Thursday, September 29, 2005

What Do We Know About FEMA And Congress

An interesting article on the governmental (federal, state, local) blunder surrounding Hurricane Katrina response efforts. It's from The Conservative Voice and written by Ken Hughes (I corrected any spelling or grammar errors I noticed on initial glance):

Inevitably, someone’s always singled out for blame. In the case of Hurricane, Katrina Michael Brown the former director of FEMA is going to be the scapegoat. How much is actually the fault of Director Brown?

How much is the fault of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin refusing to coordinate efforts of the city and state with FEMA? How much of the rancor between the Governor and the Mayor was posturing, how much was political?

What authority did Director Brown have over the Governor and the Mayor, none I suspect? Director Brown in appearing before congress to answer for something he can’t explain. [What went wrong?] What went wrong was a bureaucracy out of control. I have no doubt Director Brown is doing a lot of CYA dancing around many of the issues. One man can’t be held accountable when the entire system is broken. Congress created FEMA when Carter was president and have controlled it ever since. Placing FEMA under Homeland Security was a big mistake many now realize.

Too many assumptions were made. Too many people were relying on others to assume leadership and responsibility. Director Brown places blame on the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans. The governor and the mayor are blaming the federal government for not acting sooner. Everyone is blaming President Bush for not taking charge. Perhaps President Bush is remiss in assuming his declaring the Gulf Coast a potential disaster area two days prior to Katrina coming ashore would be sufficient to set evacuation and relief actions in motion. President Bush relied on other to do their jobs, something one never assumes in the federal government.

The blame lies squarely on apathy. The Gulf Coast and especially New Orleans has withstood hurricanes for as long as there’s been people living in the region. What was one more hurricane to them?

What the population of the Gulf Coast and especially New Orleans knew but didn’t pay attention to, the protection of the levee system they were relying on had been allowed to deteriorate over the years. Corrupt politicians allowed the funds appropriated by congress for levee repair and improvements to be used for other projects, canal locks, gambling casinos, and partying, lots of partying. The Army Corp of Engineers is taking the heat for misspent funds. Corrupt politics are responsible for the levees breaching. The person Mayor Nagrin placed in charge of disaster relief was under federal government indictment for corruption, having misdirected the funds designated for the levee repairs. At a time, he should have been ordering the evacuation of the city. Mayor Nagrin and the entire city government failed the citizens of New Orleans, now they’re looking for a scapegoat in former FEMA Director Michael Brown, and George Bush.

No one’s sure, why Governor Blanco reacted the way she did. She seems to have a different person to blame each time she’s questioned abut the states reaction to hurricane Katrina. There’s little doubt she’s in way over her head as Governor of Louisiana. It’s obvious she should be home cooking gumbo. Only in America, do we require some degree of formal training and certification, to drive a car, cut hair, or install a light fixture. Anyone with no training what-so-ever can become Governor of a state.

There is no doubt everyone involved from the president down to the police officers who didn’t show up for work failed in one way or another. The public from Maine to California bare some responsibility for allowing the government to become so blotted with bureaucratic regulations they no longer have the ability to perform their jobs. Under the current system, the inmates are running the instruction. Congress is nothing more than window dressing. Presidents are prohibited by the constitution from serving more than two terms in office. A president set by our first President George Washington, and only breached once by Franklyn D. Roosevelt. This same constitutional amendment should be extended to cover congress. Congress should be limited to two terms to allow new ideas, brighter minds to run our government. We need to take governing back from the courts, bureaucrats and the executive branch. The public should become more involved in what their government does.

There’s an old adage, perhaps it’s not so old after all. It says we should not discuss politics or religion. How are we to know about either if we don’t discuss them. Are we to allow the Media, Politicians, and the Clergy to dictate what we should know about our government and our churches? Are we not to hold an opinion of our own? Many of us grew up in countries where the aristocracy determined what government we would live under. That isn’t what the American Constitution guarantees it’s citizens. The founding fathers took 15 years to write the perfect documents. The Constitution, and the declaration of Independence, once written they found they weren’t the perfect documents after all, thus amendments were added, and the right to add additional amendments later. America was founded on the principle all it’s citizens should have the right to participate in government. This right is circumvented by congresspersons that choose to serve in perpetuity.

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