Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sorting Out Republican Spin on Katrina

In order to sort out all of the Republican spin I have compiled a number of entries from around the country into one massive entry, so beware this post is very long:

Larry Johnson of TPMcafe.com issued this post yesterday that attacks the Republican spin that is trying to shift the blame from the Bush Administration to that of state and local officials in Louisiana, some of which are flat out lies. Here are some highlights:

The Bush White House is furiously spinning to lay the blame on the Governor and Mayor of Louisiana. My position is that I think both the Governor and the Mayor can be faulted on a variety of fronts. I do not absolve them of their responsibility to properly and fully implement their own emergency response plans. However, the Governor followed the appropriate protocol and, in accordance with the National Response Plan (NRP), asked the President in accordance with the Stafford Act, to declare a State of Emergency.


Sep 07, 2005 -- 02:18:12 PM EST

Friday, 26 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana declares state of emergency

Saturday morning, 27 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana asks President Bush to declare a state of emergency and requests Federal Assistance "to save lives and property". Note, the letter was published on 27 August 2005 on Lexis Nexis but was dated 28 August 2005. Bush received the letter on Saturday and responded on the same day by declaring a State of Emergency. Note, per the NRP, William Lokey was designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in Louisiana.

Sunday, 28 August 2005, Mayor of New Orleans orders Mandatory Evacuation.

(Note: In Governor Blanco's request on the 27th, there is a specific request for help with evacuation and a specific request for help to "save lives and protect property". )

Monday, 29 August 2005, FEMA Director Brown requests DHS Secretary Chertoff's help in getting 1000 DHS employees ready to deploy to the disaster within 48 hours.

Under the National Response Plane (see p. 93, Figure 11), once the President declares a State of Emergency the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to implement the Plan. Initially, DHS is supposed to deploy an Emergency Response Team to the State to provide expertise in assessing needs and determining appropriate courses of action. Moreover, on p. 52 of the NRP the President may act proactively under the Stafford Act.

Folks, these are not OPINIONS, these are cold, objective facts. However, MSNBC and other members of the Main Stream Media are confused about what is a fact and what is opinion.

Now contrast that with this nice visual timeline of the Bush administration's actions leading up to, during, and after the storm hit from Basetree.com:

Hurricane Katrina was a hurricane that at its peak had a strength classification of Category 5 before later being downgraded to a Category 4 at its second, most significant landfall. Extensive and severe damage was caused by the hurricane across the Gulf Coast region of the southeastern United States, including Louisiana's largest city, New Orleans, on August 29, 2005. New Orleans was under a mandatory evacuation order, in the days before the hurricane hit, but many residents remained in the city. The vast majority of those who stayed were likely unable to leave due to being unable to afford vehicles or bus tickets, or being too elderly or infirm to travel.
Gathering Storm President Bush clears non-native cedar from the oaks at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Aug. 9, 2002. (AP Photo/The White House, Eric Draper/File)
AP Photo/The White House
Eric Draper/File

Hurricane Katrina hit Florida late Thursday, August 25 and then moved into the Gulf of Mexico, gaining power and momentum. Meteorologists predicted Katrina would hit Louisiana and Mississippi early Monday -- most likely as a Category 4 hurricane. Gulf Coast officials asked residents to evacuate their homes.

At 5 PM on Saturday, August 27, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announced a voluntary (later, mandatory) evacuation of the city. Greyhound, Amtrak and airlines halted service late Saturday night. President Bush was vacationing at his Crawford, Texas ranch, perhaps clearing brush as seen in the above August 9 photo.

Here is a visual timeline of what happened next:

National Guardsmen divide the long line into two, allowing the back of the line up the ramp as residents try to find refuge in the Superdome from Hurricane Katrina. August 28, 2005 Ted Jackson
Photo by Ted Jackson
President Bush makes a statement from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005, about the Iraq constitution process and Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
 Arnold James tries to keep his feet as a strong gust nearly blows him over as he tries to make his way on foot to the Louisiana Superdome. The roof on James's home blew off, forcing him to seek shelter at the Superdome. AP Photo/Dave Martin
AP Photo/Dave Martin
President George W. Bush joins Arizona Senator John McCain in a small celebration of McCain's 69th birthday Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, after the President's arrival at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix. The President later spoke about Medicare to 400 guests at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort and Country Club in nearby El Mirage. White House photo by Paul Morse
White House photo
by Paul Morse
The North side of the Hyatt hotel in New Orleans was shredded by 140mph winds when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana coast on Monday, Aug. 29, 2005.(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
AP Photo/Dave Martin

