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I wondered about the granting of permission, as well. And, if it is a protocol, why didn't Chertoff just give permission early, as they did for declaring disaster ares?

We'll see a lot more of this stuff, some of it bureaucratic, some of it ineptitude, all of it critical in a disaster of this scale.

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Homeland Security added a layer of bureacracy that muddles a lot of things up, but even if homeland security didn't exist, FEMA would have taken about the same amount of time. FEMA requires local and state officials to take control and they can only assist. FEMA has not policing or law enforcement capability.

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I wondered about the granting of permission, as well.  And, if it is a protocol, why didn't Chertoff just give permission early, as they did for declaring disaster ares?

We'll see a lot more of this stuff, some of it bureaucratic, some of it ineptitude, all of it critical in a disaster of this scale.

FEMA is under Homeland Security so it may be they need permission. But this is just another example of the incompetence and ineptness displayed by the Bush administration on a regular basis. FEMA should never have been lumped into HS. It has become severly politicized under the Bush administration with the appointment of a former horse show organizer as it's head.

Here's a little history from the 9.3.05 edition of the Boston Herald:

The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.

And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.

The Oklahoman got the job through an old college friend who at the time was heading up FEMA.

And this:

Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer - this week has has made several shocking public admissions, including interviews where he suggested FEMA was unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center.

Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado.

``We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,'' explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. ``This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,'' she added.

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.

``He was asked to resign,'' Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.

Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president's re-election campaign.

Starting to get the picture?

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What picture?

He new the pres and got a job? Tell me an adminstration that runs it differently. Why are you attacking the man and not his actions.

Mr. Brown is on the ground in middle of this muck right now. He, under FEMA, has very limited power. All he can do is assist the LOCAL officials.

If the local officials aren't utilizing his help efficiently, then it's not Mr. Brown's fault.

This was a totally different situation under Hurricane Andrew. The Louisiana governor at the time of Andrew had everything under constrol. Other parishes around New Orleans have there act together. Everything is moving along in other parishes. Orleans didn't react correctly. This all could be done before the levee breach.

What about all the Hurricanes in Florida last year? FEMA responded accordingly and quickly. The same Mr Brown was running the show for them. The same President too. The difference was that the local officials set everything up and ran the show with FEMA's assistance.

The president CAN'T send help to the states instantaneously, he has to be asked. The locals have to coordinate. It is not the federal governments job.

How hard is it to see this?

How hard is it to understand the rules in place?

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kjb, what people see is lots of people dead. If the rules require the country's emergency MANAGEMENT agency to sit around, then the rules must be changed. This man is clearly not a competent manager.

There is an article about a real manager in the Chronicle. It is about Bill White. I suggest you read it.

One other thing. When your ideology is so strong that 10,000 dead do not sway your support for anything remotely connected to your ideologue, your heart has hardened beyond repair. No one on this board or across the country has said that the city and state efforts were adequate, merely that the federal efforts were ALSO inadequate. You, and a few others, are blinded to that. To watch your home state demolished and be unable to admit your heroes failed it also, is very, very sad.

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What picture?

He new the pres and got a job?  Tell me an adminstration that runs it differently. Why are you attacking the man and not his actions.

Mr. Brown is on the ground in middle of this muck right now.  He, under FEMA, has very limited power.  All he can do is assist the LOCAL officials.

If the local officials aren't utilizing his help efficiently, then it's not Mr. Brown's fault. 

This was a totally different situation under Hurricane Andrew.  The Louisiana governor at the time of Andrew had everything under constrol.  Other parishes around New Orleans have there act together.  Everything is moving along in other parishes.  Orleans didn't react correctly.  This all could be done before the levee breach.

What about all the Hurricanes in Florida last year?  FEMA responded accordingly and quickly.  The same Mr Brown was running the show for them.  The same President too.  The difference was that the local officials set everything up and ran the show with FEMA's assistance.

The president CAN'T send help to the states instantaneously, he has to be asked.  The locals have to coordinate.  It is not the federal governments job.

How hard is it to see this?

How hard is it to understand the rules in place?

"What picture?" The one I just described. Re-read if necessary. In spite of all your apologies for the incompetence of the Bush administration, we can expose them for their ineptitude AND rebuild lives and citys at the same time. We're doing it every single day.

As an aside note, I will never understand why any gay man such as yourself can support the party that wants to legislate you out of existence. How's that working out for you, BTW?

B)

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It appears to me that the Federal system is designed to where suggestions must go from the bottom up, and approval must come from the top down. The ideal system is to have personnel in place that you trust to act on their own, and with scrutiny from those immediately above.

Because they are so interrelated, is does make sense that FEMA should be a part of Homeland Security. Maybe Bush just has the wrong people in place, or maybe he needs to put more trust in their abilities and let them do their job as they see fit. Maybe there should be more overseeing of those below rather than direction from above.

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I'm not blind to realities of the situation. I realized that the federal end is not perfect. I'm not defending, but stating the realities.

