Debunking the WaPo and Bush Administration: Gov. Blanco Requested Federal Aid from Bush on Sunday, August 28th – 2 Days Before Katrina Struck

In a well detailed letter to President Bush, Governor Kathleen Blanco requested that Bush declare an “expedited state of disaster for the State of Louisiana… beginning on August 28, 2005 and continuing.”

It appears there is some confusion over at the White House about when Governor Blanco requested aid and for that matter when she declared a State of Emergency for the State of Louisiana.

According to the WaPo, “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” That’s rather curious because the letter from Governor Blanco to President Bush clearly states that she declared a State of Emergency on August 26, 2005.

Perhaps the two journalists for the WaPo don’t frequent DU, but they should, if they did they might have seen the link to the letter. And a quick visit to Gov.Louisiana.gov would have turned up the link to this: STATE OF EMERGENCY – HURRICANE KATRINA – August 26, 2005. The State of Emergency Order clearly states that “The state of emergency extends from Friday, August 26, 2005, through Sunday, September 25, 2005, unless terminated sooner.”

It seems that these two documents do create a bit of sticky situation for the lies of the Bush administration, perpetuated by the WaPo in this story — Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting, White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials.

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. “Quite frankly, if they’d been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,” said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.

Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.

“The federal government stands ready to work with state and local officials to secure New Orleans and the state of Louisiana,” White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said. “The president will not let any form of bureaucracy get in the way of protecting the citizens of Louisiana.”

Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state’s victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort.

Clearly the WaPo could have done a better job with a bit of investigative journalism. They chose the easy way out and let the claims of the Bush administration stand as a statement of their headline, rather than refute the Bush administration’s claims, as I have above.

Shame on WaPo journalists Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu, while many other journalists have finally wrestled free from the propaganda driven Republican Noise Machine, it appears these two are still members of The Disinformation Society.

It’s too little, too late from the Bush administration. AFP News reports tonight that “Katrina criticisms echo past complaints against Bush.”

Complaints about President George W. Bush’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina echo past criticisms over crises like the Asian tsunami or the Iraq war.

Doubters are asking whether he reacted too slowly to the catastrophe, sent enough troops to keep order, or relied too much on rosy scenarios spun by senior aides while New Orleans descended into anarchy.

Some lawmakers and local emergency officials have called Washington’s initial reaction “a national disgrace” and assailed the Bush administration as having a too-little, too-late response.

AFP News, also held back no punches for their peers, in declaring that “On its Internet site, CNN on Friday quoted upbeat assessments of relief efforts by US officials, which contrasted sharply with the grim conditions on the ground.”

One more hat-tip tonight to AFP for this story: Louisiana Senator raps Bush over Katrina effort.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu branded President George W. Bush’s visit to a busted levee in New Orleans a mere photo-op, and slammed his government’s response to the hurricane tragedy.

We’re continuing to look for more truth in journalism, as evidently some are still relying on bad habits and haven’t felt the true horror of what a failed administration we have at the helm. There simply are not enough adjectives to describe what most Americans are feeling right now.

UPDATE: See what the other blogs are saying about this WaPo story here. The conservative spinners are spinning…

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19 Responses to Debunking the WaPo and Bush Administration: Gov. Blanco Requested Federal Aid from Bush on Sunday, August 28th – 2 Days Before Katrina Struck

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Pamela,

    Oops, I got the Senator and the Governor morphed into one person. Too much info for the old gray cells.

    Some interesting stuff on the BBC site on Has enough been done?. Input from UK, Europe, Africa, India, SA Australia and US. The US has a good representation of Bush supporters trying to make it out to be the state/city screwing up + the large area, flooding etc. I suggested they go check the globe on the size of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Also comments on the offers of help from all over. What really got to me, in the light of people at work complaining about where were the countries we helped: 44 countries & organizations have offered assistance. The UN. Canada offered troops. SrI Lanka and Indonesia – money they obviously don’t have. Bush declined.

    There’s a little bell going off in my brain. How are they going to get around this ?
    Reagan was considered the Teflon president. Is W the Silicone Prez?

  2. Ginny

    Even North Korea offered aid. He’s whacked – totally whacked. I sent this to the journalists from the WaPa and the WaPo editor, too.

  3. Southern Crone says:

    Obviously W is the silicone prez. He’s all fake!!

