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I wanted to make another thread for this, because my point wasn't really relevant to the other one. My point is that this disaster has been so catastrophically mismanaged that so many people need to be fired (or possibly imprisoned, or shot) as a punishment for allowing it to happen that it's not even funny.

I've heard people say "this is an environmental disaster, it's not a political issue". It's political as hell. I'm gathering a little compendium of failures, idiocies, and horrific neglect. In no particular order:

The Red Cross is banned from entering New Orleans. Highly questionable.

The FEMA official in charge got his job through nepotism, has no relevant experience, and was in fact fired from his previous job overseeing horse shows. There's a guy you want looking after you.

The same lovely gentleman blames the people who didn't get out. Because absolutely everybody, no matter how poor they are, or how elderly or infirm, or whether they've got a car, everyone is perfectly capable of leaving their home for an indefinite amount of time.

But wait, these dispossessed folk could always get a Greyhound out of there, couldn't they? Well, sure, except that they closed the Greyhound station on Saturday. It's almost as if somebody didn't much care.

"In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service." No comment.

The IEM, the company to whom the job of protecting New Orleans from hurricanes was delegated, is suddenly trying to hide the fact that it ever had that job. What on Earth could they be trying to hide?

But in the face of all this, the President sees a ray of light. I'll quote:

The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)

What's that you say? You can't afford to just rebuild your house from scratch then invite the President over for tea? Huh. Sucks to be you, I guess.

Comments, discussion and contributions appreciated.
{Gothic Angel}
Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

Whoa whoa whoa... The RC have actually been forbidden to enter the city? Why? What idiot thought that one up?
It's from a clearly biased source, so take it with a pinch of salt, but here's more insight into the madness.
Ah, and here's another gem showing how much the President truly cares about New Orleans: he faked a levee repair to get a good photo opportunity.
Totally irrelivent but it's been bugging the hell out of me:

Are people suddenly double posting or are certain people deleating their posts?

I did double post, to add new information to the thread. Ordinary users cannot delete their posts.

edit: the mercenaries have arrived.

4th paragraph down - I can't beleive what I'm reading

not all of the coverage has been concerned with the failures at the federal or state level. The American Family Association's Agape Press published praise for the hurricane's destruction as an instrument of God's mercy, in that it "wiped out rampant sin". Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, said "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again." “New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says.
QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Sep 4 2005, 08:22 AM)
I did double post, to add new information to the thread. Ordinary users cannot delete their posts.

edit: the mercenaries have arrived.

Off topic, but I believe the delete button was recently enabled for everyone.

I definitely see it and have used it before.
I highly suggest that if you do donate anyhting, give it to the salvation army. They are actually helping people in the area. The Red cross does have people in Louisianna, but those are mostly "administration buildings"
QUOTE (moop @ Sep 4 2005, 02:30 PM)
QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Sep 4 2005, 08:22 AM)
I did double post, to add new information to the thread. Ordinary users cannot delete their posts.

edit: the mercenaries have arrived.

Off topic, but I believe the delete button was recently enabled for everyone.

I definitely see it and have used it before.

Ordinary users can delete their own posts but not those of other users. Mods and Admins can obviously delete any posts.

I don't have time to read all the links now but when I do, I'll post something more on topic.
This entire situation has just erupted into insane political ranting on all sides. Lack of aid is blamed on racism, government hatred for the poor, and a whole list of other reasons that no one can verify. Every organization is pointing fingers somewhere else and aid is being distributed in patchy waves due to a complete breakdown in organization. Some people simply couldn't get away in time and have to steal a little to keep themselves alive. Others are having some sick fun destroying things, stealing things from every store in sight, killing others, and raping the defenseless. The people who need aid are not getting because the people who don't want law and order restored are shotting a helicopters and people who try to get in and help. Everything has gone completely to hell down there and too many people are more worried about balming everyone else than helping. I hope that things will be straightened out soon, but I'm not too sure that they will, based on the way everyone has been reacting. It's really quite depressing.
I can almost understand about the Red Cross not being allowed in to the city. They are civilian volunteers and there is obviously danger remaining that the National Guard would not have the authority to allow them to be subject to on their own. That said, the RC have been operating in WARZONES for most of their existence, under military escort. Why aren't they allowed into what is so obviously being treated as one? The government fears for their lives? What about the civilians already there? If this is bad management issues then its the worst I've ever seen or heard of in all of my experience, probably in all of history, and if, like that site you linked to, commie, is right and there is a diabolical purpose to this madness then it is one of the most evil undertakings of mankind's existence. Either way the administration involved at all levels is accountable for this, whether through blame or negligence. The entire bloody american government should be strung up for this travesty, no exceptions.

