September 04, 2005

New Orleans

Posted by DaveSmith

This is largely swiped from Rumblelizard's blog. It's long but well worth a read.

Based on comments that weren't posted, these are all documented with reports on BBC, clips from Fox News (Geraldo crying), the FAQ on Red Cross about how they're not allowed in, The US Army Times, The Washington Post, the AP and other reputable new sites (not saying the Fox is all that reputable).

Southeast America is a friggin mess. The stories are out there, but
they're hard to find.

Photo taken by Lisa Jenkins that I found. It's posted by CraftJunkie on her site. Right where she says Tetnus shots are currently $280 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


First off, apparently, THE RED CROSS HAS BEEN FORBIDDEN TO ENTER NEW ORLEANS AND IS STILL NOT ABLE TO ENTER NEW ORLEANS. Click the link and it takes you to the Red Cross FAQ where they explain how the Homeland Security Department still won't allow them in. Bringing food and water will only encourage people to stay when they aren't allowed to leave.

From Steve Rose, a diarist on The Daily Kos:

...[A]fter reading dKos and the other blogs all week and seeing over and over again comments that that FEMA and the NG were no where to be seen from the people on the ground in NO, I was wondering where the Red Cross was in all this. They were never mentioned. It was like they didn't exist. And, after yesterday's drama at the convention center, the Brown and Chertoff lies, the Red Cross was still MIA. Then, earlier today, I saw a note that the Red Cross was not allowed to enter NO. Hmm, that's doesn't make sense. This simmered for a couple hours.

So I called the Red Cross and asked them if its true....

And, to my surprise, the nice lady answering the phone said it was true and they told/asked/ordered not to enter NO. [snip] Homeland Security (her term, not mine) told the Red Cross DO NOT enter New Orleans and says this still now.

And why, you may ask? Not Security. Not worker safety. Not lack of access. It was because people would be drawn to the Red Cross food and they wouldn't want to go to be evacuated.

So I asked: "The people starving and dying at the convention center yesterday couldn't get Red Cross food and water because they would be drawn to the food at the convention center, where they were, and not want to be evacuated from the convention center where no evacuations were going on or planned and all the while they are dying?" (Actually, it was a couple questions.) She went back into her spiel about all of the other good work they were doing. When I asked again, she said yes, that was true. She seem relieved to admit it.


So, the question for Bushies, why was the Red Cross banned from NO when they knew people were starving? Could it be they were saving the convention center rescue until Bush's visit today? It certainly seems like it. Doesn't it?

Red Cross National Affairs number (202-303-5551)

So then another Daily Kos diarist called the Department of Homeland Security to see if they would confirm the Red Cross story, and well, here's what happened:

I just called the Dept. of Homeland security (202-282-8000) and asked them the following question:

"Is it true what the American Red Cross has reported that they have not been allowed into the city of New Orleans by the DHS since Hurricane Katrina because their 'presence would keep people from evacuating'"?

First, they put me on hold. Then I heard 2 beeps and the click that I assume means they were recording me. Then they asked me my name. (I told them, but now I sort of regret it...) Then they transferred me to Chris at the "Law Enforcement Fusion Desk". I read my question again.

Note: This isn't a verbatim transcript -- I'm paraphrasing. I wasn't smart enough to record the call. But I just called them and this is what happened to the best of my recollection.

He said he hadn't heard this, so I pointed him to the Red Cross FAQ page link that was posted on this diary. I directed his attention to the second bullet.

He said something to the effect that their policy is trying to help get people out and that this is why they don't want more people coming in.

I said I understood that, but that it didn't make sense to let people starve or die of thirst in the meantime.

He responded that this wasn't happening. That as soon as they pick somebody up, they take them out of there.

I argued with him and told him this wasn't true, that it had been on CNN that people had been being picked up and put down at the convention center where there was no food or water.

He said that all he could tell me was that they were picking people up and taking them out of there.... that their policy was to help the people.

Then I asked who at the DHS was responsible for the policy that kept the Red Cross out.

He said that would have to be Michael Chertoff.

I asked him for his own name and position again and then asked if I could make this public that the DHS was confirming what was on the Red Cross website.


After a few seconds I asked if he was there and he said "yeah," and then nothing else.

So I asked my question again and he said "No".


I asked why he had said no to me, and rather than answer me, he asked me what I wanted to do with the information.

I said I wanted to email it to my friends and put it on a blog. I think I heard him scoff at this, but I'm not sure.

I asked him again why I couldn't disseminate it and he said he didn't know who I was. Then he asked me directly who I was and why I wanted to know.

I told him that I was a citizen and I wanted to know because I actually gave a fuck about the people of New Orleans. (I was pissed by now because he was patronizing me and he had already lied to me.)

He said they did too.

I said something like "so you won't confirm what the American Red Cross is reporting then?", to which he said something like "no". (It was short.)

I asked why not and he asked me why I wanted to post it.

