Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XI

Right now I'm watching Mr. Cheney on C-Span, and they've just shown the defining moment of his visit. He's prattling on about the impressive resources brought to bear by the government, the gratitude expressed by local officials and people about the aid that has come to Mississippi -- especially from faith-based charities. After about 10 minutes of this, a spectator simply says: "Go f..k yourself, Mr. Cheney, go f..k yourself," before being hussled away by the Matrix goons [see below for link and text].

Just before Cheney's farce, Bush had given a press conference declaring 16 Sept (?) a day of national prayer and unity. I've never heard of a "national day of prayer" called by the executive of this country, for anything. I'm not sure about y'all, but I'm gonna pray that we get a new Administration but quick.

Otherwise today, there was a story on ABC news showing National Guardsmen going door to door at Audubon Place -- the richest block in New Orleans, completely high and dry -- confiscating weapons and demanding that people leave. One of the rich folks arrested simply said: "they were worried that we had bigger weapons than they had." Prediction: if this policy of forcible removal continues or hardens in intensity, someone's going to get killed. I almost think Washington wants that to happen, as it would serve to further muddy sympathy for New Orleans -- Rove's own attempts to muddy sympathy so far have not had sufficient effect. When I was in NO on Sunday, one woman hanging out near Camp and Magazine simply stated: "last I checked, I was still a citizen around here, with rights."

There was an Marketplace radio report interviewing an urban planning manager in Los Angeles expressing optimistic platitudes about the opportunity given New Orleans for a fresh start with a nearly blank slate. Somehow, I'm not reassured by L.A. urban planners telling us how lucky we are to have a blank slate in old New Orleans, any more than I'm reassured by San Antonio offering to host the Saints this year or Washington requesting that Blanco sign over control over all relief operations. Times are ugly, and are likely to remain so for a while.

1) Here's a pretty fascinating eyewitness account of surviving Katrina by a friend of one of this list's readers [NO is, after all, a small town -- we all sort of know each other]. Sounds like a difficult few days:

2) Now that's what I'm talkin 'bout -- a model pre-fab home for rebuilding NO without completely destroying it in the process:

3) Here's an amazing video of MSNBC reporter Olbermann speaking out against the Bush Administration's response last week. For those without the ability to view it, the text is below:

The "city" of Louisiana (Keith Olbermann)

SECAUCUS — Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."

Well there's your problem right there.

If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.

The seeming definition of our time and our leaders had been their insistence on slashing federal budgets for projects that might’ve saved New Orleans. The seeming characterization of our government is that it was on vacation when the city was lost, and could barely tear itself away from commemorating V.J. Day and watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, to at least pretend to get back to work. The seeming identification of these hapless bureaucrats: their pathetic use of the future tense in terms of relief they could’ve brought last Monday and Tuesday — like the President, whose statements have looked like they’re being transmitted to us by some kind of four-day tape-delay.

But no. the incompetence and the ludicrous prioritization will forever be symbolized by one gaffe by the head of what is ironically called “The Department of Homeland Security”: “Louisiana is a city…”

Politician after politician — Republican and Democrat alike — has paraded before us, unwilling or unable to shut off the "I-Me" switch in their heads, condescendingly telling us about how moved they were or how devastated they were — congenitally incapable of telling the difference between the destruction of a city and the opening of a supermarket.

And as that sorry recital of self-absorption dragged on, I have resisted editorial comment. The focus needed to be on the efforts to save the stranded — even the internet's meager powers were correctly devoted to telling the stories of the twin disasters, natural... and government-made.

But now, at least, it is has stopped getting exponentially worse in Mississippi and Alabama and New Orleans and Louisiana (the state, not the city). And, having given our leaders what we know now is the week or so they need to get their act together, that period of editorial silence I mentioned, should come to an end.

No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes. Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city, ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.

But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that, "we are not satisfied," with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he's speaking for on this point. Perhaps it's the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?

I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant.

For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been — as we were taught in Social Studies it should always be — whether or not I voted for this President — he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to '08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government — our government — "New Orleans."

For him, it is a shame — in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there, and he might not have looked so much like a 21st Century Marie Antoinette. All that was needed was just a quick "I'm not satisfied with my government's response." Instead of hiding behind phrases like "no one could have foreseen," had he only remembered Winston Churchill's quote from the 1930's. "The responsibility," of government, Churchill told the British Parliament "for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence." In forgetting that, the current administration did not merely damage itself — it damaged our confidence in our ability to rely on whoever is in the White House.
As we emphasized to you here all last week, the realities of the region are such that New Orleans is going to be largely uninhabitable for a lot longer than anybody is yet willing to recognize. Lord knows when the last body will be found, or the last artifact of the levee break, dug up. Could be next March. Could be 2100. By then, in the muck and toxic mire of New Orleans, they may even find our government's credibility.

Somewhere, in the City of Louisiana.