I officially change my opinion on whether or not we, and other countries and organisations should be providing aid. I previously upheld that if the american government wasn't doing enough then we should step in. I now believe that we should be stepping in and stopping the american government from trying to help in the first place. This is not a job for amateur politicians and bloodthirsty warmongerers. After the responses shown by the emergency services at 9/11, America has shamed itself over this horrid occurence.
Tara: the rationale given for not allowing the RC (or most other aid) into NO was that it would encourage people to stay. Um.

edit: And, yes, I'm now aware that the rules have been changed to let people delete their own posts. That usen't to be the case, and I got confused.
Update: Meet the Press, Sept 4. I'll quote relevant portions:

Let me give you just three quick examples.  We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water.  FEMA turned them back.  They said we didn't need them.  This was a week ago.  FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish.  The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away."  When we got there with our trucks, they got a word.  "FEMA says don't give you the fuel."  Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines.  They cut them without notice.  Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines."  Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

So, FEMA refuses water and fuel to survivors, then cuts off their emergency communication lines. Lovely.

And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me.  The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything.  His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son?  Is somebody coming?"  And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you.  Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."  And she drowned Friday night.  She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. President...

MR. BROUSSARD:  Nobody's coming to get us.  Nobody's coming to get us.  The secretary has promised.  Everybody's promised.  They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences.  For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.
Is anyone else annoyed at the way mercenaries are referred to as 'Army Contractors' in Afghanistan, Iraq, and New Orleans?

Just say it like it is, paid killers. The job isn't exactly politically correct, don't decieve people with a PC name either.

For crying out loud, it makes them sound like construction workers!

Edit: Yup, Commie. No one likes FEMA. They are experts at red tape and wasting money, but no good in a crisis situation.

I can understand things being done 'by the book' for efficient rescue. However when the rulkes and regulations stop anyting getting done whatsoever... some people just need a kick in the arse.

Quick note, the head of Homeland Security got his job after being fired for incompetance at another post. It's great to know that your future is in such able hands.
But apparently, if you evacuated? Everything's just spiffy for you! So sayeth Barbara Bush, and I think I see where the current President gets it.

edit: An open letter to the President

I quote:

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, [FEMA director Michael Brown] said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You’re doing a heck of a job."

That’s unbelievable.
Yup... the incompetance and sheer callousness seems to permeate the entire upper echelons dealing with this catastrophy. From crooked NO politicians who ensured that if something went wrong it would be spectacular, to FEMA, to the President and First Lady.

In places it is hard to see how they could have screwed up more if they tried.

But at least they all got some good airtime and photo opportunities.
Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke proposed three laws of technology, the third of which was Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

I saw today somebody suggesting that a corruption of this law is appropriate for the Katrina situation: Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

That is, where the people who unquestionably had both the power and the responsibility to prevent this failed to, it is appropriate to treat them as if they purposely orchestrated it, the two situations being morally distinguishable.

Oh, and another update: they absolutely knew what was going to happen.
Wow. Not only did Bush's visit to NO not help a damn thing, it actually made things worse. From here:

In reporting on President Bush's September 2 visit to New Orleans to survey damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, most national media outlets* have ignored reports that helicopter flights were banned for the duration of Bush's stay, stalling relief efforts and preventing sick and injured survivors from being airlifted to treatment centers.

