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've watched one liberal muckraker after another over the last few days lay the blame for the slow initial response to Katrina relief in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana on the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—because, the mudslingers declared, "...those left behind in New Orleans after the city-mandated evacuation, were African American." I've found myself wondering: is America that stupid? The answer? You betcha. At the least the "little liberals"—the leftist bloggers—apparently are, or they don't mind spinning lies they know are falsehoods for political gain. Even before anyone in the mainstream media (that is actually required to check their facts before writing their stories and justifying the slant of their views to their editors) the left-wing bloggers were already pointing fingers at FEMA Director Mike Brown. Why? Because in their socialist minds, county trumps city, State trumps county and federal trumps State. Unfortunately the "little liberal" bloggers seldom bother to check the Constitution —or the Posse Comitatus Act —or their facts thoroughly enough to understand that the federal government is, constitutionally, neither supra nor supreme.

Although John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard and sent those troops to Tuscaloosa to force the integration of the University of Alabama on June 13, 1963; and Richard M. Nixon federalized the Ohio National Guard and sent those troops to Kent State University on May 4, 1970 to quell student riots that were protesting Nixon's expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia, neither president had the constitutional authority to send federal troops into a sovereign State without the consent of the governor of that State since the citizens of neither State were engaged in an insurrection. In the case of the University of Alabama, the peaceful protest was organized by the George Wallace, the conservative Democratic governor of the State who blocked the entrance of the administration building at UAT with his own body to prevent the enrollment of two black students whose admission into the University of Alabama was ordered by a federal judge.

The liberals orchestrated what amounted to an unconstitutional invasion of Alabama and a violation of Posse Comitatus. At the Kent State protests in Kent and Jackson, Ohio, the protest—not quite so peaceful—was instigated by liberals. In the case of Kent State, a conservative president, Nixon, violated the Constitution by using the military as riot police. (Liberals still argue today that because both presidents used National Guard troops instead of regular Army they, technically, did not violate Posse Comitatus. In reality, the moment the federal government assumed control of the Guard unit, those troopers became regular army for whatever duration they were impressed into federal service.)

So while the "little liberals" think federal trumps State, it does not. Mike Brown knew it, George W. Bush knew it. And Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco knew it better than anyone else. Not only could federalized National Guardsman or regular army troops not set foot on Louisiana soil without her permission, neither could the emergency relief units of the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross since both are NGO emergency relief organizations.

American Red Cross President Marty Evans told the media that Louisiana officials told her the Red Cross it could not enter New Orleans with food, water, cots, and other emergency supplies for the disaster victims at the SuperDome. Not only that, but according to Red Cross spokeswoman Carol Miller, when the American Red Cross offered the emergency relief supplies they had to the Louisiana Emergency Management Agency to provide food, water and comfort to those trapped in the SuperDome, the State of Louisiana refused the supplies. Evans said the Red Cross was told, before the storm hit when they wanted to come into the State and set up, they could not come in. Blanco wanted the people evacuated from her State as quickly as possible and she felt if the people were too comfortable at the SuperDome, they would not want to leave they when offered transport to neigboring States.

When the liberal media pointed its bony finger of condemnation at FEMA Director Mike Brown and declared that he was simply overwhelmed by the tragedy and failed to act fast enough to get his people on the ground, the fact is that Kathleen Blanco—using her authority as the governor of a sovereign State—not only prevented Brown from implementing FEMA plans in New Orleans or anywhere else in Louisiana, she also barred the Salvation Army from bringing in any emergency aid, food, water and other relief supplies into the city as well. The White House, which unwisely adopted the Rose Garden strategies of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter, opted to take the silent high ground and avoid the political pigfight as Bush's political foes used the liberal media to undermine the presidency at a time when Christian conservatives needed to stand solidly behind the President.

Bush may believe he didn't have to—or could afford not to—play in the hurricane strewn Louisiana pig sty with the liberal piggies and piglets from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and from K Street or their PAC offices in Alexandria, Fairfax or Falls Church since he isn't running for reelection in 2008. But he still has the Election of 2006 to worry about. He—and we—have to worry about what happens to his conservative judicial nominees if the GOP loses control of the US Senate.

This website reported on September 5 in Behind the Headlines (reprinted under Who's To Blame? a day later) that the problems with the slow response to the hurricane victims in New Orleans was due almost entirely to decisions made by Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco—who very deliberately prevented either the Salvation Army or Red Cross from setting up emergency relief centers in her State and denied the requests of the Red Cross to deliver food and water to displaced New Orleanians who were held, as quasi-captives, in a locked-down SuperDome until the governor figured out how to evacuate them out of her State. Blanco figured they would be easier to move if they were hungry and thirsty. And, while the governor likely didn't think about it at the time, its even easier to move them after they die. They don't complain about being hungry or thirsty, and you can stack them like cordwood to maximize the space in the cargo hold of an airplane. And, their political capital increases expotentially.

