Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA is run by patronage hacks from the Bush campaign

This is appalling.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that is supposed to protect us all from the biggest disasters, is a patronage dump for Bush campaign hacks.

The Chief of Staff, Patrick Rhode, was a campaign worker for the campaign and has zero experience in emergency management. Here is his bio.

Same with the Deputy, Scott Morris. He had no experience either and worked on producing TV spots for the Bush campaign. Here is his bio.

No wonder the feds abandoned all those people for those four or five days. They didn't know any better because they were run by patronage hacks.

32 comments:

cal skinner said...

Maybe FEMA should be run by the military.

Anonymous said...

neither came from a major, sophisticated or urban area. they probably do not appreciate or realize the complexities of large cities.

i do not think FEMA should be run by the military, although it appears there needs to be a strong link. we may need commandos to be on standby for deployment to cities in an emergency. they need to be coordinated with local and state law enforcement.

FEMA had different people today than during 9/11 - FEMA met the challenge of 9/11 much more admirably.

It is hard to read someone's bio and know who will rise to the occasion and who will not. This is people smarts, intuition and a little bit of luck. Some people who have great formal qualifications are lousy. Some people who do not have great qualifications are outstanding, caring, effective and no BS people who will get the job done.

IlliniPundit said...

Maybe FEMA should be abolished and that funding given back to taxpayers to pay for their own emergency relief plans?

And, do you know ifthere any patronage hacks working in the Chicago emergency response chain-of-command? Or does the corruption in Chicago get a free pass from you because it's controlled by your political allies?

Corruption has consequences, especially when the crap hits the fan. How comfortable are you that Chicago's government could handle something like Katrina better than New Orleans' did? I'm not.

Anonymous said...

The fed govt lost lots of credibility in its investigations of Chicago and Mayor Daley. One could argue it looked politically inspired.

This should be a warning to IL: the fed machine may be controlled by people that do not care if blue-state people look bad. IL should not be prepared for help from Washington.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe FEMA should be abolished and that funding given back to taxpayers to pay for their own emergency relief plan"

what if the emergency is too big for their own emergency relief plan? what if it cuts across state lines or requires state coordination?

IlliniPundit said...

what if the emergency is too big for their own emergency relief plan? what if it cuts across state lines or requires state coordination?

I'm being mostly facetious, but FEMA has demonstrated across numerous disasters and emergencies (and administrations) that it is incompetent. Simply put, the Feds are ill-suited to such tasks, and they are better left to the states and municipalities and even the individuals, at least in the immediate aftermath. To ask the Feds to respond in less than a few days is expecting too much, and I suspect that those who are disappointed are those who still think the Federal government has something worthwhile to offer in the area of disaster relief. I expected the Feds to be incompetent, so I'm happy that when they did finally show up, they didn't accidentally blow themselves up.

Anonymous said...

"To ask the Feds to respond in less than a few days is expecting too much"

disagree.

respectful said...

Dan can't stand a patronage dump filled with political hacks? Isn't Dan a Chicago Democrat? I'd say that makes him a pot.

Extreme Wisdom said...

I wouldn't call Dan a "pot", but I'll happily point him to the recent series of Trib articles pointing out how corrupt Chicago and Cook County really are.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0509070032sep07,0,1316246.story?coll=chi-newsopinion-hed

Imagine that mean and awful Fitzgerald going after all these fine people and their unique "hiring practices."

All the "Odes to Brueaucracy" put out by the Bush Bashing fever swamps can change the fact the organizations like FEMA exist to provide jobs for useless people.

Kerry's cronies would have fared no better, and most of you probably admit it to yourselves, even if you can't in public.

I'll take you seriously when you attack the systemic waste and fraud in the entire structure.

The "class war", partisan Bush bashing" is lame.

Anonymous said...

Dan has a law degree from U of C?

Do these guys at FEMA have a grad degree from anywhere?

Lazerlou said...