4) Here's a blog with more interesting Katrina news:

5) Here's the complete text of the 2004 (?) National Geographic article describing what happened in New Orleans last week. Take the poll asking whether the US Govt should pay for Louisiana coastal restoration:

6) Cheney's tough day, facing vox populi:

7) Hmm, wonder why Cheney faced a little hostility in the provinces today? Republicans aren't making many friends in Louisiana these days. Dennis Hastert, Barbara Bush, Rick Santorum, and now Tom Tancredo. If the motion proposed in the below article passes, it's time to secede:,1299,DRMN_21_4063498,00.html

Tancredo: Don't let Louisiana broker aid
By Dick Foster,
Rocky Mountain News
September 8, 2005

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., asked House SpeakerDennis Hastert not to send federal disaster aid toofficials in Louisiana, calling state and localgovernment there incompetent and corrupt.

In a letter to Hastert on Wednesday, Tancredo urgedthe speaker to create a "bipartisan select committee"of members of Congress to oversee federal disasterspending in Louisiana.

"Given the abysmal failure of state and localofficials in Louisiana to plan adequately for orrespond to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on thecity of New Orleans, and given the long history ofpublic corruption in Louisiana, I hope the House willrefrain from directly appropriating any funds . . . toeither the state of Louisiana or the city of NewOrleans," Tancredo wrote.

Tancredo lashed out at New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin andLouisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, both Democrats, ashaving "demonstrated mind-boggling incompetence intheir lack of planning for and response to thisdisaster."

He issued a milder rebuke to the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency, accusing it of "bureaucraticineptitude."

"It's a shame. Instead of offering constructive adviceand assistance, a United States congressman is wastingour time with stereotypes and accusations," BrianRichardson, a spokesman for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.,told The Associated Press. "Louisiana will rebuildwith or without Mr. Tancredo's help."

8) Some of the LA National Guard now on their way home:

Louisiana National GuardHundreds Begin Trip Home From Duty in Baghdad
By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, September 8, 2005;
Page A15
BAGHDAD, Sept. 7 --

Hundreds of Louisiana NationalGuard soldiers deployed in Iraq were in Kuwait onWednesday as a first stop on the way home, where themajority of their 3,700-member brigade was likely tohelp with hurricane relief, U.S. military officialssaid.

The military was also sending advance teams to helpmembers of the Louisiana Guard's 256th Brigade CombatTeam with their families' disaster assistance, as wellas 100 military chaplains to counsel the veteransreturning to devastation at home.

"There's no question they got a double whammy after ayear in a very tough combat environment and then acatastrophe like this, which might be the biggestdisaster in U.S. history," Brig. Gen. Sean Byrne, theU.S. military's director of personnel management, saidat Camp Victory in Kuwait.

Nearly 550 of the Louisiana brigade's troops losthomes or loved ones or were otherwise affected byHurricane Katrina, said Lt. Col. Debbie Haston-Hilger,a U.S. military spokeswoman in Kuwait. Scores of thesoldiers have family members not yet accounted for,she said. The brigade, which served in Baghdad, wascoming to the end of its rotation, officials said.

Sgt. John Roger, 30, of lower St. Bernard Parish, saidhis wife and two children were safely at hismother-in-law's house in Kansas. But he said aneighbor back in Louisiana who was riding out thestorm on her roof took a picture of Roger's housefloating by.

Asked where his house was now, Roger said: "I don'tknow. Probably in the Gulf somewhere."
In Baghdad, Roger said, he was in convoys that werehit by roadside bombs at least 10 times. A car bombclaimed the life of another sergeant in his unit, hesaid.

Before Katrina, "I was looking forward to gettinghome, taking some time off, getting back into life,"he said.
The military said separately in a statement in Baghdadthat it was trying to speed transport home for theLouisiana Guard members. The entire brigade wasexpected to be out of Iraq by the third week ofSeptember.

Most members were expected to help with Katrinarelief, said the brigade's commander, Brig. Gen. JohnBasilica Jr.

They might be ordered or allowed to take part inrelief efforts in Louisiana, or they might bedemobilized at Fort Polk, La., and return to civilianlife, Lt. Col. Dave Sheridan, a National Guard memberfrom New York state, said at Camp Victory.

A Mississippi National Guard unit based south of Baghdad also had hundreds of members affected by thehurricane. They are not due to return until January.

9) Soldiers in Iraq see parallels in Katrina:

US Features
From Iraq, troops see parallels in Katrina
By Pamela Hess
Sep 6, 2005, 16:49 GMT
BALAD, Iraq (UPI) --

From 8,000 miles away, U.S.troops in Iraq are watching footage of the aftermathof Hurricane Katrina with awe, concern and a littleshame.

'If anything I`m kind of embarrassed,' said anofficer. 'We`re supposed to be telling the Iraqis howto act and this is what`s happening at home?'

A senior officer allowed that if he was forced tochoose between New Orleans and Baghdad he`d prefer totake his chances in Baghdad.

On Friday, 1,000 National Guard troops and policeexecuted a 'clear and hold' mission on the New Orleansconvention center. Once host to the 1988 RepublicanNational Convention, the convention center was nowunofficial host to thousands of refugees - squattersall - who were mixed in with criminals and thugs.There was no official government presence there.