Citing Rep. Charlie Melancon's (D-LA) chief of staff, a September 3 New Orleans Times-Picayune article reported that crews were unable to deliver three tons of food for hurricane survivors in Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish and Algiers Point on September 2, as "air traffic was halted because of President Bush's visit to New Orleans." The food, secured by Melancon and Bob Odom, Louisiana's agriculture commissioner, "baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana," according to the Times-Picayune.

Emphasis mine.
Please, everyone, watch this video.

I couldn't believe my ears at first. But, yes, that's exactly what he says.
Wait... isn't Bush the head of an investigation into why the relief/rescue efforts were so inefficient/rubbish? If he himself is a contributing factor...

Isn't that like allowing a suspect to be their own interrogator?

Bloody hell. They are just going to push paper around for 6 months then say there were errors, but it was no ones fault. Damnit.

Edit: Oh.....kay....

That news reporter could have phrased that a bit better. blink.gif
Did he just say...

I mean...

no, he couldn't have...please tell me he didn't say that these people are "so poor, and so black"
I'd just like to thank Commie for this thread and for continuing to post links to relevant sites.

You're doing a good job, please keep it up.

Back on topic.

The poor have been hit the hardest - they tend not to have insurance on their homes. What are they going to get out of this?

Haliburton have already been called in with the repair clean up - so will we see Iraq style corruption, grand scale fraud, incompetence and delay after delay?

Much of the area hit has been declared uninhabitable, will this prove to be uninhabitable becase it's too expensive to pay to clean up just to give it to some poor black family? If the mainly black poor areas are leveled and sold to developers will we see uninhabitable land suddenly becoming prime real estate?

As mentioned above, Gee Dubya heading an enquiry where as Commander in Chief the buck might be expected to stop with him. Not much chance of impartiality there then?
QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Sep 7 2005, 03:40 AM)
Did he just say...

I mean...

no, he couldn't have...please tell me he didn't say that these people are "so poor, and so black"

Yup, that's exactly what I heard.
While Dubya will be heading an investigation, Congress is going to have its own one, so there's still a chance he'll get whatever blame's coming to him.

My computer's not playing that file - can somebody post a transcript?
Transcript from the video of what I can only assume is a CNN News reporter speaking, with footage of a person being stretchered off a helicopter and a man wading waist deep in the water waving a white peice of cloth.

Reporter: Y-you simply get chills everytime you see these poor individuals as Jack Can'tspellhissurname pointed out, er so tragically, so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold.

- quotes about the hurricane. I find Barbara Bush's to be particularly disturbing:

"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them." –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the Hurricane flood evacuees in the Houston Astrodome, Sept. 5, 2005
I love that. "It's cool everybody, they were underprivileged anyway."

This shouldn't surprise anybody who's been paying attention - like, since 2000 - but the top three jobs at FEMA went to Bush cronies with no relevant experience.
This post on Making Light relays the account of some survivors in New Orleans. Please read it. I should warn you in advance, though: you'll end up very angry. The local law enforcement has been hindering, not helping, survival and evacuation.
The White House declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 26th.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe

Sounds useful, doesn't it? The declaration was limited to certain parishes:

the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.

For those of you who - like me - don't know a damn thing about Louisiana geography, a helpful denizen of the Interwebs has made this little graphic:

Just to clarify, Bush declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Katrina, but excluded the coastal areas. Where exactly did he think the hurricane was going to come from?
I was under the impression that the President could only call a state of emergency in a state at the behest of the state governor. It's a part of the federal system designed to keep too much power in the hands of the individal states.

So supposedly he must go along with what the state governor wishes. If only certain areas are under this state of emergency, then I assume those are the only areas that the state governor has allowed be deemed as such.

So in this case I would throw the incompetance lable further down the rungs of power, rather than at the pres.

Furthermore, New Orleans also possessed hundreds of Regional Transit Authority buses. The city used some buses on Sunday to transport residents to shelters within the city, but did not use them to carry out an evacuation, despite this being part of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

Also, by Saturday morning Katrina was expected to strengthen to at least a category-4 hurricane before hitting land, and by late Friday the eye of the hurricane was expected to pass right by New Orleans, a forecast that continued into Saturday. Despite the incredible danger this posed, and the fact that 72 hours was considered necessary for a full evacuation of the city, the mayor delayed initiating evacuation procedures until Sunday, less than a day before landfall.

