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katrina aftermath | media criticism | social services

New Orleans: The Rich Flee As the Poor Die

Those left behind fend for themselves
The real tragedy of Katrina is that most of the people you see stranded on rooftops, starving in the tropical sun, are the poor, mostly black and creole. Not everyone had a car to escape, or a place to go. When all those people evacuated the Big Easy, where were all the schoolbuses, Greyhounds, and taxicabs? Shouldn't the poor have been evacuated this way instead of being left alone to fend for themselves? And where is the National Guard? They're all in Iraq, that's where! CNN and FOX are doing a bangup job of trying to convince us that "Authorities" are doing all they can, but it's obvious that only a handfull of rescue crews are available at all. They keep showing that same Coast Guard chopper rescuing the same guy over and over, meanwhile screams emanate from within the miles of wreckage, pleading for rescue. Welcome to the Third World of the American South. It's like footage of some Turkish Earthquake, with no real co-ordination or official knowhow on the scene. They knew this was going to happen decades ago and were totally unprepared. Allthose critical hospital patients having to be evacuated at the last moment! Zero foresight at work. Yes, it's an overwhelming storm, but the complete lack of assistance to the threatened population in terms of food, medicine, and just basic safety is a shocking wake-up call for us all. Imagine a genuine bio-terror attack! The powers that be would head for the hills! And that's pretty much what they did in New Orleans. This is still the USA, and those stranded, terrified victims shouldn't have to be in the same horrible circumstances as Indonesian Tidal Wave refugees, devoid of any immediate help. It's a sickening thing to see. Wait until Typhoid breaks out. They better get on this quick or the entire nation is going to be under the threat of epidemic. And some folks think survivalists are nuts.

Evacuate 30.Aug.2005 19:45

gk

Everyone in New Orleans has to evacuate. But there's approximately 300,000, and how and where will they take them? Water is pouring into the Superdome from the breached levies. What is happening to these poor people?

Get out of Iraq. We have more than enough to deal with here! I never understood why man has to create violence and catastrophes when nature does it often enough.

Hannity the Bastartd 30.Aug.2005 20:20

anonymouse

Sean Hannity is busy demonizing poor blacks scrounging through the wreckage for food and water.And
the people ripping off sneaker stores and non-survival goods? Whaddya expect in a Mad Max world? But all that FOX footage of blacks seems to be of supermarket liberation, with Hannity droning on about "What kind of people are these?" His comments are some of the most blatantly rascist I've ever heard on a network news show. It's unvbelievable! First these poor souls are left behind, then they're condemned for just trying to LIVE with almost no assistance from anyone. Where's FEMA and "Homeland Security"? They received BILLIONS of dollars for just such a scenario. Where the hell is the money being spent? ON PUBLIC SPY CAMERAS!!! that Sean Hannity is a real evil turd.

rich deserting the poor? 31.Aug.2005 20:13

Porl Kirga khindin.I@gmail.com

what a nice rant.

It doesn't make any sense.

Fact : You have no information as to the financial status of those who fled and those who did not.

Fact: mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans has remained at his post at all times. There has been poor planning that has not been rectified by the Orleans Parish and State governments regarding disaster prevention but this engineering nightmare was something that Nagin has inherited, and has had to buck a lot of indifference to the cause because of concentration on New Orleans generating revenue.
Most of the living "rich" whom you accuse of fleeing New Orleans (while the poor remain) who could have diverted this disaster are a handful. It takes a farkload of red tape to execute engineering reconstruction for a city like New Orleans; and given as New Orleans was one of the major port cities in the United States, it was not in the best interests of the "rich" to let this strategic location languish in a state not unlike someone under a guillotine.

Fact: this was a matter for state and local government to supervise and amend, and not federal government's responsibilty. Ranting against Bush and cronies in this case is senseless. They in this instance are simply a link in the chain.

Having been a resident of New Orleans for almost eight years counting and following the Mayor's job performance, if I total up all the times I lived there straight and divided my time between there and Portland, I think I have quite a bit more leverage and knowledge than you.

Shut up. Donate to the red cross and be a part of the solution that helps the stranded in need.

Kirga- 01.Sep.2005 13:02

mouse

Bush just cut 70 Million dollars from the Army Corps of engineers that was to be used for flood control and upgrades to fend off Category 5 Hurricanes. That, and his Kyoto sabotage efforts helps place the blame squarely in his lap. You cannot justify the concentration-camp like conditions these refugees face right now. Sheer neglect. Are you getting paid to run cover for these incompetent idiots? FEMA and Homeland Security have sucked up Billions of dollars for a phony fight against 'terror' that's mostly of our own making. Where the hell are they? You have leverage? Leverage this: F+++K OFF!

Use Prisons! 02.Sep.2005 16:54

anon

I'm sure there are enough prisons to relocate the refugees. American prisons are a luxury compared to environmental conditions in New Orleans use your resources wisely! You have somethig like 5 time zones of available land let alone sufficient land area in the coutry. 300 thousand people dispered within the whole country doesn't change a thing. How many cities do you have in the country..? its the largest industrial country on earth with 20+ metropolitan areas..

What we are seeing on tv screens are marginalization of the poor into quarentine ghetto converted superdomes super domes. Soon the federal gov will be probably be issuing american "refugee" passports.

Where oh where 02.Sep.2005 17:20

Call Me Chuck thefaygoproject@hotmail.com

Where in the hell is the uproar in the mainstream media? Why are the questions being asked to representitives such obvious ones? Why is there no talk of impeachment and legal actions being taken on those "in charge." Where are the people in the streets demanding justice?

