horror show update

I imagine most of you have seen all this crap from several other sources as well, but here are the links that made me cringe this morning:

Photo Op

Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La: But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.

Round Up the Usual Suspects

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Two key U.S. senators said on Friday they will launch a bipartisan coverup of what they described as an "immense, but probably unavoidable failure" of the government response to Hurricane Katrina.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who heads the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the panel's other top-ranking Republican, said they hope to shift as much blame as possible to lower-ranking officials and career federal employees -- ideally at an obscure government agency that few Americans have ever heard of."

In keeping with recent congressional practice, we will try to shield the president and the senior members of his administration from directly responsibility for this fiasco, although a few token resignations may be required this time around," the pair said in a joint statement. "Our primary focus, however, will be on figuring out how to throw billions of dollars in additional funding to the very same agencies that failed so spectacularly this past week."

Guard Troops Descend on New Orleans

Bill Wattenburg said that he has lobbied the administration and the military to immediately begin [a food drop program as was done in Afghanistan, Bosnia and in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami.] He said he was told that the military was prepared to begin, but that it was awaiting a request from FEMA. "We know very well how to do this, and it's just incomprehensible that we're not," Wattenburg said.

Firefighting gear stockpile unused

Nine stockpiles of fire-and-rescue equipment strategically placed around the country to be used in the event of a catastrophe still have not been pressed into service in New Orleans, five days after Hurricane Katrina, CNN has learned. Responding to a CNN inquiry, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday the gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it.

Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid

A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.

City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.

"Questions Linger" about the speed with which troops were deployed

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard last Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.

Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested -- and continues to request -- that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

Teenager "loots" a rescue bus

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control. "I just took the bus and drove all the way here...seven hours straight,' Gibson admitted. "I hadn't ever drove a bus." The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there.

Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome. But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus.

"I dont care if I get blamed for it," Gibson said, "as long as I saved my people."

Volunteers with 500 boats sent home:

They then specifically asked the DWF agent that they (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. They offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered them home -- ALL FIVE HUNDRED BOATS. They complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two friends were pulling a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

The function of the military is to control the media:

Leroy Fouchea, [...] then offered to show reporters the dead bodies of a man in a wheelchair, a young man who he said he dragged inside just hours earlier, and the limp forms of two infants, one just four months old, the other six months old. [...] "They died right here, in America, waiting for food," Fouchea said as he walked toward Hall D, where the bodies were put to get them out of the searing heat.

A National Guardsman refused entry.

"It doesn't need to be seen, it's a make-shift morgue in there," he told a Reuters photographer. "We're not letting anyone in there anymore. If you want to take pictures of dead bodies, go to Iraq."

Evacuation Disrupted by False Gunshot Report

Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Washington, said she had no such report. "We're controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on," she said, adding that the FAA was in contact with the military as well as civilian aircraft.

And yet, Army Times says:

According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Grishamn, a spokesman for the amphibious assault ship Bataan, the vessel kept its helicopters at sea Thursday night after several military helicopters reported being shot at from the ground.

[ They go on to describe it as an "insurgency"! What the fuck! ]

See Geraldo freak out on Hannity (QuickTime) More of this sort of thing at Crooks And Liars. Also, The Rebellion of the Talking Heads, since it is news when reporters start actually reporting.

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup. So at least there's that.

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84 Responses:

  1. usufructer says:

    Just, well... what the fuck? That's all I can think of this now. What the fuck? What the fuck happened? What the fuck is the DHS for? What the fuck is FEMA doing?

    What the fuck?

  2. bodyfour says:

    The reports from the Corps of Engineers seem to indicate that they're not repairing the levee right now. Right now the level of water and the city is equal. The lake is several feet higher than usual due to the storm, but it is steadily lowering to its usual level. So even if you could magically fix them right this second all it would do is trap that water in the city. It makes more sense to let it drain (and in the mean time plan the repair operation) and fix it when the water is lower. Its probably billions of gallons less to pump out later.

    • allbery says:

      Okay, that's credible. So why the hell did they put on a show when Bush was there?

      Either the work was needed, in which case it's no longer happening, or it wasn't needed, in which case it was staged. Either way, it's disgusting.

      • bodyfour says:

        The night after the levee broke WWL-4 showed a press conference with some CoE high-up talking about dropping 15000lb sandbags in by helicopter. So their immediate reaction seemed to be "fix it immediately" It seems the decision to stop the emergency repair happened later when it was clear that they couldn't prevent the water levels from equalizing.

        Or you can decide it's all a conspiracy. Up to you.

