FEMA Made Inoperative By Bush/Cheney Agenda
By: Mary Jane Freeman (EIR)
Holdeman, who served as a career U.S. Army infantry officer before he joined Washington State's Emergency Management Office, stated bluntly that FEMA, which has been swallowed up by the Department of Homesland Security (DHS), "is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled." He elaborated: "This year it was announced that FEMA is to 'officially' lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation... FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster ... functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission."
FEMA's disaster preparedness mission has been in a "take-down" mode virtually since George W. Bush took office in 2001. The pro-active, pre disaster-event mitigation planning and implementation has all but been shelved since the post-9/11 creation of DHS, which diverted nearly all FEMA money and efforts to terrorism planning.
FEMA HIRES SUBSIDIARY OF FUNERAL SERVICES COMPANY IMPLICATED IN SCANDALS
in Texas and Florida to collect bodies of Katrina victims
By: Jason Leopold (Online Journal)
Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest funeral services provider in North America, implicated in scandals in Texas and Florida, recently learned that one of its subsidiaries is negotiating a lucrative contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to remove dead bodies in areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Additionally, SCI of Florida buried "remains in locations other than those purchased by plaintiffs; crushing burial vaults in order to make room for other vaults; stacking remains rather than burying them side-by-side; secretly digging up and removing remains; secretly burying remains head-to-foot rather than side-by-side; secretly mixing body parts and remains from different individuals; secretly allowing plots owned by one party to be occupied by a different person; secretly selling plots in rows where there were more graves assigned than the rows could accommodate; secretly allowed graves to encroach on other plots; secretly sold plots so narrow that the plots could not accommodate standard burial vaults; secretly participated in the desecration of gravesites and markers and failed to exercise reasonable care in handling the plaintiff's loved ones remains."
Kenyon International, a unit of SCI, is presently in charge of the delicate task of collecting the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dead bodies in the aftermath of the hurricane. The fact that a subsidiary of SCI is in talks with the federal government, largely due to its close ties to the White House, to remove bodies in New Orleans is ghastly.
NEW FEMA BOSS IS 'DUCT TAPE MAN'
By: Keith Olbermann (MSNBC)
In another gesture symbolizing the continued confusion of the federal response, the man President Bush immediately named to succeed Brownie, proves to have been the same FEMA official who, two-and-a-half years ago, suggested that Americans stock up on duct tape.
By: Max Blumentha
Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, and plunging the entire city into chaos. In the hurricane's wake, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its director, Michael Brown, forced out of his former job at the International Arabian Horse Association, with no credentials in disaster relief, have become targets of withering criticism. Yet FEMA's relief efforts have brought considerable assistance to at least one man who stands to benefit from Hurricane Katrina perhaps more than any other individual: Pat Robertson.
With the Bush Administration's approval, Robertson's $66 million relief organization, Operation Blessing, has been prominently featured on FEMA's list of charitable groups accepting donations for hurricane relief. Dozens of media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Associated Press, duly reprinted FEMA's list, unwittingly acting as agents soliciting cash for Robertson. "How in the heck did that happen?" Richard Walden, president of the disaster-relief group Operation USA, asked of Operation Blessing's inclusion on FEMA's list. "That gives Pat Robertson millions of extra dollars."
Far from the media's gaze, Robertson has used the tax-exempt, nonprofit Operation Blessing as a front for his shadowy financial schemes, while exerting his influence within the GOP to cover his tracks. In 1994 he made an emotional plea on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from the Rwandan civil war to Zaire (now Congo). Reporter Bill Sizemore of The Virginian Pilot later discovered that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a Robertson-owned venture initiated with the cooperation of Zaire's then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
The Bush Administration has studiously overlooked Robertson's misdeeds. In October 2002, just months after he denounced the White House's faith based initiative as "a real Pandora's box"--and one month before midterm elections--Robertson pocketed $500,000 in government grants to Operation Blessing. Since then, with the sole exception of his criticism of the US intervention in Liberia, Robertson has served as a willing surrogate for the Administration. His Regent University gave John Ashcroft a cushy professorship to cool his heels after his contentious tenure as US Attorney General. And Robertson's legal foundation, the American Center for Law and Justice, is spearheading the effort to rally right-wing Christian support for Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s confirmation as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Now, as fallout from the President's handling of Hurricane Katrina threatens to derail the GOP's long-term agenda, Robertson is back at the plate for Bush, echoing the White House's line that state and local authorities--and even the disaster victims themselves--are to blame for the tragedy engulfing New Orleans.