10) A humor posting, with movie references, courtesy of tboggs:

11) A [humor] map showing why NO is not special in terms of being a dangerous and/or illogical place to live -- after nearly 300 years without the destruction faced last week, some fools from towns at most 75 years old have the nerve to tut tut NO for not being in a proper place:

12) A nicely written FEMA political analysis:

13) After a lot of birdwatcher talk, here's another FEMA eyewitness account, demonstrating why FEMA is indeed a four letter word. Remember when right wing militias during the Clinton presidency used to spout off about a malicious "world government" with mysterious black choppers who weren't accountable to the people? Seems to me it's arrived:


Re: Sat through Monday in NOLA- There were many monk parakeets spotted and heard in midcity section of NOLA. We worked superdome area to fairgrounds to 610 split. Bill gave a good summary of birds seen/heard. But what caught my attention birdwise was the lack of birds almost anywhere.

But the choppers were making a lot of noise. I did hear several Amazona parrots still in houses. One did a great interpretation of a police siren. Came to one house that we heard a number of small dogs barking, numerous parakeets, and an African Gray - all upstairs. There was a wrought iron lattice up to the upstairs porch. The AZ Fire Dept SR guy in my boat scaled the latticework, with no hesitation whatsoever, went in and fed all the dogs, the some 8-10 parakeets, an African Gray and another large parrot that he described and I think may have been a yellow-napped parrot. The homeowner had let all out of there cages but in the home. Saw a duck decoy here and there floating by.

Out by the Saints Training Center, where we camped, I saw a flock of B-b whistling ducks. Out in New Orleans-East where 610 went under water there were ca. 40-60 mottled ducks feeding in shallow waters on the interstate. Saw a single flock of Blue-w teal. Several flocks of white ibis. There was a flock of canada geese with two snow geese- Clint said he knew someone that raised waterfowl nearby and that is where they came from. When I asked him about the Shelduck, which was in shallow water walking around within 5 feet of our vehicles, he said it too was from his friend's pens. Later he saw his friend's house near the lakefront- all pens were torn-up as was his friend's house.

The USFWS and National Wetlands Res. Center boats brought in 200-300 people Sat through Monday. earlier in the week a small group of FWS-Lafayette boats brought in 250 people. They said there were a lot of sport boats bringing people in too; I think this was near the causeway somewhere. Earlier in the week, the Wetlands Center boats were never able to get in the water. We were not allowed to by "officials" deployed in the area they went to. On Friday we teamed up with FWS-Lafayette.

Buddy Goatcher, USFWS-Lafayette, is a true hero in my book. He was in charge and hooked us up with the Phenoix, AZ Fire Dept crew and they worked with us. Monday when we went to NO-East he arranged for LA National Guard 159th Bayou Militia to work with us. I saw Buddy take on 3 FEMA top officials that tried to stall us on one occassion enrote to midcity area.

They backed down and Buddy got what he wanted- our own boat launch (Elysian Fields exit ramp) so we could control the number of evacuees staging at any given time, medical crew to attend to the evacuees we brought in, and a USCG gun in each boat. I would follow Buddy anywhere.

He not only got us in the water but he did it the correct way. The safe way. And in spite of many obstacles that were placed in his way. God bless him.

Wylie BarrowUSGS-National Wetlands Research CenterLafayette, LA

14) Three FEMA contractors arrested for looting in Plaquemines Parish. Guess you gotta watch whom you offer contracts to:

Three Texas truck drivers under contract with the federal government to bring in storm relief supplies for Plaquemines Parish have been arrested for allegedly looting toys, dolls, women's lingerie and other merchandise from a Belle Chasse Family Dollar store, authorities said.

Booked late Wednesday night with one count each of looting were Gerald W. Thomas, 47, of Tyler, Texas; Thomas Sherman, 39, also of Tyler; and Lasharon Lemons, 36, of Dallas, said Major John Marie with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office.

Marie said that since the relief effort began, drivers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been allowed to take drinks, personal grooming supplies and other small items from the Family Dollar store at 7902 Louisiana 23.

But he said the three suspects went much further, loading the cabs of their trucks with toys such as Barbie dolls, kitchen appliances, telephones, answering machines, waste paper baskets and other goods.

"When we arrested them, they had enough stolen stuff to fill five grocery carts full of property," Marie said.

No bail had been set on the three drivers because there is no judge in Plaquemines to hear their cases, Marie said.

The arrests were the first in the parish for looting, a problem that has been widespread in neighboring New Orleans and Jefferson Parish since Katrina hit on August 29.