Where oh where?


Good question: "Where were all the school buses?" 02.Sep.2005 21:19

FatherOfLiberty

The attached photo speaks for itself. The school buses of New Orleans are underwater. Did BUSH leave all of these buses there?

When Mayor Nagin ordered the evacuation of the city, he had the power to bus those without transportation out of the city at the same time, rather than corral them to the Superdome. The City of New Orleans moves many more children each day on school buses than were in the dome. Those buses were available and slated to be used for school the next day. He could easily have evacuted those people...but did not.

When oredering a mandatory evacuation you use what resources you have to move the people...he did not. If it was important and dangerous enough to order all citizens to leave, it was dangerous enough to help those people to leave. Yet, they did not. After they failed to do so...the buses ended up under water and useless.

In the end, it was FEMA, after the local and state government's failure, that had to get the job done...but now under much, much worse and dangerous circumstances.

No, it is not Bush's fault or the fed's fault. We must place blame squarely where it lies at the feet of the local and state executives who had neither the desire or the will to make those calls, irrespective of their political stripe.

For those interested, here's the source of the photo:
 http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050901/480/flpc21109012015
An aerial view of flooded school buses, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans
An aerial view of flooded school buses, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans

Declaration of the U.S as a 3rd Word Country 02.Sep.2005 22:11

Michael Brown

That is what this stupid ass.... Brown should declare. The reaction on the hurricane since Monday is so bad, much worse than in Asia with the Tsunami. Where was the army five days!!??
Concratulation nony mouse! Excellent ARTICLE!

It took Katrina to shuffle the muck 03.Sep.2005 07:50

J Genius

Well, as the authour stated, "welcome to the third world", the American South. The problem of the color line has bled over into the 21st century ... it has always been there, masked in psuedo efforts of equality. There has been no equal access to resources and functioning infrastructures for the disenfranchised of America, heightened in the south by large communities of Black. Welcome to the periphery existance of the American Black, know they've been equated with refugees -- a scary sight, a flash of truth for the World to see how America helps those who cannot help themselves.

A Race is not the Issue 03.Sep.2005 09:23

Jean Pierre

Race is not the issue! The Mayor of New Orleans is black and so am I. But he did not foresee the scope of the disaster. Nobody did! Who could have predicted that the levee would break where it did? There are points where its weaker. This was an act of God! If God is angry with us, the proper response is to ask for his forgiveness, not to look around to find some human individual to blame because no human being can do anything about. For centuries New Orleans has been under the protection of Our Lady of Prompt Succour. And pleas to her to join her prayers to ours have never gone unanswered. What changed? This isn't the first hurricane. Every year the Archbishop of New Orleans goes to the Ursuline Convent to say a mass of thanksgiving for saving this city. What happened? The secret of getting prayers answered is knowing how to ask. Have we lost this knowledge? What is it in the lives of Orleanians that might cause God to be displeased with us? I am not saying He's displeased. But we have to wonder, since the hurricane, flood and fires are coming from him. If President Bush could have done anything, wouldn't it be in his interest to do so? He sent troops to free Iraq from a tyrant. This was permitted because there was something wrong in Iraq and had been for a long time. It wasn't a religious issue: Christian vs.Muslim. Didn't President Carter try to free the hostages, but could not. God doesn't play favorites. And He's in charge not us. Wake up folks!

Shame on YOU! 03.Sep.2005 09:59

Helpless Canadian

Mr. President,
Although I am fully aware you are apposed to anyone who does not share your views, I strongly feel that my voice must be heard.
As a Canadian citizen watching the disaster unfolding as a result of Huricane Katrina, I feel helpless to assist the tens of thousands of stranded people left in the destroyed States. I feel almost as useless as you appear to be! I can not imagine my Government leaving our people, regardless of race, color or class to wait days without food, water, shelter or protection of any sort. I am outraged by the lack of response by yourself to deny any immediate assistance by neighbouring countries, other than monetary to save and sustain the lives of those who need it NOW! As commander in chief, how could you sit by in your vacation home until day 3 of the disaster, only then to finally board Marine One without even bringing water with you for YOUR people who so desperately needed it? It seems to me that you have ignored the fact that 30% of New Orleans population lived in virtually absolute poverty, and did not have the means to evacuate prior to the category 5 storm. Not to mention the reduction to the Army Corps of Engineers' budget (for the 3rd year in a row) to deal with the region's levy's that knowingly could not sustain a huricane of this magnitude. Furthermore, I was 'shocked and awed' by the suggestions and advise your First Lady gave on CNN to those who have survived the storm. To suggest that it is important for the children who were afflicted by Katrina continue with a "normal" routine, and to enroll in school, is simply not an option for those who have no food/water, homes or any means available to them for basic survival.

Not all true 03.Sep.2005 12:15

Miko

In fact, many people from the swamp areas outside of New Orleans would not leave thir homes and livestock. During the last wave of police door to door warnings, it was a beautiful sunny day. Although there was a storm coming, these people had no way of knowing just how devastating things would be this time around.

are all americans either stupid or greedy? 03.Sep.2005 18:07

wake up america

have they no televisions in the south?

why did anyone stay?

if I lived there I would have walked out!

what a stupid nation! leaders of the world! lol.

what did you expect a hurricane (you know big windy thing) to do?

same old shit from the leaders... fuck them they're poor...

ever heard of king cunute? maybe not your too self-obsessed...