I just don't get why the paranoid weirdos who live in the country and have poor educations are so afraid of the government in this day and age. "You big city guys and your bloated corrupt bureaucracies are workin' for the DEVIL I say!"
Fraud and waste in government is nothing compared to fraud and waste in everday life, dealing with unregulated corporations who just assume the responsibilities, for profit, that the government does not accept. You want waste? Look at the oil industry. You want waste? Look at the packaging industry? You want waste and fraud together? try scrutinizing Haliburton.

If Kerry were president he would have responded more quickly than Bush did to needy black people in the South. If Edwards was president I'd imagine half of the lives lost would have been saved for one reason or another.

You poor hicks don't even know what the real Republican party is about. Rich white people who live on the North Shore and Control all business and most government. They've fooled you with fear and paranoia, and you are too thick headed to even think for yourself.

Lazerlou said...

Oh yes, and patronage belongs in the day to day affairs of local government, as they take care of the daily necessities familiar to all. It does not belong in the Federal Emergency Management Agency which requires highly specialized talents. Those who don't get that haven't thought hard well or long about it.

BuckTurgidson said...

To paraphrase someone (Jon Stewart, perhaps - I don't recall):

Ambassadorships to Luxembourg (and New Zealand, perhaps) are for cronies.

FEMA is a bureaucracy, to be sure. But its head should at least have experience handling a bureaucracy - if not emergencies.

Looking up a horse's rear end does not qualify as good experience. Brown is in over his head, and it has been pretty clearly demonstrated.

Anonymous said...

Check out Fritchey's post on this topic, johnfritchey.blogspot.com

Extreme Wisdom said...

LazerLou (and all),

Your prowess at pugilistic partisan persuasiveness is legendary. The fact remains that if this debacle had transpired in the EXACT SAME FASHION, but under Bill Clinton, you would be holding forth on how he did all he could and it was all some one elses fault.

Your assertions that (paraphrasing here) "Kerry would have surpassed even Jesus, Moses & Mohammed" is more sermonizing from the faithful.

Here is a news tidbit from the Washington post that I thought y'all should read.

It does wonders to dispell the myths put forth by the DailyKos NoiseMachine.

___

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/07/AR2005090702462_pf.html

"Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing.

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate.

Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon."

___

I'm hoping that this commission to investigate Katrina's Aftermath really does happen.

I'm confident that it will provide a textbook on bureaucratic failure. I'm confident that Nagin & Blanco will look worse than Bush.

I'm also confident it will not change a thing. I'm confident that it will also yield even more spending, more waste, and fail just as spectacularly under Queen Hillary.

Anonymous said...

oh boy, isn't this delicious? Republicans put HACKS in the agency charged with saving our lives.

Isn't it the GOP that consistenly criticizes Dems, especially Chicago ones like you and I, for hiring cronies with no qualifications?

Dems may hire hacks, but they don't put them in such sensitive positions like FEMA. So, not only was Bush and Co. doing the exact thing they accused others of doing, but they did it worse!

This shows a very disturbing lack of judgement by the President. After 9/11, with all of the money and concern about future terrorist attacks, he still put unqualified hacks in jobs that are supposed to safeguard the public.

Putting hacks in the Commerce Department or such is one thing...but in FEMA?!

Once again, hypocracy is spelled GOP.

Anonymous said...

In defense of FEMA:

The military needed to go into New Orleans. They needed to be pre-positioned or pre-deployed ... at least a small group should have been pre-positioned or pre-deployed. I do not see this as FEMA's fault. FEMA probably can not pick up the phone and order the military. This would be the job of Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney. I think the buck has to stop with these three on this one. I do not think FEMA should be become the entire scapegoat for this, or even the primary scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4232084.stm

where is rummy?

Matt Wos said...

Wisdom:

You just can't face reality, can you? Bush screwed up. And if you are really the party of "personal responsibility" you will then not make excuses for why the federal government's response to the disaster was, well, a disaster. And, in fact, I think the response if Kerry were President would have been better. He certainly would not have put unqualified people in charge of public safety agencies like FEMA.

Face it. For all of the spin you Republicans put out there about keeping the American public "safe", it has now been shown that you can't do it. And you can't do it because you are too busy trying to shrink the size of government and sending our National Guard overseas when they should have been here at home.

