Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's like talking to a wall

I'm talking about trying to debate hard core member of the left. It happens all the time when I wander over to one of the many left wing echo chambers (You can usually tell the hardcore left sites because they love to have the word 'Progress' of 'Progressive' plastered all over the main page, or even in the title, but if they represent progress, well here's 3 cheers for conservatism). I know I shouldn't but sometimes after reading their lunatic rants I just can't help myself, I just have to comment.

It's amazing how the 'progressive' mind works. Such things as say, the actual law of the land, mean little or nothing when emotions get involved. If it feels right or wrong then it just must be, damn the facts or historical context (as you may have noticed, for many on the left time started in November of the year 2000).

My latest foray into the wilderness of course involves the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. I just don't understand how at this point in time bloggers (I can forgive 'laymen' who rely on the MSM for info as they have not really covered this in detail) still can blame Bush for all the troubles in New Orleans. I'm not saying he's completely blameless, but most of his foibles are PR related with little or no affect on the actual rescue efforts.

I know this won't be the last time I write this but here goes anyway; the responsibility for managing all rescue efforts within a particular City within a particular State are the responsibility, first and foremost of that City's Government, and failing that (or if additional resources are required), that State's Governor. End of story. It's how the United States was designed. Each State is essentially an independent entity that gives certain rights to the Federal government while retaining all others for itself. One of those being that they control all disaster relief within their borders. They can ask for Federal assistance, if required, but that only allows them to access Federal resources (personnel, equipment and monies) but does not relinquish any of their constitutional rights of self governing.

Nothing makes this clearer than recent posting by the Red Cross itself, to try and explain to all those complaining about why they were not present at the Superdome and Convention Center (these are often the very same people blaming the Federal government for the disaster):
"The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane." - Red Cross Disaster Faq (point 2)
Read it a couple times in case you missed the point. Or that still doesn't make matters clear enough try this one:
"Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders." - Red Cross Disaster Faq (point 1)
That's about as clear as I can make it. It is the local authorities and National Guard (a State controlled defense force directly under the Governors command) that were preventing them from entering NO. Now they did have some reasoning behind this, they did not want access to fresh water and food giving people reason to remain in the city, but when you have 50,000+ people in two state/municipal run evacuation centers, does it not make sense to allow one of the most experienced relief groups in to help feed and hydrate them? It was this type of lack of thinking, at the local and State level, that contributed to the horrific images shown on TV over the last week, and precisely why President Bush made the request to transfer control to the Federal level last Friday (a request that was rejected by Governor Blanco).

Maybe the States should give more control over to the Federal government or maybe not, that's for each State to decide on it's own, but what the Katrina aftermath has shown that there needs to be some mechanism in place for the Federal government to take control of a situation where citizens lives are endangered due to blatantly gross negligence on the part of their State and local governments. At present such a mechanism doesn't really exist. A Governor can sign over authority to the Federal government if he or she chooses, but such authority cannot be seized.

Perhaps FEMA can be revamped to include first response teams, specially authorized by the individual States, to enter locations designated disaster areas and assume control. This would probably require the creation of a new classification of disaster zone as in most cases, such as a forest fires and such, where the situation is a bit more controlled, the individual States would probably still want to maintain the authority.

Presently, FEMA's main purpose is to be more of an after the fact support group, enabling better communications between the local and Federal levels. States are actually instructed not to assume a FEMA response for up to a week or more. Under the current system the locals are suppose to, after executing their own emergency plans, call in FEMA when they have an assessment of exactly what Federal resources they will require.

So there are many things governments at all levels can do to improve the US emergency preparedness, but as of today, the system they have is limited by the attempt to balance effectiveness with States rights. It may not be perfect, and I think Katrina is a prime example of how it isn't, but it is currently the only way the various groups can legally work together. To make things better, laws have to be changed on every level and just wishing it were so because you feel it should be just doesn't do it. But try explaining all this to a die hard Bush Bashing lefty.

I'm adding this link to a Think Progress post to illistrate my point.


Blogger Paladiea said...

I think that Think Progress has interesting articles. I don't bother with the comments. Nothing useful comes of those.

September 08, 2005 3:53 p.m.  
Blogger Bic said...

I know, I should just stay out of it but hey, sometimes I just can't help myself.

I must say that this is the second time I've been drawn into a thread over at Think Progress, and oddly enough (considering the subject matter) this one is actually a bit tamer than the last. Although, now that I think about it I only joined that other thread in response to a comment about Tsunami relief efforts by various countries (an odd coincidence). From there the discussion went all over the place.

At least I haven't been called unfit to be Canadian in this thread yet.

September 08, 2005 5:45 p.m.  

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