STOP USING SO MUCH FUCKING ENERGY AND MAYBE WE CAN HALT GLOBAL WARMING AND SAVE YOUR SORRY ASSES.... OR MAYBE GOD HAS HAD ENOUGH OF YOU ALL AND THIS IS JUST THE START OF YOUR DEMISE ..... ONE CAN ONLY HOPE!

Making of an Urban Catastrophe 04.Sep.2005 03:23

Robert Caldwell

New Orleans, the Making of an Urban Catastrophe
Draft , September 2, 2005
Robert Caldwell

Most residents of metro New Orleans were unaware of the potential destruction of Katrina until Saturday August 28, less than 48 hours before it struck.
In New Orleans violent tropical storms are routine and hurricanes are a seasonal reminder of the power of "mother nature." As a resident of the city I have often been faced with a choice of whether or not to evacuate, always judging whether this would be the fabled "big one." Hurricane Katrina was the most awesome disaster that residents of Louisiana have ever seen. But the deadly results of Katrina were as much a produce of human callousness as an act of nature.

The world watched as people were herded into the Superdome stopping for searches only to find themselves in a wrenched and unsanitary place with food, water, or proper medical care. Those in areas of high flooding fled to their rooftops begging rescue helicopters to airlift them to safety. Many died trapped in their attics or waiting to be rescued. Meanwhile hundreds of police were dispached to protect property from looters.

At least half the city is at or below sea level including the Central Business District and much of the housing stock of the city. Under normal conditions massive drainage pumps drain rainwater from the city. But even under "normal" conditions, poor areas of the city routinely face minor flooding.

As Hurricane Katrina promises to be the new textbook case for urban "natural" disasters, social dislocation, and (lack of) urban planning, it is important to begin to examine the social dimension of the failed policies that contributed to such a massive disaster.

Misguided Priorities

New Orleans is a city "underdeveloped" by capitalism. Social services are chronically underfunded, while working people depend on low wage service jobs and send their kids to dysfunctional public schools. Despite its once massive port, a seventy mile petro-chemical corridor and historical significance, the city has, like third- world Caribbean islands, depended on scraps of the tourism industry for its sustenance.

So it may be no surprise that in the leadup to Katrina flood Louisiana hurricane preparedness was woefully under-funded by President Bush and Congress.

Bush and Congress ignored those who explained that the critical infrastructure that would prevent New Orleans from becoming inundated with flood waters in the event of a levy break. In a 2003 interview of Bill Moyers' NOW, scientist Daniel Zwerdling noted the cutting of Hurricane funding to pay for the war in Iraq. According to columnist Sidney Blumenthal, "FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war."

Congress did authorize $10.5 billion dollars for Gulf Coast aid, but Florida received $16 billion when hurricanes hit in 2004. Contrast this amount with the $162 billion Congress appropriated for the first year of the Iraq war.

At the time of the hurricane, almost half of the Louisiana National Guard was deployed outside the state. Some, like the 3,000 members of the 256th Infantry Brigade were reportedly with critical high water equipment, in Iraq.


The race and class dynamics of a planned catastrophe

The poverty and blackness of those bearing the brunt of the hurricane is obvious to anyone watching CNN. The plight of these victims underscores the existing race and class inequalities in New Orleans but our case also provides a lens in which to understand another facet of the racism that is ever-present in the United States.

Poor people were the most ill prepared for a hurricane. Malik Rahim, Green Party candidate and former Black panther explains:

"The hurricane hit at the end of the month, the time when poor people are most vulnerable. Food stamps don't buy enough but for about three weeks of the month, and by the end of the month everyone runs out. Now they have no way to get their food stamps or any money, so they just have to take what they can to survive."

The poorest people were without transportation, food, or resources, but no hurricane preparedness plan-and none of the doomsday exercises of federal, state, and local agencies made any provisions for their evacuation. Disaster planning officials know that 112,000 people in New Orleans are without any private form of transportation. In 2003 the Times Picayune produced a five part series that predicted that this segment would likely face death in the event of a category 5 hurricane.

It 's not enough to order an evacuation without having policies in place to carry an evacuation out. City and public school buses flooded while residents were stuck in the city with no way out.

In fact many institutions that once provided evacuation (like the dormitories of the University of New Orleans) now expected to fend for themselves, an unforeseen
logical extension of privatization and neoliberal ideology and a continuation of

white supremacy.

In an unscripted NBC benefit concert, rapper Kanye West explains: "George Bush doesn't care about black people," ... [America was set up] "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible." Tulane Hospital (a private hospital) was evacuated by well before Charity Hospital, the region's trauma hospital and the hospital, whose patients are poor, overwhelmingly black. Tenet paid private contractors to evacuate at least one of their hospitals.

Katrina was not the first hurricane, nor the first major flooding disaster to hit Louisiana. During Hurricane Betsy Lower Ninth Ward, an area almost entirely under the poverty line and 99% black, was intentionally flooded to "save" the wealthy white uptown neighborhoods.

Institutional policies favor ruling class interests, but the flipside of these policies is for purveyors of ruling class ideology- including many working class whites to blame the victims hit hardest: poor African Americans, which, in turn, sharpens
existing race and class inequalities. According to Malik Rahim, white vigilante gangs were patrolling Algiers, " riding around in pickup trucks, all of them armed, and any young Black they see who they figure doesn't belong in their community, they shoot him."