Explain this to me. A C-5 Galaxy Transport plane can fly three M-1 Abrams tanks across the ocean anywhere in the world. Yet FEMA or the Military could not get supplies into the impacted areas until 4 + days after the disaster?!?! And the airport was open the whole time!

There was no excuse for it. Bush blew it. You can't blame the Governor and the Mayor. There is no way a state or much less a city had the resources to help that many people. Only the Federal Government could do that. But since incompetent hacks ran the place, help was not forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

rumsfeld-

this was more a military screw up than a FEMA screw up.

Extreme Wisdom said...

Matt Wos wrote:

"There was no excuse for it. Bush blew it. You can't blame the Governor and the Mayor.

Extreme Wisdom writes:

I have no problem agreeing with the proposition that "Bush blew it" in some way or another.

Frankly, had he had the guts to start overriding Blanco's & Nagin's authority 24 hours before landfall, much of this could have been avoided.

Of course, you, Dan, & Lazer Lou would then be calling him a "fascist" and there would have been no 3 days with out food or water to compare results.

This is where your partisanship and "Bush hatred" lead you astray. To say that Bush blew it is one thing.

To say that Nagin & Blanco bear no responsibility is absurd to anyone who isn't a rabid partisan. They are clearly incompetent.

To ignore the massive mistake of adding layers and layers of bureaucracy on top of each other is also disengenuous, as it was obviously part of the problem.

To ignore that fact that a Gore or a Kerry would have simply had their "hacks" in place is laughable, and every one reading this (who isn't a rabid partisan) knows it.

The money was there, the infrastructure was there, and an entire nation ready to assist was there, the only thing missing was leadership and accountability.

Your failure to understand that the giant bureaucracies you (tacitly) support are specifically designed to destroy that leadership and accountabilty is a blind spot big enough to drive a truck through.

Go on with your never-ending "Bush bashing". It's been doing wonders for "your side," hasn't it?

BuckTurgidson said...

"To ignore the massive mistake of adding layers and layers of bureaucracy on top of each other is also disengenuous..."

Like folding FEMA into DHS, for example?

"To ignore that fact that a Gore or a Kerry would have simply had their "hacks" in place is laughable..."

Really? James Lee Witt, to use a recent examply, at least led the Arkansas Office of Emergency Response. A political crony? Sure. But one who had more experience than looking up a horse's ass.

I agree that Nagin and Blanco probably bear some responsibility, but to suggest -as many have- that this is a zero-sum game, and their culpibilities relieve Bush and Co. of all responsibility is ALSO partisan and/or foolish.

Lazerlou said...

Ok, before I write you off as a complete idiot hick from the boonies somewher, plese do support this argument you advance:

Your failure to understand that the giant bureaucracies you (tacitly) support are specifically designed to destroy that leadership and accountabilty is a blind spot big enough to drive a truck through.

Just once, respond to an argument with more than its laughable, and for once support your argument.

You can also address my argument that in teh absence of state bureaucracy, there is corporate bureaucracy that takes its place whic is usually more pernicious. So you have your choice.

If you can't respond with more than dumb lowbrow conservative rhetoric, I ask you elave this board and populate a board with other low IQ idiots who are scared of government.

Lazerlou said...

And BTW, there is nothing tacit about my support of government bureaucracy. Did you just lean that word? If so, use it when appropriate.

Idiot.

Extreme Wisdom said...

The entire Katrina debacle is has done wonders for seperating the wheat from the chaff.

Compare Lazer Lou from Buck T.

Buck T states:

"I agree that Nagin and Blanco probably bear some responsibility, but to suggest -as many have- that this is a zero-sum game, and their culpibilities relieve Bush and Co. of all responsibility is ALSO partisan and/or foolish."

E. Wisdom writes:

This is the type of conversation reasonable people can engage in.

I've not stated that "Bush & Co" bear no responsibility, nor would I make such an argument.

Buck & I might disagree on much, but it seems we can engage in enlightened discourse.

Contrast that with the rantings of Mr. Lou - who confuses rational disagreement with words like "idiot" and "dumb low brow conservative rhetoric" - all wrapped up in ad hominem attacks on anyone who have the audacity to disagree with his dogma.

