From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The Bigger Threat

August 31, 2005 12:28 PM

Editorial from the director of the King County, Washington Office of Emergency Management on the gutting of FEMA.

Who's the bigger threat? Terrorists or God?

More from the archive in Tragedy.

The Bigger Threat (08.31.2005)

Next Entry: Cancer Giggles (08.31.2005)
Previous Entry: Compromising... or Compromised? (08.30.2005)

Read the 12 comments.

Dave E.:

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee” - John Donne (1572-1631)

My heart aches for those poor souls trapped in and around New Orleans.

The truest measure of the goodness of a society, is how well it takes care of its poor, helpless, and hopeless. Right now the federal government is doing a downright shitty job saving that city. This is a disgrace.

Rippling just under the surface of this, one of the most serious disasters ever to befall an American metropolitan region, is the issue of race and the issue of class. Chertoff, in so many words, has essentially expressed an ambivalence to those that are trapped and dying. The media is calling their struggle to survive (remember, this is an American city in the year 2005) looting. A more accurate term is scavenging.

Peggy Noonan is calling for all looters to be shot. I'd like to see her privileged ass survive 1 hour down there with her holier-than-thou bullshit. That bullshit don't keep you hydrated. Bitch.

Once upon a time, I was involved with some impressive war simulation exercises where we would essentially drop into the middle of nowhere and build a fully-functioning city. Literally, in the span of hours. The military can do this, almost with a yawn. Too bad they're all gone right now.

One thing is certain: if I were a member of the Lousiana National Guard deployed overseas right now, I'D BE SEETHING.

Seething knowing that I'm stuck risking my neck for BushCo's little pet project, while the very real home I left, which I signed up to protect from very real dangers, is descending into unmitigated chaos.

I need to take a deep breath and count to 10. Mighty pissed off today. My "tolerance" for anyone apologizing for this sorry excuse of a president, is rapidly decreasing from almost nil to nil.

We have no president, as long as that man sits in the oval office.

Thu Sep 1 2005 5:13 PM


Right Wing Robby:

nothing is above politics for liberals. They just keep the hate alive in all circumstances.


"My "tolerance" for anyone apologizing for this sorry excuse of a president, is rapidly decreasing from almost nil to nil."

Your tolerence? lol.

Arent you from Canada anyway?


Thu Sep 1 2005 8:24 PM


Dave E.:

Who left the door to the wingnut coop open?

Fri Sep 2 2005 1:07 AM


NJGuardsman:

Dave E said: “When I served, I knew we were not a force designed for law and order. No way. We were/are designed to destroy other armies and TAKE territory. With extreme prejudice. This is a very obvious distinction,”

How dare the military go into New Orleans with guns blazing how dare the police arrest those “scavengers” from eating those 10 pairs of Nike sneakers!

STOP RANTING START DOING go join the Red Cross and Help I have volunteered and my unit is on Stand by!

Fri Sep 2 2005 2:07 PM


Dave E.:

Don't twist my words with your petulant and disrespectful bloviating. In no galaxy or cosmos is Iraq analogous to the Gulf Coast, and for you to make such an analogy proves you have no excuses left for your president.

We are a worldwide embarassment as a nation right now. Our government failed us. That could easily be any one of us. Our shiny new, post-9/11, multi-billion dollar, GOP-constructed toy of a government isn't worth squat. Why? Because it's all invested in one thing: the interests of business. Not the people. No way, no how. Rugged individualism, along with the GOP 'compassionate conservatism', is a steaming crock of shit.

Stand by huh. Yeah, that helps.

Fri Sep 2 2005 7:29 PM


NJGuardsman:

“Petulant”? “Disrespectful”?!?! I’m pretty sure you’re older then me, BUT I’m a long way from 18 for you to say those things about me, I’m not some punk kid! I have never “disrespected” you.

Now lets see, Iraq has cities, the gulf coast has cities, the military is in Iraq, the military is the gulf coast Hmmmmmm is it the same military in both? Why yes, yes it is!

Those were your words and turn about is fair play, it is the SAME in both places in that the military is performing: security operations, feeding those who are hungry and supporting those who can’t support themselves. BUT you seem to think all we do is kill people and break things – so why don’t you tell that little secret to the UN when they need “PEACE KEEPERS” and we have to put on those stupid blue helmets (blue targets) and do the world’s dirty work.

By The Way, the UN’s silence is DEAFENING about what happened to our gulf coast.

I’ve been in Biloxi, I’ve been in New Orleans and spent lots of time in both, and I have friends there that I cant get in touch with!

I’ve donated money, helped my church send food & water to the gulf and even loaded KC-135s with supplies for the gulf. What have you done besides rant? Did you at least join the Red Cross?

Oh yeah I don’t know if you know this but (are you sitting down), did you know that New Orleans existed before that spawn of Satan George W. Bush took office?

On a personal, I have given myself to: My God, My Family and my Country, do/did you obviously think that anything you could possibly write on this site could actually bother/hurt me?

Mon Sep 5 2005 10:13 PM


Right Wing Robby:

"By The Way, the UN’s silence is DEAFENING about what happened to our gulf coast."

