Rush Limbaugh took a stab at revisionist history regarding the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. This transcript from his show today:

And by the way folks, there’s another thing, and I challenge anybody to independently verify this: The FEMA U.S. government response, to Katrina, was one of the most massive, one of the fastest, and one of the most effective emergency responses in our history. Go, independently verify that, if you doubt me. I imagine even some of you in the audience who would call yourselves conservative Republicans are saying, “Rush, be careful now, you know that’s not true.” You probably think it’s not true because you believe, it’s been stated for so long, it’s been the conventional wisdom for so long, that the post-Katrina response was a disaster, and it wasn’t. It was government behaving, actually, as well as it can, in one of the acknowledged roles that government, when done right, may be best at, this kind of massive mobilization of resources, to be able to… I’ll tell you this; the post-Katrina response was far more massive, far more sensible, far more effective, than what is being done at the border today to handle this humanitarian crisis. The FEMA response post Katrina was far better and more effective and more efficient than anything that’s happened during the Obama years. But I know that you don’t believe that. And I know you think I’m on shaky ice saying it, but it is the truth! The reason you don’t believe it is because they were able to demonize the FEMA director at the time, a guy named Brown, Mike Brown, who did say something stupid, when asked a question, all it took was one stupid answer to a question and they were able to create a narrative that the entire Bush administration was stupid and incompetent and ineffective and that the whole response to Katrina was an outrage and that there practically wasn’t one, and folks, it just isn’t the case.

hindsight 2181
In Hindsight

Anyone who can read knows that the FEMA response was a bungled operation from the moment they mobilized until the Army was called in to restore order. The real heroes of the Katrina event? The US Coast Guard and General Honore and all the Army and National Guard troops that kept the peace. The failures? Governor Blanco, Mayor Nagin and the Bush appointed FEMA director Michael Brown.

Pax Terra!

Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
Managing Editor—Research
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
16 Ashtaq 3 AS


  1. this is soo rich ! mt rushbo calling ANY govt agency effort “massive, sensible, effective”. lemme put on my boosch goggles and ask why why why?


    • dcobranchi Says:

      Heckuva job, Neo. Now get up off your knees. Bush is satisfied.

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      It’s not about first response Neocon. FEMA failed in the coordination with local and state agencies as well. Tens of thousands of people were left stranded and many died because FEMA was unable to coordinate its subordinate agencies into viable operational units. Eventually the military said fuck FEMA and the USCG and the Army did the grunt work that should have been requested by FEMA from the minute they arrived there.
      And a note on Limbaugh if Katrina was such a FEMA success why did Rush refer to the BP oil spill and the shortage of H1N1 vaccine as “Obama’s Katrina?”

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      They didn’t do that in 2005 in New Orleans that’s the problem.

  2. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    So you honestly think the FEMA response to the hurricane was positive?

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      I really don’t see it that way Neocon. You have to consider that this was the first response FEMA had to make on a large scale after being absorbed into the DHS.

  3. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    2. Hundreds of firefighters from other cities who volunteered to help in the response were rerouted to Atlanta, where they sat through two days of presentations on sexual harassment and the history of FEMA before being sent to New Orleans.
    3. FEMA Director Michael Brown, who resigned over his handling of the response, later told a group of students that the White House only wanted to federalize the response in Louisiana, where the governor was a Democrat, and not in Republican-led Mississippi in order to embarrass Louisiana officials. Brown said the White House believed they had a chance to “rub [Kathleen Blanco’s] nose in it.” The Bush administration denied political considerations played a role in the response.

    Read more:

  4. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    The reason FEMA exists is to support state and local governments when they are overwhelmed. For a definitive look at what FEMA did wrong, click the link below:

  5. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    True there were epic and I do mean epic failures at the state and local level, but the failure continued when FEMA arrived. Neocon there’s no way around this, everyone who has examined the response has said that FEMA exacerbated the deaths, the delays and thereby the disaster. If not why has the Right characterized alleged Obama failures as his “Katrina?”

  6. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    And again I don;t dispute at all the errors of Blanco and Nagin which cost lives, hundreds of them. However, the FEMA mismanagement which continued after they arrived cannot be overlooked as compounding the disaster. I’m not saying it was only FEMA’s fault but I cannot say as Limbaugh has that FEMA did an excellent job.

  7. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    I know people in New Orleans as well and I was in contact with many of those who fled the city and those who were stuck. The very first story we covered back in our Blogger days was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA failed to coordinate the efforts of police and other emergency services and that cost lives. Medical rescue helicopters sat on the ground and firefighters were delayed days because they had to attend FEMA training seminars whose dictates went out of the window as soon as boots hit the ground. Even General Honore asked where FEMA was upon his arrival and he didn’t see a FEMA incident commander for TWO DAYS after setting up his command post.