Blaming Victims

Both FEMA chief Don Brown and the dominant media spin indicate that the high death toll is "going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings." Brown's comments suggest that hundreds of thousands foolishly "choose" not to evacuate, but the reality is that tens of thousands of New Orleanians did not have the means to comply with an evacuation order.

Reporters and rightwing internet trolls filled news outlets and message boards with racialized stories of looting, while tens of thousands of the city begged for help. The lawlessness of looting, full of drama and intrigue of savage black people provided a narrative that shifted focus away from the thousands still stuck in the horror and the political decisions that kept them in that hell. Officials comforted tense onlookers with a promise of order: they would use troops to protect stores from looting. But by doing so, they shifted scarce resources away from the search, rescue, and evacuation of residents whose lives they deemed less important.

As convoys of National Guard reinforcements finally rolled into New Orleans, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco used the occasion to warned looters and assure the ruling class that troops were under her orders to "shoot and kill" if needed to restore order. "These troops are battle-tested. They have M-16s and are locked and loaded," she said. "These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will."

Lackluster Response
The response from Federal agencies was too little too late. While the United States has a history of dropping humanitarian relief to famine and disaster affected areas, media reported that supplies were being diverted because helicopters could not land, or because of a report of hostile gunfire.
If the United States is capable of sending planes that can withstand enemy fire to drop bombs in Iraq, certainly they are capable of air dropping supplies into a US city.
On NPR's All Things Considered (September 1st, 2005,  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4828771) Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff dismissed an NPR field reporter's claim that 2,000 or more were at Convention Center without food or water and in unsanitary conditions. Subsequent reports verify that 15,000-20,000 were at the convention center in deplorable conditions including dead bodies. The Convention Center was on dry ground and would have been accessible by military transport ground vehicles of helicopters.
Mayor Ray Nagin blasted the slow response: "They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country."
An elected official from Jefferson Parish (New Orleans suburbs) suggested that if New Orleans were to secede from the Unites States perhaps foreign aid would be more timely. On the evening of September 2, 2005 frustrated FOX News reporters called attention to the policies that continued to trap refugees at the convention center.
Environmental Trigger
Looking at this disaster one cannot ignore the ecological component. New Orleans, like many major cities, was built in a place that posed danger, but environmental problems of global warming and coastal erosion have exacerbated the precariousness of the city.
Marshes and wetlands help to slow a hurricane's effect as it approaches the city. But erosion has diminished the size and ability of the coastal marsh and swamp to absorb the hurricane's force. Coastal erosion has two important causes. One is that the once rich river silt that built the delta is now being directed to deep waters off the continental shelf to allow for easy river navigation. The second is salt water intrusion from canals built for oil and natural gas drilling and pipeline needs.
Global warming has contributed to a deadly hurricane season that is not yet over. Ross Gelbspan, columnist for the Boston Globe, explains that global warming "generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms." While Katrina began "as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico."


Conclusion

The Bush administration fiddled while New Orleans flooded. The administration and Congress failed to provide basic preventative infrastructure and failed to have a rescue plan in place, choosing instead tax cuts for the rich and war spending in Iraq. This is the last in a line of Bush failures, and is seen so by a growing segment of the population as a "war at home" on poor and Black people.

Many hurricane refugees rightly feel abandoned. But the ruling class abandoned New Orleans long before Katrina hit. Racism, environmental disregard and capitalist deference to "the market" for social planning have long been the hallmarks of New Orleans.

Eventually public money will begin to trickle into the state. Hotels, casinos, chain stores and "Disneyfied" developments will compete for the sorely needed money and serve to reinforce a system that was unable to respond to peoples' needs before, during, and immediately after the hurricane.

But New Orleans can be rebuilt with a different ethos, one with environmentally sustainable planning, a vast transportation infrastructure upgrade, including public evacuation plans, a bolstered public works system, creation of stable union jobs, new public schools, a renewed investment in the public healthcare system, and cultivation of participatory neighborhood councils as incubators for a new, participatory, and radical democracy among the working class, poor, and oppressed.

And the people of the United States can help with an alternative vision. First we should demand that troops deployed in Iraq return to the United States, and we should link this return to a change in national priorities focused on focusing on the needs of working and oppressed people, beginning with rebuilding the infrastructure of New Orleans and the US Gulf South

Robert Caldwell Jr is a resident of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, a member of the Green Party and Solidarity. You can contact him at  jamais.vu@gmail.com Feel
free to forward this article or edit for length.

The myth of American Power 05.Sep.2005 13:20

Thomas Jefferson

The myth of American power is shown in the homeland.

Keep it up boys.

So true! 05.Sep.2005 18:58

M. Macpherson mad_rat88@hotmail.com

This article outlines specific details concerning the New Orleans issue without a so called National Guard. They are all in Iraq. I'm an Aussie, and can clearly see the effects of the 'authorities' doing their job. Their 'job' is not about saving their own people, but intervening in Iraq's ruling system! This is classic evidence that the US use their imperialistic practices to turn on their own people.

Red Cross Aid was Barred 05.Sep.2005 20:05

Melvin Pierre

If you are aware that this barring of aid by federal authority is reported as fact by news media. You will never see any politician or anyone else bound by red tape. They are bound by ineptitude and racial hatred.
This is an obviously perpetrated attempt at fielding the notion of genocide before the American people, since those disadvantaged people that could not manage to drown there are being offered the opportunity to starve there (if indeed they should stay there).
New Orleans has not vanished into the twilight zone, it has been left waiting impatiently for years with the certainty that a massive flood and natural disaster would clear the path for redevelopment. Twenty thousand African Americans is a small price to pay for that sort of investment opportunity. Besides, if there should be further exterminations e.g. winter fuel oil cutoffs, many disenfranchised African Americans are going to get an opportunity to freeze to death on the eastern seaboard. So you would not want to have to many of them populating the nation largest port during that natural massacre.
I am an African American born in New Orleans during the second world war. We left New Orleans because of the racism and the levy system.