I guess that means the UN doesnt care about black people.

Mon Sep 5 2005 11:40 PM


Tom from Madison:

The neo-cons are once again missing the point.

We are the wealthiest country in the world, yet many people died needlessly because we didn't get help on the way soon enough. Why are some American citizens more at risk than citizens of third world countries? How can Russia, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, and Cuba all be offering assistance before we're helping our own people?

We have a Dept of Homeland Security that failed in a big way. Ditto for FEMA. The National Guard deployment to Iraq indicates a grand mis-allocation of resources. We needed those people at home much more than we need them in Iraq!

We simply aren't keeping ourselves safer.
1) We didn't take the steps we should have been to keep New Orleans safe from flooding. Years of neglect, including budget cuts for shoring up levees were DELIBERATE ACTIONS by the Bush administration. They need to be held accountable.
2) We don't have ANY PLAN in place when a known disaster is coming. We knew [for years] generally that a hurricane would hit and threaten levees. We knew specifically for days before Katrina hit. Yet there were no plans to deal with evacatuation of people who had no way out; no plans to deal with flooding which should have been anticipated.

The fault is not with the UN, it's with the Bush Administration. We can do better for our own people. We must!

Tue Sep 6 2005 10:33 AM


Tom from Madison:

Common Dreams has an excellent article concerning the role of the US government.

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0905-23.htm

Grover Norquist has suggested that he'd like to shrink the US government so that it can be drowned in the bath tub. When it comes to providing services to the average citizen, that's exactly what's been happening since Bush was elected.

The results are in. They are disasterous and shameful.

Some groups of people, especially the poor, and some geographical areas, especially urban, are not being protected. We don't have pro-active polices, only reaction after thousands have died.

We all need to remember this at the polls. Republicans have been wasting Homeland Security $ in a big way and shirking their responsibilities to keep American cities safe.

Americans would do well to compare the reality today to the rhetoric from the Bush Administration. Choosing to fight an elective war in Iraq while leaving the coast at risk is a blunder of epic proportions.

Tue Sep 6 2005 12:39 PM


Dave E.:

NJ...calm down chief. No one here is trying to hurt you. In no way am I impugning your desire to help, the way you are mine. I'm sure your hearts in the right place. It's your head I worry about.

I guess I wasn't clear about something.

I was calling the words you used to characterize those deserted by their government and left to fend for themselves as being petulant and disrespectful. Namely, "eating 10 pairs of Nike sneakers". If the looting (and of course there was looting) is all that you draw outrage from here, you've categorically missed every one of my points.

Perhaps my language has been inflammatory. When one writes while viewing gross negligence on the scale this has become, that writing will tend to skew toward emotional. I make no apologies.

By the way. Anyone remember last years Hurricane Charley response in Florida? Bush was on that like stink on a monkey:

"Even before Hurricane Charley struck, the second Bush White House was poised to act, this time backed by another Bush in the Florida governor's mansion. Hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall, federal aid was flowing, and the president arrives this morning."
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/articles/2004/08/15/president_bush_surveys_charleys_aftermath/

And this line from a St.Petersburg Times article JUMPS off the page at me:

"The first assistance checks to victims were to be shipped Monday night."
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/08/17/Weather/Unlike_Andrew__aid_s_.shtml

Hurricane Charley made landfall on the previous Friday night. Bush was busy touring devastated areas two days later, and pouring money into Florida less than three days later.

This time around, he was busy strumming a guitar while people were still dying.

What is additionally very disturbing, ancillary to all of this tragedy, is that, this country is in no way prepared for a major terrorist attack. Somebody make a cogent argument against this statement.

For all of the ceaseless and sweeping, relentless and myopic obsession with terrorism, for Cheney's incredulous "if you elect him, we'll get hit again" bullshit, for all of the lives lost in the name of "fighting them there instead of here" fallacy, for all of the billions of dollars spent in Iraqi reconstruction while domestic infrastructure erodes out of sheer neglect...

For all of this trouble, we are WORSE OFF THAN BEFORE 9/11.

It is the undeniable, unfortunate, explicitly demonstrated, graphic truth we all see laying in ruins before us.

Tue Sep 6 2005 4:05 PM


Dave E.:

Oops. The point I was illustrating by looking at Charley from last year, if no one drew the inference, was that Bush needed to carry Florida to win in 04. Naturally, the federal money floweth forth in gushes.

Apparently the degree of care in response is only equivalent to what the area can do for him politically.

Lousiana? Too poor. Fuck'em, I'm on vacation.

Tue Sep 6 2005 4:10 PM


connie:

I TO WAS IN A FLOOD IN LAS VEGAS ON AUGUST 19 03FEMA NEVER SHOWED UP SO THANK GOD YOU WERE SAVED AND RECIEVED MONEY AND SHELTER THATS MORE THAN WE GOT I WOULD HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO HAVE 2000.00 DOLLARS AND ASAFE PLACE TO SLEEP COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Wed Sep 14 2005 9:59 PM


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