Under Louisiana law, a conviction for looting carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

(From the Times-Picayune)

15) DFA petition, demanding independent commission investigate the Katrina debacle:

16) Another eyewitness account [sorry about the graphics]:

> From: Lisa Moore> Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 10:13 AM> Subject: a survivor's story: Katrina in New> Orleans> > i heard from my aunt last night that my cousin> Denise made it out of New Orleans; she's at her> brother's in Baton Rouge. from what she told me: her> mother, a licensed practical nurse, was called in to> work on Sunday night at Memorial Hospital> (historically known as Baptist Hospital to those of> us from N.O.). Denise decided to stay with her> mother, her niece and grandniece (who is 2 years> old); she figured they'd be safe at the hospital.> they went to Baptist, and had to wait hours to be> assigned a room to sleep in; after they were finally> assigned a room,two white nurses suddenly arrived> after the cut-off time (time to be assigned a room),> and Denise and> her family were booted out; their room was> given up to the new nurses. Denise was furious, and> rather than stay at Baptist, decided to walk home> (several blocks away)to ride out the storm at her> mother's apartment. her mother stayed at the> hospital.> > > she described it as the scariest time in her> life. 3 of the rooms in the apartment (there are> only 4)> caved in. ceilings caved in, walls caved in.> she huddled under a mattress in the hall. she> thought she would die from either the storm or a> heart attack. after the storm passed, she went back> to Baptist to seek shelter(this was Monday). it was> also scary at Baptist; the electricity was out, they> were running on generators,there was no air> conditioning. Tuesday the levees broke, and water> began rising. they moved patients upstairs, saw> boats pass by on what used to be streets. they were> told that they would be evacuated,that buses were> coming. then they were told they would have to walk> to the nearest intersection, Napoleon and S.> Claiborne, to await the buses. they waded out in> hip-deep water, only to stand at the intersection,> on the neutral ground (what y'all call the median)> for 3 1/2 hours. the buses came and took them to the> Ernest Morial Convention Center. (yes, the> convention center you've all seen on TV.)> > > Denise said she thought she was in hell. they> were there for 2 days, with no water, no food. no> shelter.Denise, her mother (63 years old), her> niece (21 years old), and 2-year-old grandniece.> when they arrived, there were already thousands of> people there. they were told that buses were coming.> police drove by, windows rolled up, thumbs up signs.> national guard trucks rolled by, completely empty,> soldiers with guns cocked and aimed at them. nobody> stopped to drop off> water. a helicopter dropped a load of water,> but all the bottles exploded on impact due to the> height of the helicopter.> > > the first day (Wednesday) 4 people died next> to her. the second day (Thursday) 6 people died next> to her. Denise told me the people around her all> thought they had been sent there to die. again,> nobody stopped. the only buses that came were full;> they dropped off more and more people, but nobody> was being picked up and taken away. they found out> that those being dropped off had been rescued from> rooftops and attics; they got off the buses> delirious from lack of water and food. completely> dehydrated. the crowd tried to keep them all in one> area; Denise said the new arrivals had mostly lost> their minds. they had gone crazy.> > > inside the convention center, the place was> one huge bathroom. in order to shit, you had to> stand in other people's shit. the floors were black> and slick with shit. most people stayed outside> because the smell was so bad. but outside wasn't> much better: between the heat, the humidity, the> lack of water, the old and very young dying from> dehydration... and there was no place to lay down,> not even room on the sidewalk. they slept outside> Wednesday night, under an overpass.> > > Denise said yes, there were young men with> guns there.but they organized the crowd. they went> to Canal Street and "looted," and brought back food> and water for the old people and the babies, because> nobody had eaten in days. when the police rolled> down windows and yelled out "the buses are coming,"> the young men with guns organized the crowd in> order: old people in front, women and children next,> men in the back. just so that when the buses came,> there would be> priorities of who got out first.> > > Denise said the fights she saw between the> young men with guns were fist fights. she saw them> put their guns down and fight rather than shoot up> the crowd. but she said that there were a handful of> people shot in the convention center; their bodies> were left inside, along with other dead babies and> old people.> > > Denise said the people thought there were> being sent there to die. lots of people being> dropped off, nobody being picked up. cops passing> by, speeding off. national guard rolling by with> guns aimed at them. and yes, a few men shot at the> police, because at a certain point all the people> thought the cops were coming to hurt them, to kill> them all. she saw a young man who had stolen a car> speed past, cops in pursuit;he crashed the car, got> out and ran, and the cops shot him in the back. in> front of the whole crowd. she saw many groups of> people decide that they were going to walk across> the bridge to the west bank, and those same groups> would return, saying that they were met at the top> of the bridge by armed police ordering them to turn> around, that they weren't allowed to leave.> > > so they all believed they were sent there to> die.> > > Denise's niece found a pay phone, and kept> trying to call her mother's boyfriend in Baton> Rouge, and finally got through and told him where> they were. the boyfriend, and Denise's brother,> drove down from Baton Rouge and came and got them.> they had to bribe a few cops, and talk a few into> letting them into the city ("come on, man, my> 2-year-old niece is at the Convention Center!"),> then they took back roads to get to them.> > > after arriving at my other cousin's apartment> in Baton Rouge, they saw the images on TV, and> couldn't believe how the media was portraying the> people of New Orleans. she kept repeating to me on> the phone last night: make sure you tell everybody> that they left us there to die. nobody came. those> young men with guns were protecting us. if it wasn't> for them, we wouldn't have had the little water and> food they had found.> > > that's Denise Moore's story.> > > Lisa C. Moore

17) Here's call to action by community activists in Baton Rouge -- I posted the meeting agenda yesterday:

