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New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway

Watching the news, I see hundreds of people outside the convention center and the Superdome in New Orleans - they have been pushed out of both places. There are tiny infants and elderly people and all kinds of other people--sick, tired, hot, dehydrated, hungry--without water and food and toilets for days now, according to eyewitness reporters on the scene. Some will die. Attorney General Gonzales is on tv now saying that security and law and order is a top priority.

Getting food, water and medical care to these people should be the top priority. Law and order should not be the top priority. Even getting them out of New Orleans is not as crucial as getting them food, water, medicine before they are moved.

HSA Chief Michael Chertoff was just on tv, again promising that massive food, water and supplies are on their way. But it's clear that the people outside the superdome haven't received them. There are buses waiting outside of New Orleans that are not moving in.

Counting on FEMA is problematic. Since Bush moved it into Homeland Security, critics say that disaster relief has gotten the short shrift compared to counter-terrorism related activities.

Democracy Now addresses the question today. Would Katrina have been so devastating if FEMA had not been incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security?

This catastrophe was forseeable and preventable. Why weren't buses sent in to evacuate people before the hurricane? When the Mayor issued his mandatory evacuation order, he knew that huge numbers of NOLA residents did not have cars or a means out of the city - or money. Why were the poor and the infirm left behind?

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  • Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 11:15:45 AM EST
    If there was someone to bomb for the hurricane, Bush's approval rating would be at 95%, but being that it requires THOUGHT beyond "wanted, dead or alive, heh heh", people in NO and MS are pretty much screwed for the past 3 days and next 10 or so. Devoid of leadership. he could always start a war in Iran to divert attention away from this.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 11:22:18 AM EST
    Gonzales is on tv now saying that security and law and order is a top priority. Getting food, water and medical care to these people should be the top priority. Law and order should not be the top priority.
    You know what the White House top priority will be, if it isn't already: "F**k, we have a "serious" PR issue here, guys! Let's get on it!" ...sad

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 11:33:53 AM EST
    They are all terrorists anyway, or wannabes, and since gitmo is full, we will let nature take its course. Fema will wait until they expire and then cleanup the mess. God works in mysterious ways.
    My lord, the guy heading FEMA has no qualifications. What was he doing before getting pulled into FEMA by the Bush administration in 2003? He was an estate planning lawyer in Colorado and of counsel for the International Arabian Horse Association Legal Department. And yes, it is the same Michael D. Brown.
    from link via atrios

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#5)
    by DawesFred60 on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 12:02:12 PM EST
    and the state government with the help of bush and business have a plan shot the people, het its a plan, now watch what happens when the gangs start shooting back, kids get killed old woman get killed and the innocent will go to prison, hey its a real, a bush plan, bin laden must be loving this madness, killing americans! but ask why you have so much outrage and open attacks on cops and the government, sad,sad,sad. evil is evil and bush is that evil. cnn mass dead in the streets of new now done for ( dead city ) new orleans

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#6)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 12:03:57 PM EST
    “Getting food, water and medical care to these people should be the top priority. Law and order should not be the top priority.”
    Maybe lessons learned from the fall of Baghdad. I’ve been hearing and reading reports of aid workers refusing to enter certain areas. Listened to some pretty disturbing audio of paramedics begging a life flight helicopter pilot to land at the convention center, scared of some of the folks in the crowd (with guns); the pilot refused. A hospital forced to evacuate after a gang of young men took supplies at gunpoint. Someone shooting at a helicopter helping to evacuate the convention center. There’s a developing report of a halted hospital evacuation after rescuers and evacuees coming under ‘sniper’ fire. I don’t know how realistic it is to expect aid workers to rush into what seems to be a rapidly deteriorating situation. Without security transporting and distributing food and water could become ugly fast.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 12:09:39 PM EST
    It seems to me that if the SAR helos are bing shot at, then Law and order is now number one priority. Fred: translation please. Can you understand what you wrote?

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#8)
    by Andreas on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 12:15:54 PM EST
    Like all such events, the hurricane disaster has an enormous social component, revealing what American society is made of. Contrary to Governor Blanco, however, the “worst in people” is shown in the lack of preparation by the authorities and their relative indifference to the suffering inflicted on several million people by the high winds, storm surge and flooding. When it comes to theft, the looting of consumer goods from a few retail stores in impoverished New Orleans can hardly compare with the profiteering already under way on the part of big business. The price-gouging on gasoline sales alone—the retail price has jumped $1 a gallon in some areas—has robbed billions of dollars from working people all over the United States. But no oil company executives or gasoline distributors are being vilified on the media, let alone hunted down by police and National Guardsmen.
    Crackdown on looting New Orleans police ordered to stop saving lives and start saving property By Patrick Martin, 1 September 2005

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#9)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:10:44 PM EST
    We need a WOH (war on hurricanes).