  4. Anyone who didn’t see Meet the Press today try to catch a replay.

    Missed the 1st 5 minutes but Cherkoff was on and Tim was actually trying to get him to answer concerning which person or people should be held responsible for this total failure. Of course he kept ignoring that(no time for that now, must concentrate now on helping people…repeat…repeat…) Tim kept trying to get him to answer that and wouldn’t let him use the “nobody anticipated this…” BS either.

    Tim was actually trying to get answers without immediately accepting total GOP drivel, spin and BS, as he normally does. Tim actually acted more like does when going after a Dem.

    Next up was the president of the Jefferson county(?) Parish. Tim repeated the Bush admins/GOP recent laying of blame(it was the fault of the NO mayor and Gov fault). Wait until you hear this guy. It is MUST SEE TV.

    After that were some experts explaining once again that what occured in NO well known for years. That everyone knew it would happen sooner or later and what the results would be when a storm hit like this was known and reported to be for days before.

  5. Dave

    I overslept… Russert did it?

  6. Russert actually tried, repeatedly. Dept. of Homeland Insecurity head just stuck to the typical Bush admin lines for all their F’ups for the past 5 years.

    Russet gave him no passes on his BS though. It was nice to see for a change.

    Gee, if Russet and the rest of the MSM and talking heads had been doing this during the 2000 election forward, even just occasionally, they wouldn’t all have so much blood on their hands.

    They are as guilty as the GOP is and even more than some Bush voters are, since the MSM has done everything possible for 5 years to keep the public ignorant and uninformed, BS’d and lied to.

    Will the MSM finally start to act like at least the minimal free press/media expected in a Democracy and required for it’s survival? Who knows. But from their track record the last 15 years I would expect them not too and just to return to their worthless propaganda repeating selves.

    In any case, as stated above, it is too late for the MSM to undo the damage to our countryt they are already responsible for. They helped create the current GOP and this adminstration, and at this point, nothing they do from this point forward can wash the blood from their hands

  7. Pamela, the segment with the President of the Jefferson Parish is probably the most important segment of the show. Not just is sobbing break down when trying to tell his final story. What he says of who was responsible from them (and even walmart) of trying to prevent disaster is very telling.

    It is WAY past the time for many people in this administration to start to finally be help responsible and pay for their at best criminal negligence, and at times actual crimes against humanity, our country and outright acts of Treason!

    Along with our military, these people take an oath of office that they will “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC” It is past time for some public hangings. I think the DC Mall would be a good place to use.

  8. Oops, that should have read “who was reponsible for preventing them(and even walmart) from trying to prepare for and implement relief efforts.”

  9. Dave

    Funny Tim Russert story:

    When we were in NH at the Kennedy rally, we were in the Press area. Juliet and I went out to find the ladies room and passed by Tim Russert. Not being a TV watcher, I confused him with Chris Matthews and smiled at him and said “oh hey, you’re Chris Matthews!” He grumbled back – “NO – TIM RUSSERT.”

    Every time we saw him at events after, he gave me funny looks.

    I’m going to post some of the trascript soon from today. I’m really glad he hammered them.

  10. kj says:

    Dave, thanks. Have set TiVo for the Russert replay.

    Here is a link to the five-part series from The Times-Picayune re: the levees, etc. published June 23-27, 2002.
    http://www.nola.com/hurricane/?/washingaway/

  11. Ginny in CO says:

    Dave,

    I think effigies would add to the Cindy Sheehan & families against the war march in DC. How about some big banners with the legal charge for War Crimes on it? I would personally carry one that said “George, the CIC doesn’t need a Permission Slip to protect US citizens from natural disasters”

    Also want to see if a lot more people will go now that we see this kind of disaster here because we committed so much time and billions to Iraq. It’s time to make the point that “starving the beast” to kill the social programs has other consequences we suffer from more than paying the % of those programs that go to the “undeserving poor”.

    Maybe the US can get past Forwarning is Futile when it comes to preparing for highly predictable events/needs. Oh, there I go again, delusional.

    BTW, my impression is that NO uses “Parish” like NYC uses “Boroughs” When the rest of the country went to “counties”, their terms were too ingrained to change. Anybody?

  12. Ginny in CO,

    Yes my sign will say something concerning Bush crimes against the U.S. and humanity.

    At this point there is nothing that I will settle for except trials with no pardons and public hangings at the DC mall, with their bodies left hanging for citizens to throw stones at and spit upon.