The dead people do move me when I see and hear about it. What truly infuriating me is the local officials in charge. The could have done so much more and were very well within the power to do so.

The president and FEMA notified the Mayor of New Orleans 48 hours in advance of the storm that mandatory evacuations need to be put into play and whatever needs to be done to get the people out of the city should occur. The mayor said no. The mayor waited until 20 hours before the storm hit to issue mandatory evacuations, then realizing he can't get the people out the city in time, he had bus people to the Superdome.

While the mayor waited, the rest of the surrounding parishes force the mandatory evacuation 48 hours and some earlier. Some still stayed, but they were well warned.

I'm not heartless in this situation. What has been done is done and we can't change it. Yes, many things went wrong that we don't like, but I like to evaluate things as they really happened.

Whether you like it or not, FEMA and the adminstration had their hands tied because of the crazy bipartisan legislation that produce the Homeland Security Department. I didn't like this either, but it's the reality. The system didn't work, but when looking at the system, you have to realized a few people's choice cause the gears of the bureacracy to come to a halt. I never like Kathleen Blanco prior to her becoming a governor. She was well known to be horrible at making definitive decisions. The representatives and senators from the state are also blaming people left and right when it was their legislation that failed somewhat at the federal level. As for the Mayor, I like him for the city because was getting so much more done for the city than prior mayors who make Lee Brown looking like the most wonderful person in the world, but he didn't perform in this situation. I don't know the reason why but he didn't follow the evacuation plan the city and state put into place. I have other issues with the plans too.

The adminstration did notify under recommendation from FEMA from the National Weather service of what needed to occur prior to the storm. All the adminstration could do is notify the state and seriously suggest they take action. This is the same process followed in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi with great success by this adminstration and prior adminstrations regarless of ideology or party affiliation. When FEMA wasn't part of Homeland Security, the process wasn't much different, Clintons hands were just as tied, but he did the same in advising state and local officials, regardless of party, and they took actions.

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I agree that a quirk of the law requires the governor to ask for help. George Bush 41 caught hell for the slow response to Andrew, but the governor of Florida had forgotten to request help properly, so it slowed response times. Maybe this should change.

I also agree that for all the good Mayor Nagin has been doing, he dropped the evacuation ball. Is their an evac plan for the poor without vehicles? I don't know. Where would they take them on those 400 buses? I don't know that either. Should somebody have come up with a plan? Damn right.

Poor Governor Blanco. She, like FEMA Director Brown, has demonstrated a corollary to the Peter Principle...that is that everyone rises to their level of incompetence. She and FEMA, IMO, are the big weak links in this thing. Where you can find some leadership abilities in some of the others, these two have displayed little or none. Chertoff may be added to the list, too.

In the end, I hope Texas and Houston/Harris County refine their plans based on this, and I hope something is done about the behemoth that is Homeland Security. We deserve better.

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Whether you like it or not, FEMA and the adminstration had their hands tied because of the crazy bipartisan legislation that produce the Homeland Security Department.

Yes, everyone screwed up. But the underlying problem is about foresight and competence. This administration has never displayed either. You can twist yourself into a pretzel all you want in trying to defend the ineptness and incompetency of the Bush Administration but the time has come for the people and the media to call their bluff. No more demonizing the messengers ala Karl Rove.

That's my reply to the National Disaster Response Plan-the title of this forum. Not the ineptness displayed by the Govenor of La. Not the slow out of the gate response by the Mayor. The national response was that the Bush administration fiddled while NO drown.

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Being a liberal myself, I think we are missing the point entirely. A partisan battle is brewing, but I don't believe we will answer the correct question with the bickering.

Race had nothing to do with it. I think this tragedy would have played out in any city that saw NO's damage. This is the first real test of FEMA since it was put under Homeland Security. It was the first test of FEMA's new procedures that were entirely rewritten in the wake of Sept 11th. Those procedures failed, plain and simple. If Brown gets the axe over this, it won't be because of the plan, it will be because FEMA didn't successfully adapt to the scenario. That's what leaders do, they adapt. That's what Bush did when he finally got wind of how bad it was, but it doesn't seem to be what Brown is doing.

You can moan all you want about how bad the local and state authorities bungled things before and during the storm (no doubt they did), but when the time came for the Feds to swoop in and save the day they fumbled the ball.

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I found this today. If anyone can refute any part of it [with the facts, just the facts] then please do.

Timeline

Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.

Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of Levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be "uninhabitable" after Hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.

Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees but giving them two days to arrive on site.

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor's earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock Hurricane news.

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Tens of thousands trapped in New Orleans including at Convention Center and Superdome in "medieval" conditions. President Bush finally returns to Washington to establish a task force to coordinate federal response. Local authorities run out of food and water supplies.

Thursday, Sept. 1: New Orleans descends into anarchy. New Orleans Mayor issues a "Desperate SOS" to federal government. Bush claims nobody predicted the breach of the levees despite multiple warnings and his earlier briefing.

Friday, Sept. 2: Karl Rove begins Bush administration campaign to blame state and local officials

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