DATE: Saturday, September 10, 2005TIME: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.PLACE: Southern University, Baton Rouge, LAROOM: To Be Announced--STAY TUNED--we will send out another e-mail with the campus building and room number.
Displaced New Orleans Community Demands Action, Accountability and Initiates
A People’s Hurricane Fund
Not until the fifth day of the federal government’s inept and inadequate emergency response to the New Orleans’ disaster did George Bush even acknowledge it was ‘unacceptable.’ ‘Unacceptable’ doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the neglect, racism and classism shown to the people of New Orleans. The government’s actions and inactions were criminal. New Orleans, a city whose population is almost 70% percent black, 40% illiterate, and many are poor, was left day after day to drown, to starve and to die of disease and thirst.
The people of New Orleans will not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country to become homeless in countless other cities while federal relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels, chemical plants and the wealthy white districts of New Orleans like the French Quarter and the Garden District. We will not stand idly by while this disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New Orleans.
Community Labor United (CLU), a coalition of the progressive organizations throughout New Orleans, has brought community members together for eight years to discuss socio-economic issues. We have been communicating with people from The Quality Education as a Civil Right Campaign, the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project and the Louisiana Research Institute for Community Empowerment. We are preparing a press release and framing document that will be out as a draft later today for comments.
Here is what we are calling for:
We are calling for all New Orleanians remaining in the city to be evacuated immediately.
We are calling for information about where every evacuee was taken. We are calling for black and progressive leadership to come together to meet in Baton Rouge to initiate the formation of a Community Oversight Committee of evacuees from all the sites. This committee will demand to oversee FEMA, the Red Cross and other organizations collecting resources on behalf of our people.
We are calling for volunteers to enter the shelters where our people are and to assist parents with housing, food, water, health care and access to aid.
We are calling for teachers and educators to carve out some time to come to evacuation sites and teach our children.
We are calling for city schools and universities near evacuation sites to open their doors for our children to go to school.
We are calling for health care workers and mental health workers to come to evacuation sites to volunteer.
We are calling for lawyers to investigate the wrongful death of those who died, to protect the land of the displaced, to investigate whether the levies broke due to natural and other related matters. We are calling for evacuees from our community to actively participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
We are calling for the addresses of all the relevant list serves and press contacts to send our information.
We are in the process of setting up a central command post in Jackson, MS, where we will have phone lines, fax, email and a web page to centralize information. We will need volunteers to staff this office.
We have set up a People’s Hurricane Fund that will be directed and administered by New Orleanian evacuees. The Young People’s Project, a 501(c)3 organization formed by graduates of the Algebra Project, has agreed to accept donations on behalf of this fund.
Donations can be mailed to:
The People's Hurricane Fundc/o Vanguard Public Foundation383 Rhode Island St., Ste 301San Francisco, CA 94103
If you have comments of how to proceed or need more information, please email them to Curtis Muhammad ( and Becky Belcore (
Thank you.

18) Here's an example of what the above activists are setting themselves up to fight against [sent by one of this list's readers]. Inevitably us locals will be at each other's throats soon enough:

"I went to high school in uptown with folks that no doubt grew up to join this enlightened council. of course their threat to leave if poor people are allowed back is empty. 'they' couldn't function in a world where no one knew who their important new orleans family is.

Barbara Bush may think the poor black diaspora from New Orleans will "be doing very well," but at least one member of the city's white power elite says the city will be doing very well without all those unpleasantly needy folk returning to a rebuilt Crescent City. Behold one Jimmy Reiss, head of the New Orleans Business Counsel, speaking from within the subscription-only gated community of the WSJ online":

The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

19) Here's a right wing bulletin posted by what appear to be Rove's interns -- and my responses in capital letters:

Subject: New Orleans.... Who's On First????

In case you aren't familiar with how our governmentis SUPPOSED to work:

The chain of responsibility for the protection of the citizens in New Orleans is:
1. The Mayor
2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security (a political appointee of the Governor who reports to theGovernor)
3. The Governor
4. The Head of Homeland Security
5. The President


What did each do?

1. The mayor, with 5 days advance, waiteD until 2 days before he announced a mandatory evacuation (at the behest of the President). TheN he failed to provide transportation for those without transport even though he had hundreds of buses at his disposal.


2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security failed to have any plan for a contingency that has been talked about for 50 years. Then he blames the Feds for not doing what he should have done. (So much for political appointees)


3. The Governor, despite a declaration of disaster by the President 2 DAYS BEFORE the storm hit, failed totake advantage of the offer of Federal troops and aid. Until 2 DAYS AFTER the storm hit.


4. The Director of Homeland Security positioned assets in the area to be ready when the Governor called for them.


5. The President urged a mandatory evacuation, and even declared a disaster State of Emergency, freeing up millions of dollars of federal assistance, should the Governor decide to use it.


The disaster in New Orleans is what you get after decades of corrupt government going all the way back to Huey Long.


Funds for disaster protection and relief have been flowing into this city for decades, and where has it gone, but into the pockets of the politicos and their friends.


Decades of socialist government in New Orleans has sapped all self-reliance from the community, and made
them dependent upon government for every little thing.


Political correctness and a lack of will to fight crime have created the single most corrupt police force in the country, and has permitted gang violence to flourish.


The sad thing is that there are many poor folks who have suffered and died needlessly because those that they voted into office failed them.