At this point I lost my temper and went on a little tirade. I said (something like) "because it's a stupid fucking policy! And people have died because of it. And if Michael Chertoff is responsible, people should be made aware of that. And if you and he think it's a good policy, you should be willing to stand by it and take responsibility for it!" (There was more swearing in there too, but I can't remember exactly what now. I was very pissed. At this point in the conversation, my wife, who was in the room, about fell out of her chair and started motioning to me to shut up.)

After a few seconds of silence, I asked again, so you can't confirm this?

And he said "no".

So I asked who at DHS could.

He told me to call back and talk to the public affairs office on the same number (202-282-8000, although they transferred me to him, so I don't know if that's really his number), but that they wouldn't be back until Tuesday. [NOTE FROM RUMBLELIZARD: THEY ARE TAKING VACATION?!?! NOW?!!? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?!]

I am so pissed right now. If Chertoff really did order this, his head should be served up (Cajun style) on a platter to the mayor of New Orleans.

P.S. When I hung up the phone, the first thing my wife said to me was, "Great. Now you'll be drafted for sure!"

People, this is beyond the wildest fucking fever dreams of the most insane lunatic.

But wait! There's more!

Check out the video (scroll down to the heading "Horror Show") of Fox news reporters Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera on the scene in NO, literally crying with rage. And when Sean Hannity tried to spin his usual shit and say, "Let's get this in [the proper partisan] perspective," Shepard Smith shouts, "This is perspective! This is all the perspective you'll ever need!"

Holy fuck. This is an apocalypse.

You know what else people are reporting now? FEMA was keeping volunteer rescue workers out of NO until Bush's Parade of Pity could arrive. To make it look better. For the cameras.

The worst natural disaster in the history of this nation, thousands dead; staggering, hideous, criminal mismanagement; hundreds more dying every day, babies and old folks dying; anarchy in the streets; shootings, rapes, robberies, dehydration and starvation....and for George W. Bush, it's a fucking photo op.

This is info from me, Dave.

The BBC reports the US Army shot a man to death who was trying to report a rape in the Superdome. The lady was also stabbed, and I think that's the case where other people in the Superdome beat the rapist to death.

The US Army Times is also calling the people trapped in NO "insurgents". Insurgents? Christ. That's almost as bad as the pictures that show black people "looting" while white people are "finding".

They're also guarding the bridge that leads out of the Superdome that goes to a nearby city with electricity. Armed guards won't allow people to cross the bridge to safety. That one made Geraldo Rivera cry on Fox news.

Bush and Cheney stayed on vacation and Condi Rice WENT on vacation afterwards.

Northern Command who actually moves the military in the US was ready and waiting but they have to wait for the order from the president. Who happened to be on vacation.

Quote from Admiral Timothy J. Keating. He is commander of U.S. Northern Command:

As soon as the hurricane cleared -- and, by the way, we were preparing deployment orders as we saw Katrina strengthen on the late Saturday, Sunday, June 28, August time frame as she began to approach Louisiana, Mississippi. We alerted various forces to be prepared to move as soon as the situation on the ground stabilized and as soon as the Department of Homeland Security, through FEMA, determined what particular assets we would need.

Keating quote is from CNN.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) said he'd like to New Orleans bulldozed instead of rebuilt. Ex-Pres Clinton responded if they been in the same place when the remarks were made, "I'm afraid I would have assaulted him."

Associated Press reports that at least five people shot dead by police as they walked across a New Orleans bridge yesterday were contractors working for the US Defence department.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said the victims were contractors on their way to repair a canal. The contractors were on their way across the bridge to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain, in an operation to fix the 17th Street Canal, according to the spokesman.

I'm also seeing reports that say the contractors weren't killed, but criminals shooting at the contractors were killed.

The gunmen were firing at 14 contractors who were traveling across the Danziger Bridge under police escort, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers.

And more info pointed out by the Aussies: The Navy announced yesterday that Vice President Cheney's former company, Halliburton, which has handled much of the repair work as well as support services for the U.S. military in Iraq, was hired to restore power and rebuild three naval facilities in Mississippi that were wrecked by Katrina.

And here's a bit that showed up on Beveltechs, a mostly Australian Ducati list I'm on:

Don't Argue the Obvious

It's taken me a long time to figure out what fascists instinctively know: Don't argue, just attack. Don't debate, just slander and insult your opponents, flatter those who agree with you, and posture as moral or powerful.

But just as fascists instinctively know how to be assholes, many people instinctively know how to be kind and reasonable. So when you're arguing the obvious, appeal to people's empathetic instinct.

For instance, conservative intellectuals will pull out all sorts of crazy arguments as to why rich people are inherently good and poor people deserve to starve, but you don't even have to argue against them.

This is how you respond:
I don't have to argue with you. All good people instinctively know that it is wrong to be rich while other people starve. If you're arguing against that, it's because you're an asshole. There is something wrong with you. It doesn't matter what fancy words you use to support your position, because if you were a decent person you wouldn't even need to argue.

Now the problem is, in most arenas it's not acceptable to call someone an asshole. And that's a problem, because it makes assholes a protected species. It gives them an advantage. Calling an asshole an asshole is not a crime -- being an asshole is the crime.

American Red Cross donation page.

Posted by DaveSmith at 05:01 PM | Comments (23)