Response 06.Sep.2005 03:08

Seanyo

it's difficult to comprehend the big picture. i've skimmed an article saying the US needed this war in order to sustain our economy, i've read articles on global warming being the cause of this disaster's severity, and i've seen pictures of people sick and dying on both parts. I still don't understand Why it's all still in suffering like this.

Why Didn't They Leave? 06.Sep.2005 08:21

Allie

What about the sick, elderly, people in nursing homes, hospitals, even people walking STILL got stranded on highways. Yeah, could YOUR elderly parents walk for blocks to leave!! People make me sick with these stupid a$$ comments. Blame the poor for being poor. I can't wait until some of you people stand before the Lord and hear Him say that He never knew you. As you do it to the least of His Children, you have also done it to HIM.

I do not condone people taking televisions, dvd, etc, but they were a small percentage but were shown the majority of the time. White doctors took prescriptions from stores, but called it taking "commodites". Some Blacks were taking diapers, water, juice, chips, cookies, anything to survive, and everyone here would take food/water from a store before they would risk starving. There are criminals in every race, community that steal whether there are disaters or not. That is just a fact of life, but they in no way represent the whole community. Stop blaming the poor for being poor, Jesus said we would always have the poor with us. Yes, some people don't want to work or help themselves no matter what, but the majority of people want what most people enjoy, a life where they can provide for themselves and their families. When America falls, the WHOLE nation is going to fall. Not just poor people. Wake up. God eventually sends His judgment on nations that turn their backs on Him. We can't keep living sinfully and not expect judgment as a nation. The great divide between rich/poor, abortions running rampant, homosexuality, racism, greed, adultury, pornography, fornication. A society where everything goes with eventually go. Refer to Roman Empire.

Wondering why? Listen to Rush 06.Sep.2005 10:56

I love everybody

Hey, I've read a bunch of stuff here, but to me most of you seem willing to ignore the facts to get across your counterproductive ideas about certain people and groups. Try to get a handle on reality, people, please!

This catastrophe SHOULD show us all that the polarization we've been engaged in has amounted to the people of America fiddling while our society is burning. What it should show us is that most of us (those who can) should look to ourselves and each other to survive and thrive instead of waiting on the federal government to take care of us like pet citizens.

I'm glad a lot of escapees have come to my state of Texas, because a great many of them will be given an opportunity to become part of a hard-working, relatively self-reliant society that rewards effort. It has allowed many good people to escape the hellish pockets of poverty of that city and hopefully find out that they can depend on the kindness of others to get them on their feet, get them established in our communities, and become productive members of society. Down there, with rampant institutional poverty, they came to rely on the federal governmnt for what they got. This catastrophe shows us all that this is an unrealistic expectation, no matter who is president.

Now, for those wondering why this or that was or wasn't done, Rush today is reading from the City of New Orleans disaster plan. In this plan, the MAYOR of New Orleans proclaims responsibility for implementing a plan that includes evacuating those who can't help themselves well in advance of a category 3, 4, ro 5 hurricane. The plan was not implemented.

Next, the mayor's responsibility is to call the governor, who is to join in the first response to a catastrophe such as this. FEMA and federal agencies are not expected to be first responder, according to the mayor's own plan. If the governor didn't have enough national guard, there were plenty to back her up from neighboring states.

In honor of those who've died, let's cut back on the silly polarizing cliches. We're all people here. People make mistakes, people can only do so much in the face of natural disaster, and people tend to care for other people. Let's get it together!

I would never brag about this to anyone who knows me, but my wife and I wrote a $500 check to the Red Cross this morning (my evil corporation matched the donation 100 percent), and dropped a $500 check earmarked for hurricane relief into the collection plate at my predominantly white Presbyterian church last Sunday. I urge each of you to do the same. Really, I'd be a little embarrassed to comment on this tragedy and who's to blame and who's not doing what if I hadn't made a personal donation.

I gotta get back to work now. But you guys, come on!!! I'm getting bored with the cliche rhetoric. Think harder, and listen to Rush for some additional information. He doesn't know everything, but he is a vital additional point of view for anyone who wants an accurate view of the big picture.

I love everybody

Terrorism 06.Sep.2005 20:08

April

Bush Claims to be off fighting a "War on Terrorism", when really he is the terrorist. This disaster is going to bring more deaths than 9/11. American Government the blood is on your fucking hands. The government needs to step up and take action to prevent further death and suffering in New Orleans.

Where is the community? 06.Sep.2005 20:18

April

Where are the residents in surrounding communities and why have they not cometo assist in the rescue effort? You drive down the street in suburban sprawls and you see boat after boat parked in driveways and in yards. Why won't these people take some time out of their "busy schedules" to go and help these people? Does your office job not give you vacation days or would this not be the way you'd want to spend them? Your selfishness will cost thousands of lives.