        • jwz says:

          After all, it would be both unprecedented and unthinkable for Bush to stage something like this.

          • bodyfour says:

            No, but you're lacking any evidence that this is the case here. The CoE was very publicaly doing a massive repair operation. They just as publically decided to stop the operation, and with good reason.

            I find it strange how you're complaining about the lack of communication within the various federal agencies when it comes to delivering relief... but still think that those same people all came together to put together a great photo op by doing fake repair work. It just doesn't add up.

            • jwz says:

              I guess I have a lot more confidence in Rove's ability to put together some Potemkin backdrop for a photo op than in Bush's ability to actually lead. Whatever.

            • strspn says:

              No lack of evdence:

              ARD correspondent Christine Adelhardt, who witnessed Bush's visit to Biloxi, was shocked about the extent to which the event was staged. The President brought with him vehicles to cut though the debris and rescue search teams, for which Biloxi had waited for days. But they did not go to work where the victims were, but only served as photogenic background props in remote areas of the town, she reported.

            • strspn says:

              More of the same:

              ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

          • dasht_brk says:

            For an understanding of why the feds correctly point out that the state and locals dropped the ball here, see the executive summary of planning exercises from 2004. The feds have, it seems, met and exceeded what the plans called for:

            http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

            -t

        • allbery says:

          I find it very telling that the best argument you could come up with is based on events three days earlier. They staged Bush's photo op on Friday. If this really is chaos in determining priorities, isn't it convenient how that chaos happened to make Bush's photo op look better? And isn't it interesting that the LA senator had no information about it?

          Just how deep do you want to bury your head in the sand? It's not about evil, it's about caring about public appearances over anything else. We know Bush stage-manages all personal appearances, and we know that the Secret Service screens people for political beliefs before letting them near any public appearance of the President. This has all been widely reported and documented long, long before now. Wake up. It's not some vast shadowy conspiracy; it's very simple and straightforward and about as complex as impromptu theater, and we already know exactly how it works.

          • phoenixredux says:

            It's not some vast shadowy conspiracy; it's very simple and straightforward and about as complex as impromptu theater, and we already know exactly how it works.

            And that somehow makes it right? Staged rescue work is the worst sort of insult on top of an enormous injury! To expend the sort of energy that it would take to coordinate a fake sqaud of emergency workers when real ones are nowhere to be found, while real people die, is pure evil. What darkness must lie in the hearts of men who put on a dog and pony show for the national media while infants die of starvation and rats feed on human corpses in the street! What, exactly, is the difference between vast shadowy conspiracy and this so-called "impromptu theater"? Since when did this administration begin to care about arts and culture? This isn't a revival of "South Pacific" that they're putting on here, you know.

            • allbery says:

              It definitely doesn't make it okay.

              Calling something a conspiracy implies that it's some sort of grand, unsupportable theory designed to neatly wrap up details in a way that never happens in the real world. Bush's manipulations of the news media are all too real, all too realistic, and all too easy to do. It doesn't take a conspiracy; it's really rather easy. That does not, in any way, make it any less disgusting.

              I don't think there's any real conspiracy involved in this storm, just rampant incompetence (the natural result of filling government agencies with toadies and old buddies). The news media manipulation is just stock business as usual that he doesn't have the sense to stop doing in a disaster area where more people are actually paying attention. Having an evil plan requires both being evil and having a plan. I consider Bush to be evil. I just don't think he has a plan.

              • jwz says:

                Calling something a conspiracy implies that it's some sort of grand, unsupportable theory designed to neatly wrap up details in a way that never happens in the real world.

                You're right, that's the usage that the word "conspiracy" usually gets these days, but that's not really what it means. For example, here's one: that a couple dozen people, armed only with box cutters, simultaniously hijacked a bunch of airplanes, used them to utterly obliterate several large buildings, and were funded by a shadowy, reclusive fundamentalist billionaire. See, even if you happen to believe the official story, that is A) an "conspiracy theory", and B) so fucking hokey that if a movie was made with that plot ten years ago, it would have starred Lorenzo fucking Lamas.

                The crackpots have given the word "conspiracy" such a bad name that people find it hard to accept that our so-called leaders can and do conspire to betray the public trust.

          • volkris says:

            And isn't it interesting that the LA senator had no information about it?

            That's just par for the course with Mary Landreu...

        • ioerror says:

          I guess you missed that article by the german reporters huh?

          • bodyfour says:

            Yes, actually I guess I did. Could you send me a link? I've been looking for the last hour or so.

            What I have seen is the item in the War and Piece blog giving a second-hand report of what someone says they saw on German TV. Then there was an article on Washington Monthly's site which used that blog entry as their sole source for the info.