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#10)
    by hgardner on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:27:21 PM EST
    MSNBC reports the New Orleans police are siphoning gas and scrounging for food. How come when black citizens do it it's looting and when the cops do it it's scrounging. How can the Coast Guard "wait until it's safe"? I thought they were supposed to protect people. Where is the leadership?

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:29:14 PM EST
    Classic Che, nice one. I'm with TL here, screw guarding tv sets and Air Jordans, people are hungry and need medical attention.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:37:52 PM EST
    From the post:
    Law and order should not be the top priority.
    The facts are that if the area is not secure, you can't ask aid workers to risk their lives. So law and order must be the first priority. I favor shooting back and killing a few of these criminals in a very effective and public manner.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#13)
    by Johnny on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:43:44 PM EST
    Hannah-looters are the new insurgents. One headline I saw on CNN read "Floodwaters stabilize as police battle looters" Another line from a BBC reports claimed that the police "requested remaining residents give them their firearms, as they needed the firepower" The mayor of New Orleans has told the police to do whatever necassary to stop the looters... Potentially thousands upon thousands have already died, probably just as many more will die in the next week... Not too mention that area will be inhospitable for a very long time... The city is destroyed. And all anyone can say is "Why didn't they leave? Stupid looters!" Sad.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:54:44 PM EST
    PPJ-Have we got a place for you. You can start moving ASAP:
    The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations.
    Haditha

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:51:39 PM EST
    I favor shooting back and killing a few of these criminals in a very effective and public manner.
    Good idea. Maybe this is something that should be done with the Haliburton crooks, oil company price gougers, the Enron criminals and of course members of the current administration who are criminally negligent and more.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:54:53 PM EST
    I'm just wondering, what perspective does this put on our nations preparedness in the event of major attack, let alone a natural disaster? Homeland security has supposedly been identifying critical areas and allocating funds to strengthen our "First Responders", and working on various scenarios involving terrorist attacks on high population and important infrastructure locales. It seems to me that this kind of planning and preparedness would go hand in hand w/ disaster planning (natural or otherwise). New Orleans is certainly a region that is critical to our country's infrastructure. So, WTF! Hurricane, dirty bomb, biological attack... Where is the $$ poured into Homeland Security going. Screw bashing Bush/the Right over this. It's seems to me that this is evidence of a Govt. so riddled w/ incompetence that it can no longer be relied upon or trusted. And, as others start to draw that same conclusion I think lawlessness could become the norm.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:58:18 PM EST
    Squeaky and No Name - I don't want to be harsh, but people such as this are slowing the provisioning of aid to thousands of innocent men, women and children. Some of which is needed desperately to sustain life of innocent people. They are criminals of the worst kind, and they do not deserve sympathy. And is a damn shame you are evidently too dumb to understand that.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:01:12 PM EST
    Western Union are running ads on the CNN site as to how great they are at trensferring funds to your loved ones hit by hurricanes. Is it just me or does that smack of a "Fly Delta, we don't crash into skyscrapers" attitude ?

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#19)
    by DawesFred60 on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:08:25 PM EST
    wile e. coyote, No sir, have no ideal what i say! i don't want to know what i say, after all, i don't let myself know what i am thinkng that is a good thing. if i say anymore i will be shot. coyote are you a Army officers

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:11:53 PM EST
    PPJ-So shoot on sight? What if they get it wrong and shoot the wrong person. The thousands you pray for have been cheated by bigger criminals already. Should we shoot those first in respect to magnitude of the crime. Fascism offers easy solutions for the dim witted or power hungry. "It is either them or us", keeps things simple.

    I don't want to be harsh, but people such as this are slowing the provisioning of aid to thousands of innocent men, women and children. Some of which is needed desperately to sustain life of innocent people.
    God help me, but I gotta agree with Jim on this one, if only partially. The presence of law enforcement must be very visible and very forceful. Stopping looting is more than just a matter of protecting property. It's also a matter of protecting public safety. Looting can lead to fighting--and killing--over the loot. As Jim points out, lawlessness and mob activity also hampers rescue efforts. An absence of a visible law enforcement presence also encourages vigilantism. The professionals are more likely than armed citizens to exercise restraint. In fact, the only place I think I'd disagree with Jim is on the "make an example out of somebody" tactic. Even if they're crooks, lethal force should be a tactic of last resort.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#22)
    by roger on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:43:55 PM EST
    Jim does have a point. As people see more and more anarchy (the bad sort), the general level of violence increases. Looting leads to vigilantism, leads to armed looting, etc. More mixed up is when people are forced to loot for food, water, and diapers. Emergency supplies would help a lot. The "looters for profit" shouldnt be able to blend in with those looting to survive. Restoration of order, which includes orderly supply routes, is critical

