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A "must Read" Article On New Orleans

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Subject: A "Must Read" Article on New Orleans Situation

A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

by Robert Tracinski

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out

how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because

it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there.

The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are

confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is

obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to

evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the

flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural

disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people

pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors,

nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do

is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are

suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not

expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but

about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by

federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane

Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel

has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen

over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane

Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be

confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in

an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other

emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying

that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what

we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They

work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize

to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We

are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather

than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this

a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light

had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve

as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and

large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a

description from a Washington Times story at http://tinyurl.com/auyju:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives

and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police

and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in

to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas

National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

" 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she

said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know

how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary

and I expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article

shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an

armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid,

listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks

exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an

orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm

the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to

drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the

doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further

destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

Sherri figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life

level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told

me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the

Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of

Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest

high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were

known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor.

(They have since, mercifully, been demolished; see http://tinyurl.com/9hu4u


What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff

of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational

phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave

some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New

Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or

so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing

projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early

reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating

all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them

loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two

populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in

the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the

deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from

two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected,

over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness.

The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent

administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the

city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city,

despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted

by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of

handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not

to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some

are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example,

for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted

an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from

the Toronto Globe and Mail, at http://tinyurl.com/ah5j7, by a supercilious

Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is

precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact

opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the

welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is

behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the

responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a

disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the

difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the

government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a

disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving

their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do

they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they

are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before.

Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a

way of life for them.

The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and

encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that

has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting

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Pretty well sums up my feelings about the Katrina story. Who is the author and where did you find this?

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Pretty well sums up my feelings about the Katrina story.  Who is the author and where did you find this?

Colonel Dale

E mailed to me by another angry, disgusted and cynical American constitutionalist - just like me.

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There is a ton of research on the topic of internal vs. external locus of control as it relates to natural disasters in the South. Taken in combination with the current welfare state and the inability of certain people to lift a finger to help themselves is compounded exponentially. As for the thugs, well they are just scum bags from the get go. :angry:

Is the story true? Of course it is true. Is it politically correct to say....

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Pretty well sums up my feelings about the Katrina story.  Who is the author and where did you find this?

Colonel Dale

E mailed to me by another angry, disgusted and cynical American constitutionalist - just like me.

That makes three of us. That's a movement! B)

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Here's a little something that exposes some of the gritty underbelly of New Orleans...

Saved by the Swerve

New Orleans faced disaster before, and was unprepared.

By MICHEL SAVAGE, p. 11, September 8, 2005

(courtesy of The Eugene Weekly, a free newsprint publication in Eugene, Oregon)

I just moved from New Orleans a few short weeks ago. I was one of the unlucky citizens who were trapped there during Hurricane Ivan last year. Afterwards, National Geographic did a "what if" feature on what would happen to the city after Ivan, and catastrophic flooding scenarios were done specifically on the New Orleans area. Yet nothing had been done to prevent the inevitable.

What was funny was that last year the mayor of NO was criticized for blocking the poor and homeless citizens from entering the Superdome refuge, as only medical patients were allowed, and finally decided let them enter. He didn't want to come under fire for discriminating about who was fit to live or die. Yes, I packed a bed and supplies and an axe up in my dusty attic, not knowing if I was going to see the dawn after the hurricane. Lucky for me, Ivan swerved off six hours before landfall. Now why did I stay? I had just moved to New Orleans from overseas, and had no car. Ironically, all the buses and trains stopped operating in the city, no taxis, no flights, nothing. Every single car rental was empty. I was literally trapped in New Orleans.

The city would not answer phone calls — police were no help — and like many other residents and tourists, we were stuck in the danger zone, as there was no public transportation out of the city available. Luckily that wasn't "The Big One."

After living there for over a year, I assessed my odds of survival in a city that was already riddled with crime and flooded several times during the time I was there. New Orleans is a scary place to live: 1.6 murders every day, and more than 50,000 unserved warrants — crime so bad a police department crackdown fired many senior officers for lying about the crime statistics.[

I was a manager for a nightclub on Bourbon Street, I created and painted parade floats for Mardi Gras, did several gallery shows in that town and was very much a part of the culture. But what I saw and experienced in that city made me notice that the people of New Orleans had a much, much lower level of morals and ethics. The city itself was filthy, and that's putting it kindly. A 9 percent sales tax on everything, yet the city did nothing to justify it. The streets were in terrible condition, sidewalks, pavement, roads — all looked like they had gone through an earthquake, yet were never repaired. Burned-out buildings left to rot, and trash, trash everywhere.

New Orleans was ranked the unhealthiest city in the entire U.S. this year. The city officials failed to do anything right. The city officials' response to a major storm was to yell "Evacuate town, save your own butts people!" Yes, they opened up the Superdome, but with no extensive preparation, no food or water storage, no blankets or cots. Not even enough toilet paper.

The city of New Orleans was and has been suffering from gross mismanagement. New Orleans was built for horse and buggy transportation and has never been properly improved. The entire city is a tinderbox. 50 percent of the homes should have been condemned, demolished and entirely rebuilt. You actually have to go there, roam the streets, and live in that city to understand what I mean. New Orleans WAS a third world country.