    I’m going to the pool now. Maybe if I stay in the water long enough I can cool off my anger. Though at this point, all it will likely do is remind me that this government forced my fellow citizens to try to survive on their own in rivers of toxic waste for a week

  13. Ginfizz says:

    In to an article posted on Alternet, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff is quoted as follows:

    (Posted on September 3, 2005 at 1:25 PM.)

    Secretary Chertoff: Actually, I think there was an extraordinary effort to put resources on the ground and pre-position them. As I said, THE PRESIDENT DECLARED STATES OF EMERGENCY BEFORE THE HURRICANE MADE LANDFALL. So that enabled us not only to put large quantities of water and food and tarpaulins and generators in place, but it also allowed us to actually start flowing that out in advance.

    So what is WaPo talking about?

  14. Ginny in CO says:

    Ginfizz,

    WaPo is dithering between echo journalism and professional work.

    Interesting that Chertoff actually admitted the state of emergency had been declared for MS and LA on Sunday. Just adds to the evidence that their preparation for a well predicted, fully anticipated (by everyone except Chertoff) disaster was unbelievably short. (This has been pointed out by Americans who do international disaster relief) No guard troops mobilized? No amphibious vehicles sent top speed? Small boats? Choppers? Fuel? How were they going to distribute the food, water and generators?

    And then there was the evacuation plan for the sick, elderly, frail, and poor. The estimate on the numbers that would not be able to evacuate on their own had been established and was on target. It doesn’t take a lot of math to figure the # of buses and time for that. NO had asked for disaster planning/prep $ for years, given that the amount was far in excess of what the city and state could afford.

    Surely there is a railroad into NO? The cars and clearance time could have been done
    MUCH faster than buses, Some of them might have been box cars – and I doubt there would have been much resistance to that by evacuees. Could they have done BOTH??

    Chertoff doesn’t quite get what “extraordinary effort” means in a situation like this.
    Maybe he should ask Richard Clarke. Who, BTW, pointed out that the reorganization of FEMA, etc., into a whole new Homeland Security Department, would cut their individual effectiveness for years.

    Yup, being a beaurocrat is HARD WORK. The pay isn’t that great either.

  15. RR says:

    If you want to watch both Russert interviews in toto, go to http://www.crooksandliars.com or Daily Dissent at http://dissent.blogspot.com/#112057898947248362

    The President of Jefferson Parrish–Broussard–is the single most powerful thing I’ve ever seen on Meet The Press.

  16. RR

    Thanks for the links! I was hoping C&L would have it.

  17. Dave from Princeton Says: September 4th, 2005 at 11:32 am

    Dave

    I hope the pool helps! I just had a massage and I’m slightly decompressed.

  18. big dave from queens says:

    The Right wing liars and their echo chamber are using talking points that go as follows: 1. Criticize all democrats as playing the blame game and attack these Democrats as playing politics, opportunists, Bush haters, etc.. 2. Play the blame game + make Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco the scapegoats.

    The main lie being promulgated by the Right wingers is that the mayor and governor were responsible for the inaction. They are even claiming that the governor of Louisiana is at fault for FEMA’s inaction and she was the one who was in charge.

    To counter this lie, simply point out the truth. Blanco asked for help days before the hurricane struck only to be told No by Bush.

    Bush also has a federal agreement with the airlines to order them to evacuate people prior to a hurricane. But the airlines left Saturday and thousands were stranded on Sunday.

    FEMA, the national guard, the navy, the army corp of engineers, etc. should have been on standby 100-150 miles away read to move on the minute the storm passed through. It took Bush 3 days to even get started.

    If we had a president who cared more about people, a president who had a soul or a conscience, he’d have been at his ranch or the White house Monday morning monitoring the situation, have activated all the things I refered to above by 11 am Monday morning, and by 3 pm Monday afternoon lives would have been said.

    Instead, we have a subhuman piece of scum in the White house. And gosh darn it, how could he waste his beautiful mind worrying about dead Americans when he was scheduled to play golf and fiddle with a guitar the next 2 days.

  19. Big Dave from Queens

    “FEMA, the national guard, the navy, the army corp of engineers, etc. should have been on standby 100-150 miles away read to move on the minute the storm passed through.”

    My thoughts and feelings exactly. I was livid when I saw the WaPo was buying the Noise Machine’s line.

    Why wasn’t Bush monitoring this. It was SO evident to me that those levee’s were going to break. They should have started immediate evacuations. Bush should not have waited one second. FEMA and the Guard should have been on the move as soon the storm passed.

    It’s a huge crime, a colossal crime.