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#23)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:59:21 PM EST
    Just heard a spokesperson for the Louisiana and Mississippi state police say that looting provisions is legal, however electronics do not qualify.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    Posted by Jim: "They are criminals of the worst kind, and they do not deserve sympathy. And is a damn shame you are evidently too dumb to understand that." Could not agree more. They are criminals of the worst kind, and do not deserve our sympathy. And it is a damn shame you are evidently too dumb to understand that.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:02 PM EST
    QIB – I am not talking about looting, I am talking about killing people who shoot at the rescue teams. Kill’em quickly, publicly and with overwhelming force. Squeaky writes:
    PPJ-So shoot on sight? What if they get it wrong and shoot the wrong person. The thousands you pray for have been cheated by bigger criminals already…
    First, I don’t pray for’em. I do hope we can clean out the criminals so we can help’em. Shoot the wrong person? Sh*t happens. Clean up your own yard so they won’t be there. Bigger criminals? That’s just BS. We live in a society of laws. Et al – The morning after the Rodney King riots I drove west on Venice Blvd from I405. I had my choice of damn near any entertainment device then known to man, all from the bed of pick-up trucks and car trunks. I had flown in the night before and the city looked like it was suffering from a bombing attack. We didn’t do much to the perps there, and now we have this. Criminals, and terrorists, learn from what we do, not what we say.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#26)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:02 PM EST
    Which came first, the looting or the lack of security? First we couldn't help them. Now we won't help them. Just blame the whole thing on some guy carrying a TV. Pure, unadulterated cowardice in the face of disaster. A country of cowards. Some superpower.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:04 PM EST
    The morning after the Rodney King riots I drove west on Venice Blvd from I405. I had my choice of damn near any entertainment device then known to man, all from the bed of pick-up trucks and car trunks.
    ppjim, that's complete BS. There were no riots or rioters WEST of the 405 at all, and especially towards Venice. And they sure as hell didn't bring their 'loot' there after the riots. The riots were miles away. If you flew in the day AFTER the riots there were no more burning buildings or looters left in sight. The areas where the damage was looked like $hit from the air anyway, it wasn't unless you were driving in those hoods you could see how fu!&ed it was. The fires had all been put out by the LAFD and the looting stopped when the riots did. If you were on those streets at that time you were going to the beach and very close to it. Hell, you were safer than in Bev Hills where the cops thru up their 'thin blue line'. As a matter of fact, you were closer to Rodeo Drive than South Central. (Google Maps "Venice Beach".)
    We didn’t do much to the perps there
    1) What do you mean we? I lived there! In Hollywood on La Brea between Santa Monica and Sunset Blvds. 2) LA caught and prosecuted everyone they reasonably could. But 'receiving stolen merch' and 'breaking and entering' and even common arson don't make national news AFTER the riots. Equating rod king riots with a hurricane!? I can't believe you did that!

    Repeat after me everyone: Black people loot. White people find things. Just the media doing what they get paid for. We will all believe that the underclass are animals and can't be helped. It makes it easier to watch their corpses floating away.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:04 PM EST
    PPJ-Politics trump law when republicans rule. No one will stick their neck out, for fear of the guillotine. The big fishes will not fry, pardons for all, if any one does dare to try.
    We live in a society of laws.
    The Big Lie

    We live in a society of laws.
    Yeah, except for those who live above the law.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:05 PM EST
    I guess the greatest threat to our way of life isn't terrorism after all, it is the same threat we have lived with since the beginning of time, the threat of mother nature. Too bad the feds forgot, or they couldn't figure out how to line their friends pockets through disater preparedness.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#32)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:05 PM EST
    Too bad the feds forgot, or they couldn't figure out how to line their friends pockets through disater preparedness. I'm sure there was always money to be made in bulldozing New Orleans and rebuilding it somewhere that isn't below sea level AND right on the water. Wonder how we all missed this opportunity. Oh....right....those people have a god given right to live in some idiotic location chosen by the french hundreds of years ago. Well, I guess mother nature doesn't care two licks about that right, seeing as how she just showed how wrong the idea always was. Personally, Kdog, I think the lesson is just a little different; it's not mother nature that is proving to be man's worst enemy, but rather his own arrogance in choosing to live in really dumb places.

    Re: New Orleans: Life and Death Crises Underway (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:05 PM EST
    jpaul, should New Orleans have been a place to settle down? Probably not, but what's done is done. The question now is why have the feds responded so dismally, and how do we improve the plight of the thousands starving and dying as we speak. Once every refugee is fed, clothed and sheltered, then we can debate whether the area should be resettled or left underwater. Nationwide, I think we have the manpower and the resources to save a lot of lives, all we need is some leadership. Hopefully, the outrage of the American people will light a fire under their arse to get it done.