            I looked all over ZDF's site looking for the info but my German skills suck (and Google Translate's aren't that much better) so maybe I missed it. I also gave in and installed fucking Real Player so I could watch the video that according to random blog comments is the initial source of the report. There's a real brief shot of W in NOLA followed by a shot of food convoys arriving in the city. I didn't hear anything that sounded like "scandal!" but, again, I'm going mostly by the tone of their voices here. Maybe a German speaker can provide an exact translation of what exactly was said. Later in the video there is more shots of Bush addressing people but all of that is in Biloxi, MS.

            So anyway if you have a link to a text article of the original reporting, I'd appreciate it.

            • wsxyz says:

              I just watched the video and it is mostly about people waiting for help in New Orleans. The only mention of anything staged was at the end in the Q&A part when the anchor asked the field reporter if there were any supplies or rescuers arriving in Biloxi. She said that there was nothing - only a single emergency medical station. But when President Bush arrived, a group of "Hilfstruppen" (and I'm not sure there whether she means national guard members or red cross/rescue workers) arrived with him and searched houses and the area around President Bush, wherever he went. And then when he left, they left too.

              • bodyfour says:

                Well according to Google Translate "Hilfstruppen" is "Auxiliary Troops" (look at some of the other places that ZDF has used that word) so I'm guessing they're talking about the National Guard.

                So basically they're saying that there's a minimal rescue presence in Biloxi (which isn't surprising since the bulk of the humanitarian crisis is happening in New Orleans right now since Biloxi isn't underwater). There are some NG members looking for any last survivors and Bush went to a neighborhood where they were working.

                Alternately they could be talking about troops that are there to protect the president and they're specifically searching the neighborhoods around him to make sure there's no threats hiding nearby, which would also be a reasonable explanation for why he'd have troops following him around.

                So basically I'd say:

                • It doesn't seem likely that the ZDF is considering this as a big scandal or something or they'd be playing it up more instead of it just being a short comment at the end of a piece
                • The claim that "There was a striking dicrepancy[sic] between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV." is false — there was zero disagreement between CNN and ZDF about what was happening in New Orleans
                • The claim that "Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF." is apparently just fabricated from whole-cloth, unless there is some other ZDF coverage that we haven't seen

                As someone who can understand the ZDF report better than I can would you agree thats an accurate assessment?

                • wsxyz says:

                  Well according to Google Translate "Hilfstruppen" is "Auxiliary Troops" (look at some of the other places that ZDF has used that word) so I'm guessing they're talking about the National Guard.
                  I would agree except that they often say Nationalgarde for "National Guard". Hilfstruppen can really mean all sorts of things, so I'm not going to take a stand on exactly what the reporter meant except "helpers" of some kind.

                  There are some NG members looking for any last survivors and Bush went to a neighborhood where they were working.
                  She did specifically say that the rescue workers came with President Bush and left with him.

                  Alternately they could be talking about troops that are there to protect the president and they're specifically searching the neighborhoods around him to make sure there's no threats hiding nearby
                  That is possible but she mentioned them looking for survivors. Of course maybe she didn't know what they were doing and just saw them looking through abandoned houses.

                  It doesn't seem likely that the ZDF is considering this as a big scandal or something or they'd be playing it up more instead of it just being a short comment at the end of a piece
                  Not a big scandal. It isn't the main focus of the piece at all, but the reporter did seem to be trying to emphasize the absence of any search & rescue in the city, regardless of what one may have seen in video of the President.

                  The claim that "There was a striking dicrepancy[sic] between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV." is false - there was zero disagreement between CNN and ZDF about what was happening in New Orleans
                  I didn't see any CNN reports, but I saw nothing in the ZDF piece that I haven't also seen on American news channels -- even Fox News had similar pieces showing people dying.

                  The claim that "Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF." is apparently just fabricated from whole-cloth, unless there is some other ZDF coverage that we haven't seen
                  None of that is in this piece. It could be in other reports.

                  • everybody42 says:

                    Some background: ZDF is one of the mayor public tv stations in Germany. It's a very reputable German tv station, comparable to Great Britain's BBC.

                    The text to the right of the ZDF video reads

                    "Die Lage im Süden der USA ist außer Kontrolle. Die Hilfe kommt nicht in Gang. New Orleans Bürgermeister ist stinksauer und George W. Bush besucht Biloxi und nimmt die Helfer anschließend wieder mit."

                    this translates to

                    The situation in the south of the USA is out of control. Help does not get off the ground. New Orlean's mayor is hopping mad and George W Bush visits Biloxi, and takes the relieve workers with him as he leaves.

