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September 10, 2005

SHAME!

Welcome visitors! I hope you like what you see here enough to stick around. I've been railing against the possibly criminal failures of the Louisiana state government for quite some time. In addition to this post, see Pointing the finger, Bring on the commission!, and Crime against humanity.


Well, Michael Moore's fondness for writing open letters seems to have rubbed off on me, so here's an open letter to the following:

To CNN President Jonathan Klein, who claimed that Fox News Channel covers "meaningless nonsense."

To Andrew Heyward, President of CBS, under whose watch CBS shamefully relied on obviously forged documents to support a story and then for two weeks even more shamefully ridiculed the bloggers who uncovered the fraud.

To whoever's in charge at MSNBC, the news arm of the General Electric corporation, which refused to correct a clear anti-Bush error on its web site even when prompted to do so.

To the alleged archconservative Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation empire includes the Fox News Channel, as well as the Fox television network which this very day is broadcasting a benefit for Katrina victims starring Kanye West. Are people allowed to spew racist garbage at a frickin' benefit now and be rewarded for it?

To Robert "Bob" Iger, who will be taking the place of Michael Eisner at Walt Disney, owner of the ABC television network and specifically ABC News. Good luck, sir, and under your stewardship may ABC News pull back from the brink over which all its competitors are going.

To all of you men who, in one way or another, influence the nation's media, I say:

SHAME!

Shame on all of you, with the exception of the Fox News Channel, which is the only one of your networks that is giving any airtime at all to the biggest story of the year, a bigger story than Abu Ghraib, a bigger story than Enron, a bigger story than Valerie Plame, a bigger story than both Natalee Holloway and the Runaway Bride combined. Jonathan Klein, pay attention to this "meaningless nonsense."

Louisiana authorities prevented the Red Cross and the Salvation Army from delivering food, water, medicine, and care to the people trapped in the Superdome and at the Convention Center and all throughout New Orleans.

This is not an opinion, it is a fact. Easily verifiable. Talk to the Red Cross, they'll tell you. Tell me, is this not newsworthy? Two multibillion-dollar charities, flush with donations from an anxious America, physically barred from delivering aid to desperate people, and you guys are mute? What, you think taking part in the lynching of Michael Brown is more important than this?

But wait, it gets better. There's more.

The reason Louisiana authorities prevented the Red Cross and the Salvation Army from delivering food, water, medicine, and care to the people trapped in the Superdome and at the Convention Center and all throughout New Orleans was that to do so might have encouraged some people to stay longer than necessary, and might have encouraged others to come to one of the two mass congregation locations. To avoid this undesired outcome, they made a conscious decision to block attempts to make the city any less unlivable.

Do you get it? They wanted people to leave, not stay. Never mind that they were actually preventing people from leaving and that very very few would choose to stay in a sweltering stadium stinking of feces for a second longer than necessary. The fact is that if food and water and medicine and care were delivered to the suffering people in that stadium, in that convention center, that would have made life just a little bit less intolerable. And that could not be tolerated.

Why aren't you screaming this from the rooftops? I know why. Because the mayor who so failed his people, the governor who thwarted the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, the chief of police who rewarded his troops with Vegas vacations after they engaged in mass desertion and in some cases joined the looters... these people are all Democrats. That's the reason.

Don't try to deny it. Let's climb in the What If machine and ponder Hurricane LaTonya bearing down on the city of Jacksonville, Florida in a slightly different reality.

Jacksonville sits on Florida's Atlantic coast, just south of Georgia, and has thus far been spared major hurricanes, which means it's due. It's the most populous city in Florida and the 13th most populous city in the United States, about 60% larger than New Orleans. Its mayor is Republican John Peyton, its chief of police is probable Republican Donald R. Cook, and of course the governor of Florida is Republican Jeb Bush [1]. Duval County voted for Bush over Kerry by 16%.

So along comes LaTonya, and she's a big one. Several days before she makes landfall, she grows to alarming strength. President Kerry declares a state of emergency. But despite having ample warning and an ample supply of buses, Mayor Peyton fails to fully evacuate his city; an estimated 100,000 Jacksonvillians are left behind to ride out the storm. The mayor urges his trapped populace to go to Alltel Stadium... although for the purpose of this hypothetical, imagine Alltel with a dome. It's quite foreseeable that chaos will be the result, but the Mayor urges it anyway, while hundreds of transit buses and school buses sit parked in neat little rows.

When the storm hits, Chief Cook's police leap into action by deserting en masse. Some of the AWOL cops are videotaped looting a Wal-Mart. The police utterly fail to keep order, leading to near-riots at the stadium and at the Convention Center. Despite this, Chief Cook praises his force's performance unreservedly, and sends all the cops on taxpayer-paid Vegas vacations.

Meanwhile, Governor Bush has not been idle. While the federal government has the Coast Guard active and plucking people from the waters within hours, his troops move decisively to block the Red Cross and the Salvation Army from delivering food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, medicine to the sick, and hope to the desperate. While the United States Navy sends a highly sophisticated ship that had been swinging at anchor in the Gulf to ride out the storm close to shore and begins massive search-and-rescue operations, Governor Bush engages in a pissing contest with Mayor Peyton. While President Kerry shepherds through the approval of more than sixty billion dollars in emergency aid in record time, the stadium degenerates into a dank foul-smelling hellhole, with the people inside honestly having no idea if anybody's coming for them or if they will live or die. While FEMA and the National Guardsmen of neighboring states get buses to the crowds and helicopters to the individuals, Governor Bush makes sure to the end that absolutely no private aid reaches the people trapped in his city.

