Third Party & Independents Archives

An offering to the mighty gods of public opinion

Many times in man’s history a sacrifice has been offered to appease from virgins thrown into volcanoes to those accused of witchcraft burned at the stake to calm the masses. In later years a victim has typically been chosen to take the heat from the powers that be. While of course at times the victim is not one of those poor innocent virgins thrown to meet their death; it is still an attempt at appeasment.

Volcano of the mighty gods of public opinion? Meet your latest sacrifice, Michael Brown.

I tend to agree more with the recent article written in the Washington Post as an opinion piece that lists the blame for what happened in New Orleans rather than seeing this as a Bush total responsibility factor. The article for those of you interested.

However breaking news is stating that Michael Brown has been replaced as the head of the hurricane effort in response to the outcry over FEMA's response to this situation.

I'm not going to try to pretend I agree with the way things happened after the hurricane. What I am going to clearly state is attempts to "appease" those of us who want to know the real facts of exactly where the system broke down and what needs to be done to fix it are not going to be "appeased". While it is obvious that there is some serious concern that Brown could have been effective given what has happened this is not the solution.

I quote from the above linked article as to Charles Krauthammer's opinion on FEMA while noting he lists FEMA before Bush on his finger pointing scale:

The head of FEMA. Late, slow and in way over his head. On Thursday, Sept. 2, he said on national television that he didn't even know there were people in the convention center, when anybody watching television could see them there, destitute and desperate. Maybe in his vast bureaucracy he can assign three 20-year-olds to watch cable news and give him updates every hour on what in hell is going on.

I would not disagree with that statement at all, there was no excuse for FEMA not to know there were people at the Convention Center. There were other larger problems with FEMA that appear to be related to not just Brown mishandling things but the way the whole system was changed after 9/11.

I'd also note I find the way some politicians handled this crisis very disappointing. While we all realize some of the rah rah flag waving moments after 9/11 were not genuine, the immediate political games that happened prior and during Hurricane Katrina were not only not necessary but a shame. Thankfully while politicians sniped at each other as to who was the bigger problem the average American opened his heart, his home and his wallet. At least some of us realize that in a time of crisis it is supposed to be Americans first, political party much later.


Posted by Lisa Renee Ward at September 9, 2005 1:41 PM
Comments
Comment #79351

Lisa,
While we are making a list of people to throw into Volcano of the mighty gods of public opinion, lost in the coverage of Katrina is Pat Roberson’s problem of calling for the assination of President Chavez. Venezuela to seek legal action against Robertson

Sounds to me like Karen Hughes is going to have her hands full pulling President Bush’s Butt out of the fire once again. Because just given the post on thios blog, I don’t think Public Opinion will spare Mr. Robertson from being thrown into “The Volcano” to satisfy The Gods.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2005 2:21 PM
Comment #79356

Lisa,
Here is a well done article by that bastion of liberalism, USA Today, detailing the cronyism that lead to the appointment of incompetents such as Brown, as well as his Chief of Staff & Assistant Chief of Staff, and also detailing some of the actions which earned them a plunge into hot lava.

Remember, those are your tax dollars paying these unqualified people at FEMA, appointments for which Bush is directly responsible.

Posted by: phx8 at September 9, 2005 2:27 PM
Comment #79363

Brown probably should have never been placed in that position. However, it’s not just him that caused the many problems. While I understand in addition to the appeasement factor there is the desire to attempt to re-create some faith in FEMA, I wanted to go on record as calling this as I saw it. A sacrifice, however I was careful to make sure I stated Brown was not necessarily an innocent virgin. Sometimes a few of them have deserved the fling into the lava pits of hell, but they should not go alone.

The whole Pat Robertson thing is to me a story that the media didn’t have to make such a huge deal over. Robertson’s stupidity in making such a statement didn’t warrant the volumes of reporting that gave him a much larger audience than he deserves. Thanks for the link on the lawsuit though Henry, I wasn’t aware of it.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 9, 2005 2:55 PM
Comment #79366

Unless I totally misunderstood Mr. Chertoff, Mr. Brown is overseeing the whole thing, just from DC, and will coordinate any other disasters that arise. He has not been replaced, perhaps just taken a little out of the limelight.