  8. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    This is simply one component of failure in a broader picture of failure.

  9. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    Here’s Breitbart trying to make Hurricane Sandy Obama’s Katrina and admitting the Bush Administration failures in New Orleans to do it.

  10. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    Hurricane Katrina timeline:

    Link to Governor Blanco’s request for federal help two days before landfall.

  11. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    Experiences with FEMA and Other Authorities
    Several of our interviews with hospital officials, most of whom would talk only off the record,
    concerned negative experiences with FEMA or the authorities controlling access to the city. One
    hospital successfully requested supplies from its corporate headquarters, only to have them
    confiscated by FEMA before they reached the hospital. Authorities turned back ambulances that
    had been arranged by another hospital. Another interviewee charged FEMA with diverting a
    shipment of fuel that had been arranged for by a hospital whose generators had run out. After one
    organization experienced difficulty getting supply trucks into the city, they downloaded a logo
    from the state police web site and fashioned authorization letters that got the trucks past the
    police barricades blocking the city. Methodist Hospital reported that supplies sent by its
    corporate parent were confiscated by FEMA at the airport; thereafter, the company sent food,
    water, and diesel fuel to Lafayette (130 miles from New Orleans) then had them transported to
    the hospital by helicopter, while also evacuating some of the most seriously ill patients.31
    There were also other accounts of negative experiences with FEMA. One official we
    interviewed reported that FEMA replaced some patients’ hospital bracelets with FEMA ID
    bracelets, which made tracing transferred patients difficult. Another hospital reported that it had
    called the police, National Guard, and FEMA when alarming rumors about gang looting made
    staff feel vulnerable; no one came.

  12. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    Questions had been raised about FEMA, since it was swallowed by the Department of Homeland Security, established after Sept. 11. Its critics complained that it focused too much on terrorism, hurting preparations for natural disasters, and that it had become politicized. Mr. Brown is a lawyer who came to the agency with political connections but little emergency management experience. That’s also true of Patrick J. Rhode, the chief of staff at FEMA, who was deputy director of advance operations for the Bush campaign and the Bush White House.

    Scott R. Morris, who was deputy chief of staff at FEMA and is now director of its recovery office on Florida, had worked for Maverick Media in Austin, Tex., as a media strategist for the Bush for President primary campaign and the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. And David I. Maurstad was the Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska before he became director of FEMA’s regional office in Denver and then a senior official at the agency’s headquarters.

    The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents FEMA employees, wrote to Congress in June 2004, complaining, “Seasoned staff members are being pushed aside to make room for inexperienced novices and contractors.”

    With the new emphasis on terrorism, three quarters of the $3.35 billion in federal grants for fire and police departments and other first responders were intended to address terror threats, instead of an “all-hazards” approach that could help in any catastrophe.

    Even so, the prospect of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans was a FEMA priority. Numerous drills and studies had been undertaken to prepare a response. In 2002, Joe M. Allbaugh, then the FEMA director, said: “Catastrophic disasters are best defined in that they totally outstrip local and state resources, which is why the federal government needs to play a role. There are a half-dozen or so contingencies around the nation that cause me great concern, and one of them is right there in your backyard.”

    As the city become paralyzed both by water and by lawlessness, so did the response by government. The fractured division of responsibility – Governor Blanco controlled state agencies and the National Guard, Mayor Nagin directed city workers and Mr. Brown, the head of FEMA, served as the point man for the federal government – meant no one person was in charge. Americans watching on television saw the often-haggard governor, the voluble mayor and the usually upbeat FEMA chief appear at competing daily news briefings and interviews.

    The power-sharing arrangement was by design, and as the days wore on, it would prove disastrous. Under the Bush administration, FEMA redefined its role, offering assistance but remaining subordinate to state and local governments. “Our typical role is to work with the state in support of local and state agencies,” said David Passey, a FEMA spokesman.

    With Hurricane Katrina, that meant the agency most experienced in dealing with disasters and with access to the greatest resources followed, rather than led.

    FEMA’s deference was frustrating. Rather than initiate relief efforts – buses, food, troops, diesel fuel, rescue boats – the agency waited for specific requests from state and local officials. “When you go to war you don’t have time to ask for each round of ammunition that you need,” complained Colonel Ebbert, the city’s emergency operations director.

    Telephone and cellphone service died, and throughout the crisis the state’s special emergency communications system was either overloaded or knocked out. As a result, officials were unable to fully inventory the damage or clearly identify the assistance they required from the federal government. “If you do not know what your needs are, I can’t request to FEMA what I need,” said Colonel Doran, of the state office of homeland security.

    To President Bush, Governor Blanco directed an ill-defined but urgent appeal.

    “I need everything you’ve got,” the governor said she told the president on Monday. “I am going to need all the help you can send me.”

