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The Decline of FEMA in the Rise of the Militarized State

"No-one cares about disasters until they happen. That is a political fact of life... "
-- David McEntire, who teaches emergency management at the University of North Texas, quoted in a Reuters story on Yahoo News

Guns matter much more than butter to the Bushites.

For its size, I suspect there are few government agencies that have been more effective than FEMA. They moved fast, and when they said "boo!" people jumped. They were so effective that they even get a footnote in the conspiracy literature (with a little help from Wired Magazine and Chris Carter).

Well, make that "were more effective." That was then, of course -- before the most conservative US administration in over a century got a blank check to reorganize government agencies in the light of their own perceived priorities. And those priorities were much more focused on human-driven risks than on natural ones. (And anyway, the only "natural" cause of anything is God. Right?)

Now, this week in New Orleans, we see how little attention anyone really pays to FEMA now that they're several steps down in the Federal Homeland "Security" bureaucracy. But (of course) I think there's more to it; I think it boils down to the fact that schoolyard bullies don't get nearly as much enjoyment out of helping people recover from disasters as they do out of blowing people up and shooting them. That could just be why, now that there are lots of looters in the streets, the President's got the Army all over it.

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