                  • everybody42 says:

                    I've transcribed the ZDF video starting from 03:05. (I've transcribed the windows media player version, but they should be identical).

                    Here's the translated transcript (original German transcript follow in another post, due to livejournal post size restrictions), ZDF Heute Journal 2005-09-02, transcribed starting 03:05


                    Anchor: During his tour through the disaster area, President Bush also visited the nearly completely devastated
                    town biloxi.

                    Claudia Rüggeberg in Biloxi, how did the citizens react to the president's visit?

                    Claudia Rüggeberg: Very diverse. We have talked to people here after the visit.

                    One woman said, a symbolic visit like this would be better than no visit, and it would be good that
                    the president appears in public and has a look at the situation.

                    Others were more desperate.

                    One woman burst into tears, and said furiosly, the president should not come here, he should instead
                    make sure that help comes. All these people, his entourage, the cars should be loaded with aid supplies,
                    not with bodyguards, and he should not play the good Samaritan, such a staged visit would not help.

                    Indeed, this morning suddenly help workers arrived, people who removed the rubbish,
                    searched the houses for dead bodies, exclusively along the president's route.

                    Two hours ago, the president left Biloxi, and with him all the help workers.

                    Anchor: President Bush has promised quick help, was there something perceivable,
                    is clean water and food available, for example?

                    Claudia Rüggeberg: Here is nothing. In Bolixi, the rubbish is still lying
                    - apart from what the helpers removed this morning - the rubbish is still lying on the
                    streets like they did after the Hurrican some days ago.

                    There is no reasonable supply. There is an emergency facility, a medical emergency facility, apart from that nothing.

                    Decay scent lingers in the whole city. There are dead bodies in the buildings, dead bodies
                    that are not being recovered, everything is in ruins.

                    The help does not - from what we were able to observe here, and what others report from other cities - arrive here.

                    Anchor: thank you, Claudia Rüggeberg in Biloxi

                  • everybody42 says:

                    Original German transcript (I just typed down the words, not 'official' transcript):

                    Moderator: Präsident Bush hat bei seiner Tour durch das Katastrophengebiet auch der fast
                    völlig verwüsteten Kleinstadt Biloxi eine Stippvisite abgestattet.

                    Claudia Rüggeberg in Biloxi, wie haben die Bürger denn auf den Besuch des Präsidenten reagiert?

                    Claudia Rüggeberg: Sehr unterschiedlich. Wir haben nach diesem Besuch mit Leuten gesprochen hier.

                    Eine Frau meinte, ein solcher symbolischer Besuch sei besser als gar keiner, und es sei gut, dass
                    der Präsident sich überhaupt hier zeige und sich die Situation mal anschaue.

                    Andere waren eher verzweifelt.

                    Eine frau ist in Tränen ausgebrochen, und hat voller Wut gesagt, der Präsident sollte nicht hier herkommen,
                    er solle endlich dafür sorgen, dass hier hilfe kommt. Die ganzen Leute, seine ganze Entourage, die Autos die
                    sollten mit Hilfsgütern beladen sein, und nicht mit Bodyguards, und er sollte hier nicht den barmherzigen Samariter spielen,
                    und ein solcher inszenierter Besuch würde nicht helfen.

                    Tatsächlich war es so, dass heute morgen hier plötzlich Hilfstrupps kamen,
                    Leute, die den Schutt weggeräumt haben, die die Häuser nach Leichen durchsucht haben
                    und zwar ausschließlich entlang der Route des Präsidenten.

                    Vor zwei Stunden ist der Präsident hier aus Biloxi wieder abgereist, und mit ihm
                    die ganzen Hilfstrupps.

                    Moderator: Präsident Bush hat ja schnelle Hilfe versprochen, ist denn davon bei Ihnen
                    sonst auch nur etwas davon zu spüren gewesen, gibt es zum Beispiel sauberes Wasser und Lebensmittel?

                    Claudia Rüggeberg: Es gibt hier überhaupt nichts. In Biloxi liegen die Trümmer bis auf das, was diese
                    Hilfstrupps heute morgen bei Seite geräumt haben, liegen die Trümmer auf der Strasse
                    genau wie nach dem Sturm vor einigen Tagen.

                    Es gibt keine vernünftige Versorgung; es gibt eine Noteinrichtung, eine medizinische Noteinrichtung,
                    ansonsten nichts.

                    Es hängt über der ganzen Stadt Verwesungsgeruch. In den Gebäuden liegen Leichen, die nicht geborgen werden
                    es liegt hier alles in Trümmern.