    ‘Stuck in Atlanta’

    The heart-rending pictures broadcast from the Gulf Coast drew offers of every possible kind of help. But FEMA found itself accused repeatedly of putting bureaucratic niceties ahead of getting aid to those who desperately needed it.

    Hundreds of firefighters, who responded to a nationwide call for help in the disaster, were held by the federal agency in Atlanta for days of training on community relations and sexual harassment before being sent on to the devastated area. The delay, some volunteers complained, meant lives were being lost in New Orleans.

    “On the news every night you hear, ‘How come everybody forgot us?’ ” said Joseph Manning, a firefighter from Washington, Pa., told The Dallas Morning News. “We didn’t forget. We’re stuck in Atlanta drinking beer.”

    Ms. Rule, the FEMA spokeswoman, said there was no urgency for the firefighters to arrive because they were primarily going to do community relations work, not rescue.

    William D. Vines, a former mayor of Fort Smith, Ark., helped deliver food and water to areas hit by the hurricane. But he said FEMA halted two trailer trucks carrying thousands of bottles of water to Camp Beauregard, near Alexandria, La., a staging area for the distribution of supplies.

    “FEMA would not let the trucks unload,” Mr. Vines said in an interview. “The drivers were stuck for several days on the side of the road about 10 miles from Camp Beauregard. FEMA said we had to have a ‘tasker number.’ What in the world is a tasker number? I have no idea. It’s just paperwork, and it’s ridiculous.”

    Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, who interceded on behalf of Mr. Vines, said, “All our Congressional offices have had difficulty contacting FEMA. Governors’ offices have had difficulty contacting FEMA.” When the state of Arkansas repeatedly offered to send buses and planes to evacuate people displaced by flooding, she said, “they were told they could not go. I don’t really know why.”

    On Aug. 31, Sheriff Edmund M. Sexton, Sr., of Tuscaloosa County, Ala., and president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, sent out an alert urging members to pitch in.

    “Folks were held up two, three days while they were working on the paperwork,” he said.

    Some sheriffs refused to wait. In Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, Sheriff Warren C. Evans got a call from Mr. Sexton on Sept. 1 The next day, he led a convoy of six tractor-trailers, three rental trucks and 33 deputies, despite public pleas from Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm to wait for formal requests.

    “I could look at CNN and see people dying, and I couldn’t in good conscience wait for a coordinated response,” he said. He dropped off food, water and medical supplies in Mobile and Gonzales, La., where a sheriffs’ task force directed him to the French Quarter. By Saturday, Sept. 3, the Michigan team was conducting search and rescue missions.

    “We lost thousands of lives that could have been saved,” Sheriff Evans said.

    Mr. Knocke said the Department of Homeland Security could not yet respond to complaints that red tape slowed relief.

    “It is testament to the generosity of the American people – a lot of people wanted to contribute,” Mr. Knocke said. “But there is not really any way of knowing at this time if or whether individual offers were plugged into the response and recovery operation.”

  13. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    That’s fine Neo you have Bush and Nixon to cuddle up with while you worship at the altar of Reagan. I get it you are an idiot partisan who feels his ideology does nothing wrong. Childish and stupid and also the reason your ideology can’t win anything but the gerrymandered House.

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      More conspiracy theories that amount to nothing.

  14. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    And by the way Bush changed the rules after 9/11 to focus on terrorism vice natural disasters but you don’t want to hear that either. In your world the Democrats broke into their own building and Watergate is a made up crisis. You are stuck on stupid.

  15. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    The last paragraph of the Cato Institute article by Boaz that you quoted proves you are an idiot:

    “Before and after Hurricane Katrina, businesses and charities responded effectively. Government failed at even its most basic task of protecting lives and property from criminals. When massive and bloated governments at all levels disappoint, the solution is not to give them more money. Rather, the solution lies in a government limited in scope and ambition, and focused on its essential functions.”

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      The Cato Institute is far from left wing. Refute it or STFU as you say.

  16. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

    Now let’s go back to the original topic of this thread the comments of Rush Limbaugh shall we?

    “And by the way folks, there’s another thing, and I challenge anybody to independently verify this: The FEMA U.S. government response, to Katrina, was one of the most massive, one of the fastest, and one of the most effective emergency responses in our history.”

    It was none of those things and Limbaugh himself decries the government response by trying to make “failures” by President Obama his “Katrina.” If the response by FEMA was such a success in New Orleans in 2005, why would Rush use this as an example of governmental failure?

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      Once requested by the governor it was FEMAs job. Look at it this way had Obama’s FEMA done the same thing in Iowa after a tornado would you call that a proper response?

    • Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] Says:

      For the 12th time I fully admit that the mayor and the governor made mistakes. What you can’t do is justify Limbaugh’s comments which are at best a lie.

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