He has not lost his position.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 9, 2005 3:04 PM
Comment #79369

Lisa:

I appreciate the link to the Krauthammer article. I occassionally catch him in a pundit’s seat on one network or the other, and many times agree with his opinion.

It is obvious to me, as a person with no axe to grind, who is to blame. As Krauthammer stated, there is plenty to go around.

Clearly, the mayor did not properly prepare for this catastrophe. He has learned no historical lessons. His placement of the buses in one of the lowest areas of the city shows little or no common sense. Yet his was one of the first voices we heard screaming for GW’s head.

The Governor dropped the ball. As Krauthammer stated, it was her responsibility to get he NG rolling. To blame the war in Iraq, again, shows a total lack of understanding of the manning of the NG. In this case, there were still plenty of guardsmen to help, in combination with Red Cross, State Patrol and local cops.

Brown, as head of FEMA, was lost. His lack of experience in any emergency situation showed like the king with no clothes. As a beaurocrat, he wrapped himself in red tape and regulations and forgot about the human element his department is supposed to be so good at dealing with. This has nothing to do with budgets for levees or supplies. It has everything to do with lack of intestinal fortitude to toss the books out and get your hands dirty doing the right thing. No, I don’t think states should lay down and die at the feet of the federal government. But, in these emergency cases, if the feds jump the gun a little, I think we could all forgive them for saving lives and property above regulations.

I do differ with Krauthammer about Bush a bit. I think, since he made the appointments, he does have to bare some blame for FEMA’s total blunder, though once appointed, certainly Brown should have learned the department.

All in all, the situation deteriorated into a total cluster f***, because beaurocrats at all levels stood there staring at each other and quoted regulations instead of dropping the books and getting to work. Bush’s leadership would have come in handy at any juncture.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 9, 2005 3:11 PM
Comment #79370
He has not lost his position.

Yet…. It will happen. Hopefully it will wake these politicians on both sides quit appointing “buddies” and ” political supporters” for important positions such as this and make them focus on getting people who are actually qualified to do it. Doubt it though.

Posted by: BradM at September 9, 2005 3:12 PM
Comment #79371

Lisa,
I have a funny feeling is not only will Mr. Brown go down in flames, but those in charge of the Rest Home in N.O. may and should be ??? Well, lets just say that murder charges needs to be leveled.

As far as Pat Roberson goes, I found the article while searching for The Legal timeline of events leading up to and during Katrina. That being said, I don’t think President Bush should say no. If you are dumb enough to talk about taking a Leaders of a Nation out in this day and age than you need to be held accountable for it.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2005 3:18 PM
Comment #79377

One of the problems in embracing someone like Robertson to support you is it creates a situation when they do something as stupid as he did how to respond. You can try to distance yourself however it does seem to come back to haunt you. As President Bush is discovering.

I was under the impression that the person responsible for the mess up at the nursing home in New Orleans died along side the residents. However, I haven’t researched it. If they did indeed survive they should also be investigated and depending upon the results charged.

Chi chi, I would not disagree with your statement that there is plenty of blame to go around. I also agree with Henry that there is initial responsibility in the selection of Brown by the President as it appears his qualifications are also becoming a major factor in all of this. I still do believe though that all of the problems related to FEMA were not just of Brown’s doing. Congress has some responsibility in that area as well.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 9, 2005 3:30 PM
Comment #79379

Breaking news at the initial creation of this was divided, some stated Brown was replaced as head of the Hurricane effort as I wrote, but others were implying the firing was going to follow so I tried to balance that knowing that at times the first news blurbs don’t turn out to be accurate.

Especially given the heat over the new Time article over his qualifications. I predict as well that the firing will follow in the next days to come.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 9, 2005 3:33 PM
Comment #79383

—-
One of the problems in embracing someone like Robertson to support you is it creates a situation when they do something as stupid as he did how to respond. You can try to distance yourself however it does seem to come back to haunt you. As President Bush is discovering.
—-

Kind of like Michael Jaskcon & Coke.

