Friday, September 23, 2005

Insurrection, Louisiana and Katrina relief 

Nicholas Lemann has a very useful piece in the current issue of The New Yorker discussing the refusal of Governor Blanco to agree to federal control over the National Guard and the corresponding reluctance of the Bush Administration to invoke the Insurrection Act:
The Bush Administration realized after the storm what it should have realized before it: that the state and local authorities in Louisiana were not going to be able to handle the hurricane’s aftermath effectively. Apparently, the Administration tried to persuade the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, to issue an official request that the federal government take control of the Louisiana National Guard and the New Orleans police, but she refused, out of pride or mistrust or a desire to maintain some degree of control. Then the Administration considered sending active-duty federal troops to New Orleans to do what the National Guard and the police could not—make the streets and the evacuation centers safe and decent—and decided not to. Whatever its failings before the hurricane hit, the federal government could have greatly lessened the disaster if it had acted immediately afterward as a direct enforcer of the law. People suffered and died because it did not.

All this backing and forthing about the powers of federal, state, and local governments has a long, redolent history that explains a lot not only about the aftermath of the hurricane but about the underlying conditions in New Orleans that so shocked auslander television viewers. Article I of the United States Constitution gives the federal government the power to “suppress insurrections.” This has always been a touchy subject—especially in the South, and most especially during the Reconstruction period, after the biggest insurrection in American history had been successfully suppressed. The Insurrection Act of 1807 outlines the script that the Administration evidently wanted Governor Blanco to follow: a governor asks the President to federalize local law enforcement in order to suppress an insurrection; the President issues a proclamation ordering the “insurgents to disperse”; they don’t; the cavalry rides to the rescue.



By Blogger cakreiz, at Fri Sep 23, 09:37:00 AM:

Imagine a Monday night announcement where the President overrides the Louisiana governor (whether under the Insurrection Act, FEMA or otherwise), inspirationally says that he will not to sit by idly while Americans suffer and takes the bull by the horns. Had Karl Rove not been in the hospital, had the VP not been on vacation- who knows? Instead, the President was aloof and disengaged. The political damage is done. The fallout will be grim.  

By Anonymous LARWYN, at Fri Sep 23, 05:31:00 PM:

INSURRECTION -Nicholas Lemann -The New Yorker (Last paragraph)

"Is it too much to hope for that the disaster might reëstablish in the national mind the link between race and governance? The shock that non-New Orleanians experienced at what they saw was genuine, but memories have faded to the point that people no longer make what was once an obvious connection between a disabled federal government and bad outcomes for African-Americans. Seeing the two together after Katrina ought to make us understand how literally deadly are the effects of a reluctance to use government. Perhaps even the Bush Administration will reconsider."— Nicholas Lemann

Larwyn: Wonder how happy Nick and the rest of The New Yorker staff would be
if Bushhitler/ Donald Rumsfeld adopted this policy.

It would be great! We could send troops in to rescue the poor blacks from
their oppressive, incompetent, and corrupt governments from
St. Louis
(feel free to add to list)

The troops would hand out school vouchers, job training vouchers, homesteading
vouchers, take responsibility vouchers and voter I D cards with biometric
safeguards. They would round up all with existing warrants, evict all gang
members/drug dealers immediately from public housing, and , and, and,
seize all local, county and state records for forenics accounting, and, and,

May TNY's Nick's dreams come true.
Ironic they are same dreams that Nick Danger of Red State is having in
his 9/19/05 column titled "I, Heretic"


Is anyone keeping track of how they keep pretzeling themselves into
major traps.. no wonder they HATE BUSH!  

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By Blogger alena, at Mon Oct 03, 06:05:00 PM:

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!  

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