This entire debacle appears to be a case of the blind leading the blind. FEMA and the president are simply compounding a problem that was already superbly screwed up by the more local authorities.
In a shocking twist that nobody could possibly have expected, the rich of New Orleans are A-OK, and in fact are seeing a silver lining in all this - it's an opportunity to rid New Orleans of the "teeming underclass" (translation for the unobservant: black people). Ah, good old segregation...

A couple of days out of date, but it shows to what degree law and order broke down.

Police refusing to rescue people because they refused to flash their breasts? This on top of the desertions. The figures I have seen (no link, sorry) say that about 1/3 to 1/2 the police force didn't report to duty. There are probably deaths included in that unfortunately, but a lot deserted to help friends, family, and rescue property.

Now not showing up because you are helping family I can understand, and probably shouldn't be punished harshly (although there should be some repurcussions, people were counting on them) but not helping because you didn't flash them?

Inexcuseable. An abuse of power, willfully failing in your duty to the people, and extending the time needed to rescue those affected.

It's interesting how far even respected people slip into degeneration after a calamity. When the rules, regulations, and norms of society are swept aside like this people seems to revert to their baser instincts. On the otherhand you have FEMA stepping in and wrapping everything up in red tape and causing problems themselves. There's not really a point to this, just an observation. Seems you can't really win either way.
Incidentally, I'm getting most of these from Lenin's Tomb (strong language), Making Light, and Eric M's journal (lots of strong language).
Mexican Army crosses the Rio Grande!

First time the Mexican army stomped around there since the antics of Santa Ana (sp?) and the US Manifest Destiny.

Warms my heart really. The US could have done this themselves (if they got their gear in order) but this is truly a great gesture, one that should allive countless peoples suffering.

EDIT: Ooh, I wondered where you were getting all the lowdown.
Just so everyone knows, the tales of lawlessness and rioting with which the media are being seeded are bigoted lies (Chicago Tribune, registration required).

I quote the article in full below:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- They locked down the entrance doors Thursday at the Baton Rouge hotel where I'm staying alongside hundreds of New Orleans residents driven from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

"Because of the riots," the hotel managers explained. Armed Gunmen from New Orleans were headed this way, they had heard.

"It's the blacks," whispered one white woman in the elevator. "We always worried this would happen."

Something else gave way last week besides the levees that had protected New Orleans from the waters surrounding it. The thin veneer of civility and practiced cordiality that in normal times masks the prejudices and bigotries held by many whites in this region of Deep South Louisiana was heavily battered as well.

All it took to set the rumor mills in motion were the first TV pictures broadcast Tuesday showing some looters—many of them black—smashing store windows in downtown New Orleans. Reports later in the week of sporadic violence and shootings among the desperate throngs outside the Superdome clamoring to be rescued only added to the panic.

By Thursday, local TV and radio stations in Baton Rouge—the only ones in the metro area still able to broadcast—were breezily passing along reports of cars being hijacked at gunpoint by New Orleans refugees, riots breaking out in the shelters set up in Baton Rouge to house the displaced, and guns and knives being seized.

Scarcely any of it was true—the police, for example, confiscated a single knife from a refugee in one Baton Rouge shelter. There were no riots in Baton Rouge. There were no armed hordes.

But all of it played directly into the darkest prejudices long held against the hundreds of thousands of impoverished blacks who live "down there," in New Orleans, that other world regarded by many white suburbanites—indeed, many people across the rest of the state—as a dangerous urban no-go area.

Now the floods were pushing tens of thousands of those inner-city residents deep into Baton Rouge and beyond. The TV pictures showed vast throngs of black people who had been trapped in downtown New Orleans disgorging out of rescue trucks and helicopters to be ushered onto buses headed west on Interstate Highway 10. The nervousness among many of the white evacuees in my hotel was palpable.