Posted by: tony at September 9, 2005 3:38 PM
Comment #79390

Lisa
There is plenty of “Blame” to go around
what about Accountability and Responsiblity??
Talk about not acting appropriately after the storm!
Bush and Co have been VERY BUSY laying the foundation of butt covering long before the accusations came down the pike.
And THAT forms part of the complaint
Even LATE in the game, there was NO LEADERSHIP from Bush, merely updates on how terrible it was and how “Tough it is” etc (and what should be done, etc)and how FEMA, the Gov, the Mayor, etc all let people down (hmmmm there was a name and office conspicuosly absent from Bush’s litney of bad guys)


Bush FAILED because right from the Outset he was NOT on top of it (obviously) and when he DID finally decide to show his face, he made such a farce of it to be insulting to the victims of the tragedy (going to TRENT LOTT’s House to commiserate about HIS LOSS???? and then JOKING about it!!)
Bush Failed:
cronyism in offices charged with HOMELAND SECURITY
forget about Natural Disaster Response, this idiot Brown was in charge of the agency that responds in ANY disaster (including terroism now!!)
And BUSH RAN ON THE PLATFORM that HE was the ONE to KEEP AMERICA SAFE NOT KERRY!!!
What a Laugh
I personally don’t Feel safe (let alone SAFER)
Bush should be charged for fradulent Advertising if nothing else!!

Posted by: Russ at September 9, 2005 3:52 PM
Comment #79393

Lisa
One other little point I forgot
Charles Krauthammer
Has got to be one of the WORST right-wing hacks going
I can’t believe the distorted right wing twists he puts in his “Editorial Column”
It’s no wonder he’s laying off Bush —
but eating your own young, now that’s a different matter. (i.e. everyone under Bush and the White House are fair game)

Posted by: Russ at September 9, 2005 3:55 PM
Comment #79401

All,
You might want to check out what and how NIMSNational Incident Management System played a roll in these screw up. Although I haven’t figured out if LA/N.O. had adopted it and all their people had trained it, if they (FEMA) attempted used Katrina to get The Governor to sign up under the new rules and guidelines than I have no problem sending Mr. Brown to the volcano.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2005 4:14 PM
Comment #79462

Russ, yes I’ve seen the numerous “Bush is the only one to blame” posts here and elsewhere. I don’t happen to agree that it is a situation where the President is solely to blame.

I don’t buy it as the excuse for Iraq, given that Congress gave approval, so I don’t buy it for a natural disaster. I believe that the State is first responsible for it’s own residents. Had better work been done on a State and local basis first it could have been a much better end scenario. While I have been very clear in stating there were some major failures on a federal level as well, some of those like moving FEMA to being under Homeland Security was approved by Congress. As per usual no one is taking any responsibility. Democrats try to appear blameless and the same can be said for Republicans. When the reality is that both bear responsibility in several major failures on several levels.

Also as usual, the partisan nature comes into play and supporters of these parties do exactly the same thing. Selectively pointing out faults in others ignoring where their own party failed. When you don’t think either party is the solution? Makes it alot easier to see where both failed without having to worry about being seen as not being a “party” person.

I will be the first one to admit I think both sides are not only to blame but have various areas were they could have done a better job. In not only selection of people both in FEMA but in the Louisiana government as well. I also continue to hope for the day when enough of the rest of you get tired of this present situation where indepedent or third party candidates are supported. I continue to support David’s anti-incumbant approach as the only way to improve not only Washington but send a message that we are paying attention and we want a government that is accountable. If they refuse to demonstrate they can be accountable? They should not continue to be voted into office. Yet election after election they are returned to office to do the exact same poor job. Ultimately we are responsible and in the end? We are really to blame because we are the ones who allowed this to happen but to continue. There is not one resident of Louisiana that did not know that New Orleans has been in a bad situation for decades. So I have a hard time buying most of what has been presented. The State of Louisiana had no problem enjoying the profits from tourism that New Orleans brought to the state, so it seems rather ironic that now suddenly they hold no responsibility in doing anything to protect that. Ultimately we as tax payers will have to pay for this, so it bothers me that much of what has happened was a direct result of bad planning and poor financial management by Louisiana.