I'm not saying that it is up to only these people to save lives but imagine how much this would affect the situation. Where is the community in this country? Is there nothing left of our humanity? If I lived down there I'd steal a fucking boat to get people out. Get with it America! Somebody needs to be a leader becuse Bush and his politician friends in D.C. aren't going to do shit and we should know that by now! When is the last time that you remember our government doing anything for the people in need in this country? They'd rather sit back in their mansions and think that everything is being taken care of instead of actually going out and helping people with their own hands! This is the last straw, I'm moving to fucking Canada!

OUT OF MINUTES - Katrina - Mobile Phone Prepay Markets - Rescue and Relief 06.Sep.2005 23:40

Pat Jack

Mobile phones users in Katrina affected Area Codes,
(especially prepay users) are demographically and geographically,
out of minutes, have no airtime, on second batteries.
The lucky have some capability to re-charge.

Big Mobile Phone providers plan a release of phone cards at the Astrodome.
It's a media circus.

Big Mobile Phone providers are proposing a limited number of methods
to deal with a National Catastrophe impacting oil and food exports and imports.
The oil reserves themselves are in and amongst this destruction in the salt domes.

Old School, the phone companies could easily pump free minutes into all phones
with the same programs they send you all that spam with.

An immidiate and global distribution of FREE MINUTES and FREE AIRTIME
to all phones in the Katrina devestated Area codes and Katrina evacuation routes
must be implemented now.

Physical distribution of cards will create a fast and dangerous trade market.
The people who distribute these cards could seed more volitility into this situation.
The people distributing these cards in the long-term are in a dangerous physical situation.

The people of this nation affected by National Security and National Disaster issues
as a result of Hurricaine Katrina must have MANY to MANY communication NOW.

Vendor locations for pre-pay are shut down,
phone cards along evacuation routes are sold-out or in limited supply.
These refugees don't have, or cannot get to, prepay cash.

Our phone service is so capitalized and compartmentalized,
it seems very inneffective at this time compared to a wide open
100% free phone system. And I'm not advocating a 100%
free phone market of any sort, I just want you to think
about the difference it would make and how close
we can get to that, in the shortest amount of time.
For the purposes of Katrina RESCUE and RELIEF.

Pre-pay Mobile Phone user Market closely mimic those
Americans victimized by Natural Disasters.
They are prey to SCAMS and FRAUD.

Young people with prepay 'Virgin Mobile' phones as well as
the markets of Tracone, prepay markets, are not being afforded
the opportunity to use their EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION DEVICES,
especially in the long-term. These markets must be sustained
with the Automatic scripting of free minutes pumped into the phones,
globally with no regard for economic strata, race, etc..

Again, the pre-pay Market is made up of the poor, elderly, infirm,
handicapped, low and fixed income, children, etc ...

The phones are lifelines to order in the short and longterm.

The FCC must require all phone companies to fill all phones in the
area codes affected by Katrina, especially flooded New Orleans,
with free minutes. This must be done globally without
regard for race or economic class. The AUTOMATED scripting
on Mobile phone service providers administrative computers to
push free minutes and free airtime globally to all Mobile Phones in Katrina
affected areas is the American thing to do. Push the free minutes
to prepay and to CORPORATE customers as well. Give them to everyone,
now. Let this place communicate and continue RESCUE, continue RELIEF,
and continue to REBUILD in the longterm.

Alltell.com is continuing to produce an organized, informed and effective
response to Hurricaine Katrina Relief issues.

 http://www.alltell.com/corporate/media/0905hurricanerelief.html

Other Mobile Phone Providers are thinking and acting, check their homepages.

HERE ARE THE EMAILS for the FCC bigwigs,
email them to get free minutes for Katrina devestated area codes -

 KJMWEB@fcc.gov
 Kathleen.Abernathy@fcc.gov
 Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
 Jonathan.Adelstein@fcc.gov

Copy and paste those emails into the -TO- box of your email.

I don't want to attack the phone companies.
I just want all of us to send some suggestions as to how they can help.
Ask the Mobile Phone companies for what we need, free airtime,
unemcumbered with their marketing schemes.

Email the customer service departments of all the Mobile Phone
companies you can think of. Gather their customer service EMAILS,
their Media reps emails. Forward all of this.

Check knowledgeable communities on the internet that address
the needs of Katrina Victims and Refugees. Ask the phone companies
for what we need, free airtime, unemcumbered with their marketing schemes.

Ask the Mobile Phone companies to establish an account to
DONATE FREE MINUTES from YOUR PLAN.
Ask them to MATCH YOUR DONATION.

Thus, any injured or incapacitated person with a phone, and any phone
they might FIND that is working will get them through. Many to many
communication.

Auto location of the looters who hunker down can be facilitated,
they can be saved also, rather than slaughtered.

Additional resuce is enabled which is critical as resuce options
continue to approache the point of no return for some stranded infirm, etc..

People will come through the network.
That's what this is about right, people!

Where there are discarded phones, their are babies, children,
women and men. The phones need to have minutes.

Guard dogs can hear phones dialing, ringing, etc..

Guard electronics can sniff and locate the phones, as well as the
ability of a Guard dog to smell a warm cell phone, the warm battery
and it's characteristic smell.

These phones are lifelines and key to restoring order.

A lot of young and elderly will die of dehydration in the next days.
Refugees need to FIND THE RESOURCES, they need minutes.
Many of them are lost, out of state, with no transportation.
The Katrina refugees need free minutes and free airtime.
Those needing rescue need those minutes.

The automated and global scripting of a push of free minutes to all cell phones
will most importantly transcend the racial and class structures.