Lou,

Your contrasting "state bureaucracy" with "corporate bureaucracy" betrays your shallow leftist bias.

I'm under no illusions about corporate bureaucracy, which I expect to be entirely self-interested and biased in favor of those interests (the profit motive).

You, on the other hand, appear to be completely blind to the exact same biases on the part of the bloated, corrupt and featherbedded government bureaucracies you blantantly support.

[my use of the word "tacitly" was applied to Mr. Wos - it isn't all about YOU - Lou]

I enjoy your rants, as they say much more about you than they do about me.

Pick a topic and a venue. Let's set up a debate. Any time, any place, any where.

I trust the participants won't have any trouble seperating the wheat from the chaff either.

I now leave you to more of your empty bluster.

Anonymous said...

extreme wisdom has some interesting things to say.

however, the identity "extreme wisdom" does not give me tons of confidence- if you are extremely wise, your words and not your self-designated moniker will do your talking.

Lazerlou said...

Yes, his self-chosen identity is all too revealing of his tiny syphilitic brain. He challenged me to the bloggers equvalent of a fight! I love it. Mr. Extreme Conservative Hick, if you ever bothered to read and respond rathar than spout last years Republican talking points, you'd know I have nothing but contempt for the bloated, corrupt government bureacracies that exist today. But my solution isn't a crude, ignorant conclusion that government is a priori incapable of doing good for people. Instead I look at the flaws of these bureaucracies and see a lack of talent and funding, mainly due to a tax system and political structure that inherently favors the very small number of truly wealthy people in our country, and more importantly the corporate entities they control and the wealth and power those corporations wield. Government is incompetent because those really in power - all those rich white guys like Rummy on the North Shore, all those guys you so wished you were and have delusionally convinced yourself that you can and might (with just the right amount of hard work and prayer to Jesus) be one day - have made sure it serves their interests alone, that it is sickly and incompetent and is sure to perpetuate and reproduce class divisions in perpetuity guaranteeing cheap labor and an alienated populace full of fear, who have malleable values and influenceable consumption patterns.

Why I wast emy time on hick republican idiots, I know not.

Extreme Wisdom said...

Lou,

Probably for the same reason I "waste my time" on loud mouth, class war, blow hards...

Practice, saw sharpening (see Covey), & entertainment.

_

BTW, the name came from my Dearly Departed Dad, who asked me whether I had "any extreme wisdom" on the events of 9/11 (he dropped by that evening).

Most responses to the naming of both the radio show and the blog have been positive. Most (but not all) detractors were the type of people who didn't have much else of value to say.

You fit that bill appropriately.

Lazerlou said...

Says the guy who uses the term "class warfare" in earnest. Yea, you have lots to say buddy. Save it for your "radio show." Are you a high school student in Peoria?

Anonymous said...

hey-

i went to high school in peoria, and i was the one wrote teh following:

"however, the identity "extreme wisdom" does not give me tons of confidence- if you are extremely wise, your words and not your self-designated moniker will do your talking."

everyone may need to cool down. the internet is a hot medium. people get all worked up. we need to look for common ground.

it is probably not advisable to pick fights based on geography stereotype

peace-

Anonymous said...

Probably for the same reason I "waste my time" on loud mouth, class war, blow hards...


The current govt is spending way more than they collect in taxes. Current federal spending increases, in % terms, are big. It is not clear what we get for this spending, or if it will grow the economy. A recession may not be too far away-

Lazerlou said...

Sorry my bad, Peroria county was 50-50 Kerry-Bush in 2004. And my anger has nothing to do with the Internet. I'm pretty fucking pissed off with this administration, the state of our country, how we treat the poor, and all the idiot middle class suburban dupes who voted for Bush. I don't like ignorant republicans who can only muster wnough brain power to regurgitate rhetoric they pick up from Fox News, and for fuck's sake, this is DJW's blog. And that is the great thing about and partly what the Internet is for. I can't get pissed off and take it out on middling Republican hicks in real life.

Anyway, Peoria is a lovely town, even if there are quite a few white middle class republicans there, a group I don;t suffer lightly these days.