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Inaccuracies, lies, bias or carelessness

by Mac McMullen / March 3, 2006 1:38 PM PST

Let's review, shall we? According to the media, before Katrina hit Bush said everything was under control. Then, a couple of days later, Bush said things were worse than anticipated because nobody had anticipated that the levees would be breached. The AP insisted for how many days that this last was a damnable lie? Because they knew for an absolute fact that Bush had been warned even before Katrina struck that the levees might be breached. They had it on tape.

Er, ...well it turns out that the AP has been lying their pants off. It turns out that Bush was only warned that the levees might be over-run. That is, some waves might go over them. Not that they would be breached - or broken through.

The Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.

The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.

The day before the storm hit, Bush was told there were grave concerns that the levees could be overrun. It wasn't until the next morning, as the storm was hitting, that Michael Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Bush had inquired about reports of breaches. Bush did not participate in that briefing.

And true to form, appearantly the AP released a confusing retraction late on Friday, March 3. This has long been the way bad news is buried by the media. It will be a miracle if this "clarification" is mentioned on page 43 of the least read Saturday editions of your local paper, and least of all, talking show heads. The only real news here is that they were forced to admit it.

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I also heard that Bush asked the governor
by Diana Forum moderator / March 3, 2006 1:52 PM PST

and she said that the levees hadn't been breached when they actually had.


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Already bought "hook, line and sinker" by one member
by Evie / March 4, 2006 12:03 AM PST

I really wonder just who, anymore, is still interested in this. While the Feds could have helped a bit more, it really boils down to a failure of the CULTURE of government dependence. All those cars and busses, and all those people that should have been evacuated. Six months down the line and some are still standing with their hands out waiting for the Federal government to put a roof over their heads. Meanwhile Mardi Gras goes on. I understand it is needed to bring $$ to the region, but why are THOSE $$ not going to those that need a place to live? Hmmmmmmm...

Evie Happy
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Those $$s, Evie...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2006 12:46 AM PST

Evie, the money for the parades, balls, etc. is not government money, it is funded by the members of the various Krewes, personal money.

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I realize that ...
by Evie / March 4, 2006 4:31 AM PST
In reply to: Those $$s, Evie...

... but it IS the private money of those I keep seeing interviewed on TV about how important NOLA is, what a great city it is, how it must be rebuilt, etc., etc. My basic point was that charity begins at home.

Evie Happy

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I don't get it, Evie...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2006 9:46 AM PST
In reply to: I realize that ...

Evie, I still don't get your point about the Mardi Gras $$. Granted, the Krew members spent some money on repairing floats, costumes, throws, decorations, some parties, etc., etc. but is your point that that money should have been given to rebuild houses? I dare say that many people in NOLA spent money on celebrating Christmas. Would the same apply to that money?
Perhaps it's because I'm from NOLA and Mardi Gras means something to me that it does not mean to you. There is a good posibility that I will move back to that area in the future. Why? Because in many ways it's like a different world, and a world in which I feel comfortable.

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by marinetbryant / March 4, 2006 9:54 AM PST

It was said that NO spent $2 million on police overtime and other security for Mardi Gras. Just seems like misplaced priorities. Kinda like people having to work or going to "sales" on Veterans Day.


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I wonder...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2006 10:13 AM PST
In reply to: $$

I wonder how much visitors to Mardi Gras dropped on the city with sales and other taxes. After 9/11 did New York have Christmas and St. Patrick's Day parades? If so, was that police protection money also misplaced priorities?

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by marinetbryant / March 4, 2006 10:48 AM PST
In reply to: I wonder...

Don't reckon it had anything to do with NOT being underwater?


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I also wonder...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2006 10:58 AM PST
In reply to: Wonder

I also wonder that since the NOLA PD lost a lot of officers, how much was spent on overtime just before and just after Mardi Gras. But I suppose what would be the best figure to have is an estimate of taxes paid to the city during Mardi Gras and after, so that difference could be compared to an increased PD overtime bill during Mardi Gras.

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by marinetbryant / March 4, 2006 11:28 AM PST
In reply to: I also wonder...

Sorry you lost so much in NOLA. Just seems that building in wetlands is not in Mother Nature's best interest and she was just reclaiming it. I'm in no way a tree-hugging fanatic but if we are worried about global warming shouldn't we worry about the rest. Recently read where some town in the Appalachians wanted to bulldoze a mountain top so they could build more! Maybe I'm just too old and too cynical!