For those who missed item 5 (where the President's level of accountability is discussed), it is made more clear in a New Orleans Times-Picayune article dated August 28:


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.

Acknowledging that large numbers of people, many of them stranded tourists, would be unable to leave, the city set up 10 places of last resort for people to go, including the Superdome.

The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should. He exempted hotels from the evacuation order because airlines had already canceled all flights.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

The ball was placed in Mayor Nagin's court to carry out the evacuation order. With a 5-day heads-up, he had the authority to use any and all services to evacuate all residents from the city, as documentedin a city emergency preparedness plan. By waiting until the last minute, and failing to make full use of resources available within city limits, Nagin and his administration fouled up.

Mayor Nagin and his emergency sidekick Terry Ebbert have displayed lethal, mind boggling incompetence before, during and after Katrina.

As for Mayor Nagin, he and his profile in pathetic leadership police chief should resign as well. That city's government is incompetent from one end to the other. The people of New Orleans deserve better than this crowd of clowns is capable of giving them.

If you're keeping track, these boobs let 569 buses that could have carried 33,350 people out of New Orleans-in one trip-get ruined in the floods. Whatever plan these guys had, it was a dud. Or it probably would have been if they'd bothered to follow it.

As for all the race-baiting rhetoric anD Bush-bashing coming

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20) Let's give some more "balance" to this blog by providing some space at the end for supporters of Our Dear Leader. According to this writer, the "welfare state" is to blame for 20,000 odd people having to survived desperate conditions in the Convention Center and Dome. I would guess that's news to the several dozen tourists who were trapped there together with all those "welfare queens" this author is blaming for the disaster:

TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005
By Robert Tracinski
It has taken four long days for state and federalofficials to figure out how to deal with the disasterin New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it hasalso taken me four long days to figure out what isgoing on there. The reason is that the events theremake no sense if you think that we are confronting anatural disaster.
If this is just a natural disaster, the response forpublic officials is obvious: you bring in food, water,and doctors; you send transportation to evacuaterefugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disastersalso have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinarypeople pulling together to survive; the hard workand dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers;the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thingthey would have to do is to send thousands of armedtroops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressingan enemy insurgency. And journalists--myselfincluded--did not expect that the story would not beabout rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape,murder, and looting.
But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-madedisaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate orincompetent response by federal relief agencies, andit was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. Thisis where just about every newspaper and televisionchannel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in NewOrleans did not happen over the past four days. Ithappened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrinamerely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from NewOrleans to be confusing. People were not behaving asyou would expect them to behave in an emergency -- indeed; they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually riseto the occasion. They work together to rescue peoplein danger, and they spontaneously organize to keeporder and solve problems. This is especially true inAmerica. We are an enterprising people, used torelying on our own initiative rather than waitingaround for the government to take care of us. I haveseen this a hundred times, in small examples (a smalltown whose main traffic light had gone out, causingordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serveas impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through theintersection) and large ones (the spontaneous responseof New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is goingon, here is a description from a Washington Timesstory:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt withflying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out;corpses litter the streets; and police and rescuehelicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even asNational Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stopthe looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members wereinside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

"'These troops are...under my orders to restore orderin the streets, she said. They have M-16s, and theyare locked and loaded. These troops know how to shootand kill and they are more than willing to do so ifnecessary and I expect they will."

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo thataccompanies this article shows National Guard troops,with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armoredvehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by arabble of squalid, listless people, one of whomappears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like ascene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disasteras an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery,and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the verybuses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing thedrivers to drive away, frightened for their lives?What causes people to attack the doctors trying totreat patients at the Super Dome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction bycausing further destruction? Why are they attackingthe people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figuredit out on a sense-of-life level. While watching thecoverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's televisioncoverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "theprojects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrasesflashed at the bottom of the screen on most newschannels--gave some vital statistics to confirm thissense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had alreadyevacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 orso who remained, a large number were from the city'spublic housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me anadditional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN andFox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people inthe jails used to live in the housing projects, andvice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in NewOrleans when the deluge hit--but they were trappedalongside large numbers of people from two groups:criminals--and wards of the welfare state, peopleselected, over decades, for their lack of initiativeand self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards werea mass of sheep--on whom the incompetentadministration of New Orleans unleashed a pack ofwolves.
All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparentincompetence of the city government, which failed toplan for a total evacuation of the city, despite theknowledge that this might be necessary. But in a citycorrupted by the welfare state, the job of cityofficials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfarerecipients and patronage to political supporters--notto ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case ofemergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I cantell. In fact, some are already actively distortingit, blaming President Bush, for example, for failingto personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans haddrafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst exampleis an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail,by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos onAmerican "individualism." But the truth is preciselythe opposite: the chaos was caused by a system thatwas the exact opposite of individualism.
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychologicalconsequences of the welfare state. What we consider"normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that isnormal for people who have values and take theresponsibility to pursue and protect them. People withvalues respond to a disaster by fighting against itand doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Dothey worry about saving their houses and property?They don't, because they don't own anything. Do theyworry about what is going to happen to theirbusinesses or how they are going to make a living?They never worried about those things before. Do theyworry about crime and looting? But living off ofstolen wealth is a way of life for them.