I’ve been to New Orleans numerous times, I’ve stood in areas that are now destroyed. I’ve seen the levees first hand. While it is my second favorite city in the world, I also realized it was a matter if when not if and past hurricanes demonstrated that there were known issues with evacuation and preparation of New Orleans for a hurricane. When do we make local and state governments accountable for their own failures? Or do we just continue to let the residents pay for those mistakes and point fingers in directions that will not result in a solution?

Bush didnt let down the poor in New Orleans, he merely continued the same trend that was already established by both the local and state government of Louisiana. Find any resident of the Ninth Ward, they remember when the levees were broken on purpose to save the rich homeowners property. Even those who were not alive in 1927 can tell you stories. While Bush may be the target for some of their anger? He’s not the one who caused this. Not all of it.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 9, 2005 7:05 PM
Comment #79556

Bush is responsible because he is the President. The first thing you learn when you are Top Dog is that EVERYTHING is your fault!!! As a President, Bush could have overriden local authority or at least gotten them awake. Can you imagine Bill Clinton screwing up like this? It says something that the country wants a moral incompetent instead of a brilliant pervert. Well, you reap what you sow.

Posted by: Aldous at September 10, 2005 2:18 AM
Comment #79644

Yet another interesting article that gives more insight into what happened.

As the city become paralyzed both by water and by lawlessness, so did the response by government. The fractured division of responsibility - Gov. Blanco controlled state agencies and the National Guard, Mayor Nagin directed city workers and Mr. Brown, the head of FEMA, served as the point man for the federal government - meant no one person was in charge. Americans watching on television saw the often-haggard governor, the voluble mayor and the usually upbeat FEMA chief appear at competing daily press briefings and interviews.

The power-sharing arrangement was by design, and as the days wore on, it would prove disastrous. Under the Bush administration, FEMA redefined its role, offering assistance but remaining subordinate to state and local governments. “Our typical role is to work with the state in support of local and state agencies,” said David Passey, a FEMA spokesman.

With Katrina, that meant the agency most experienced in dealing with disasters and with access to the greatest resources followed, rather than led.

FEMA’s deference was frustrating. Rather than initiate relief efforts - buses, food, troops, diesel fuel, rescue boats - the agency waited for specific requests from state and local officials. “When you go to war you don’t have time to ask for each round of ammunition that you need,” complained Colonel Ebbert, the city’s emergency operation director.

New York Times

Logic would dictate we should discover who was responsible for this change and who approved it. It also demonstrates FEMA was not totally at fault since this was not of their creation.

There is alot more at the seven page article worth reading.


Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 10, 2005 5:06 PM
Comment #79712

What is Cindy Sheehan up to these days? I have heard literally nothing about her or her movement.

Is Bolton having any impact at the UN. Based on the opposition to his appointment I thought he would have completely failed by now and drawn us further into the abyss of no return in the international arena.

Pat Robertson’s group (as of a few days ago) was reported as being 2nd only in relief donations/contributions to the Red Cross.

How about the appointee to the Supreme Court Chief Justice position, what’s his status.

Posted by: steve smith at September 11, 2005 10:48 AM
Comment #80214

Morning All:

Just MY Thoughts and Opinions:

Isn’t Too bad that the US Constitution Doesn’t Have a Recall Claus in it, like California Does?
I am sure that Repugnicans and Democrats alike would line up around the country to sign those petitions. Lot of good it did for us, we now have a Governor who can’t pronounce the state he represents, but he doesn’t live in the the Official Residence, Much like our President. Seems the old Proverb Rings True….“Birds of a Feather, do in fact Flock Together”.
Of Course you know that these are just my humble opinions.
As Always
Wayne

Posted by: wayne at September 13, 2005 2:07 PM
Comment #81879

it’s refreshing to find someone who doenst immediately blame the president for a natural disaster.

Posted by: ktv at September 22, 2005 1:06 AM
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