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I don't think you can compare NOLA ...
by Evie / March 5, 2006 12:40 AM PST

... post-Katrina with NYC post-9/11. The WTC attack was a blow, and there's still a big hole in that area, but it hardly caused NYC to essentially grind to a screaching halt with cessation of all/most public services, etc. NOLA had a far more encompassing blow dealt, but it ALSO had more than fair warning that it could happen. For decades, BILLIONS of tourism dollars flowed with the beads and liquor, and yet no local collective sentiment that THEY bore some responsibility to protect that which THEY profitted from.

So my point is, that charity begins at home. I'm not saying they shouldn't have had Mardi Gras. But I AM saying that the revelers who are so gung ho on the comeback of the great Chocolate City ought to put their OWN money where their mouths are and help themselves.

I see no reason for one dime of federal taxpayer money to go to personally compensate residents at this point. The response has been above and beyond the call of duty. Clinton's FEMA set bad precedents for payouts in disaster regions. Katrina is the tip of the iceberg, because whatever the cause, we're headed for another cycle of greater hurricane activity. Time for folks to move inland or shoulder the risk themselves.

Evie Happy

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Well that means moving everyone 100 miles inland from
by Roger NC / March 5, 2006 6:10 AM PST

Virginia to Texas then.

Time for folks to move inland or shoulder the risk themselves.

Sorry, barrier island and direct seaside is one discussion, moving everyone out of the path of hurricanes is another. Limits on liability? sure? sink or swim? nonsense.

Just the opinion of someone that's lived in a hurricane prone state all his life. NC gets it's share, and the damage has been all the way to the mountains. Just a 100 miles won't even do it for the big ones, but it would be the minimum.

Wonder how the country would do with no coastal residences? no one to handle sea cargo? no one to work as civilains at naval and coast guard bases?

Or should we just move everything into New England and the northwest? abandon all the coast between Mexico and Washington DC?

Let's see, everyone should move out of areas that have an above average tornado risk too. And all river and creek flooding areas (although there are areas there that merit discussion of restricting use). Hmm, let's see, no mountain or hill side residences where there is an above average risk for mudslides or snow alvanches. No one living within a 100 miles of any volanic spot that may (or may not) erupt.

Ok, everyone move somewhere else. There has to be something that's an above average risk everywhere.

One day New York will get hit again by a hurricane. It's not unknown. And it could just about wipe out the coastal area, even Manhattan. Do we allow that to be all on their own back?

Some limits, yes. No government resonse at all, nonsense.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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by Evie / March 5, 2006 6:33 AM PST

How on Earth do you go from not continuing to subsidize those that want to live on barrier islands and in cities below sea level to moving all those people inland 100 miles?

I didn't say anything about moving everyone out of the path of hurricanes. I didn't say anything about moving anyone. I said it's time for folks TO move inland, and I was specifically addressing the shoreline communities and the residents that settle there. CT's been hit by a few hurricanes that have done some damage -- including flooding of shoreline communities. But the entire state is probably within that 100 mile zone you are defining, and the zones that need to worry about NOLA-style destruction should such a storm hit are pretty concentrated on the shoreline.

Nobody can live in a risk-free location. That's why we purchase insurance to protect us from property loss. In this area, most home owners even purchase title insurance in case some remote Indian tribe might pop up and lay claim to the land. Why shouldn't the individual be responsible for insuring their own property? Even with heavy federal subsidy, the number of uninsured in the NOLA region is astounding. Sorry, I have no sympathy for that. It is arrogance to expect to be bailed out from one's own stupidity Sad

NOLA is a critical port. So charge more for its use, and pass that cost along to the consumer that purchases products that flow through it. NOLA seems to be very good at generating billions in tourism dollars when outsiders go to visit. Why not invest a fraction of those dollars in their own back yard to protect the industry that is so integral to NOLA?

Evie Happy

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Right on up there with the unfortunately common
by dirtyrich / March 4, 2006 12:38 AM PST

misperception that prevention and rescue operations are primarily the duty of FEMA... when FEMA is charged with the coordination and assistance of LOCAL efforts.

But heck, any loyal newswatcher will buy these lies all the time because journalists have no reason to lie.

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Sorry, Del, that's a non-starter.
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 4, 2006 12:59 AM PST

Levees, like earth dams, don't hold if overrun. And if the levee is overrun, even if it held it would be irrelevant -- a 15 foot levee is totally useless against a 17 foot storm surge Btw, there are waves well above that -- storm surge is the average increase in sea level, and in a storm you have wind-driven waves well in excess of that. Some officials from Biloxi visited Galveston (we have a 17-foot seawall that's subsided to 16 in some places) and described 22-foot waves on top of a 30-foot storm surge (in some places -- the surge height varies with the local topology of the ocean/Gulf floor). Bottom line -- Bush's saying he didn't know or wasn't warned is outright false, unless, of course, it's an indication of his lack of understanding what he was told. In any case, he should have known, as the gravity of the situation was clearly appreciated both at FEMA and the NHC.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Of course, Dave...
by J. Vega / March 4, 2006 1:19 AM PST

Of course, Dsve, comparing New Orleans to Galveston does not take into account something that Galveston does not have, Lake Pontchartrain, which somewhat complicates things.