This is DISASTER RELIEF and should never
approach the line over which NATURAL DISASTER PROFITEERING
is approached, lonterm or shorterm, by any company.

Jockying for market position at the demise of the American People,
will be observed if it is present.

Schemes to give out free phones to lock in desparate customers in the
months ahead are PUTRID. Schemes to get customer database information
for Phone Marketing departments is off limits here.

Keep it on the up and up, script the automated push of the free minutes
to all Mobile Phones in the Katrina devestated area codes and evacuation routes,
gloabally. Now.

Please explain: were reports of public transit lies? 09.Sep.2005 22:51

Mike S.

Before the hurricane, I can recall repeatedly seeing reports in the media that people were advised to drive out, but if they didn't have a car that busses were being made available to get them out of the city. Now it sounds like that was a lie, but WHOSE lie? Were the media reports wrong? Did the city promise busses that never came? It is really important for someone in the know to tie up this loose end!

This Has Been Said A Million Times 14.Sep.2005 19:16

Jacques

Sure, they were busing people out, but they couldn't go fast enough. Try to evacuate 2 million people in x number of days, with clogged roads... not easy.

To FEMA: They are IDIOTS!!! Or at least WERE! The heads (or most of them) resigned because of all the accusations (true accusations) pinned on them. Did you know that the head of FEMA's qualification added up to running an ARABIAN HORSE CLUB??? That makes me sick, seriously. And all his credentials (or most of them) were faked too.

To the Federal Response: I DON'T CARE IF the FEDERAL GOV'T WASN'T IN CHARGE. They promised ice, food, water, etc. to the Mayor within 12-36 hours, and got it there in 3-5 DAYS. Is there something wrong with that equation???

To the Levee (sp?) Engineer: This is pathetic. You stand up after all that destruction, and say, "I did the right thing. It wasn't worth the money to strengthen the levees," and think you are RIGHT. How??? Did you know that most Americans (or at least I) would respect you more than you deserve if you just outrightly admitted that you made a STUPID mistake? OR ARE YOU ABOVE THAT???

To Bush: I won't go here. I could go on for hours. But you were a jerk. You stood in front of the home of a RICH REPUBLICAN and tried to make an IMPRESSIVE speech about how "this house will be rebuilt" when that guy has so much money, he can rebuild it times 10, and there are homeless people dying in the STREETS. YOU CAN'T GO TALK TO REAL, LIVE, SUFFERERS BECAUSE YOU are a pathetic, scared, loser.

Thank you.
-Jacques

[Jacques is an inside joke. Jacquerie]

On Government Response 15.Sep.2005 14:19

Jacques

Addressing those who don't believe that the Federal Gov't was responsible for Katrina:

Does it matter? The federal government immediately reacted on 9/11, so why not after Katrina, or better, before? Isn't FEMA's entire job to make sure something like this (meaning the resulting chaos) doesn't happen? And they failed?

It is my belief that it was the fault of all levels of government, but the federal response was literally pathetic.

-Jacques


Washing Away the Blame 16.Sep.2005 12:50

PHig

When a person is wreckless and causes the death of another that is involuntary manslaughter. People who did their their best and suffered tragic losses are not at fault. People who blew off their responsibilities and were golfing and playing guitar are. It astounds me that we now have the exhausted looking faces of two nursing home owners to put up in the media so we can have someone to blame. It sounds like they did the best they could. What scapegoating! I have heard lots of stories, some from survivers themselves, that are powerful and have clearly gone untold by media. The mainstream media have continued their happy little morning shows as if nothing has happened.Ronald Reagan's funeral got more special coverage than this. I'm frightened that this will just wash away like the sweet city of New Orleans. For once,let's be sure this does not happen.

This is a matter for Homeland Security and it failed the central Gulf Coast 14.Dec.2005 08:30

Job-, House- -less in NOLA

It seems to me that Chertoff reserves the right to countermand any Governor in this nation and he didn't so he failed in his responsibility during hurricane Katrina.

So...Contact the congress people on those committees that release the bills for debate and contact your own congress people. It's been three months and only now the Corps is studying the walls that failed. Many people are still are without permanent housing and those that have housing to spare are charging $1000 and more for a three room shotgun house that are not in good condition.

So now people are cramming the malls to buy more trash for Xmess, Down here families are still separated and scattered around the country. Don't tell evacuees, "How can you return to New Orleans, "(or any Gulf Coast city) then tell them in the next breath that they can't stay at your house or in your town.

Thank you Salvation Army for the clothes. No thanks to those self righteous who vote for tax cuts and no bid contracts, especially in Iraq. Same ol' same ol' but just more painful and personal.

