started
immediately, Naomi said it could be completed in three to five years.
Tribune, 1 Sept 2005
You and I should make the big decision now -- Category 5 for New
Yes, we -- the Bush White House, really -- took away money that others
wanted to spend on levee
and on wetland renewal (let the Mississippi
raise the ground level). But it really doesn't matter -- let
politicians back-stab over it.
Let's you and I make the Big One now: New Orleans gets
protection. That's the decision we have to make and the rest
chicken feed. Cat 5 for the Big Easy.
Actually, even the Big One is chicken feed. too
When we made our pact with Devil and went for Category 3 in
the Devil won
and thousands died. Category 3 protection was chosen because
5 would have been too expensive compared to the very slight chance of
ever having a Cat 5 storm.
The week after a Cat 5 storm hit New Orleans, Congress approved 52
billion dollars in relief aid. ($51.8B was approved on Thursday,
8 Sept05; an additional $10.5B had already been approved the
The Army Corp of Engineers did not choose to build Cat 5 protection
because the cost was too high. They estimated Cat 5 would
$2.5 billion. Just reverse the digits and multiply
10. One cost is 2.5, the other is 52, and that's just the
for inflation for a more apples-to-apples comparison, it still looks
penny wise and pound foolish to me. The $2.5B saved in 1968 is
$15B or so today, when we have paid $10.5+$51.8 = $62.3B so far for our
"savings" back then.
The week after Katrina hit New Orleans (Cat 5 at landfall, 5 AM; Cat 4
over the city), the Federal Emergency Management Agency was spending
two billion dollars a day. It was $500 million a day for
water and evacuations, but, as contracts for temporary housing
construction were let, the run rate climbed to $2B/day.
Let's build Cat 5 now. These idiots can't count to five, they
can't remember what level of protection they chose and then act surprised
later, and you could just die waiting for them to help you.
Let's build Cat 5 now. Besides, it's
& initial impact Landfall: Monday, 29 Aug 2005 5AM
Rooftop Rescues 2
- helicopters grounded
Rooftop Rescues 3
- foreign aid offers
Superdome in New Orleans
Astrodome in Houston
Water recedes, cont'd
(Politics HOME -- you are here)
A Category 5 storm approaches
Category 3 levees, nobody evacuates.
We built for Category 3. Katrina was Category 5.
And then they say,
We couldn't see it coming.
Nobody warned us.
After they utterly
failed to protect the nation on 9/11,
our leaders said the same thing.
How could we know? Nobody tried to warn us.
Repairs postponed, evacuation planning canceled.
Katrina, the Federal government neglected repairs, killed a group
engaged in evacuation planning for the city, and fired anyone who
pointed out that those with power were hurting the nation's strength
and security. Such actions by leaders protect the leaders.
In Washington, DC, turmoil at
FEMA costs Michael Brown ("Brownie") his job. In New Orleans,
public money is converted into private wealth by giving big contracts
to big corporations. This is not the same as rebuilding
families, businesses and communities. This is not the same as
giving people control over their own destiny. We barged into
Iraq the same way -- we knew best, do it our way -- and their electric power grid still doesn't work.
Downgrade FEMA, then act surprised.
was downgraded in 2003 from a cabinet level position, where it reported
directly to the President. The Republicans created the largest
government bureaucracy in my lifetime (DHS, the Department of Homeland
Security) and put FEMA into it. People were put in charge of FEMA
who described its work as handing out entitlements -- helping poor
people who did not deserve any help, handing out entitlements like
other entitlements that need to be curtailed, like Medicare, Social Security, veteran's pensions.
Somehow the logic escapes me, but the message was clear -- this
agency is on the outs. If you work here, quit now. They
In the lead-up to Katrina (2003 - 2005), experts quit
FEMA, experts on emergency power, water purification, setting up
emergency telecom networking,
logistics planning, setting up field medicine surgical
teams. These are people all over the country, on retainer,
who do similar work "in civilian life," prepared to hop a plane to
anywhere on a moment's notice, and put rehearsed response plans into
action using pre-positioned emergency gear. They were not
appreciated, not wanted, not paid, not dumb -- they got the message and
quit. I was proud of these people. I was proud of my government. I was proud of my country.
"Give me a better idiot.
Give me a caring idiot.
Give me a sensitive idiot.
Just don't give me the same idiot."
The new Republican bureaucracy at the new Dept. of Homeland Security brings you National Preparedness Month, Sept. 2005.
Security theater makes you think we're all doing something about our
problems, when in fact it is a show, it is "security theater" for
hoots of ridicule, the Department of Homeland Security took down this
Webpage, but the silly messages that once were on it are repeated to
this day by civic, municipal and state government entities on Webpages across the
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