Just to give you a sense of just how badly FEMA has f*cked up.

[editor's note, by Ben P] - Promoted from the Diaries

A fellow Clarkie posted this over at Securing America.com:

Just to give you a sense of just how badly FEMA has f*cked up.
Posted by Clark Warner on September 3, 2005 - 2:23pm.
This is beyond my comprehension and after spending two frustrating days trying to just get someone to let us help we've FINNALLY been told we can conduct "renegade" boat rescues via the just concluded press conference that Gov. Blanco just held.

Why is this JUST NOW being allowed? Well let's start from the very beginning.

On Wednesday morning a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette in the early morning and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The flotillia of trucks pulling boats stretched over FIVE miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Nick Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were too large because the water had dropped during the night and that they should turn around and go home.

More below the fold

They were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. They then politely informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently reported that the water level had risen during the night which contradicted his statement to them that the water was dropping and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue operations.

They then specifically asked the DWF agent that they (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. They offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered them home -- ALL FIVE HUNDRED BOATS. They complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two friends were pulling a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

They were allowed to drive to the launch site where the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. They were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing absolutely nothing. Why? Because FEMA would n ot let them HELP! After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.

Watching CNN later that night, there was a telephone interview with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the Hurricane hit!

I can't come up with one logical reason why the DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital. Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana's citizens responded to the public's pleas for help. They were prevented from helping by Dwight Landreneau's agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries which had been taken over by FEMA. When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.

It was because of this that my friend and I have been trying launch boats both yesterday and today but to no avail. It looks like FINALLY the Governor has just said SCREW FEMA, get those boats in the water and help save my citizens.

So I think we'll be in the water tomorrow to help but for now I'm immensely frustrated.

If there is anyone on the CCN that is in the Baton Rouge area we are meeting today at the LA State Dem Party HQ at 2pm CST to game out tomorrow

http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/357

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Comments

24 Comments

Who is Landreneau?
A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Landreneau should be fired. Whoever hired him or promoted him should be fired. Such poor judgment is inexcusable. Bush will probably award him the Medal of Freedom.

Please keep us updated.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-03 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Who is Landreneau?
Will do,though I don't expect to hear from Alex tomorrow....unless they are turned back again,
by pelican 2005-09-03 02:21PM | 0 recs
I have no idea
how the people who took their boats down there maintained their composure. I would have been screaming and would likely have been arrested or shot.

Then the fucking NERVE of Brown and Chertoff on C-Span today, and the rest of jr's thugs to be patting each other on the back for a job well done!!! This just can't go on. As another Clarkie said last night, this must be jr's Waterloo!!!

Sending this to Anderson Cooper, Geraldo, Shepherd - who else on the cable news shows was finally outraged enough that they were speaking truth? (sorry, no cable here)

by jen 2005-09-03 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: I have no idea
Try Scarborough.  Yeah you heard me.
by jrflorida 2005-09-03 04:21PM | 0 recs
This May Well Be Bush's Final Undoing.
His daughters won't go to Iraq, and he farts around while 10,000 Americans sink in excrement. All that's needed now is someone to teach the fool to play the fiddle.

Are you better off now than you were five years ago -- sucker? Still all concerned about "gay marriage" -- sucker?

by blues 2005-09-03 07:00PM | 0 recs
bush staged photo ops
Washington Monthly

UPDATE: Good God. Laura Rozen passes along the following report from a Dutch reader:

There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

This goes beyond stage management. This is criminal.

--Kevin Drum 9:53 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (198)

by Andrew C White 2005-09-03 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: bush staged photo ops
The Coast Guard choppers in the background with full crews were a prop, and misused their services.

The two young black girls he hugged were clearly props.  Can you imagine Bush coming across people at random and kissing and hugging them like that?  You have to pass a partisan test to get into his town hall meetings.  Those girls were very likely plants.  My suspicions alone of course and based on the internview, the way they handled themselves.  Can you imagine two girls like that walking up and hugging the President without prompting.  I mean really.  How many of you have daughters that would feel comfortable in any circumstance walking up to a stranger and hugging and kissing them.  Think about it people!

