Yeah George, ‘Cos That’s Going To Help.

It has now been over a week since the hurricane. For the first 72 hours there was no federal government response. Now the shit hits the fan for the administration, but in no way like it already has for the people on the ground.

New Orleans Assistant Police Chief Warren Riley said that the federal government did not play their part in the operation. An operation which should it appears have been already procedurally planned out. A declaration of emergency procedure was apparently signed 2 days before the hurricane. Riley stated not only that all the weather reports were saying in advance to expect a category 4 or 5 storm. In addition to this Riley said that this has been something they have been expecting for some time.

Police shoot to kill policy

There are reports that police have shot at contractors who were at the time trying to rebuild the levee. At least in this case there were no fatalities. Sadly police have also shot dead 5 “looters.” There is a good reason for the parentheses, these 5 had no trial – the police who shot them acted as judge, jury and executioner, and critically give us the proof, as if any were really needed, that in US property is valued greater than the person. That fact is not just a tragedy, it should be seen as international scandal. After all even Warren Riley has admitted that some people have only just got food and water, whilst many are still to be rescued. As Riley himself puts it “what are people in this situation to do?” There will without doubt be a small criminal element who will be taking full advantage of the situation and when caught it is perfectly fair that they be put on trial, however for those left to fend for themselves for days with families to feed it would be a disgrace of astronomical proportions if any action were brought against people in this position.

Sheriffs have advised many people still in their houses in the suburbs that this is marshall law and if they see looters they should not hesitate to shoot first. Across Baton Rouge gun sales have risen by a record short-term amount. This is what the Americans see as the answer, to shoot people if they encroach, this country that would have us believe they can teach the world about democracy and liberty and civilisation…

Clinton calls for enquiry, Bush accepts demands

‘Honest Bill’ Clinton has entered the fray, late as usual, and one of the things he has been calling for is an enquiry. Let us not forget Clinton is not the ‘man of the people’ that he would like everyone to believe. His foreign policy was as aggressive as Bush the predecessor and Bush the successor alike, he is hardly an anti-establishment figure. It is natural that Clinton will call for an internal enquiry. The way the British government did for the Hutton enquiry. The result will be exactly the same a whitewash that will exonerate the government. Such an enquiry must be an external one. It has to have both the remit and the ability to probe the events leading up to and during the hurricane. This is of course not going to happen. The US government criticises the Iraqis and the Iranians and Syrians etc. etc for not being open to scrutiny, let’s see just how open they would be to an international enquiry led by Russia or China or France. [This paragraph was written befoe the news today that Bush was putting himself and Cheney in charge of said inquiry, you’ll not be surprised to hear me say I am hardly overwhelmed by the news!]

Supreme Court Judge Appointment amidst the chaos

George Bush manages to find time out of his ‘busy’ schedule to name a conservative candidate to lead the US Supreme Court. John Roberts is unsurprisingly a religious man with strong views on the Church and State being very much intertwined. Roberts is anti-abortion which again is pretty in keeping with the expectations of a Bush appointee. He is also a man who has very conservative views on the environment, he also does not believe in upholding claims regarding discrimination.

Let us not forget a few things. It was the Bush administration that cut over $20 million that was part of a plan to strengthen the levees in 2004, a project that was only 80% complete.

“It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”
— Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

It was the Bush administration that sent 35% of the Louisiana National Guard to war in Iraq.

There are also reports of supplies and volunteers being blocked from getting into affected areas.

It is also interesting to study the fact that pre 2004 election the federal response to hurricanes in the gulf area particularly around Florida was good. But as one senior FEMA employee succinctly puts it “the reason why they’re doing that job is because it’s so close to the election, and they can’t f–k it up, otherwise they lose Florida — and if they lose Florida, they might lose the election.”

It is important we remember all this in the coming days whilst the conservatives attempt to hide behind the liberals in their pleas to put all this to one side and just help the people.

Song Of The Day ~ Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks

Original Comments:

Shane made this comment,
Fine words indeed Baron. Its appaling watching this on the news. I’ve heard reports that a woman was found raped and murdered in the toilets of the stadium! Insane that this country calls itself a peacekeeper.
-Redbaron responds – Yes it would be ironic if it weren’t so tragic-

comment added :: 7th September 2005, 09:19 GMT+01 ::
Gimpy Mumpy made this comment,
Hello Red Baron, just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it.
Excellent post on Katrina. A day of reckoning will come, I wonder how the spin doctors will try to worm their way out of this one. Katrina who? Shamefull.

-Redbaron responds – Hi GM, I appreciate that, I hope you stick around.-

comment added :: 7th September 2005, 21:34 GMT+01 ::
Kristie made this comment,
Now, now Baron, really…”This is what the Americans see as the answer, to shoot people if they encroach, this country that would have us believe they can teach the world about democracy and liberty and civilisation…”
And my answer to that is, this is what all Socialists see as the answer, to paint an entire American popuation with a tar brush based on the actions of Bushy and a few yahoos.

Or perhaps we both need to reckon with the idea that overgeneralizations are probably not our best rhetorical devices. ;o) I have plenty to teach the world about peace and democracy as an American; my government, sadly, not so much.

Or do you mean to say there are no desperate folks and repulsive criminals in all of the EU? I think I’ll move post-haste. But to imply, as Shane did, that Americans in general are pro-rape-in-stadium-restrooms…well, that’s just not cricket, now is it? The 11,700 rapes reported in 2002 in England and Wales…those must’ve been perpetrated by Americans on holiday, no doubt.

You know me, Baron, and you know I am no apologist for the idiot currently squatting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He’s behaved appallingly the better part of his adult life, and is doing no better now. But if the discussion turns into overgeneralization and vilification of me and my entire country (who have been, by and large, acquitting themselves well and quite generously outside of the Beltway), then we are no better than the same windbags we preach against.

-Redbaron responds – Your criticism of generalisations Kristie is as eloquent and correct as always, that wasn’t entirely the thrust of my argument, at least not how I wanted it to come across. My criticism of the US is more in its institutional acceptance of the sort of violence etc. that we have now seen. It is the fact that in response to the lootings the rapings and the killings the police and soldiers and ordinary civilians have en masse armed themselves to the teeth with their ‘shoot to kill’ policy. If I felt all Americans were this way then I would probably feel best to let you all deal with each other in a socio-darwinist sort of way. I do not feel this I feel it is the fabric that is shaping society into what it is. I believe this is borne out by the fact that in countries where americanisation of the culture is on the increase so is the particular brand of violent behaviour. The rapes you sight in England would be a prime example and murders, and gun crime. Whereas muggings, knifeing, burglary are more traditional crimes here.-

comment added :: 8th September 2005, 06:21 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
The response to Hurricane Katrina has been a disgrace from beginning to end. The fact that ‘shoot to kill’ is considered a reasonable response to a humanitarian disaster is abominable. Let’s remember the way that the poor countries of Indonesia and Sri Lanka responded to the tsunamis – and they were in the midst of civil wars!
comment added :: 9th September 2005, 03:14 GMT+01
Supreme Court Zeitgeist made this comment,
Hey there –
For a daily look at the John Roberts nomination and hearings, visit the Supreme Court Zeitgeist…


It’s a mash-up site with news articles, popular bookmarks, recent blog entries, books & magazines, and other Supreme Court related links and content.

comment added :: 13th September 2005, 05:02 GMT+01 ::