Now, are you telling me that in a situation like this, the press wouldn't have Peyton's, Cook's, and Bush's entrails for lunch? Are you telling me that you'd give a pass to these three Republicans and instead vent your rage on the President and his FEMA director? No matter what FEMA did, no matter what screwups were made by the director, how could it possibly be remotely close to as bad as what was done to the city by local and state authorities? Would you be mercilessly hounding President Kerry, or would you be too busy screaming about the outrage in huge headlines?

And in the hypothetical I didn't even put any repulsive race-baiting by politicians, rap musicians, and actors.

Governor Blanco let the people of New Orleans suffer, while truckloads of aid were poised and ready. Those in the Superdome sweltered in the late August heat inside what's essentially a big oven without air conditioning. Their plumbing ceased working and their toilets overflowed to the floor with urine and fecal matter. Several died. Violent assaults and rapes took place, and the most visible action taken by local police was to fire weapons over the heads of refugees seeking shelter across a bridge. If we did this to Iraqi prisoners of war, the outrage that would erupt is literally inconceivable. The largest worldwide outbreak of outrage in human history would cover the globe within minutes of the photographs of the dead bodies and the overflowing toilets hitting the wire services. But here we have an American governor inflicting this on American citizens. Mostly innocent American citizens. Old innocent American citizens. Poor innocent American citizens. Sick innocent American citizens. Black innocent American citizens. Why in God's name are you letting her get away with it?

Again, I know: because she's a Democrat, and President Bush is a Republican. Hell, you're even complicit in painting President Bush as an enemy of the black man. You're the exact opposite of nonpartisan and you're not even bothering to hide it anymore. Shame on you, shame on you all.

UPDATE: For crying out loud, now the Washington Post is running (and MSNBC is headlining) some crap whining about people defending their homes. Uh, yeah. Wouldn't you? What do you expect New Orleans's wealthy to do, abandon their property to the looters? Are they somehow less deserving of security and safety because they have good jobs?

UPDATE 2: Welcome readers linked from Lorie Byrd of Polipundit and Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page! They're two of my favorite bloggers, and if any of my readers don't read them regularly, they should.

[1] Who is hip enough to own jeb.org

September 10, 2005 in Hurricane Katrina | Permalink

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Comments

Typical re-interpretation of the facts by the media of the right. Shame on Fox for its continued intentional twisting of the facts, and shame on you for your ignorance in continuing to report the 'story' without doing your own research. Those that are interested in the full story can check:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200509090002

Posted by: marty | Sep 10, 2005 5:01:45 PM

You accuse Fox of twisting the facts and cite Media Matters for America as a source? Yeah, there's a bastion of nonpartisanship for you.

MMFA does not dispute that state authorities prevented the Red Cross from reaching the victims, it merely disputes the reason state authorities blocked the Red Cross. MMFA claims that the reason for the obstruction of aid was not to make the Superdome unlivable, it was because the Superdome was unsafe for aid workers. If this is true -- and I'm not saying it is -- the failure is still the state's, with an assist from the city. It is their responsibility to keep public order and to make the city safe for volunteers armed with food, water, and medicine. Those who criticize the federal government for being slow to render assistance should ask why the state and city government couldn't even guarantee the physical safety of aid workers.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 10, 2005 5:33:35 PM

Marty: According to the item you cited, the Director of the Red Cross said: "We were asked -- directed -- by the National Guard and the city and the state emergency management not to go into New Orleans because it was not safe." The head of the Salvation Army agreed. And who is responsible for establishing the security of NO? Could that be the Mayor and the Governor through use of the local police and the State National Guard?

Then to argue that FEMA is responsible because it should have directed the Red Cross to deliver supplies when FEMA has no power to establish order, as the item tries to do, is surely "twisting" the facts.

Posted by: jd watson | Sep 10, 2005 5:40:59 PM

Marty, try going to the Red Cross page where they clearly state that LA officials told them they were not going to let the Red Cross in because, in the LA officials' opinion, it would interfere with getting people to evacuate.
Read it, and SHAME ON YOU!!!

Posted by: KJB43 | Sep 11, 2005 7:28:06 PM

Anyone who continues to propound the demonstrably erroneous notion that the screw-ups in NO were not the fault of the local and state officials is just being obtuse. There are none so blind as those who will not see. It is so apparent that some are willing to blame the president for literally EVERYTHING that goes wrong anywhere at any time, whether it is rational or not. I used to think this tendency bordered on a mental disorder. I have recently decided that the border has officially been crossed. These folks are loony.

Posted by: midwest mama | Sep 11, 2005 7:44:58 PM

I wont have any face to put in front of them once it has happened to me.

Posted by: dikka | Nov 28, 2011 2:01:33 AM

It's absolutely a shame!

Posted by: vintage car restoration | Jan 13, 2012 1:07:51 AM

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