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Paul Krugman at the New York Times and Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt Leading America Into the Next Slaughter

Michael C. Ruppert

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

September 6, 2005 1100 PST (FTW)Following is a story by Paul Krugman of the New York Times which basically lays the blame for all these “failures” (how sick we are of hearing that word after 9/11) at the feet of Bush funding cuts at the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) since 2001. If you have been watching TV at all – who hasn’t? – you have also seen former Clinton FEMA Director, James Lee Witt emerging as a knight in white armor saying basically the same thing. Yes, it’s true that under the Clinton administration many of these challenges were better addressed and planned for. But that was before Peak Oil and climate collapse.

Can you hear Hillary and Bill chuckling? The Clinton administration also helped create the greater canvas on which these new brush strokes are being placed. Have you forgotten that Bill Clinton and Bush I are great buddies, traveling the world together? George Herbert Walker Bush just loves Bill Clinton. Why is that?

Beware America. Beware.

If we’re to follow the current media line, the litany of errors and deliberate, callous decision making which has cost so many lives with Katrina is to be blamed solely upon the White House. It is now a virtual certainty that a Democrat will be placed there in 2008 (I did not say elected and will not until we have verifiable paper ballots returned to us). What we now see emerging clearly is that the Democrats will make it a major plank in their platform that FEMA’s budget will be enormously expanded, along with its authority to act independently in a “crisis.” The poor, dispossessed and fearful will likely cheer for and demand these steps without having the slightest clue what they are asking for. Already I have heard Jesse Jackson pointing at FEMA and calling for hearings. The Democrats have found their sheet music.

Intelligent critics from both left and right have for years painstakingly documented FEMA’s paramount leadership role in Continuity of Government (COG) operations and planning. Better described, COG is what will happen if Congress is nuked, if a major catastrophe makes “normal” government operations impossible, or if there is major civil unrest (or total economic collapse). Much of FEMA’s infrastructure is really dedicated to this task and not to disaster relief. The COG function and authority has been greatly expanded since 9/11. At FTW we have written about FEMA many times and discussed it at length in my book Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil.

There is no shortage of verifiable government records confirming all this including about two score Executive Orders, The Patriot Act, The Homeland Security Bill, and a couple of pieces of legislation having to do with biological warfare enacted in the post-9/11 climate. COG work was initially begun way back in the late 1970s, and involved early input from the likes of Iran-Contra criminal Oliver North. That’s where FEMA actually came from.

If this thinking is not curtailed, then as the economic collapse of the United States becomes ever harder to conceal, FEMA will have been given a green light to impose the most draconian and heartless of measures in our country. FEMA will have the ability to divide the US up into ten autonomous regions, independently governed. Denver will be key to that decentralization and I note with irony that the CIA recently announced it was moving its National Resources (formerly Domestic Operations) Division to Denver (Washington Post, May 5, 2005) . FEMA will have the authority to confiscate any private property, food, medicine, personal vehicles, water supplies and even to impress citizens into forced labor and relocation as needed. FEMA will be able to override all local governments in a declared national emergency, quarantine neighborhoods and compel people to receive untested (for efficacy) vaccinations of drugs which may be dangerous (remember the smallpox vaccines?) and which will only enrich the pharmaceutical companies. FEMA will have the authority to confiscate firearms and gold held by private individuals. The government records proving what I say here are available in abundance and have been widely circulated over the internet for years. The little that remains of our Bill of Rights will simply cease to exist with a Code Red terror alert or another Katrina. And global warming makes another Katrina somewhere inevitable.

In short, what is being set up here is a massive, misguided and stupid effort to take convenient retribution for Katrina in a way that only ensures the more rapid demise of this once great nation. Do not put the blame on FEMA or believe that giving FEMA more money and power will solve anything. Too many of the bad decisions which cost lives in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama were made at the White House, probably by Dick Cheney who has yet to make a public appearance. Condi’s been too busy shopping for $7,000 shoes in New York to do anything.

The poor, distressed, homeless people out there, the ones who have lost families, all physical belongings and, in some cases, their sanity, are vulnerable and exploitable and they will continue to be so for years. We cannot afford to let them – and all of us – be sold out one more time in Katrina’s wake. American collapse will be evident soon enough. Simply throwing money and power at FEMA, without at the same time addressing the corruption, depravity and outright evil that has become official Washington is probably more dangerous than Katrina was and I sure hope we don’t have to find that out.

A Can't-Do Government

By Paul Krugman
New York Times
September 2, 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

First question: Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive? Katrina hit five days ago - and it was already clear by last Friday that Katrina could do immense damage along the Gulf Coast. Yet the response you'd expect from an advanced country never happened. Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all.

There will and should be many questions about the response of state and local governments; in particular, couldn't they have done more to help the poor and sick escape? But the evidence points, above all, to a stunning lack of both preparation and urgency in the federal government's response.

Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"

Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.

Second question: Why wasn't more preventive action taken? After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."

In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending.

Third question: Did the Bush administration destroy FEMA's effectiveness? The administration has, by all accounts, treated the emergency management agency like an unwanted stepchild, leading to a mass exodus of experienced professionals.

Last year James Lee Witt, who won bipartisan praise for his leadership of the agency during the Clinton years, said at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."

I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.


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