The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilizedmentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-madedisaster that explains the moral ugliness that hasswamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no oneis reporting.
Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

MEW: I subscribe also to the fact that another storygoes unreported. That is, don't build at (or below)the flood plain. And, while you're at it, don'tRE-build below the flood plain.


Thank You,M.C. Lund, Captain

21) And the UN hits back with a report saying essentially that Katrina demonstrates the dangers of the LACK of a welfare state:

UN hits back at US in report saying parts of Americaare as poor as Third World
By Paul Vallely Published: 08 September 2005

Parts of the United States are as poor as the ThirdWorld, according to a shocking United Nations reporton global inequality.

Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare agrowing racial and economic divide in the US have,until now, been rejected by the American politicalestablishment as emotional rhetoric. But yesterday'sUN report provides statistical proof that for many -well beyond those affected by the aftermath ofHurricane Katrina - the great American Dream is anongoing nightmare.

The document constitutes a stinging attack on USpolicies at home and abroad in a fightback againstmoves by Washington to undermine next week's UN 60thanniversary conference which will be the biggestgathering of world leaders in history.

The annual Human Development Report normally concernsitself with the Third World, but the 2005 editionscrutinises inequalities in health provision insidethe US as part of a survey of how inequality worldwideis retarding the eradication of poverty.

It reveals that the infant mortality rate has beenrising in the US for the past five years - and is nowthe same as Malaysia. America's black children aretwice as likely as whites to die before their firstbirthday.

The report is bound to incense the Bush administrationas it provides ammunition for critics who have claimedthat the fiasco following Hurricane Katrina shows thatWashington does not care about poor black Americans.But the 370-page document is critical of Americanpolicies towards poverty abroad as well as at home.And, in unusually outspoken language, it accuses theUS of having "an overdeveloped military strategy andan under-developed strategy for human security".

"There is an urgent need to develop a collectivesecurity framework that goes beyond military responsesto terrorism," it continues. " Poverty and socialbreakdown are core components of the global securitythreat."
The document, which was written by Kevin Watkins, theformer head of research at Oxfam, will be seen asround two in the battle between the UN and the US,which regards the world body as an unnecessaryconstraint on its strategic interests and actions.

Last month John Bolton, the new US ambassador to theUN, submitted 750 amendments to the draft declarationfor next week's summit to strengthen the UN and reviewprogress towards its Millennium Development Goals tohalve world poverty by 2015.

The report launched yesterday is a clear challenge toWashington. The Bush administration wants to replacemultilateral solutions to international problems witha world order in which the US does as it likes on abilateral basis.

"This is the UN coming out all guns firing," said oneUN insider. "It means that, even if we have a lameduck secretary general after the Volcker report (onthe oil-for-food scandal), the rest of theorganisation is not going to accept the USbilateralist agenda."
The clash on world poverty centres on the US policy
ofpromoting growth and trade liberalisation on theassumption that this will trickle down to the poor.But this will not stop children dying, the UN says.Growth alone will not reduce poverty so long as thepoor are denied full access to health, education andother social provision. Among the world's poor, infantmortality is falling at less than half of the worldaverage. To tackle that means tackling inequality - amessage towards which John Bolton and his fellow USneocons are deeply hostile.

India and China, the UN says, have been verysuccessful in wealth creation but have not enabled thepoor to share in the process. A rapid decline in childmortality has therefore not materialised. Indeed, whenit comes to reducing infant deaths, India has now beenovertaken by Bangladesh, which is only growing a thirdas fast.
Poverty could be halved in just 17 years in Kenya ifthe poorest people were enabled to double the amountof economic growth they can achieve at present.

Inequality within countries is as stark as the gapsbetween countries, the UN says. Poverty is not theonly issue here. The death rate for girls in India isnow 50 per cent higher than for boys. Gender biasmeans girls are not given the same food as boys andare not taken to clinics as often when they are ill.Foetal scanning has also reduced the number of girlsborn.

The only way to eradicate poverty, it says, is totarget inequalities. Unless that is done theMillennium Development Goals will never be met. And 41million children will die unnecessarily over the next10 years.
Decline in health care Child mortality is on the rise in the United States

For half a century the US has seen a sustained declinein the number of children who die before their fifthbirthday. But since 2000 this trend has been reversed.

Although the US leads the world in healthcare spending- per head of population it spends twice what otherrich OECD nations spend on average, 13 per cent of itsnational income - this high level goes disproportionately on the care of white Americans. Ithas not been targeted to eradicate large disparitiesin infant death rates based on race, wealth and stateof residence.
The infant mortality rate in the US is now the same asin Malaysia

High levels of spending on personal health carereflect America's cutting-edge medical technology andtreatment. But the paradox at the heart of the UShealth system is that, because of inequalities inhealth financing, countries that spend substantiallyless than the US have, on average, a healthierpopulation. A baby boy from one of the top 5 per centrichest families in America will live 25 per centlonger than a boy born in the bottom 5 per cent andthe infant mortality rate in the US is the same asMalaysia, which has a quarter of America's income.

