Monday, September 05, 2005

The last time America lost a city

This timeline, condensed from the City of San Francisco Virtual Museum by a Kosite, describes what happened in a time when government actually worked: the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed the city of San Francisco:

The earthquake struck at 5:13 AM.

By 7 AM federal troops had reported to the mayor.

By 8 AM they were patrolling the entire downtown area and searching for survivors.

The second quake struck at 8:14 AM.

By 10:05 AM the USS Chicago was on its way from San Diego to San Francisco; by 10:30 the USS Preble had landed a medical team and set up an emergency hospital.

By 11 AM large parts of the city were on fire; troops continued to arrive throughout the day, evacuating people from the areas threatened by fire to emergency shelters and Golden Gate Park.

St. Mary's hospital was destroyed by the fire at 1 PM, with no loss of life, the staff and patients having already been evacuated across the bay to Oakland.

By 3 PM troops had shot several looters, and dynamited buildings to make a firebreak; by five they had buried dozens of corpses, the morgue and the police pistol range being unable to hold any more.

At 8:40 PM General Funston requested emergency housing - tents and shelters - from the War Department in Washington; all of the tents in the U.S. Army were on their way to San Francisco by 4:55 AM the next morning.

Prisoners were evacuated to Alcatraz, and by April 20 (two days after the earthquake) the USS Chicago had reached San Francisco, where it evacuated 20,000 refugees.

Okay, let's see what happened in the case of the New Orleans flood of 2005:

The National Guard arrived 48 hours after the disaster. They did not report to the mayor, but instead played cards.

The Governor of Louisiana requested assistance on Sunday, August 28, including accepting an offer by the Governor of New Mexico to send the New Mexico National Guard. Paperwork from the Pentagon for the NMNG to move to Louisiana did not get processed until Thursday. Assistance in any form did not arrive until Thursday, September 1.

The first significant convoy of food, water and medicine didn't arrive in New Orleans until four full days after the hurricane, and the mayor and others said some survivors died awaiting relief.

Despite the fact that the Crescent City Connection/US 90 was undamaged and thus unlimited amounts of aid could have come in via the West Bank, private aid efforts were prevented from entering the city and the American Red Cross was not allowed in to give food and water to the people in the shelters.

Being a nursing home patient was pretty much a death sentence. Only today is anybody trying to evacuate the nursing homes. Mostly, they're just finding bodies.

An amphibious assault vessel floated out in the Gulf of Mexico for days, its facilities unused. Apparently the thought of approaching the mayor and offering assistance never occurred to them.

FEMA prevented aid from entering the affected area, turned away the flotilla of private boats that were helping rescue people, disconnected the communications lines at the Jefferson Parish Emergency Services Center, turned away expert search-and-rescue teams from Canada and from other states, and otherwise seemed to actively *HINDER* the effort to save people.

And it goes on, and on...

Getting the picture? In 1904 our government was not broken. In 2005, it is. It is incapable of performing the most fundamental purpose of government: safeguarding the lives of its citizens. At this point in time, incompetence and bureaucratic turf battles are indistinguishable from malice. Either way, people died who shouldn't have. These people don't care whether they died due to incompetence or due to malice, they're equally dead either way.

We now have a federal government that is a menace to the American people, an evil anti-American government that kills more Americans with its actions than it protects. It must be destroyed and replaced with a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or it will destroy us. I only fear that the American sheeple lack the courage to do what it takes to topple what is now clearly an evil anti-American government. And by "topple", I don't shuffling the deck chairs of the S.S. Dysfunctional. I mean the whole thing needs to go, and we need to start over from scratch.

Will it happen? Yes. Either voluntarily, or after armed insurrection by the people our government is killing. I'd prefer the former, since violent revolutions rarely have good results. But if the rulers of our nation continue to cling to power with rigged elections (and mind you, every single American national election in the past 140 years has been rigged in some way by the Demopublican oligarchy which conspires to maintain its grasp on power) and if it continues to impose tyrannical laws that kill people... I just hope that I've shuffled off this mortal coil by the time that happens, because it will be horror the likes of which we will not have seen in over a hundred years in this nation. And if a United States of America (as vs. several smaller nations) emerges from the shambles, I will be mightily surprised...

- Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin


  1. And we couldn't put a man on the Moon if we wanted to either anymore. I do believe we are witnessing the end of the American Century.

  2. I'm not so sure about that. This administration is certainly beyond remedy, I know. But I also know that, given the appalled reaction from nearly all quarters to the sheer callousness and indifference Bush & Co. exhibited last week, we ordinary average Joes and Janes, the folks who do 100% of the real work in this country and make the luxurious lives of people like Bush & Co. possible, are far superior to their nominal superiors. I don't think they're gonna get away with this one -- they sold their fellow Americans down the river last week (almost literally), and you don't forget something like that...

  3. Sorry to say, Badtux, but our government is not broken. It was doing exactly what the rich & powerful wanted done.. That is the sad part. The scary part is that most people refuse to see this... What is not acknowledged can not be changed...

  4. If our Federal government is actively killing our citizens, Bobby, it really doesn't matter whether it is "broken" or merely evil. Either way, it has to go. The fundamental purpose of government is to protect the people -- not to kill them, whether via incompetence or malice. When government fails to serve that purpose, it is time to discard that government and install one which does.

    - Badtux the "Hmm, 1775 time again?" Penguin

  5. Well, said.


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