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Actually, J., the Galveston comparison was more to Biloxi.
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 4, 2006 12:37 PM PST
In reply to: Of course, Dave...

Had Katrina hit around Freeport (same distance from Galveston as the Katrina strike from Biloxy), we'd probably look much like them, despite our seawall.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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They need you.......
by Mac McMullen / March 4, 2006 4:24 AM PST

....and your expertise in the Corp of Enginners and at FEMA.

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Bottom line: Where was Big Bill for eight years. If the
by Kiddpeat / March 4, 2006 5:06 AM PST

levees weren't high enough, why didn't the Democrats build them higher? Did recorded history restart with the Bush administration? Anything before that doesn't count?

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There's plenty of blame to go around there for both

parties, KP. Part of it was that levees are expensive, and we were in cost-cutting mode under Clinton (though original plans for better levees date back to the 80's, at east) But the FEMA botch job was entirely on Bush's watch. Clinton emphasized and professionalized natural disaster recovery (which Bush Sr. wasn't any better at than his son, for some of the same reasons, especially appointment of political hacks), but Bush first deprofessionalized it, then deemphasized it in favor of preparation for man-made disasters. Sad thing is -- do you think we'd really have done any better if the disaster had been a nuclear bomb in a ship docked in the Port of New Orleans than it was with Katrina? I sure don't!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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It has been pointed out to you before ...
by Evie / March 4, 2006 11:49 PM PST

... that the "professional" Witt became so because of Clinton appointed the "political hack" to that position in Arkansas.

Yes I do think FEMA would have done much better had it been a nuclear bomb in the port. The military would have moved in and done the job no matter what Blanco and Nagin did. And maybe the hysterical drive-by media would have stayed away for safety reasons and not fueled so many myths that kept emergency workers away.

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Just to add
by Evie / March 4, 2006 4:41 AM PST
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(NT) (NT) Excellent
by Dragon / March 4, 2006 8:54 AM PST
In reply to: Just to add
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And even if it WERE true
by Cindi Haynes / March 4, 2006 8:56 AM PST

What the h-e-double-hockeysticks could he do about it anyway?

They make it sound like he should have been standing on shore with a pail as a tidal wave rolls in!


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I'm sure some think so little
by dirtyrich / March 4, 2006 10:00 AM PST

of the office of the President that they would probably celebrate if he were lost in the rescue efforts.

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Its not the Office that is contemptible it is the man
by Ziks511 / March 4, 2006 11:30 PM PST

currently holding it and doing very little. I feel about Bush the way you feel about Clinton. And I don't recall anyone rushing to the defense of Clinton when he was attacked by the Republican Noise Machine from day one of his Presidency: Liddy, North, Limbaugh, Hannity et al. Where was your reverence for the Office of the Presidency then?

Nor would I celebrate if Bush were lost in the rescue efforts, I actually might feel something of a change of heart towards him if I thought he were strongly committed to making a difference for somebody not of his class.


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by dirtyrich / March 5, 2006 12:27 AM PST

I wasn't on the boards then, so that's the reason you didn't see me. Personally, I did express to my friends then that the controversies during the Clinton administration weakened the Presidency. Like the man or not, once he has shouldered the mantle of President, he IS the nation in a similar sense to the kings of old. We may be a democracy, but the representative power of the President is equal to, or maybe even greater, than any monarch. Hounding criticism weakens the nation internally and abroad.
It was the lack of such criticism that made the US strong during the World Wars. Citizens disagreed with the Presidents, and many were open with their disagreement, but there was nowhere near the level of character assassination that there is now.
People have forgotten that they are Americans. When they criticize the President, they are criticizing themselves and every other American. They are decreasing the chances of their own prosperity and livelihood. They are decreasing the chances of success for diplomatic and military operations abroad.
The most common criticism of President Bush is not concerning his policies... it is his intelligence and capability. This is base character assassination, and it also displays a lack of insight among the critics. How do you think other nations perceive American citizens if a majority of Americans elect an "idiot?" The lack of support abroad has more to do with our own media's attack on the President than any of his policies. USSR's dictators (eck, even Saddam) enjoyed more support abroad than our current President, and I'd say it's fair to say our President is less homicidal and psychotic.
So, to answer your response Rob, I'm not one of those mindless partisan blatherers who acts without concern of the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, much of our media and elected representatives are.

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