Katrina - the shaming of America

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Goatman, Sep 12, 2005.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    For those who don't have access to a print version of The Economist, thought this piece ( front cover headlined " The Shaming of America " might be of interest:

    Source: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=4370617
    The shaming of America

    Sep 8th 2005

    Hurricane Katrina has exposed both personal and structural weaknesses in America's government

    EVEN America's many enemies around the world tend to accord it respect. It might be arrogant, overbearing and insensitive—but, by God, it can get things done.

    Since Hurricane Katrina, the world's view of America has changed. The disaster has exposed some shocking truths about the place: the bitterness of its sharp racial divide, the abandonment of the dispossessed, the weakness of critical infrastructure. But the most astonishing and most shaming revelation has been of its government's failure to bring succour to its people at their time of greatest need.


    The article continues:

    The Economist goes on to say:

    For those who haven't come across it , The Economist has a circulation of 830,000 , of which around 300,000 copies are sold in the US.

    Lee Shaver
  2. Shame on you Goatman, for quoting from that notorious lefty, America-hating rag, the ermmmmm.. Economist.

    And I never knew that they sold over a third of their print in America.
  3. But the most astonishing and most shaming revelation has been of its government's failure to bring succour to its people at their time of greatest need.

    Bring succour? They brought a scourge and boy did they ever use it:

    ** Chasing away would-be providers of relief who weren't affiliated with or sponsored by the US government.

    ** Involuntarily confining people in that hell-hole sports stadium.

    ** Refusing to disclose identities of persons in their "care" to those who would have provided real relief on the basis of sham solicitude for personal privacy.

    ** Cutting emergency communications of local officials apparently judged insufficiently pliable.
  4. Good drill though.

    The administration is routinely violating both the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press and a U.S. District Court restraining order.

    Outside one house on Kentucky Street, a member of the Army 82nd Airborne Division summoned a reporter and photographer standing nearby and told them that if they took pictures or wrote a story about the body recovery process, he would take away their press credentials and kick them out of the state.

    "No photos. No stories," said the man, wearing camouflage fatigues and a red beret.

    On Saturday, after being challenged in court by CNN, the Bush administration agreed not to prevent the news media from following the effort to recover the bodies of Hurricane Katrina victims.

    But on Monday, in the Bywater district, that assurance wasn't being followed....

    As bodies recovered, reporters are told 'no photos, no stories'
    Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

  6. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    ;-) aw gee Bernoulli.....that's me outed as a Pinko-LSE-tree huggin' Guardianisto then.....if a business journal like The Economiser is curling its editorial lip then I can only imagine what Libération and Bild are printing....

    mind you, criticising US govt policy is kinda water off a duck's back these days, n'est-ce pas ?

    Good luck to all those doing their damndest to make up for the politicos mistakes and lack of interest. Nuff said.

    Lee Shaver
  7. My recollection from having been in the area in the past is that the area concerned is about the size of England & Wales. We are not talking about a bit of a breeze over Rainham marshes.
    If I am correct, I am in no way surprised that things went awry. Those who should have given orders were overwhelmed at the scale of the problems. In a minor way, I recall the hurricane that struck SE England. Roads blocked - no one seemed to be doing anything. No power - no one seemed to be doing anything. As a motorist my attention was that roads should be cleared as top priority - sod the rest.
    As an example of can do post the event look at what has been done about the wells and refineries in the Gulf - great recovery.
  8. oldredcap's correct about the much larger than you'd think scale of the disaster. Some folks along the delta...bayous...rivers and coasal areas including offshore islands...have had entire communities anf families lost.
    No one to remember them...no on to notice they're gone...except for perhaps the taxman...

    It's STILL a greater tradgey than is known...and the news blackout is perhaps to save aunt rea up north from seeing little lizza jane's poor bloated body being recovered from her home. Imagine little timmy watching the nightly news and seeing his granny carted out of her nursing home after a week with the rats and crabs. NO this is NOT for public consumption.

    NO this will not be forgotten or overlooked or hid from those who will seek justice. Those officials who failed us and the bottom feeder predators who vitimized the weakest victims will someday stand in judgement...the sooner the better...but not trial by media please. Not vigilantes. Not today.

    The humanity of the recovery should have dignity for the dead and the responders. Let 'em puke in private. Let 'em cry for the losses. As even this Nation loses a bit more innocence...let us hide our faces in shame
    and not incite violence against law enforcement or military responders
    to vent the outrage at the unnecessary waste of life and property.
  9. I can't help feeling that all this secrecy with the stiffs still to be recovered is in reality only preparation for cynically rigging the total loss of human life and presenting some sort of "acceptable" figure to the public.
    Of course, I might be wrong, but I wouldn't put anything past Bush and his bunch of crooks, hucksters, shysters and con-men.

  10. Governments operate on precedent.

    If the news people can be run off at bayonet point because some Army general (Russel Honore of the 82nd Airborne) claims that pictures of corpses offend his sense of propriety, that can only mean that the media can only report what the government chooses to allow.

    At least until recently, these propositions enjoyed general acceptance in the USA:

    1. Law-making power, about matters of federal cognizance, was vested in Congress, not the president or the armed forces.

    2. Consistent with the US Constitution, no organ of the federal government has any business telling the press what it can and can't report.

    3. The armed forces are forbidden to function as a domestic police agency.

    That's off now. So we are treated to a spectacle which is somewhat novel here but would seem quite familiar in most any banana republic.
  11. Katrina is a disaster caused by nature and complicated by the incompetance of the city government. The death toll while high will not be anywhere near the 10,000 figure the mayor of NO used early on in the disaster. As for body recovery the military feel's there should be some respect for the dead. Same policy that we have for soldiers KIA in the sand box.
  12. He commands the 1st Army and is not part of the 82nd.
  13. "We're from the government and we're here to help." Help you die faster.

    In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    "I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.

    "I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave."


    Perlmutter spent some time at the Department of Health and Hospital's operational center at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries before moving to the makeshift "Kmart Hospital" doctors established at an abandoned store to care for patients. After organizing an orthopedics room and setting up ventilators there, Perlmutter went back to the Swaggart Center and then to the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center's field hospital to care for patients being flown in from the New Orleans area.

    "We saw elderly patients who had been off their medicine for days, diabetics without insulin going into shock, uncontrolled hypertension, patients with psychosis and other mental disorders, lots of diarrhea, dehydration and things you would expect. I slept on a patient cot there every night until I came home."

    "Doctor says FEMA ordered him to stop treating hurricane victims" by LAURIE SMITH ANDERSON. 16 September 2005
  14. Dr. Bong Mui and his staff, evacuated with 300 patients after three hellish days at Chalmette Medical Center, arrived at the New Orleans airport, and were amazed to see hundreds of sick people. They offered to help. But, the doctor told CNN, FEMA officials said they were worried about legal liability. "They told us that, you know, you could help us by mopping the floor." And so they mopped, while people died around them. "I started crying," he recalled. "We felt like we could help, and were not allowed to do anything." (Watch the video of hundreds languishing sick at the airport...)

    "Leadership vacuum stymied aid offers" 16 September 2005

    The article recounts other similar and equally infuriating episodes.
  15. I can assure you that the recited justification for thus chasing doctors away from the sick and the dying, the alleged fear of federal officials that they personally would incur civil liability for medical malpractice, is rubbish.

    Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the official himself is immune from tort liability for official malfeasance and nonfeasance; only the government itself can be impleaded as a defendant.

    If these "public servants" really gave a damn about civil liability, they would have given some thought to the government's potential liability for whimsically and cruelly chasing away health care volunteers.