So let's pretend they rebuild New Orleans. Who in their right mind is going to risk living there again? No one can promise that another hurricane won't hit again this month, let alone next year.

The city should never have been built there in the first place. If it was human determination to conquer nature and make the city work despite its location, then fortifying the levees and protecting its population is the first priority,

The city government is to blame for continuing to allow everyone to live in dangerous areas, and continuing to misappropriate tax dollars with unsatisfactory results. It's been like that for years.

This is not a race issue. There are many poor of all colors, but even the poor pay taxes and expect rights and protection within our own borders. This is neither a class issue. There are rich people who were also trapped in the city or chose to stay. This was an issue of trust. New Orleans residents trusted their city government to protect them, socially and economically, but the city failed to protect them from the most obvious danger of all.

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Most citizens cannot trust any government to protect them from a flood, ice storm, drought, or especially a hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, terrorist attack, etc. The fact that any human expects someone else to take care of them is sickening. Basic human self-reliance and good judgment is all but gone in the major metropolitan areas of this country. Even a simple 911 call is of very little use when the wolf is at the door, or the house is on fire, and that is during good times. When I was a child, I learned of survival, responsibility, and improvisation. Those skills are handy in every day life, making sensible decisions and doing what you can with what you have. The folks who took the opportunity to leave made good judgements, and those who stayed for whatever reason were forced to deal with a very ugly human reality-the wolves. The wolves were already there, and they will always be. Sure we need to help the people who have been displaced from their homes and loved ones. Certainly we need to provide medical attention and evacuation, food and water. We also need to provide a swift justice for those who rape and kill. Many mistakes have been made, and many more will be made, and this causes otherwise kind humans to turn away. God bless those who are working round the clock to help others, and I continue to pray for the people affected by this tragedy.

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Well said Fo!!! ;) The bad people were already there and have just taken advantage of a very bad situation. What's worse, most of the local police have either quit or commited suicide from what I have been hearing.(Hearsay only) It's really bad when the locals can't handle a bad situation in their own towns, but, considering the circumstances, what would any of us do in their shoes? I say, do your job to the best of your ability and wait for the cavalry! Ok, enough said here, don't want to rant anymore! :ph34r:

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Well said. The old saw- "911, goverment sponsered dial a prayer" comes to mind.

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Well said indeed Fomeister!


from what I hear there were a couple of police suicides, a few officers who said "the hell with it" and resigned, another officer or two alledgedly video taped looting the Wal-Mart, and about a 1,000 who are putting in 20 hour days doing what they were hired to do as best they can in the worst possible conditions going way beyond the unreasonable expectations the citizens seem to have of them trying to hold a dying city together. God bless 'em, they ain't getting paid nearly enough for the job they are doing.

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The "thug element" as mayor Nagan calls them, IS being reduced. Law enforcement agencies are doing what must be done. Some are being arrested but MANY others are being shot.

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I guess the whole thing boils down to what we "owe" the people of NO or what the government owes the people of NO. They really owe them nothing more than Order and Direction in time of natural disaster. There are a few people who "can't" do for themselves but a whole lot more people who "won't" do for themselves and blame anybody and everybody for thier condition.

To me, the majority of the people of NO are kinda like hitchhikers. There are two types. There are those who just sit on the side of the road waiting for someone to "give' them a ride. The second type is steadily walking to where they have got to be, Their thumb is out and if they get a ride, that's good, but they will get there on their own if they don't.

The people of NO should be steadily walking out. Granted there are some who cannot get out. But I believe the most of them can.

just my own opinion


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Well said.  The old saw- "911, goverment sponsered dial a prayer" comes to mind.

Well said indeed.

For Merlin there is a lot of truth in the article, you can also find it by googling it.

Here is the link http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-9_4_05_RT.html

I used to live in Louisiana, saw a lot of people on welfare who could work and chose not too, a common comment when I was growing up there was 'Welfare Cadillac'.

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As has been mentioned, the biggest thing that bothers me is this idea of "oweing" anything to the people. This is also something I see elsewhere with homeless and desititute. Most everyone here has made their own way in life, with the help of family and friends along the way and dont "owe" anybody anything. I do not "owe" the people of the south any form of aid or assitance. If I see my fellow man in trouble I will gladly help, but dont tell me I "owe" them anything. When you find yourself in a time of crisis such as the Delta states are now, I would think it unwise to start yelling and bitching at everyone for not helping. I'd think that asking for help would serve them much better. Also, showing your gratefulness for this assistance in the form of gunfire, looting, and rampant crime is a good way to turn away much needed help.

My grandfather told me a long time ago that when life deals you a shit hand and your in a bad spot, you are best off to reach down, grab a handful of balls and go out and fix your problems yourself, cause you are the only person you can be positive to count on.

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Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.

And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters. We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.

We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't. But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town. Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots? We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many f us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.

The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.

We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces. But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times. But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life. So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair. That is our promise. That is our faith.

From columnist Chris Rose of The Times-Picayune www.nola.com

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