                    Die Hilfe kommt, nach dem was wir hier beobachten können, und was andere aus anderen Städten sagen,
                    nicht an

                    Moderator: Danke nach Biloxi, Claudia Rüggeberg

      • dasht_brk says:

        You assholes.

        The Army Corp. doesn't dick around that way.

        Not being quite close enough to the scene I can only speculate
        based on their direct reports to the press but -- they initially
        overspent on repair efforts, trying several alternative strategies
        at once to see which ones worked best (given insufficient information
        to decide on first principles). Probably that is the main explanation
        of efforts that started and since stopped.

        But, by all means, just assume that the boots on the ground care
        as much about real life as you seem to.

        -t

  3. baconmonkey says:

    Where is the FEMA emergency ultra-lockdown that all the X-Files Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists in the 90s promised?

    • jwz says:

      Seriously. Fox Mulder, you have let New Orleans down.

    • earino says:

      You know, as horrible as it is, that's probably the single biggest thing that has disappointed me about this entire horrible situation. Part of me had this hope that out of nowhere area51 would open up and cyber-robotic police droids would swarm into New Orleans and a police state would spread across the land. Or, you know, something equally cool, like HAARP causing a change in the ionization of the atmosphere, which caused a change in the wavelength of light passing through it, which triggered a biological response that was greatly augmented due to the fluoridation in the water, which turned everyone incredibly docile.

      Just... anything... that showed that there was some sort of higher order running things. Not some bumbling response. Then again, I guess I can hope that they're waiting this out for a *really* large tragedy, like a super-nova.

    • seanb says:

      That could have happened, if FEMA still had any power. Unfortunately, FEMA has been raped and cannibalized by Homeland Security, and only exists as a hollow mockery of it's former self.

      • strspn says:

        You can count on Congress to fix that. In a year and a half, the Department of Homeland Security will be reorganized to be headed by a new Hurricaine Response Division, comprised of the former Coast Guard, INS, National Guard, NOAA, FAA, and the Dept. of Agriculture thrown in for good measure. All federal grant applications will be rejected unless they involve inflatable life raft technology, food and water storage construction, etc. "Katrina has changed everything," will be the mantra.

        And, accordingly, all funding for earthquake and forest fire preparadness will have to be curtailed. Sorry, but if you can't profit from the last disaster, then you should reevaluate your priorities.

    • ioerror says:

      Dude, these are poor black people, why would America waste its secret robot army on them?!

  4. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the panel's other top-ranking Republican...

    I know that Joe's no Jack Kennedy, but how the heck did Reuters manage to republicanize him?

  5. jonxp says:

    I find that your choices of titles are deliberately inflammatory. Especially "The function of the military is to control the media". He simply wanted to give the dead a little respect. I have friends down there right now, and while I can not tell you a first hand report, I can give it to you one degree away. The national guard is doing all they can to help in this situation. They are crippled by the lack of mobility in the region, and the hostility of many of the people. They are no longer allowing civilians to help in rescue efforts because they are being shot at constantly. Since there are limited resources and thousands of people to rescue, not only in New Orleans but across all of MS and AL, they simply can not save everyone. They are limiting their search and rescues to children and families. It is a gut-wrenching decision to have to make, but it has to be done. People are shooting because they aren't getting rescued, some are shooting for attention, others are actually shooting at the boats (I can't vouch for aircraft, but I assume the same).

    Everyone I know that is in the National Guard was called to active duty the day Katrina hit. They were in New Orleans handing out supplies the next day. There was an immediate response. The problem was, due to a lack of communication it was unknown how serious things would get. The levee breach went mostly unnoticed till the downtown area start to flood the next night. The initial response was to a dry city that was beaten down. When it flooded it required a whole different kind of response.

    • bodyfour says:

      > I find that your choices of titles are deliberately inflammatory.

      You're new around here, huh?

      • jonxp says:

        No, but there is no need to deliberately try to inflame a situation that is in dire need of just getting better. We don't need people demanding that the National Guard move out of there because they are "censoring" the media by respecting the dead or creating a "police state" because they aren't letting civilians be put into harm's way.

        • jwz says:

          Nice strawmen there. I'll take two, they're small.

        • ioerror says:

          You're a total fucking idiot. There I said it. Sorry dude, it's not the job of the military to stop entry because they think they're the moral police.

          You're what's wrong with American if you support this so called "moral" nonsense.