However, these are minor to the charges raised here.  I'm not so sure I trust some odd web site and having not seen CNN International I can't respond to that.  I can say that CNN and MSNBC havce been very candid.  Too many people are visibly angry, including the likes of Scarborough for people to say that main stream media is not paying attention.  However, if there is footage available in the world then it will certainly rise to the attention of Americans soon enough.  In this case, as much as I detest the actions of this last week, as much as I suspect political games to the point of being criminal.  I cannot yet fathom that these charges are true.  But, as I say to everyone I talk to, open eyes can;t hurt you.  Well, don;t look directly at the sun or Karl Rove.

by jrflorida 2005-09-03 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: bush staged photo ops
There are American reports that a photo-op of the levee being repaired while bush was on-site were staged also. I think it was Sen Landrieu who said that she was pleased to see real progress being made there and then saw the next day that there was only one piece of equipment continuing work instead of the all out effort seen during bush's photo-op.

Likewise, reports are that all helicopter rescue flights were grounded during the time bush was in New Orleans. This from local Louisiana officials outraged that help stopped.

Like you I always want to see these things confirmed before running around half cocked. I put this out here in hopes that we can get confirmation because... I do believe these reports to be true.

The bush/cheney administration is a failed presidency. They MUST be forced to resign.

by Andrew C White 2005-09-04 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: bush staged photo ops
United States Senator Mary Landrieu:


"Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young and old - deserve far better from their national government," Landrieu said.
by Andrew C White 2005-09-04 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: bush staged photo ops
Why would our pres. be doing staged events instead of leadership?

Karl Rove.

White house is slow while Rove is setting up PR like this.. poisoning the presidency and by proxy the country.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-09-04 09:56PM | 0 recs
The tissue of lies
Josh Marshall at TPM has the smackdown:

Now at least we have the storyline. The Bush administration wasn't caught sleeping on the job while New Orleans went under with a gutted FEMA run by a guy who got fired from his last job policing horse shows. In fact, according to the new White House storyline, the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans didn't ask for help quickly enough. And the White House was powerless to act until they did. Apparently they couldn't even reschedule the president's vacation until the locals got the right forms signed.

Bush, who has been criticized, even by supporters, for the delayed response to the disaster, used his weekly radio address to put responsibility for the failure on lower levels of government. The magnitude of the crisis "has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities," he said. "The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable."

CNN actually did a decent job picking apart Michael Chertoff's tissue of lies this afternoon. Let's see who drops to their knees for the new mumbojumbo coming down the pike.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-03 10:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The tissue of lies
I don't get this.  As Katrina was bearing down for a direct strike on New Orleans they talked of the city being flooded.  Whether through a breach or from storm surge or overtopping, what does it matter?  Those people at the Superdome or the convention cetner weren't dieing because the levee broke due to a breach.  They were dieing because the electricity was out, because the city was flooded, by what means is not important, and because there was no response.  They are trying to key on the word breach, to parse words and play with history.  It cannot and will not stand.  I only hope the press stays on them this time.  They smell blood I can tell.  The Bush administration is going to flail and bite and I hope to hell they do.  This is the fight I've been waiting to see.  The bully picked a fight in the schoolyard and the other kids are rising up and I think one or two of 'em have brass knuckles.  If it weren't for all the horror that has taken place I might say its truly enjoyable.  But as it is its simply necessary.
by jrflorida 2005-09-03 10:44PM | 0 recs
The Condi Defense
Who knew?:

But Chertoff seemed unaware of all the warnings.

"This is really one which I think was breathtaking in its surprise," Chertoff said. "There has been, over the last few years, some specific planning for the possibility of a significant hurricane in New Orleans with a lot of rainfall, with water rising in the levees and water overflowing the levees," he told reporters Saturday.


The mushroom cloud trick worked once. Why not give it another shot?
That alone would be "a very catastrophic scenario," Chertoff said. "And although the planning was not complete, a lot of work had been done. But there were two problems here. First of all, it's as if someone took that plan and dropped an atomic bomb simply to make it more difficult. We didn't merely have the overflow, we actually had the break in the wall. And I will tell you that, really, that perfect storm of combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight."

Bin Lade memo? What Bin Laden memo?

With all the hard work they've done not catching Bin Laden, how can we expect them to pay attention to the weather?

Chertoff also argued that authorities did not have much notice that the storm would be so powerful and could make a direct hit on New Orleans.

"It wasn't until comparatively late, shortly before -- a day, maybe a day and a half, before landfall -- that it became clear that this was going to be a Category 4 or 5 hurricane headed for the New Orleans area."

As far back as Friday, August 26, the National Hurricane Center was predicting the storm could be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall, with New Orleans directly in its path. Still, storms do change paths, so the possibility existed that it might not hit the city.