This fact, reported on Fox News, in The Washington Times and in even in the left-of-center Gannett-owned USA Today from Sept. 6 on, has been ignored or downplayed by the liberal New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, who chose instead to play up—as truth—the baseless accusations of far left African American hip hop artists, racist civil rights advocates like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, racist members of Congress like communist Maxine Waters [D-CA], Diane Watson [D-CA]. and Bobby Rush [D-IL], and aristocratic liberals like Senators Mary Landrieu (whose father, Moon Landrieu, was a former New Orleans mayor and whose brother is the current Lt. Governor of the State), John D. Rockefeller IV [D-WV], and Teddy Kennedy [D-MA] who continue to use the dole to keep the minority fiefdom of America chained to the voting booth, with indentured blacks voting for the Democratic machines in order to keep their welfare checks.

Conservatives, watching the Bayou finger-pointing tête-à-tête, have wrongly concluded that Louisiana simply has an inept governor and that New Orleans has a well-intentioned but frustrated hustler as mayor. Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin—who are each in bed with their own special interest backers—have their own political agendas. Nagin wants to be governor and Blanco wants to replace David Vitters in the US Senate in 2010. Neither are looking out for the voters who put them in office—they're looking out for the machine that says yea or nay on the candidacy of political candidates in Louisiana.

(Nobody contributes to a political candidate out of the goodness of their heart. They contribute large sums of money to elect political candidates because they expect something in return. Always. They are buying access—but even more, they are buying favorable treatment on their pet bills. Special interest groups don't waste their money on political candidates who are not profitable.)

The fingerpointing at Bush started in the liberal advocacy arena within 48 hours of the tidal surge that collapsed three sections of the levee that kept Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River from reclaiming the sunken portion of the city of New Orleans that is below sea level as the right arm of the same mighty tidal surge slammed into Mississippi, devastating almost a 100 miles of prime residential developments along the coast. The first advocacy group to blame the lack of response on the White House were the George Soros-funded American Progress Action Fund (the advocacy arm of he Center for American Progress). It was quickly followed by the People for an American Way; the Rainbow Coalition, MoveOn.org, and Michael Moore's advocacy group, Meetup. The American Progress Action Fund opened the floodgate by criticizing Bush on Aug. 30 for finishing his vacation before returning to Washington to concentrate on federal disaster relief efforts.

The group argued that if the displaced people had been white instead of black, Bush would have cut his vacation short and returned to work.—and relief in the form of money, food and water would have flooded New Orleans like a tsunami. MoveOn.org took less than 72 hours to cut a TV spot blaming the Bush Administration for the delay in help, insisting the slowness to respond was due to the minority status of the flood survivors who were locked-down inside the Superdome because Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin believed they would join the looters who were savagely destroying the city of New Orleans if they were released from custody. Nagin wanted them out of his city as quickly as possible. Blanco wanted them out of her State. And the good ol' boy Democratic machine in Louisiana wanted to blame it all on President George W. Bush. That way, it would be good for the State of Louisiana, good for city of New Orleans, good for Blanco, good for Nagin, good for Landrieu—and even better for the Democrats. The only people it wouldn't be good for would be Bush, Michael Chertoff, Mike Brown, the Republican Party and, of course, the minority citizens of New Orleans who became the pawns on the chessboard of life. The only way they would be successful in achieving that objective would be if they could put enough pressure on Bush for the president to withdraw his support for Brown, forcing Brown to resign.

Congresswoman and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] said she set the President straight in a private conversation where she said she told him that FEMA Director Mike Brown should be fired. Bush purportedly asked why. Pelosi said she told him "because of everything that's gone wrong [with the relief effort." To which Bush supposedly asked what had gone wrong. Pelosi told the media that Bush was obviously in denial—and dangerous. The liberal media began looking in closets for skeletons of the pasts of both Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff and his undersecretary and FEMA head, Brown. The media decided that according to a FEMA website that listed Brown's resume, he had inflated his qualifications in dealing with hurricanes and forest fires. Brown's resume claimed he led the government's response to more than 160 disasters and/or emergencies. But the worst misrepresentation was a real, consequential mispresentation. Brown claimed he was Assistant City Manager of Remond, Oklahoma when, in fact, he was actually an assistant to the city manager. One is a managerial role, the other is a clerical position.

When he was asked whether or not he had misstated his qualifications on the FEMA website, Brown seemed oblivious that his resume was even posted on the government website. In fact, he was just as much in the dark when he was asked by the media what he thought about the volatile situation in New Orleans and Brown responded that he thought "people [were] getting the help they needed..." and "...the security situation is pretty darn good."

