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Replacing FEMA

Audrey Mantey

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August 18, 2006

Hezbollah’s leader, Nasrallah, gave a victory speech Monday in which he offered to pay a year’s rent for a house plus a furniture budget to all displaced Lebanese refugees. The following day, just one day after the cease-fire, Lebanese refugees began returning home. As the NYT reported on Tuesday, "hundreds of Hezbollah members spread over dozens of villages across southern Lebanon began cleaning, organizing and surveying damage. Men on bulldozers were busy cutting lanes through giant piles of rubble. Roads blocked with the remnants of buildings are now, just a day after a cease-fire began, fully passable. … Hezbollah men also traveled door to door checking on residents and asking them what help they needed."

When Katrina hit, it took Bush days to direct a person to chair a task force to coordinate the relief efforts. It took days for the National Guard to appear on the scene. Despite FEMA having 500 buses on standby on the day of the storm, ready to be deployed, it took almost a week to get those buses to the Convention Center in New Orleans to begin evacuations there.

Nearly a year after the storm, hundreds of thousands of refugees still have not returned to their homes.

Rather than paying an emergency agency to explain to us why it’s not their job to respond to emergencies, or why if they did participate in relief work, it would maximize their "potential for failure," let’s hire an organization that’s so dedicated to relief and reconstruction that they provide those services despite it not being their job. Let’s dismantle FEMA and bring Hezbollah to the Gulf Coast.

Hezbollah has practical experience managing schools, hospitals, and reconstruction projects. What they need is a public relations campaign, because the average American doesn’t like change. FEMA has already capitalized on this trait by creating special environmental capsules for those who want to preserve themselves in their surroundings: formaldehyde emitting FEMA trailers. If a resident doesn’t want to be prematurely embalmed for some reason, FEMA also provides locked trailer delivery services – you can still enjoy a trailer parked on your property without all the health risks associated with having access to its interior. Or under their remote ownership plan, if you qualify for a trailer, you can store it at an airport in Arkansas, where it will be well cared for, resting comfortably on a $6 million bed. Somehow we would have to counteract all that with clever advertising, to convince the public to buy into Nasrallah’s radical idea that people could live in houses.

Hezbollah has access to both bulldozers and intelligence assets, unlike FEMA, who neither owns equipment nor has the capability to find out who does. FEMA operates on the principle that a team of monkeys randomly typing for an infinite amount of time will eventually bang out the complete works of Shakespeare. In their adaptation, an infinite number of randomly issued contracts will eventually result in locating a company which owns heavy equipment – a theory which led to garbage removal being contracted to AshBritt’s at $23 per cubic yard, who subcontracted it to C&B Enterprises, who subcontracted it to Amlee Transportation, who subcontracted it to Chris Hessler Inc, who subcontracted it to Les Nirdlinger for $3 per cubic yard. I don’t know what possessed me (no pun intended) to do the math on that, but for the record, it’s a 666% markup.

Would-be rescuers were repeatedly turned away by Homeland Security when they tried to drive or boat into areas struck by Katrina. Red Cross was ordered not to deliver supplies to New Orleans. Five hundred privately owned water craft with a police escort, organized by a state senator, were blocked from entering flooded areas. Multiple sheriff’s deputies from Virginia, with supplies and vehicles, were unable to infiltrate the Louisiana state border. In the battle against Homeland Security, clearly we need a trained resistance force, not a management agency.

Along the coast, tenants have been illegally evicted by teams of landlords and real estate developers, in what the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has called a "land grab." Hezbollah, of course, is deeply committed to liberating occupied territories.

Aside from a bit of PR, the only thing they’re missing is their own distinctive uniforms. We would need to provide those, so we’d have a way to distinguish the terrorists from the police forces shooting at evacuating civilians.

***********
BIO: Audrey Mantey has cared for snakes, worked in military intelligence as a counterintelligence specialist,and illustrated children’s books.She teaches computer graphics at the Arts Academy in the Woods. She participated in the Veterans and Survivors March for Peace and Justice — from Mobile to New Orleans — in March 2006, and has returned to New Orleans to participate in reconstruction efforts. She is a member of Veterans For Peace. Not at all a moody Cancer, she hates crime novels.

Audrey Mantey — Self Portrait as Lunch Lady


:: Article nr. 25886 sent on 19-aug-2006 03:15 ECT

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