          • jonxp says:

            That was the least important part of what I wrote and everyone seems to be latching on to it. I wrote the post to try to give some actual information from New Orleans that wasn't sensationalized by anyone to bump ratings. I just threw in a sentence about disagreeing with the almight jwz. Oh well.

            Personally, if I were down there and a volunteer I would have at least *tried* to do the same thing. But like I said, I believe that it is the right thing to do. If they were keeping the media out of the superdome as a whole or if they just kicked them all out of New Orleans (for reason other than immediate danger) this would be a completely different story.

            Also people seem to think the National Guard is some huge hierarchial thing and this order came straight from Bush's mouth. When it comes down to it, these guys are just volunteers that get trained and paid. It isn't the "military" it is one guy who made a judgment call.

            • ioerror says:

              I don't care if you disagree with jwz. You're just also disagreeing with me *grin* and that's where I take issue.

              I'm a photographer. If you turn me away because of your faith, your politics, your reasons for a dead person that's not even yours, I'll take your photo. I'll take the photo of the dead body. I'll write the caption.

              It doesn't matter if Bush himself told that guard to say "no photos of the dead." I never said that. I don't think jwz said that. However, the guard is an extension of the president and as such has no right to judge what's worth being photographed. They're not supposed to judge that. It's not the right of the military to censor the news.

    • jwz says:

      You know what? It's not the National Guard's job to decide what does and does not get reported, or should and should not be seen, or what is and is not respectful. Fuck that guy and fuck anyone who thinks he has any right to control what reporters see.

      • jonxp says:

        Next time you see a highway accident with fatalities, will you please run up, uncover the bodies, and post the pictures on this journal? Of course, the police may try to stop you from doing such, but simply explain to them that they have no right to control what the public sees, and it is not enough to simply know that there are dead people under that sheet, but that you demand photographs.

        • jwz says:

          This isn't "some guy with a camera", this is the fucking national news media, but thank you for another stawman. And if a cop keeps the press from an accident scene for any reason other than immediate safety, I want to see that cop out of a job.

          Go away.

          • jonxp says:

            *sigh* The national news media is just guys with cameras. They just have fancy logos with them.

            But anyway...*gone*

            • ioerror says:

              It's their job to take those photos. I guess you missed that important aspect of freedom of the press, right?

              It's not interfering to take photos of dead bodies that aren't even being moved. If they were being moved or it was interfering there wouldn't be any god damn bodies to move!

              • baconmonkey says:

                that is such a 20th century attitude.
                bloggers are the new press corps.
                I got into great detail about this on my podcast.

                • ioerror says:

                  I agree for the most part. If I didn't I'd have to give up my IndyMedia press badge.

                • I've had a few debates with a journalist friend about bloggers versus journalists. My view is that you just have to be more careful about what blog you trust, as there's definitely experts in certain fields with amazing blogs (Schneier on security, Lessig on IP law, etc.). And really peopl have to be careful with the 'traditional' media as well, it's just less obvious that you should.

            • sherbooke says:

              If they're "just guys with cameras" I don't understand why BushRove Potemkin (snappy name, huh?) goes to all that trouble to placate/neuter them. The Fourth Estate always have had a historic mission. They're one of the reasons why BushRove Potemkin is down there "trying to sort things out". I bet even now BushRove is trying to figure a way of "embedding" newsreporters in a marine unit or two. Oh look, it's an "insurgency". Heres your protection, now report what we tell you.

              I was mystified at first why a BushRove visit would cause so much disruption. BushRove was saying, originally, that the local authorities didn't want him in NO because his visit would cause too much disruption. For a thought experiment, take this at face value. I can understand the security aspect a little however it's more than just security. It's like the staging of a film or an installment of a soap opera *plus* the security. They must have producers, script-writers, choreographers etc to organise the whole event. Or at least people who fill those roles; they should get credits at the end. The disruption to any other continuing operations must be enormous as the presidential goffers armed with presidential authority commandeer every damn thing in sight to satisfy their potemkin scene-setting. Isn't there a way to counter this? Infiltration of the selected ranks? A custard pie or two wouldn't go amiss.

              I didn't realise that Condi Rice's home state was Alabama. It makes her previous behaviour in a NY store even more obscene. Her elevation to Secretary or State *was* impressive. It's beginning to whiff a little.

              • jonxp says:

                That's why we need REAL "guys with cameras" not the grand allied National News Media.

              • taffer says:

                Dude, anyone attempting to pie the Inner Circle would be filled with lead in seconds. There could be weapons of mass deliciousness in that pie!

    • ioerror says:

      He simply wanted to give the dead a little respect. I have friends down there right now, and while I can not tell you a first hand report, I can give it to you one degree away. The national guard is doing all they can to help in this situation.

