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Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown

by TChris

Even as Michael Brown plays the blame game, deflecting attention from his poor response to Hurricane Katrina, other FEMA officials are providing the Senate with honest information:

Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, told a Senate panel investigating the government's response to the disaster that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as Aug. 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

In most cases, he was met with silence.

Brown's press secretary finally responded on Brown's behalf on Aug. 31, complaining via email that not enough time had been allocated for Brown to enjoy his dinner in Baton Rouge. At least we know that Brown's priorities are consistent with the president's: "It's important for me to go on with my life."

An email from Bahomonde belies Brown's assertion that he was unaware of the desperate need to respond to the disaster until days after the hurricane passed.

In e-mails to various FEMA officials, including one to Brown, Bahamonde described a chaotic situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered. Bahamonde e-mailed FEMA officials and noted also that local officials were asking for toilet paper, a sign that supplies were lacking at the shelter.

"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote in an e-mail to David Passey, an assistant to Brown, in late afternoon on Aug. 28.

Less than an hour later, Bahamonde wrote: "Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast."

Bahamonde said he was stunned that FEMA officials responded by sending truckloads of evacuees to the Superdome on that day even though they knew supplies were in short supply.

"I thought it amazing," he said. "I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans."

Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," Bahamonde wrote.

Brown's response:

Less than three hours later, however, Brown's press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. "He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes," wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."

Plus, it takes so long to choose a good bottle of wine.

You did a heck of a job, Brownie.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:11 PM EST
    "Chertoff Says FEMA's Lack of Planning to Blame" and "He told lawmakers that he found the governors and mayors of the region to be responsive as the crisis unfolded." Another rnc meme down the drain.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:12 PM EST
    Chertoff didn't turn the crisis over to FEMA for THREE DAYS. Chertoff's lack of response is to blame. Actually, Chertoff and Bush have tried to convert FEMA into a rich-people's insurance welfare system. Let's recall President Carter's founding promises about FEMA: It will ALWAYS be headed by someone with direct disaster response experience -- not a bureaucrat. It will ALWAYS deliver services without regard to race, class, gender, or other factors. It will ALWAYS have its own cabinet-level seat. Bush and Chertoff are working hard to further destroy FEMA, as yet another Democratic program to be dismantled, in favor of rich, white, male profit. The entire Homeland Police State Dept. is a scam.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:12 PM EST
    Yes... let's jump over the local & State Governments that failed misably & go right to the Federal Government! Something tells me if the Mayor & Gov would have been repubs... your fingers would indeed point there first.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:12 PM EST
    Still spouting your lies and disinformation, eh BB? Facts: 1. The whole purpose of a President declaring a state of national disaster, BB, is so that the feds can get in there right away and start helping out. 2. This state of emergency means, BB, that the state and local levels can't cope...that's the whole reason for the declaration. 3. The declaration was issued days before Katrina struck, dude...and there was no sign of the feds for a week afterwards...and you're still trying to say it's the state and locals' fault? Dude, you're so politically motivated by everything you say that your eyes must be a beautiful shade of ka-ka...

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Boy, how many lies can you cram into a post, BB?

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    BB, who's the joke? Your President has already taken responsibility for the Federal Govt's dismal response. You know, when someone you're defending with lies says "I take responsibility," you may want to shut up and pay attention to the fact that you're not only playing the "Blame Game," the guy you're saying did great is out there saying, "O.K., my bad, I'll do more next time..." And it was the locals' fault that FEMA director Brown couldn't interrupt his dinner to attend to the greatest natural disaster since 1900? Yeah, BB, I'm a joke...and you're the punchline...

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Propaganda: Broussard Shameless Piece of Sh#t Propaganda: Jessica Lynch (not her, the pieces of sh#t that told her 'story.') I'll take Broussard, who do you want?

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#9)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Charley, Mr. Brown was in Baton Rouge. The ACLU are lawyers and concern themselves with law. It's what they do. Churches concern themselves with people, body and soul. It's what they do. The hurricane hit right before payday. A lot of people who couldn't get out were not on welfare, just lower class and living from paycheck to paycheck. I guess you've never been there.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Funny how after 9/11, it was the Feds who took charge...after an earthquake in Cali, same thing...hurricane in Florida? Bush was down there before the water turned muddy, making sure people knew "the government" would be there for them... NOLA? F#ck'em, they're Dems, so it's the locals' fault, right? Politricks, politricks.... So the next time there's a hurricane in Florida (tick tick tick) we can all expect George to stay home and let Jeb and the Mayors take care of it...right? Fat chance.... Florida voted "the right way..."