THE FURY RAISED BY THE GROSS INCOMPETENCE FEMA SHOWED
FEMA is thoroughly corrupt and what went on in Florida last year and what is going on now in New Orleans could explode in their faces. Billions have been spent and millions have been funneled back in kickbacks to the high and mighty of the Republican party, both in Florida and in DC. The fury raised by the gross incompetence FEMA showed in a non-election year towards a city full of poor blacks cannot be overcome by Hollywood-type TV productions a la Karl Rove.
Bush is so shook up at the NO responses that he is running around like a small child who just got caught putting mamas cat in the dryer. The frog made me do it! is the type of response or, more accurately, Brown who? Just like Ken who? after Bushs Enron cash source dried up as the result of criminal swindles.
The result of letting our infrastructure crumble to pad an Elite fews pockets.?
POWER CREWS DIVERTED RESTORING PIPELINE CAME FIRST
By Nikki Davis Maute (Hattiesburg American)
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.
That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.
At the time, gasoline was in short supply across the country because of Katrina. Prices increased dramatically and lines formed at pumps across the South.
Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Mike Callahan said the U.S. Department of Energy called him on Aug. 31. Callahan said department officials said opening the fuel line was a national priority.
Cheney's office referred calls about the pipeline to the Department of Homeland Security. Calls there were referred to Kirk Whitworth, who would not take a telephone message and required questions in the form of an e mail.
Email for emergency communication? That in itself is beyond belief but the underlying question that lead to this situation failure is...Why have no new Refineries and alternate support structure been built in many years?
Environmental Issues are always touted ...but conforming to the environment only would mean a slight reduction in profits not a halt in construction, So what was it really?
Well for me... An Enron derivatives type scam comes to mind.
LEADERSHIP FAILURE CONTINUES, WHITE HOUSE STIFFS GULF STATES
By: Richard Freeman and Mary Jane Freeman (EIR)
The Bush-Cheney Administration rammed bill S.1858 through Congress in early October, providing a mere $1 billion in Community Disaster Loans to local governments in the Gulf states regionravaged and, in many cases, bankrupted by Hurricane Katrina, and needing tens of billions of dollars in aid. The Bush team insisted that this law contain a stipulation prohibiting the Federal government from ever forgiving these loans, if the communities were unable to pay them back. The White House's insistence violated 30 years of practice. A loan forgiveness clausewhich permits the Federal government to turn the disaster loan into a free grant if the local government is too cash-strapped to pay it backhad been standard on all disaster loans. Since 1974, some $227 billion in Community Disaster Loans has been forgiven, including loans to New York City after Sept. 11, 2001.
A single snapshot: Soon after Katrina struck on Aug. 29, the Congress authorized FEMA to spend $62.3 billion on disaster relief and on the start of reconstruction programs. Eight weeks later, FEMA has dispensed only $22.8 billion, 36% of the already vastly insufficient total.
The White House's meanness in inserting this anti-loan-forgiveness clause is emblematic of an overall policy pattern of stiffing the U.S. Gulf states region since the devastating storms. Acting for City of London-Wall Street synarchist bankers, the Bush-Cheney Administration has stalled or drastically slashed disaster relief and most Federal emergency funding programs, to New Orleans, southern Louisiana, and southern Mississippi, whose economies are destroyed