Just Venting 27.Dec.2005 21:14

Kisha-Lower Ninth Ward www.poetichope @ yahoo.com

I am a proud resident of New Orleans that grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward with my mother and seven brothers and sisters. My family and I are blessed to be alive because we took heed to the warrnings by the local officials to evacuate. However, their were alot of people- the elderly, handicapped and single mothers with children that did not have the resources to leave in a timely matter. For the past month I have heard frequent statements that the citizens who stayed behind were responsible for their own deaths- how cruel. I know of several individuals that rescued more people than the National Guards. Everyday that I wake up I thank God for protecting my family and I from the Eye of the Storm-you should also. The bodies that were floating down the streets in New Orleans were real. This disaster not only claimed the spirit of the dead but stole a portion of the people's heart that lived in New Orleans-it has indeed captured mine. My husband and I are parents to three beautiful children that still doesn't understand why they can't live in their city, sit in the classroom with their friends and attend the church where they song in the children's choir. My prayer is that the blame and finger pointing would stop and that the government would help the people that really needs the financial support. My husband and I were working parents in New Orleans and I attended college at Southern Unversity at New Orleans. We have invested our money in the government, paying taxes and social security and still haven't heard from FEMA. It sickens me everyday that I wake up that I now have to struggle to make ends meet and look into the faces of my children that look up to me as their provider. I currently live in Plano Texas and my kids have to endure the pain of hearing teachers and students making awful comments about New Oleans-even referring to them as thieves in the water. Losing your home, your memories, your friends and your entire lively hood is heart wrenching and I pray that every person that reads my comment will join me in prayer that healing would take place across America. I hope that the evacuees from New Orleans would find rest in God's loving arms and that people would search their hearts and help individuals not only financially, but emotionally and spirtiually. We have endured alot of hardships and sleepless nights and we don't need the negative energy of those who don't understand our pain. Thanks for Listening

Just Venting 27.Dec.2005 21:47

Kisha-Lower Ninth Ward www.poetichope @ yahoo.com

I am a proud resident of New Orleans that grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward with my mother and seven brothers and sisters. My family and I are blessed to be alive because we took heed to the warrnings by the local officials to evacuate. However, their were alot of people- the elderly, handicapped and single mothers with children that did not have the resources to leave in a timely matter. For the past month I have heard frequent statements that the citizens who stayed behind were responsible for their own deaths- how cruel. I know of several individuals that rescued more people than the National Guards. Everyday that I wake up I thank God for protecting my family and I from the Eye of the Storm-you should also. The bodies that were floating down the streets in New Orleans were real. This disaster not only claimed the spirit of the dead but stole a portion of the people's heart that lived in New Orleans-it has indeed captured mine. My husband and I are parents to three beautiful children that still doesn't understand why they can't live in their city, sit in the classroom with their friends and attend the church where they song in the children's choir. My prayer is that the blame and finger pointing would stop and that the government would help the people that really needs the financial support. My husband and I were working parents in New Orleans and I attended college at Southern Unversity at New Orleans. We have invested our money in the government, paying taxes and social security and still haven't heard from FEMA. It sickens me everyday that I wake up that I now have to struggle to make ends meet and look into the faces of my children that look up to me as their provider. I currently live in Plano Texas and my kids have to endure the pain of hearing teachers and students making awful comments about New Oleans-even referring to them as thieves in the water. Losing your home, your memories, your friends and your entire lively hood is heart wrenching and I pray that every person that reads my comment will join me in prayer that healing would take place across America. I hope that the evacuees from New Orleans would find rest in God's loving arms and that people would search their hearts and help individuals not only financially, but emotionally and spirtiually. We have endured alot of hardships and sleepless nights and we don't need the negative energy of those who don't understand our pain. Thanks for Listening

Bush: Who? Me? 02.Mar.2006 07:25

mentalblock

There is much finger pointing going on over katrina and New Orleans. Everything from a slow response from local and federal authorities. However, ALL the fingers must ultimately be pointed directly at President Bush.
He was told about the pending disaster while on vacation at his ranch. He was told that the levees would probably not hold against the battering waves that would be pounding it. His ONLY response was "The government is ready to address the situation." Pitiful. He even stayed on his ranch until the day AFTER Katrina hit.
As POTUS, he IS the man at the top. He is the one man that could supercede any other agencies and he did nothing. (maybe he crossed his fingers?)
Bush more than bungled the disaster, he ignored the disaster until people were dying on rooftops and even in the Dome they were told to wade to.
SOMEBODY in authority should have acted much more quickly than they did. Bush is president and even though he is no where near the caliber of Truman, the buck stops with Bush. Well, it SHOULD HAVE, instead all he did was "pass the buck".

The Rich Flee As The Poor Die 23.Mar.2006 13:52

Uhuru

Uhuru,

After reading some of the comments about the Hurricane that hit New Orleans, it is obvious that there will be typical Caucasians who will deny the very obvious, the neglect of Afrikan people by a white supremacist government. What you typical Caucasians need to know is that Afrikan people do not need none of you to validate whether or not there was intentional neglect on the part of the white supremacist government of the united snakes of amerikkka. Afterall, it's been five hundred years of nothing but complete hell for Afrikan people in this part of the world, at the hands of the white supremacist system that was designed for the maintenance of euro-caucasians or white anglo saxon protestants, who profess to be christians or citizens of a christian society that has not only kidded the world, but has kidded itself. And whenever an Afrikan person put it this way, there will be the typical euro-caucasian response of hostility, denial or pretendong not to know what's going on, due to a dysfunctional history that has been soaked in death, disease and destruction. Everywhere one finds the European presence, right there side by side with it is chaos, disguised as civilization, which in the case of amerikkka, is veiled or hidden underneath science and technology. It is apparent, after studying the history of euro-caucasians, that this group of people, who profess to be the most intellectual, that there will always be a disagreeable relationship between europeans and people of color, wherever you find the two groups in the same locality. Thus, we have the typical results of the hurricane Katrina aftermath, Afrikan people left to fend for themselves under the banner of the red white and blue. It is only fitting that there was such an on purpose for a purpose slow response from the white powers that be. Until Afrikan people, as a whole, begin to realize the nature of caucasian people, that they will only go all out only for themselves, when such a difficult time arises, Afrikans will always get the short end of the stick. The truth hurts!

Uhuru!