But the National Weather Service prediction proved almost perfect.

Katrina made landfall on Monday, August 29.

"I think we have discovered over the last few days that with all the tremendous effort using the existing resources and the traditional frameworks of the National Guard, the unusual set of challenges of conducting a massive evacuation in the context of a still dangerous flood requires us to basically break the traditional model and create a new model -- one for what you might call kind of an ultracatastrophe," Chertoff said.

Completely unpredictable. An act of God. It was the Mayor and the Governor's fault.

The buck stops everywhere except the White House. Nothing is ever the Bush administration's fault.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-03 10:36PM | 0 recs
Geraldo is whoring for Bush
There was a commercial break on CNN and MSNBC, so I clicked over to Faux News. Geraldo is saying it is like a WMD was dropped on New Orleans and we have to figure out what went right and what went wrong.

What a shameless whore he has turned in to.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-03 11:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
Whoa!  The same Geraldo who was at the convention center Fri. night, crying and imploring the government to rescue the people trapped there?

Unless you have more evidence than Geraldo's use of an analogy to a WMD attack I would suggest that you hold your fire.  Frankly, far greater media whores than Geraldo (e.g. Jack Cafferty, Shep Smith), have blasted Bush already.  I'd be shocked if he started spinning.

by space 2005-09-04 12:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
I heard it with my own ears. I tried to search Faux News, but they don't have transcripts of any of Geraldo's reports.

If you don't believe me, start watching Faux News. I have no doubt that WMD is in the latest memo from the RWNM.

I'd be shocked if he started spinning.

Feel free to be shocked. Geraldo Rivera compared Hurricane Katrina to a WMD attack. He's a cheap media whore for the RWNM.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-04 12:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
So what?  I didn't question that he said it.  The city is destroyed.  Comparing it to a WMD attack isn't exactly a stretch.

Look, when Geraldo starts saying that the people chose to stay then, yes, he will be repeating talking points.  When he says that the breaches couldn't be preddicted.  When he says that the storm was more powerful than expected.  Or that it was the fault of the looters.

But, I'm sorry, the WMD comparison does not prove whorishness, even if the WH is pushing it.

by space 2005-09-04 01:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
So says the Geraldo fan club. Count me out. Comparing this to WMD at the same time you question who is responsible is shameless whoring for Bush.

What happend in New Orleans is nothing like a WMD attack. I'll go way out on a limbe and say it is far more similar to the aftermath of a hurricane.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-04 03:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
Geraldo comparing the federal govenment's response to the aftermath of Katrina vs. a large scale WMD attack is not a bad idea.  Think about the efficient and effective actions taken by the DHS when they 48+ hours to prepare vs. no time at all.  It certainly makes me confident that all the investment in "homeland security" over the last 4 years has been wisely spent.
by Amberdrake 2005-09-04 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Geraldo is whoring for Bush
It can certainly be used to emphasize what this failure means to national security.  I caught my brother looking at Fox News again yesterday.  I've told him how dangerous it is to watch that crap.  I'm getting through to him.  He went to a county board meeting the other day and the chairman started it out by telling people soldiers were fighting for the first amendment and people had better not come in there and abuse it.  He was wondering how you go about abusing the First Amendment.  She told people they had two minutes to speak and if they went over or deviated at all she threatened to throw them out.  She's clearly a wingnut that is in on the ground floor of politics right now.  It sickening to see these people get elected.  I'll be watching her and hoping my brother eventually runs for her seat.  Sorry, little digression there.
by jrflorida 2005-09-04 07:40AM | 0 recs
Jefferson Parrish President is on Meet the Press
FEMA refused to allow water tankers into a Mississippi city. FEMA came in and cut the power to electric generators. FEMA refused to allow a ship that was docked in the port to unload diesel fuel.

The transcript says it was Mayor Broussard:

MR. BROUSSARD:  Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming."  I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry.  The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.

Let me give you just three quick examples.  We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water.  FEMA turned them back.  They said we didn't need them.  This was a week ago.  

FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish.  The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away."  When we got there with our trucks, they got a word.  "FEMA says don't give you the fuel."  

Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines.  They cut them without notice.

Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines."  Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard.  I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach.  I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people.  It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-04 07:42AM | 0 recs
Why was this deleted?
This post seems to have been deleted from securingamerica.com, or at least is no longer available. Anybody know why?
by Constantine 2005-09-05 09:23AM | 0 recs
Great
Good story!
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Re: Nice Article
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