Myrtle Jones, 80 of Rancho Cucamonga, has a moment with President George W. Bush as he talks about Medicare at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, August 29, 2005.  Thomas R. Cordova / Staff Photographer
Photo by Thomas R. Cordova
Floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina fill the streets near downtown New Orleans Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005 in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

AP Photo/ABC News
Martha Raddatz
New Orleans resident Eileen Glenn, 26, is grief-stricken at a Red Cross shelter in San Antonio, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005. Glenn and her four children were able to escape the disaster in New Orleans but left behind her mother and other relatives. (AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Jerry Lara)
AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News
Jerry Lara
With terrorist threats pouring into Washington and war still raging in Iraq, it is hard to find downtime if you are the Secretary of State. But on a recent trip to New York, Dr. Condoleezza Rice did just that, playing tennis with Monica Seles and, on August 31, checking out Broadway smash hit Spamalot. We caught her coming out of the Shubert Theatre after enjoying the comic merriment inside.
Broadway.com / Bruce Glikas

Condoleezza Rice vacations in New York City. (Dick Cheney, on vacation the entire time, is nowhere to be seen.)
A man pushes his bicycle through flood waters near the Superdome in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005. Hurricane Katrina left much of the city under water. Officials called for a mandatory evacuation of the city, but many resident remained in the city and had to be rescued from flooded homes and hotels. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

President Bush pauses aftering having a first-hand look from the window of Air Force One of the damage to New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, from Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Angela Jenkins screams -help us please- outside the Earnest Morial Convention Center Thursday, September 1, 2005 in New Orleans. Times-Picayune / Brett Duke
Times-Picayune / Brett Duke
In this image from video released by ABC News, President Bush is shown during a live interview at the White House with Diane Sawyer Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, on Good Morning America about relief efforts for the Gulf Coast and the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/ABC News)
AP Photo/ABC News
Milvertha Hendricks, 84, center waits in the rain with other flood victims outside the convention center in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005. Officials called for a mandatory evacuation of the city, but many resident remained in the city and had to be rescued from flooded homes and hotels and remain in the city awaiting a way out. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

President Bush meets with former President George H.W. Bush, right, and former President Bill Clinton, left, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005. Bush, who will tour the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday, has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Bill Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims as they did for last year's Asian tsunami. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Evacuee Raymond Cooper: Sir, you've got about 3,000 people here in this -- in the Convention Center right now. They're hungry. Don't have any food. We were told two-and-a-half days ago to make our way to the Superdome or the Convention Center by our mayor. And which when we got here, was no one to tell us what to do, no one to direct us, no authority figure.
We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)

(Isn't that helicopter needed somewhere?)
Hurricane Katrina survivors wait for aid and rescue outside the New Orleans Convention Center. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina may have escaped death, but they face the stark prospect that the lives they knew may be gone forever(AFP/POOL/David J. Phillip)
AFP/POOL/David J. Phillip

U.S. President George W. Bush (L) speaks before departing the White House to tour areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, September 2, 2005. Relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina are 'not acceptable', Bush said Friday before heading out on a tour of storm-ravaged New Orleans and other areas of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Beside Bush is Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who will accompany him on his tour. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Buildings burn on the east side of New Orleans, LA., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005.(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
AP Photo/Phil Coale
President Bush delivering his weekly radio address Saturday from the Rose Garden, amid wide criticism for the way he has handled relief efforts.
NY Times / Dennis Brack

Democrats, liberals, and a majority of the country do not seriously blame President Bush for Katrina (we all acknowledge that many people and organizations are to blame for not properly funding, protecting, and preparing New Orleans for such a disaster). What people are upset over and blame the President for, is HIS RESPONSE to the disaster as evidenced by this poll from CBS:

President George W. Bush finds disapproval on his handling of the matter, too -- and the public now shows diminished confidence in his abilities to handle a crisis or provide leadership, as well as in the government's ability to protect the country. RATING THE RESPONSE

President George W. Bush's overall response to Katrina meets with disapproval today - a dramatic change from the public's reaction just after the storm hit on August 29th. Last week, in the two days immediately after Katrina made landfall, a majority of Americans said they approved of Bush's response, although more than a third were not sure. Now, only 38% approve. A majority disapproves.



Approve Disapprove Don't Know
38% 58% 4%


Approve Disapprove Don't Know
54% 12% 34%

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 725 adults, interviewed by telephone September 6-7, 2005. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points.