Saturday, December 8, 2007

FEMA Lies, Survivors Lives

FEMA has truly learned the lessons of Katrina. Theyhave perfected the telling of lies. Even its handling of the media has improved dramatically. FEMA uses the news media to get their lies out to the public. Then shortly after the news is out they do what they want and no one is there to report on the truth ofwhat they are really doing. In August of 2007 it was being reported on the television news and in the news paper thatFEMA has a program that they are doing that will pay the moving expenses anywhere in the continental United States, and FEMA will pay for a apartment. By October 2nd 2007 FEMA was only doing the move or the apartment not both, and a FEMA news release dated October 15th stated that said FEMA is now doing both.
In August 2007 FEMA reports to the news mediathat the residents of Renaissance Village will have to start paying for living in their trailers. They say that starting March 1st 2008 the residents will paying $50.00 per month, and that it will go up$50.00 per month. That means that on April 1st 2008 they willpay $100.00, and on May 1st they pay $150.00, and so on, and byFebruary 1st 2009 and the end of Renaissance Village they willpay $600.00. At that same time in August 2007 FEMA reportedthat HUD would be taking over managing the apartment rental payments that FEMA has been paying and HUD would bemanaging Renaissance Village by November 2007. It has nowNovember 2007 and it has been discovered that FEMA’s 18month program to pay the rent for people so they can get out ofthe trailers will have to start paying part of the rent on March 1st2008 just like the people in the trailers, $50.00 per month and itwill go up $50.00 per month also. It really is not a program for18 months of rental assistance because it started in September2007 even if you were not in an apartment. FEMA has workedwith HUD before in programs that did not include the peoplewho were in the trailers or did not include them at the start of theprograms stated in this news release by fema dated September24, 2005 “HUD Is Providing Specialized Housing Assistance ToEvacuees.
While the majority of evacuees will receive assistancethrough FEMA, some are instead eligible for comparablebenefits under HUD's Katrina Disaster Housing AssistanceProgram. Housing vouchers will be given to evacuees who werepreviously in HUD-assisted housing programs or were homelessprevious to Katrina. These vouchers give evacuees the choiceand flexibility they need to find housing for 18 months. Throughthese programs, displaced families will have the opportunity torelocate to cities and towns of their choice where the housingavailability and job markets meet their immediate needs.” IfFEMA does not tell anyone about the Disaster HousingAssistance Program how can they come, if FEMA has a Disaster Housing Assistance Program to help and they makeit to hard for the people to get the help or if it is to hard tounderstand, then is it really a program to help the disastervictims, or is it JUST FOR SHOW like the fake newsconference? It is just like the fake news conference that FEMAheld., they did not tell the media about it so they could not come.Reporters were given only 15 minutes' notice of the briefing,making it unlikely many could show up at FEMA's SouthwestD.C. offices. They were given an 800 number to call in, thoughit was a "listen only" line, the notice said -- no questions. Partsof the briefing were carried live on Fox News (see the Fox Newsvideo of the news conference carried on the Think Progress Website), MSNBC and other outlets. Johnson stood behind a lecternand began with an overview before saying he would take a fewquestions. The first questions were about the "commodities"being shipped to Southern California and how officials aredealing with people who refuse to evacuate. He respondedeloquently. He was apparently quite familiar with the reporters-- in one case, he appears to say "Mike" and points to a reporter-- and was asked an oddly in-house question about "what itmeans to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a majordisaster declaration" signed by the president. He once againexplained smoothly. FEMA press secretary Aaron Walkerinterrupted at one point to caution he'd allow just "two morequestions." Later, he called for a "last question." Are you happywith FEMA's response so far?" a reporter asked. Another asked about "lessons learned from Katrina."
"I'm very happy withFEMA's response so far," Johnson said, hailing "a verysmoothly, very efficiently performing team." "And so I thinkwhat you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, thebenefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership,"Johnson said, "none of which were present in Katrina." (Wasn'tMichael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailerswith formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson time to talk about FEMA'sgreatness. Of course, that could be because the questions wereasked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We're told thequestions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy directorof external affairs, and by "Mike" Widomski, the deputy directorof public affairs. Director of External Affairs John "Pat" Philbinasked a question, and another came, we understand, fromsomeone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin. The fake news conference held by the Federal Emergency Management Agencylast week is becoming a story that just won’t go away. It’s a worst-case scenario for FEMA, whose new leadership team, installed after the Hurricane Katrina debacle, has been waitingfor the next major disaster to show the American public that it had learned its lessons. Boy did they show the lessons that they have learned.

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