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#11)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Laughing Jackal havent you looked at a map of the 2004 elections? All the states hit by Katrina and Rita are colored Red. Only the areas with all the troubles getting a federal response had democratic local... hmmmm

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Laughing Jack... So the next time there's a hurricane in Florida (tick tick tick) we can all expect George to stay home and let Jeb and the Mayors take care of it...right? In case you missed it...there have been a bunch of hurricains in Fla....and they've handled it quite well thank you. All the Feds should be doing is providing money to help clean up... (IE - not in charge of getting people out of harms way... That's their own job...along with the Stae & local Gov.) But go ahead & blame the feds for everything as the left is want to do. By the way...the fact you haven't gotton laid lately... not GW's fault! Jen.... Only the areas with all the troubles getting a federal response had democratic local... hmmmm That would tell most reasonable people that the Dem locals are inept.... yes?

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#13)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    BB, Read the story.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    BB once again you come with lies and misinformation: What party does the Governor of LA belong to? What party does the Mayor of N.O. belong to? And who have you blamed? Yeah, try again, Chicken-Hawk...

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    And you still haven't told us which propaganda you liked best, Broussard's or your government's with Jessica Lynch...we're all waiting to hear you denounce your own side for the same thing....waiting....waiting....

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#16)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Once again for the reason impaired: CHERTOFF SAID STATE AND LOCAL WEREN'T THE PROBLEM, FEMA WAS. Thank you.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:13 PM EST
    Actually, I wasn't calling Broussard propaganda- I was saying "O.K. even if..." I saw Broussard on TV giving that interview live, and I was transfixed with rage and grief. Even if Broussard lied intentionally (which I don't think he did), I was pointing out the right's stunning silence on the Lynch propaganda. Cool?

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    So basically everyone here is still playing the Blame Game long after Chertoff (he's still in charge, right?) said that "State and local govt's weren't the problem, FEMA was the problem..." So, who appointed Brown? And this Chertoff guy, why does he hate America?

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    Here's the link for all you right-wingnuts who can't do any research... Chertoff says FEMA couldn't cope with Katrina. Chertoff is your guy, dudes. Now, shut up.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    And if you want to play the old "He's the problem" game, then you've brought yourself full-circle...blaming the left whenever the right screws up...

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#21)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    Charley, I grew up in a nation which had no saftey net like we do. By the time I was thirteen I no longer noticed people I saw who were starving. Yes, I proudly admit to promoting welfare, the last letter I wrote to my senator upholding it was, in fact, monday. The alternative is horrific. Most americans cannot conceive of the kind of poverty I got used to seeing. Y'all don't have the stock of mental images, sounds, and smells. And I don't have the words. Or the patience.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#22)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    Charley, Whether those people were killed by welfare, neglect, or just Murphy's Law, Brown and friends were on the payroll to deal with Katrina-like problems. The residents were told, have been told for generations, that the government would take care of them in an emergency. Maybe we should change to a "personal responsibility" wonderland, but until we do, I have no qualms about b*tching about beurocrats who don't bother to do the job they're paid for. And Jen, I get that you want people to have a safety net. Why not make it happen through a private charity rather than using your vote to force others to pay for it? (obviously I'm making assumptions here about your voting and volunteering habits)

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#23)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    Roy, Because that's what we depended on before. It is why the safety net came into being. The complete and utter failure of private charities. They couldn't cope. Oh, they do a fine job with putting out local 'fires' but not with nation wide permanent poverty or multistate disasters. Katrina showed the world that we are in fact NOT the most powerful nation on earth. The most powerful nation on earth would not have that kind of probelm with poverty.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#24)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:15 PM EST
    Can anyone here name one official who WAS competant? I'll take Federal, State, or Local.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#25)
    by jen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:15 PM EST
    Charley, you don't have the mental vocabulary of images, sounds, and smells that would give you the capacity to understand. I don't have the ability with words or patience to explain to you about real world poverty. We are from different worlds.

    Re: Brown Dines While Katrina Victims Drown (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:15 PM EST
    in your world, the consequences of your deluded policies mean nothing.
    Wow, this from a guy that, correct me if I'm wrong, supports the Iraq occupation, torturing prisoners, recruiting Bin Laden to fight the Soviets, the PNAC grand plan,etc. etc. etc. Look, for every fat person you saw stranded at the Superdome there were probably a dozen skinnier people floating face down in "Lake George" while Brownie was being chauferred to the restaurant. Another crony appointment that failed miserably, part of a larger pattern of ineptitude that stretches right to the top of the food chain. Who to blame? Those that see the profit motive as sacrosanct and more important than the public safety. The Bush response to the disaster? Like everything else, to reward his sponsors by creating more profit for them, and more poverty for everyone else.