      What a load of fucking bullshit! I'll tell you what I want when I die from a massive fuck up on the part of the federal government. I want photos of my dead body on the news. I want the truth on TV if that's where people get their news when I die. I want fucks who are afraid of death to step down and let people see what actually happened. Cowards. All of these people are partsian fucks. You're part of the problem if you think not showing the dead is some sort of HONOR to the dead. What a load of bullshit. Fuck your morality and bullshit honor to dead bodies.

      • diemoniker says:

        I'm obviously late to this thread, but I can think of at least three widely reproduced photos of dead bodies that radically changed my sense of the world and probably contributed to my becoming a journalist: the My Lai massacre, Emmett Till before and after his death (his mother specifically requested an open casket ceremony so that journalists could photograph him) and, of course, the coroner's photo of the woman who died in her hotel room after receiving an illegal abortion (which I never see reprinted anymore, anywhere. Given the current state of abortion legislation, it's about time people start seeing that photo again.)

        I second the "I want fucks who are afraid of death to step down and let people see what actually happened."

  6. mactavish says:

    I keep hoping this horror from the Convention Center will come back to bite the current administration in the ass, but it's Bush's second term, and the votes of the poor haven't really mattered to him unless they go along with the religious right.

    This is my favorite of the schoolbus "hijack" pictures:
    (sfgate)

  7. sfritz says:

    When I first heard of the disaster, I shrugged it off, knowing that my tax dollars would be hard at work saving as many lives as possible within a few hours.

    So now I have this big, "WTF" moment where I realize my government really is as fucked up as I suspected it was.

  8. karohemd says:

    Even as someone from another continent and no other connection than having visited NOLA earlier this year, I feel sick and disgusted at these reports. :o(

  9. wilecoyote says:

    That Mary Landrieu senator who's so busy critizicing Bush now... she's the same one that Anderson Cooper was interviewing when he got tired of her bullshit and lost it on air, isn't she? (See "The rebellion of the talking heads", the Slate article that you also linked).

    She might be a democrat, but she isn't much better than the president and his spin-doctors. Hell, I've seen that video clip, and she is one of them.

    • king_mob says:

      The Anderson Cooper interview preceded the statement she made above. I am willing to credit her -- barely -- with having a change of heart.

      • wilecoyote says:

        Either that, or she realized that the tide of public opinion was going in the opposite direction.

        (I'm not trying to be gratuituously snarky or contrarian, but if she was a republican you wouldn't be so willing to give her the benefit of doubt, would you?).

        • king_mob says:

          No, I wouldn't. Sorry. I make no pretensions to objectivity here.

          Listen: I follow politics really closely, I'm a junkie for it. I have done for years. The American GOP and the larger conservative movement has a tradition of deception and evil that I believe the American left and the Democratic party just hasn't come close to matching.

          So, no, Republicans don't get the benefit of the doubt. They might have before 1968 or so. After that, I'm under no obligation to go on pretending that the two parties are "basically the same." They just aren't.

          I'm far from the world's most loyal Democrat, but in terms of the order of magnitude of the problems I have with the respective parties, it's the difference between throwing a bullet and firing it from a gun.

  10. loosechanj says:

    The NOLA thing certainly does have an "invite the peasents to dinner at the castle, then burn the fucker to the ground" flavor to it.

  11. mouseworks says:

    I just put $50 on the credit card for the FEMA-whipped Red Cross. I'd like to match that for Mr. Gibson -- defense fund, college fund if they don't bust him.

  12. sherbooke says:

    Oh yes it is:
    http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1077495.php

    I was kidding about Haliburton earlier.

  13. dasht_brk says:

    Many posters here make me want to vote republican
    next election. I really can't imagine a union in
    which:

    (a) A sane, freedom-loving person would want to live.

    (b) The feds have infinite reach to respond infinitely
    to an event like Katrina and reduce to to nothing more
    than "Oh, a million folks pleasantly camp out for a
    few weeks".

    (c) The feds have infinite reach to "undo" the outrageous
    lack of preparedness and poor heat-of-the-moment decisions
    of regional responders.

    What the hell ever happened to individual, local, and
    regional responsibility? Or even living up to one's word:
    http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

    Y'all are soft and begging for totalitarian facism, which,
    I've little doubt, the Democrat leadership will now step
    up to the mic to offer.

    -t

    • kathrynt says:

      If your political affiliation is going to be affected by commenters in <lj user=jwz>'s livejournal, you might seriously consider taking some sort of civics class in order to get a better handle on yourself.