Few stopped to contemplate that the reason nearly all the people shown on TV were black was because that's who was left behind when the better-off New Orleans residents with the money and means to escape evacuated the city in advance of the storm.

Nor did they seem to notice that most of the refugees were bedraggled mothers and exhausted fathers and frightened children and ailing old people—ordinary, law-abiding citizens who had had little to begin with and escaped with absolutely nothing except the clothes on their backs and their lives.

And it wasn't just the uninformed, the idle and the bigoted spreading the poison with loaded language.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, himself an African-American, blamed the state for sending "New Orleans thugs" to be sheltered in Baton Rouge and promptly slapped a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the main River Center shelter, which held 5,000 refugees from the storm.

"We do not want to inherit the looting and all the other foolishness that went on in New Orleans," Holden was quoted as telling the Baton Rouge Advocate in Thursday's edition. "We do not want to inherit that breed that seeks to prey on other people."

It was left to the Baton Rouge police chief to go on TV later in the day to try to cool the growing hysteria and point out that a single knife had been seized in the shelter. The mayor later said he had been misquoted by the newspaper.

But the damage had been done. The doors to my hotel stayed locked.
QUOTE (Calantyr @ Sep 8 2005, 08:41 PM)
...Police refusing to rescue people because they refused to flash their breasts?...

...not helping because they didn't flash a police officer?

Inexcuseable. An abuse of power, willfully failing in your duty to the people, and extending the time needed to rescue those affected.

Inexcusable yes. An abuse of power - most definetely.

How about Criminal:

- Dereliction of duty in time of state emergency.
- Sexual harrasment / assault.
- Attempt to sexually demean and humiliate with threats (the threat in this case to leave someone to possibly die).
- Attempt to obtain sexual gratification through duress (see threats above).
- Abuse of power and authority in order to obtain sexual gratification / to sexually demean / humiliate.
- Bringing the authority, badge, uniform and police service of New Orleans into disrepute through criminal malpractice.
- Deserting a civillian in distress causing criminal endangerment; in direct violation of specific orders to rescue all at risk civillians.

Utterly sickening.

In sentencing I would hope that this officer is treated like the sick, perverted criminal he is.

I'm assuming that this story is accurate - I guess with Bush heading any investigation the chances of a fair and formal enquiry into this or any of the other crimes committed are slim to annorexic.
Congress is holding its own inquiry - Bush isn't going to be the only one to decide who failed who.
There's a lot of things going wrong here, for one, Bush was not very timely in acting, secondly, the aid couldn't bypass laws and had to go through both the Senate and the House.

But what is really uplifting to me is that countries I never expected to even mention the disaster gave aid to New Orleans. Among them are Taiwan, China, and all sorts of countries that could have used their donations to better their own ailing countries. Even Fidel Castro, Cuban President, commonly demonized by American citizens, stated he was ready to send 1,100 doctors and tons (literally, tons as in the weight measurement) of medicine to the victims of Katrina.
Thus far, you may be forgiven for thinking that Michael Brown, FEMA director, is merely incompetent, lazy, and somewhat callous.

Allow me to disabuse you of this notion. Michael Brown is a murderer.

edit: Somebody else has been collecting evils.
I'm not a fan of the man, but I want to thank Colin Powell for asking questions that need to be asked.

So at the same time that the Governor of Louisiana was preventing the Red Cross and Salvation Army from entering New Orleans to provide relief (with the intention of forcing those still in New Orleans to evacuate), those people still in New Orleans were being prevented from leaving the city by local officials.

*shakes head*
A year later... Has the aid actually got there? Has there been any rebuilding? Does anyone live in the area, or has visited?
My God, I was just a posting machine in this thread.

I recall I stopped collecting the information partly because my sources dried up a bit and partly because I was just getting depressed and angry. I'd like to know if anyone has heard anything recent from New Orleans. The last thing I heard, admittedly from several months ago, was that much of the city was still in Third World conditions.
I think I read somewhere that a judge is trying to get the insurance companies to pay for the damage/loss of possessions etc, but they're all saying that their insurance doesn't cover flooding.
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