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The Blame Game

by Last Night in Little Rock

Earlier today Talkleft posted Plenty of Blame to Go Around. The NY Times has a devastating article today entitled After Failures, Government Officials Play Blame Game.

The Neo-Cons talk about personal responsibility of the victims to go on, completely forgetting about the personal responsibility of every government official who had his or her hands on the NOLA District Corps of Engineers budget cuts or the budget of the Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency.

Mr. Chertoff tried to deflect the criticism of his department and FEMA by saying there would be time later to decide what went wrong.

"Whatever the criticisms and the after-action report may be about what was right and what was wrong looking back, what would be a horrible tragedy would be to distract ourselves from avoiding further problems because we're spending time talking about problems that have already occurred," he told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

Many Members of Congress are calling for hearings. We all want hearings, but we don't want to detract from DHS's and FEMA's mission to save those that can be saved.

Since DHS's Chertoff and FEMA's Brown aren't doing anything constructive right now, we can start with them. Chertoff can go on "Meet the Press" to spin to protect the President, so he can take the time to go to Congress and testify and leave the job of saving lives and rebuilding NOLA to those who actually care.

The economy is going to take a hit from this catastrophy. We already see it in gas prices, but it will show up elsewhere because of the importance of this port to the nation's economy, as I noted yesterday. Mark my words. I was driving down I-55 through Missouri and Arkansas today and noticed the near absence of trucks compared to I-40 which traverses the nation from Barstow CA to Wilmington NC.

It finally dawned on me that I-55 is a main route from NOLA.

< FEMA caught lying on CNN via AOL; Cuban aid rebuffed | Another FEMA Failure: Not Deploying the USS Bataan >
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    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Local and state resources were so weakened, said Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, that in the future federal authorities need to take "more of an upfront role earlier on, when we have these truly ultracatastrophes."
    Does he have information on something?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Does he have information on something?
    Translation: "it was a learning experience." Spoken like a con artist. I hope that the FEMA agents who cut the emergency communications lines are identified and sent to jail, along with whoever ordered it. It's straight out of the X-files.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    The blame falls squarely on past and present Presidents who decided to undercut funding for the army corp of engineers to do their job of building and strengthening the levee system in order to spend that money on their own pet projects and laden all manner of bills with plenty of pork for their friends, but not a single sliver of bacon for mostly black, poor, and democratic district. This might not be about race, but it sure as hell is about class. It amazes me that everyone is running around like headless chickens trying to place blame over the response when ALL of this could have been prevented in the first place by some simple common sense measures that those in power were loathe to take because they felt the money was better spent elsewhere.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    I am disgusted with Bush. I am hurting for these victims. I don't want one more person who suffered through this hurricane to die before their time. I don't want to be expected to read and reread numerous articles that take time I don't have, so finally I can figure out the truth, and when I do, the moment has past, and nobody cares anymore. This is a sick game that I don't want to play.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, called on President Bush on Sunday to appoint an independent national commission to examine the relief effort. She also said that she intends to introduce legislation to remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security and restore its previous status as an independent agency with cabinet-level status. She is likely thinking 3 years ahead... but you know, a woman President is something we probably need... the sociopathy rates amongst women are 1% of population, compared to 3% for men. Law & Psychiatry Institute Vegas would probably take those odds...

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    "it was a learning experience." Spoken like a con artist.
    I have a feeling Chertoff will be learning more than a few unpleasant lessons soon...

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    As I watch and listen to the Bushies deflect this well earned criticism, they all say, "Let's not talk about this now, let's focus on the victims..." I am eerily reminded of Scott Peterson who said, when Laci first went missing, "I don't want the focus of the search to be on me. We should all be thinking about Laci. Let's bring Laci home."

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Mr. Chertoff said he recognized that the local government's capacity to respond to the disaster was severely compromised by the hurricane and flood. We couldn't rescue people from the hurricane, because there was a hurricane happening at the time... Hasn't Karl taught you anything, Michael?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    We couldn't rescue people from the hurricane, because there was a hurricane happening at the time...
    Ok, so he's not a mental giant. This leaves open the question of what they're supposed to do AFTER the hurricane (not to mention BEFORE). It's sort of late to chalk it up to a learning experience, and that "next time" during one of these "ultracatastrophes" they'll play ball better with the state and local agencies they were probably instructed to interfere with, for political and bureaucratic reasons (on matters of who gets credit, etc). Maybe it will occur to them that cutting phone lines and turning away supplies is not helpful.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    gently writes:
    I don't want to be expected to read and reread numerous articles that take time I don't have, so finally I can figure out the truth,
    And the alternative for thinking for yourself is? Someone else telling you what the truth is? edger writes:
    Does he have information on something?
    You have been snarking that Bush didn't move fast enough. Now when someone says, next time we're gonna move quicker... Your response is this? edger, you define yourself.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    PPJ- you have got to be kidding on this:
    And the alternative for thinking for yourself is? Someone else telling you what the truth is?
    All you ever do is repeat Rove's spin therefore my christening you The Chimp King's Royal Emissary.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    "And the alternative for thinking for yourself is" It's very disconcerting PPJ that you are so willing to accept and repeat false information. There is no alternative for thinking for myself, of course, but there is an alternative for leaders who lie and then publish those lies, and keep repeating those lies, and then changing those lies.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    We going for that beer, Jim?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..." Some amazing lines here. link via atrios

