Politics

Michael Brown Defends Himself

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This is truly amazing, and no, not the good kind of amazing.

From Washington Post.

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown said yesterday that it was not his job to take over the evacuation of New Orleans and rescue the drowning city from Hurricane Katrina, blaming Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and “dysfunctional” state officials for the government’s failed response to the disaster.

Over six hours of tense and at times angry testimony to a House investigative panel whose members condemned and derided him, Brown strongly defended his agency and himself against what he called “false, defamatory statements” spread by the news media about the agency’s capabilities after the hurricane.

Ahh yes…”dysfunctional”.

You mean dysfunctional like the job FEMA did?

Brown admitted that FEMA’s ability to move life-sustaining supplies was flawed and “easily overwhelmed” by Katrina’s scale. He said that emergency communications broke down because the country made little “real progress” in learning from the 2001 terrorist attacks, and he warned that if U.S. authorities remain focused on preparing for terrorism instead of natural disasters, “then we’re going to fail.”

So quick question: whose job is it to make progress within FEMA? Wouldn’t that be something that, oh, I don’t know, the HEAD of the organization should do? Am I missing something here people?

Joe Gandelman shares these thoughts as he listened to the testimony.

I was on a long drive but kept glued to a zillion stations to listen to what seemed to be a political train wreck occurring in slow motion hosted by GOPers in Congress: former FEMA chief Michael Brown’s testimony where he defended himself, FEMA and his world-famous resume.

Listening to the tone of at least some of the Congressmen’s questions, something nearly psychic occurred: as I drove through California’s wine country and listened to the radio, I could actually see before my eyes some independent thinking Republicans with their jaws hanging down to the floor.

And Brown apparently didn’t hear the insistence from the White House and many GOPers that they absolutely do not want a “blame game” because he basically blamed the Hurricane Katrina mess on paralyzed and clashing Louisiana politicos â€â€? while making a point to note that Louisiana had Democratic leaders versus Republicans in other storm-ravaged states, implying that their party is why they did a better storm response job (you see, political party has everything to do with job performance â€â€? so does that mean Brown’s a Democrat?).

To suggest that emergency readiness has something to do with politics, and then to admit during the same hearing that FEMA was not up to snuff even after 9/11, betrays a mind that is separated from logic in an almost fantastic way, and no, that’s not the good type of fantastic. Folks, this IS the incompetence that Bush brought into FEMA after 9/11. This IS the “good ole boys network” in action.

I say good riddance, but hey, watch it for yourself and tell me if I’m wrong.

And lest we forget, the guy running FEMA in the Northwest, John Pennington, is equally as unqualified as Brown, if not more so. His qualifications? Well, he ran a coffee company AND he was co-chairman of the Bush campaign in 2000 in his county. Four states are currently under his supervision: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The combined population is over 11.5 million.

TIME also had a good story about appointed directors who are unqualified.