    • ioerror says:

      Regarding a, b, c: Canada, Germany, The UK, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and any other western nation other than the great United States (apparently).


      What the hell ever happened to individual, local, and
      regional responsibility?

      I don't know about you but I'll not vote for any incumbent again. Come election time, everyone is out. Out out out.

      Or even living up to one's word:
      http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

      Yes. FEMA is just plain full of shit. They didn't have a workable plan. What's your point?

      Y'all are soft and begging for totalitarian facism, which,
      I've little doubt, the Democrat leadership will now step
      up to the mic to offer.

      So let me get this straight. You see how badly the republicans handle things, how badly the democrats in the area handle things and you say you're gonna vote for republicans?

      That doesn't make any sense. The republicans control everything right now. Bush gets to seat two members of the SCOTUS. He's got the power and everything is shit. Everything was supposed to be better this time. Remember 9/11? Yeah, I remember it. I remember how things weren't ever supposed to fail and fuck up this badly again. But they have! Oh how they have!

      As for your nonsense about begging for totalitarian fascism (note the correct spelling), what do you suppose we have now?

      I'd like a label. What are we today? I'd like to know where we are on the political map in your mind and where we're going in the future.

      Just to refresh your memory:
      "# Fascism (in Italian, fascismo), capitalized, refers to the right-wing authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. The word fascism (uncapitalized) has come to mean any political stance or system of government resembling Mussolini's. "

      and

      "

      Totalitarianism is a typology employed by political scientists to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. Totalitarian regimes mobilize entire populations in support of the state and a political ideology, and do not tolerate activities by individuals or groups such as labor unions, churches and political parties that are not directed toward the state's goals. They maintain themselves in power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, regulation of free discussion and criticism, and widespread use of terror tactics. Critics of the concept contend that the term lacks explanatory power. They argue that governments which are often classified as totalitarian may not be as monolithic as they appear from the outside, since they may hide a political process in which several groups, such as the army, political leaders, industrialists, and others, compete for power and influence."

      What are we? What is America under bush? Something you like and want more of?

      • dasht_brk says:

        > FEMA is just plain full of shit

        On the contrary -- they met and exceeded their role in the plan agreed upon by them with regional responders.

        -t

        • king_mob says:

          I don't see anything in the plan you posted about evacuation after a flood.

          • dasht_brk says:

            There are two points in the plan that attract my attention:

            1) The forseen need for 100s or 1000 shelters -- not two (superdome and convention center). Had the emergency plan comandeered high-ground robust properties in uptown NOLA, in many, many respects, the loss of life and human health disaster would be greatly reduced, as would the difficulty of post-storm provisioning and evacutation. The cost for this plan and why it probably didn't occur to any one?: a greater loss of property, uptown, as poor people took what they needed, wanted, and otherwise improvised survival. Classism (hence racism) in action.

            2) The agreement that the state could provide for the sheltered for the first 3-5 days.

            It would be interesting to see the more detailed reports that stand behind the executive summary at:

            http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

            Please imagine a commitee of state, local, and FEMA officials sitting around conference tables for a few days, laying out the facts, and each taking away plans and things to work on. Then imagine the lack of uptake the state and local officials got when they went home and how this turned into a stalled and pathetic excuse to lobby for federal funding rather than a low-cost but effective plan of action. AFAICT, that's what we're looking at. Days and months to come will tell us for sure.

            -t

            • king_mob says:

              Had the emergency plan comandeered high-ground robust properties in uptown NOLA, in many, many respects, the loss of life and human health disaster would be greatly reduced, as would the difficulty of post-storm provisioning and evacutation.

              The executive summary doesn't say whether these identified shelters were in NOLA or not. I wonder if this exercise assumed New Orleans sustained a direct hit but the rest of Louisiana was okay.

              2) The agreement that the state could provide for the sheltered for the first 3-5 days.

              I kinda wonder to what degree this was an "agreement."

              What I'm taking away from this is that Louisiana doesn't seem to have prepared for this well enough. Okay, fine, that's hardly shocking to me; the southern states don't exactly have a tradition of investing public monies in their own self-interest. I still don't feel that FEMA is covering itself with glory here. Among other things, based on Mike Brown's public statements over the past few days, he's technically retarded.

      • dasht_brk says:

        > FEMA is just plain full of shit

        On the contrary -- they met and exceeded their role in the plan agreed upon by them with regional responders.

        -t

    • king_mob says:

      It certainly does appear that the Federal government is off her back, doesn't it? Viva los Randroidos! Viva los Objectivismo!