Wednesday :: Sep 7, 2005

Bush Team More Interested In Images Than Providing Assistance

by Steve

You’ve probably read about some of these depravities, and yes they represent depraved behavior, elsewhere in the blogosphere last night and this morning, but in case you haven’t, here is a short summary of the despicable shenanigans the Bush team executed as part of their concept of “emergency response” over the last several days.

First, it has now been confirmed that the initial group of firefighters brought in by FEMA from other states to assist in recovery and assistance efforts were redirected even before they started their assignment away from emergency response work into being community relations staff handing out fliers with FEMA’s phone number, (a number that is always busy BTW), and to be a part of a photo op for Bush (hat tip to Josh Marshall and Kos):

Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.
On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
"There are all of these guys with all of this training and we're sending them out to hand out a phone number," an Oregon firefighter said. "They [the hurricane victims] are screaming for help and this day [of FEMA training] was a waste."
Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

And note the fascist response from a piece of slime at FEMA, Mary Hudak, who questions the patriotism and commitment of these firefighters because they were disgusted at FEMA’s misfocus and refused to wear their FEMA T-Shirts. (Hat tip to Atrios)

We see crap like this, for example, (picture from Reuters) which we now know was nothing but a photo op for Bush to roll up his sleeves and misuse emergency personnel while people were dying in New Orleans:

Second, we now find out that FEMA Director Michael “Sleepy” Brown waited FIVE HOURS until after Katrina hit the coast before he even asked his boss Michael “the city of Louisiana” Chertoff for permission to send 1,000 DHS staff to the region, even though Bush designated FEMA authority over the effort days before. Brown also gave the DHS staff two more days to arrive in the stricken area. In the style of a true political hack, Brown even said that the job of the DHS staff was to “convey a positive image” about the Bush Administration’s response to disaster victims.

Third, read the indispensable Katrina timeline put together by the ThinkProgress folks and see for yourselves what little was done by the Bush Administration after both Chertoff and Brown were told Sunday afternoon of the high probability that the levees would at least be topped during this storm, and the fact that no senior Bush administration official did anything of consequence Monday or Tuesday.

Fourth, we find out that like the caskets returning from Iraq, FEMA wants no pictures of dead bodies shown in the media.
(Hat tip to Atrios)

Fifth, Bush's visit last Friday grounded the delivery of three tons of desperately needed food into New Orleans.

OK, let’s see how Bush’s defenders spin these events.

Steve :: 11:09 AM :: Comments (26) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!