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Mac Lane... "next time" during one of these "ultracatastrophes" they'll play ball better with the state and local agencies I hope you're right. I am quite jaded at this point, and I've been laying on the sarcasm a little thicker than is helpful. It strikes me that the corruption and CYA and ingrown self-interest at the populations expense that radiates from the Bush League Administration has infected pretty much the entire team of deapartment secretaries, Chertoff, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the Bush "team". I think that any decent businessman or CEO knows that if his team is incompetent, it is not the fault of the team. It's the responsibility of the leader. From observation of the team, if Bush is not going to lead beacause he can't, who is? And I think that is why the team is falling apart...

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    that is government not by the people and not of the people, washington D.C. Is the real Blame game.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    edger - Nope. I only drink with friends. BTW - Have you ever led a team, sports or business?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    So... the only recourse is to either get the leader displaying some "leadership" or get him out of the way, so someone else can. He's got to be part of the solution, or he's the problem. If he's the problem, what are the next thre years going to be like? Can the world afford that?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    gently - If you didn't mean it, why did you write it? Are we supposed to know that you are just kidding us? And might I have an example of this false information? You may note, if you look, that I have provided links to my sources.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    Jim: Nope. I only drink with friends. Sorry to hear that, would have been fun. Some of my best friends were not, at first. I suspect we both are different people than we appear only in text.... Have you ever led a team, sports or business? Yes. Business. More than a few times. Led, and been part of. Let's have a drink sometime... tell you all about it....

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    The buck stops here. A partial list of what FEMA is supposed to do, from their own website:
    Strategic Goals Awareness -- Identify and understand threats, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts and disseminate timely information to our homeland security partners and the American public. Prevention -- Detect, deter and mitigate threats to our homeland. Protection -- Safeguard our people and their freedoms, critical infrastructure, property and the economy of our Nation from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Response -- Lead, manage and coordinate the national response to acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Recovery -- Lead national, state, local and private sector efforts to restore services and rebuild communities after acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
    Anybody else want to whine about how the mayor and the governor were supposed to do this all by themselves?

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater...
    Good article Squeaky: Link
    ...most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection or at least amelioration against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water. Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that, "we are not satisfied," with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he's speaking for on this point. Perhaps it's the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?


    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#24)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    What are the next three years going to be like under this (p)resident? ...Goodnight all - 5 am comes early...

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#26)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    The Neo-Cons talk about personal responsibility of the victims to go on,
    They don't speak for me. It looks more and more like they speak for hardly anyone.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    "Someone must step forward. Someone must say stop. Someone must say, America must take a new direction. Someone must say that it is time for a fundamental change..."
    ...Dennis Kucinich, in his own words, June 22, 2003

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    edger - Sorry. No kiss and make up. webmacher - My source is the Washington Post article which I have linked to several times.
    Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday. The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.
    Come on Web, do you think concern over martial law was the reason? Or this?
    Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.
    WaPost article link Can you say politics? But really, even that makes no sense. If the Feds had control the Governor could have just washed her hands and blamed them. I mean we have a thread this AM wanting to try Bush and company for anything from causing flat feet to launching Katrina. Should Blanco also be charged? Of course not. But I wouldn't let her be in charge of a trip to the grocercy at my house.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#31)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:19 PM EST
    PPJ - I give up. No more benefit of the doubt for you. You flat-out LIED about the date that the federal government made that takeover bid in an earlier thread. I called you on it. Now you're repeating the claim but wisely leaving out the dates and hoping nobody noticed or read the whole article. You tried to make it sound like the Bush administration asked the governor if the federal government could take over the evacuation efforts BEFORE the hurricane struck. You even specifically said this happened on Friday, August 26. It actually happened on Friday, September 2, FOUR DAYS AFTER THE HURRICANE STRUCK. A very different situation was on the ground then, to put it mildly. The Department of Homeland Security/FEMA had already had four days to screw around, and they had. So the governor hired the head of FEMA from back when it was an effective agency to help her instead. If you can't even admit this, and If we can't even agree on a basic definition of reality, I fail to see how we can have this conversation. You are entitled to your opinion, and some of this is indeed opinion. Things like when something happened are NOT opinions, they are FACTS. Stop acting like a G-D Bush administration official for a change.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#32)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:20 PM EST
    This is fun to watch.

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#33)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:20 PM EST
    Looks like the Feds, state, and local officials all dropped the ball. Now we watch them scramble.......

    Re: The Blame Game (none / 0) (#34)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    why would the term "neo-con" be used in setting a topic concerning the hurricane. Was the Zionist entity behind the destruction or is it just an all purpose meaningless word that is supposed to inspire shudders?