Two days ago, and only one week after the worst natural disaster in U.S. history killed hundreds, if not thousands of Americans, the Associated Press joined in launching the Democrats newest anti-Bush campaign. Liberal blogs had been spewing the same bile from the time the first levee broke, and have since been frothing at the mouth over their new body count and the human suffering that can be blamed on Karl Rove and the “Bushhitler”.
As is usually the case with MSM political attacks and moonbat conspiracy theories, there are so many lies and distortions in their claims, it will likely take weeks for the blogosphere, talk radio, and the occasional semi-intelligent MSM reporter to correct their lunacy.
According to the Associated Press, Bush and the federal government (translated Rethuglicans in moonbat speak) are responsible for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina because they withheld or cut funding that was needed to improve the levee system in New Orleans.
Two Corps of Engineers projects were in place to control flooding and prepare for hurricane damage in southern Louisiana. One was a flood control project with channel and pumping station improvements for Southeast Louisiana; the other was a project to protect residents between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River levee from surges driven by a fast-moving category 3 storm.
Each year since 2001, the corps asked for much more money for those two projects than the Bush administration was willing to request or Congress was willing to spend, according to figures compiled by Sen. Mary Landrieu (news, bio, voting record), D-La.
In addition, funding for the two programs declined between fiscal years 2001 and 2004, although both saw slight increases this year. Much of the federal budget outside homeland security and defense has been held down while the administration tries to control deficits under control.
This is such an absurd Dowdification of the facts, it seems impossible to address the lies, omissions, and errors in one article. Fortunately, CNS news took on the Herculean task of dissecting and countering this growing conspiracy theory with the truth.
Consider the following facts from the article:
1. Ten years of reporting on hurricane and flood damage mitigation efforts in and around New Orleans indicates that local and state officials did not use federal money that was available for levee improvements or coastal reinforcement and often did not secure local matching funds that would have generated even more federal funding.
2. In 1995 the New Orleans Levee Board bragged that they had received plenty of money from the federal government to protect the city from hurricanes.
Quote from the Times-Picayune Newspaper:
“In the past four years, the Orleans Levee Board has built up its arsenal. The additional defenses are so critical that Levee Commissioners marched into Congress and brought back almost $60 million to help pay for protection. The most ambitious flood-fighting plan in generations was drafted. An unprecedented $140 million building campaign launched 41 projects.”
3. The Levee Board promised in the same Times-Picayune article that New Orleans would be protected from hurricanes, and all projects would be complete by 1999.
4. In 1996 a legislative auditor denied the levee board the authority to refinance their debt due to violation of bid laws, over spending, and insolvency. THIS is why they were unable to spend the federal matching funds, not because the federal government denied funding. They were near bankruptcy only one year after bragging about their successful procurement of federal funds, and they were blocked from local funding.
5. By 1998, only one tenth of one percent of Louisiana’s construction budget was allocated for levee improvements. State officials spent plenty on pork, but didn’t consider levee projects a priority. I repeat, STATE legislators and STATE appropriators failed to fund the levees.
6. In 1999 the STATE bond commission gave levee funding a level 5 priority, making levee improvements least likely to receive full funding.
7. In 2001 New Orleans residents rejected a tax increase to fund expanding levee projects.
8. In 2002 no new state funding had been allocated to hurricane protection, once again prohibiting them from getting available federal matching funds. This was the result of the state’s unwillingness to fund hurricane protection. It was NOT a result of funding cuts by the Bush administration or Congress.
“The problem is money is real tight in Baton Rouge right now,” state Sen. Francis Heitmeier (D-Algiers) told the Times-Picayune. “We have to do with what we can get.”
9. There is a reason money was “real tight”. In 2000 and 2001 the Bond Commission approved millions of dollars for construction of the Tournament Players Club golf course near Westwego, the relocation of Hickory Avenue in Jefferson (Parish) and historic district development in Westwego. There might also have been more money for life saving levee projects if St. Charles Parish hadn’t requested and received a federal grant for $475,000 to build bike paths on top of its levees. These projects were more important to local officials than protecting New Orleans residents from a devastating hurricane.
10. The levee board did successfully complete one levee project in 2003. They unveiled a restored 1962 Mardi Gras fountain in a four-acre park featuring a new 600-foot plaza between famous Lakeshore Drive and the sea wall. The voters of New Orleans actually approved a tax hike for this project. Unfortunately, like the levees themselves, it probably didn’t survive the cat 4 hurricane Katrina.
Standard moonbat response to criticism:
Levee board officials defended more than $600,000 in cost overruns for the Mardi Gras fountain project, according to the Times-Picayune, “citing their responsibility to maintain the vast green space they have jurisdiction over along the lakefront.”
After reading these facts, consider these comments from Representatives James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.):
“But it is plain that the federal government could have done more, sooner, to respond to the immediate survival needs of the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi.
“In fact, different choices for funding and planning to protect New Orleans may even have mitigated the flooding of the city,” the Democrats added.
This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. The corruption, misuse of funds, and lack of planning by local officials in Louisiana is just beginning to be uncovered. I’d like to think overwhelming evidence will force the media and the American public to hold the correct people responsible for poor planning, irresponsible spending, and failing to protect the people of New Orleans, but I’m not holding my breath. Demoncrats have little use for facts, and Republicans typically have no backbone when it comes to countering moonbat lies and propaganda.