At the time Brown made that statement, looters were running rampant though the city, emptying one store after another. One of the most interesting aspects of the news coverage of the looting was the way in which the media—conservative and liberal—mitigated the actions of the people as they broke into partially flooded supermarkets and stole food and water. Bill O'Reilly, the host of Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, told his prime time audience that he did not view the stealing of food and water by starving people as theft. Congresswoman Diane Watson [D-CA] brushed aside the theft not only of food and water, but cigarettes, clothing, electronics and even the robberies of all of the merchandise in several jewelry stores, saying "...Desperate people do ...Desperate things." Congressman Jesse Jackson [D-IL] had pretty much the same view as Watson and O'Reilly: "Who are we to say what law and order should be in this unspeakable environment?" The rule of law tells us what is right and what is wrong at all times, for all people, under all circumstances.

Brown had an "uneventful" resume. He was born and raised in Oklahoma. He became active in Republican politics and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1988. He practiced law in both Oklahoma and Colorado before being tapped for a job in the Bush Administration by Joe Allbaugh who became FEMA Director in 2001. Allbaugh, who was Gov. George W. Bush's chief-of-staff in Texas, appointed Brown as FEMA's general counsel. In 2003 Brown became Deputy Director. The closest Brown ever came to having hands-on management control of a disaster in FEMA was the fact that he was Deputy Director when the agency handled 160 such "events." When Allbaugh resigned to return to the private sector, Brown moved into the top job. Under Allbaugh, Brown was the lawyer who crossed the "T's," dotted the "i's" and made sure that the red tape flawlessly detailed every breath FEMA took under Allbaugh's watch. No lawyer should ever be in charge of a humanitarian effort since it is the bureaucratic lawyers who grease the wheels of government with glue instead of lubricating oil. By slowing the bureaucratic assembly-line down to a crawl, the lawyers get to inspect every minute detail to make sure the paperwork is done before the work begins.

That's why Mike Brown was so easy to blame for the lack of federal, state and local coordination and cooperation during the first 72 hours after Katrina smashed ashore the Gulf Coast on August 28. However, Brown was not responsible for the lack of response to Katrina's victims in New Orleans. Nor is this one of those "...there's enough blame to go around" scenarios with Mike Brown, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin sharing the blame. The preliminary investigations thus far show only one person and one person only stymied the rescue and recovery efforts—Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

When the dust finally settled last week Brown was replaced as the "man-in-charge" of the Katrina recovery efforts. What that means is "officially," Brown was the person who wouldl carry the blame for the lack of federal response—even if he survived the axe. Chertoff announced the Bush White House decision last Friday saying that he "...directed Mike Brown to return to administering FEMA nationally." Liberals continued to demand Brown's resignation from FEMA. ( Bush should have known that the minute he caved in to their demand, he would not only assume the blame for the government's lack of response after the levees broke and Lake Pontchartrain reclaimed a portion of the city, he would also lend credence to the liberal charge that the Bush people did not respond because those in need in New Orleans were poor blacks and not middle class whites.)

Brown told the media that he was "...going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita—and a full night's sleep. And then I'm going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims." Democratic blame-gamers who pushed hard for Brown's resignation were displeased with what they viewed as "half measures" by Bush, sent a letter to the president. It was signed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV] and Minority Whip Richard Durbin [D-IL], Charles Schumer [D-NY] and Debbie Stabenow [D-MI]. In the letter, the blame-gamers said: "It is not enough to remove Mr. Brown from the disaster scene. The events of the last 10 days have shown that Mr. Brown has repeatedly exercised poor judgment and has failed in his basic responsibilities. His continued presence in this critical position endangers the success of the ongoing recovery efforts," adding that Brown padded his resume by claiming emergency management experience prior to his appointment that he simply did not have. In Brown's place as the man on the ground, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appointed US Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen.

By Monday Bush viewed Brown's position in the Administration as completely untenable and accepted Brown's resignation, giving the Democrats a major "gotcha" victory. Replacing Brown as head of FEMA will be R. David Paulison, head of FEMA's Emergency Preparedness, Paulison was a career firefighter. Before joining FEMA Paulison was the Chief of Miami's Fire Department.

The president was peppered with questions about Brown's fate, or if there was a resignation in his immediate future when he went to Gulfport, Mississippi to inspect the damage from Katrina. "Maybe you know something I don't know," Bush told reporters. "I've been working. There will be plenty of time to figure out what went right and what went wrong," But Bush can read the polls. And the polls said most Americans believed Bush could have done more to help Katrina's victims—even though the public also blamed Blanco and Nagin. Bush's overall job approval rating—which was already at the lowest point of his presidency— plummeted even lower. In the minds of the American people based largely on Nagin's estimates of the dead, Brown screwed up and thousands of people probably died.

Every bureaucrat appointed by every president to head the departments of the federal government come to their jobs with no direct hands-on experience for that particular job. That's why experienced career bureaucrats with hands-on knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of their bosses serve directly under the inexperienced political appointees. However, for different reasons, I agree with the Democrats that Brown should never have been put in charge of FEMA since he's a cross all the "T's" and dot all the "i's" lawyer. The last thing you need in an agency charged with expediting relief without red tape is a Director who specializes in creating it.

But, once again, the Democratic spin machine has duped the American people. Hillary Clinton was right...you can fool all the people all the time.

 

Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
All rights reserved
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