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Friday, August 28, 2015


Excuse me, but the story below is the kind of story you have written about yourself when you are an empathy-free, elitist dumb@$$

Stop Blaming Me for Hurricane Katrina
Ten years later, the name ‘Brownie’ is still identified with the government’s failures. Here’s what really happened.

Read more
* * * * *
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency: a US government body intended to coordinate responses to a disaster in the US itself.
* * * * * 

Believe it or not, this entire article is about people not leaving New Orleans 2 or 3 days before the hurricane hit like Brownie, the FEMA DIRECTOR at the time, thought they should.

And this Michael Brown (Brownie) gets suspiciously close to blaming the victims for their own deaths, same as the other Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland.   

Brownie appears to have forgotten that the 1,833 people that died and those that barely made it out were mostly black and POOR.

I thought it was crystal clear that the poor people in New Orleans couldn't afford to leave home for 2 or 3 days, spending money they don't have, only to have the hurricane be downgraded like dozens of hurricanes had been so many times before.

Just like the white crew of the Titanic, whose extensive experience on the ocean led them to cruise through those icy waters way too fast in 1912, the poor people of New Orleans in 2005, let their extensive experience of hurricanes lead them to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm...just like they'd done so many times before.

Overconfidence kills lots of people
. But in this country, you only sit back and see how things play and out when the people drowning are black and brown.

In the article, "Brownie" said the governor and state officials were complacent too. Maybe they were. Experience and overconfidence might have been their enemy as well.

Then again, maybe it wasn't overconfidence at all. 

 Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco  experienced numerous hurricanes that fizzled out before they made landfall too? Or maybe these state officials already knew that the thousands of poor people they were responsible for didn't have money to cover 2 or 3 days at a hotel? Maybe their own state budget didn't have money to put them anywhere but that inadequate stadium?  Maybe they didn't make the call to evacuate until it was too late because there wasn't a call to make for that many people without money.

And maybe "Brownie" and other government officials contributed to this problem by being completely freaking deaf to the fact that "lack of money" means no movement until poor people are SURE the hurricane is really coming. Maybe the federal government should have supplied money and an exit plan if they were sure the hurricane was going to hit land at class 5 strength.

According to this article, plenty of people didn't get completely sure that Hurricane Katrina would be making landfall at class 5 strength until it was way too late.  From the timeline I've looked at, nobody declared a state of emergency at the federal level until New Orleans was already in Brownie's "too late zone," the day before Katrina arrived.

The last minute run to the Superdome
FEMA has food for 15,000 people for 3 days
There are 20,000 people there
The Superdome isn't strong enough for a class 5

And many of the people that would have been helping FEMA are, instead, fighting in Iraq

We won't talk about
the wetlands that were destroyed by dams and pipelines,
the same wetlands and barrier islands
that used to be hundreds of square miles bigger,
the same wetlands
that used to be the first natural barrier
a hurricane would hit and slow down over,
once upon a time.

We won't talk about
how many people
might still be here
if the profits of greedy corporations,

especially gas and oil companies,
weren't put ahead of our ecology.

We won't talk about any of the reasons
other hurricanes lost strength
before they got to the poor people
living in the low-lying areas.

We won't talk about the people
that got rich while destroying those


More on how appreciating nature saves lives

But let's do talk about Brownie's argument that it was all the state's fault for not evacuating. This excuse, pardon the pun, doesn't hold water. His argument about people not leaving New Orleans completely misses the one and only point there is.

We know that some citizens of New Orleans didn't leave. We even know that some of the poor black people there might have been over-confident about being able to ride out the storm.  But those of us remember this debacle were not angry, then or now, at "Brownie" for failing to make people evacuate--or not very angry for very long about that particular point.

What happened immediately after Katrina passed by is what made us snarl.  
And what happened immediately after Katrina passed was damn near nothing.

Governor Blanco ordered 68 school buses into New Orleans from surrounding parishes to begin evacuating any survivors that remained in the city. 6908 Army National Guard and 933 Air National Guard were deployed (7,841 total). Governor Blanco and the National Guard stated that they could "handle it".
 FEMA Director Michael Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana,Alabama, and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff five hours after landfall to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region. Brown acknowledged that this process would take two days. He described Katrina as a, "near catastrophic event."

This idiot was blamed for the lack of response to the predominantly black victims of Hurricane Katrina. 
His defense of so off track it would be funny if 1,833* people hadn't died with another million people displaced.   How dare he convince himself he doesn't know this 10 years later?

* * * * *

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency: a US government body intended to coordinate responses to a disaster in the US itself.

* * * * * 
Imagine someone saying to Brownie, "You crashed your car into my car!"

And imagine Brownie responded, "My wife sent me to the store to get cigarettes," saying nothing more which would tend to imply that he wouldn't have been in the car at all if his wife hadn't asked for cigarettes. Therefore the crash is not his fault. 

So he is technically correct, in precisely the same way as described above in the cigarette scenario. There wouldn't have been a catastrophe for Brownie to manage so badly if nobody had been in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.  But there were people there. And Brownie and Bush didn't move like people who mattered were dying.

And, if it wasn't FEMA that failed to haul ass once the fat was in fire, then which government agency was it that failed? Our fearless leader at the time, Bush Jr., stayed on vacation until optics got bad in the national news. Was it Bush Jr that failed to send the right agency in to coordinate the rescue? Was Bush Jr. too busy on the 17th hole to send the right people?


And even if this dipstick "Brownie" and FEMA hadn't been at fault in any way, how does the president have the audacity to say anything that even sounds like,

".... you're doing a heckuva a job,"

...ABOUT ANYBODY, ANYWHERE while bodies are floating down the street,  even if person X actually IS doing a good job?

Let me tell you how you say something like that when bodies are floating down the street. You only do that crap when you and yours are white or white-adjacent and the bodies floating down the street are black or at least not-white. 

"Brownie" got most of the blame because HIS PRESIDENT, Bush Jr, made it very clear that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" by arranging his lips to say, "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva a job" at the most callous, self-serving moment possible.

All sorts of black pundits got themselves on television and used million dollar words to describe President Bush's lack of response. In dignified fashion, black academics rambled for paragraphs at a time about what the lack of response to Katrina victims should tell us about race in America.

Then Kanye West got on television and said what we were all thinking, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." (Of course, my version of this sentence had the f-word in it)

I'll probably never read enough to know if Brownie and FEMA were most at fault for the deaths of 1,833 people, most of them black, but I do know that it is our federal government's responsibility to take care of national disasters. And they were obviously dragging their feet when it was black people dying. And in that moment our government was being led by George W Bush, who couldn't be bothered to stop his golfing vacation at the Pueblo El Mirage RV and Golf Resort in Arizona.

<---If you see "Brownie" you tell him I said that I don't care what percentage of this was his fault and that I said,  'F-you and the horse you rode in on for trying to shift the blame elsewhere.' You tell him that, as the former head of FEMA, he doesn't get to finger point when 1,833 people are dead, not even when it's 10 years later.

Brownie and Bush Jr. just are cut from the same ugly, superior, empathy-less cloth as far as I am concerned.

And that's the big thing that Brownie and Bush will never get. Their lack of empathy was very likely based on the racial-otherness of the victims and the class-otherness of the victims. That heartlessness combined with the greed led destruction of the wetlands is to blame for some percentage of the 1,833 dead.

A passive form of racism intermingled with standard conservative disdain for poor people kills. It always has. It did.  May we never, ever forget the lessons that Hurricane Katrina gave us...again.



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