Blacks in Washington DC have a higher infant deathrate than people in the Indian state of Kerala
The health of US citizens is influenced by differencesin insurance, income, language and education. Blackmothers are twice as likely as white mothers to givebirth to a low birthweight baby. And their childrenare more likely to become ill.

Throughout the US black children are twice as likelyto die before their first birthday.

Hispanic Americans are more than twice as likely aswhite Americans to have no health cover
The US is the only wealthy country with no universalhealth insurance system. Its mix of employer-basedprivate insurance and public coverage does not reachall Americans. More than one in six people of workingage lack insurance. One in three families living belowthe poverty line are uninsured. Just 13 per cent ofwhite Americans are uninsured, compared with 21 percent of blacks and 34 per cent of Hispanic Americans.Being born into an uninsured household increases theprobability of death before the age of one by about 50per cent.

More than a third of the uninsured say that they wentwithout medical care last year because of cost
Uninsured Americans are less likely to have regularoutpatient care, so they are more likely to beadmitted to hospital for avoidable health problems.

More than 40 per cent of the uninsured do not have aregular place to receive medical treatment. More thana third say that they or someone in their family wentwithout needed medical care, including prescriptiondrugs, in the past year because they lacked the moneyto pay.

If the gap in health care between black and whiteAmericans was eliminated it would save nearly 85,000lives a year. Technological improvements in medicinesave about 20,000 lives a year.

Child poverty rates in the United States are now morethan 20 per cent

Child poverty is a particularly sensitive indicatorfor income poverty in rich countries. It is defined asliving in a family with an income below 50 per cent ofthe national average.

The US - with Mexico - has the dubious distinction ofseeing its child poverty rates increase to more than20 per cent. In the UK - which at the end of the 1990shad one of the highest child poverty rates in Europe -the rise in child poverty, by contrast, has beenreversed through increases in tax credits andbenefits.

Parts of the United States are as poor as the ThirdWorld, according to a shocking United Nations reporton global inequality.

Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare agrowing racial and economic divide in the US have,until now, been rejected by the American politicalestablishment as emotional rhetoric. But yesterday'sUN report provides statistical proof that for many -well beyond those affected by the aftermath ofHurricane Katrina - the great American Dream is anongoing nightmare.

22) More smokescreens from Rove's interns. Goebbels in the house!:

Subject: Before Katrina

This is a post from a fellow over in Merritt Is, FL, a reporter who's been researching what went on before the storm hit:

I think all of Nagin's pomp and posturing is going to bite him hard in the near future as the lies and distortions of his interviews are coming to light.

On Friday night before the storm hit Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Nagin and Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of NO and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA buoy 240 miles south had recorded 68' waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance (and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act). Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up. He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet. After the President's final call to the governor she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in. [FRIDAY AFTERNOON IS WAY TOO EARLY FOR THIS SORT OF ACTION -- AT THE TIME KATRINA WAS A 115 MPH HURRICANE WITH A POTENTIAL TRAJECTORY FROM LAKE CHARLES TO PENSACOLA. I DOUBT SUCH A 'PLEADING' EVER HAPPENED SO EARLY, SO THIS IS JUST MORE SMOKESCREEN]

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation.

After a personal plea from the President Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action. In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations. Rumor has it that the President's legal advisers were looking into the ramifications of using the insurgency act to bypass the Constitutional requirement that a state request federal aid before the federal government can move into state with troops - but that had not been done since 1906 and the Constitutionality of it was called into question to use before the disaster. [NAGIN ORDERED A MANDATORY EVACUATION ON SUNDAY -- WHICH WAS THE FIRST TIME SUCH AN ORDER HAD EVER BEEN GIVEN IN NEW ORLEANS HISTORY]

Throw in that over half the federal aid of the past decade to NO for levee construction, maintenance, and repair was diverted to fund a marina and support the gambling ships. Toss in the investigation that will look into why the emergency preparedness plan submitted to the federal government for funding and published on the city's web site was never implemented and in fact may have been bogus for the purpose of gaining additional federal funding as we now learn that the organizations identified in the plan were never contacted or coordinating into any planning - though the document implies that they were.

The suffering people of NO need to be asking some hard questions as do we all, but they better start with why Blanco refused to even sign the multi-state mutual aid pack activation documents until Wednesday which further delayed the legal deployment of National Guard from adjoining states. Or maybe ask why Nagin keeps harping that the President should have commandeered 500 Greyhound busses to help him when according to his own emergency plan and documents he claimed to have over 500 busses at his disposal to use between the local school busses and the city transportation busses - but he never raised a finger to prepare them or activate them. [AND WHERE WAS HE SUPPOSED TO SEND THEM? DC? WOULD GREYHOUNDS HAVE TURNED THEM OVER? I WONDER.]

This is a sad time for all of us to see that a major city has all but been destroyed and thousands of people have died with hundreds of thousands more suffering, but it's certainly not a time for people to be pointing fingers and trying to find a bigger dog to blame for local corruption and incompetence. Pray to God for the survivors that they can start their lives anew as fast as possible and we learn from all the mistakes to avoid them in the future.

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