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Mike Brown, the Florida hurricanes, and patronage

This HuffPost post has a roundup of former FEMA head Mike Brown possibly swinging the election for Bush by doling out cash to victims of the Florida hurricanes.
Note that some of that post appears to be inaccurate; Brown is apparently not staying on as a contractor at FEMA. Please summarize the links and the verifiable facts in the comments.

Cindy Sheehan: "occupied New Orleans" also at Huffington Post

I originally thought that Cindy Sheehan's "occupied New Orleans" column only appeared at But, as it turns out, it was also posted at the Huffington Post.

"Black Leaders Also Failed New Orleans Poor"

Earl Ofari Hutchinson:

...New Orleans is a near textbook example of that neglect and leadership disconnect. In the months before New Orleans's current black mayor Richard Nagin [sic], a former corporate communications executive, slammed Bush and the feds for their glacial response to Katrina, he drew fire from anti-poverty activists and some black residents for being snuggling up to close to business interests, while ignoring the poor. Nagin was hardly the first black official to take heat for the plight of the city's poor. For the past three decades, blacks have had near unbroken control of city government in New Orleans. They've controlled city hall, and had black majorities on the school board, and the city council. The police chief, and the District Attorney are black. During their tenure, Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, the Casinos, and tourism, have boomed. Large parts of the city have become gentrified, downtown business interests have grown richer, and black businesspersons and professionals especially those with close ties to the black establishment at City Hall have done well. City officials have been hammered with accusations of cronyism, patronage, and influence peddling...

New Orleans to become rich, Republican bastion

A couple days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on the rich residents of NO's Uptown neighborhood. Apparently they've been doing OK, including establishing a helipad. The article is apparently subscriber-only, but a summary is here.
The summarizer (not the WSJ article) ends with this cheery note:

Before the water has been drained from the place, plans are being laid and it's not looking good for Porgy and Bess. It's not just the streets that are going to be sterilized. New Orleans is about to be de-germed and de-poored. Well-to-do African Americans are welcome, but the Ashton-Reiss set are already speculating about how the new New Orleans might just become a Republican bastion.

UPDATE: The full text of the article is available in "Old-line families plot the future".

German TV on Bush's Sep. 2 "photo op"

On Sep. 2 president Bush visited New Orleans, and two German TV stations are apparently claiming that his visit was a staged photo op: bulldozers and the like were brought in just for his visit, bodies were moved, etc. From this second-hand report:

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

There are links to the video from ZDF and ARD here.
This is closely related to Sen. Mary Landrieu's remarks. In fact, the same Political Animal post discussed at that link was updated with this German allegation, causing Kevin Drum to remark:

This goes beyond stage management. This is criminal.

The HuffPost also noted this charge.
Can someone provide translations and state the actual charges and what evidence is given? Reports in German are here: link1, link2, link3. The last is supposedly translated here.

HuffPost's Randall Robinson retracts cannibalism claim

If there's anything funny to come out of this tragedy, it was this claim from the Huffington Post's Randall Robinson:

It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive.

Now, that post has been prepended with this:

The claim in the first sentence in my post was incorrect. I had been told this was happening, but these claims have turned out to be unsubstantiated. I therefore retract them -- but stand behind everything else I wrote without reservation.

And, today he offers "The Lessons of New Orleans":

Last Friday, I wrote "New Orleans". No-one wants the opening sentence of "New Orleans" to be untrue more deeply than I. I am grateful that it has not been substantiated, and willingly re-tract that sentence...
...I have spoken and written extensively in an attempt to awaken the conscience of the American people; to cause them to see that millions upon millions of black Americans were drowning…..right here in America - long before Katrina - and few were doing anything to save them. Drowning in substandard schools. Drowning in neighborhoods in which there are no jobs. Drowning without health care. Drowning from red-lining. Drowning, drowning, drowning in a society in which, impassioned protestations to the contrary, race has always and continues to matter...
...Nearly a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation, the descendents of slaves, whose cruelly coerced exertions made America a wealthy and powerful nation, are told that "slavery and Jim Crow were long ago and we must now move on".
What was it that William Faulkner reminded us about the past never being dead and buried, and that indeed it is not even past? Yet, White America recoils at the mere suggestion that the time has come for an honest appraisal of the ongoing impact of America's past on the painful racial realities that confront us today...

This follows the Sep 2 post from Max Blumenthal "The Right Plays the Race-Card, Randall Robinson Unwittingly Indulges Them", which tries to get Robinson to retract his lunatic statement but ends up verging into its own, not entirely unknown to the HuffPost, lunatic territory:

On this blog, veteran civil rights activist Randall Robinson referred to "reports" of poor New Orleans blacks "eating human corpses to survive." I haven't seen these reports. I've looked endlessly. They don't exist. Robinson must either source these "reports" or retract them immediately because they are profoundly destructive to a cause he's fought his whole life for.
By raising the specter of cannibalistic blacks, Robinson indulged the racist right's wildest fantasy...
The conservative American Spectator's executive editor George Neumayr practically plagiarized the Turner Diaries [in the penultimate para here]...
...My sense is that the "war on terror" and its bearded, olive-skinned bogeyman, has brought only a momentary respite from the right's traditional racial demagogy -- blacks and Mexicans as "looters." If American fears of radical Islamic terror begins to fade by 2008, look for the GOP to start dealing the race-card again.
The backlashers will be back. To Robinson -- someone whose work I have admired -- I say, let's not give them any ammo they don't already have.

Meanwhile, back in reality:

From the 1960s through the mid-1990s, Washington spent more than $5 trillion on anti-poverty programs that did not make a dent in the poverty rate. Record-low poverty rates were finally achieved in the late 1990s not because of extra federal funding, but as a result of welfare reforms moving low-income individuals out of the welfare system and into the workforce while also promoting family formation...

And, from this 2004 Robinson article:

...And we must realize that the same "information" machine that lied about WMD and Jessica Lynch lies about much more- including Aristide and Haiti.
However, American officials who had vehemently opposed the restoration of Haiti's elected government in 1994, now seized on the run_off controversy to further demonize Aristide, break the Haitian people's spirit, and "prove" the Haitian Revolution a failure...
They loathe Aristide because he represents the poorer, blacker masses of Haitian society, whereas America's traditional allies have always been Haiti's moneyed, white or mulatto "elite." The parallels between America's policies toward Haiti and our policies towards apartheid South Africa have never been lost on me...

Huffington Post blog coverage, Part 1

As of Sunday, August 28, the blog side of HP hadn't mentioned the hurricane: there's nothing in Arianna's wrapup nor in that from Richard Valeriani.
On Monday, August 29, the very first mention of the hurricane seems to be in Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s "For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind". From the current version; note the update at the end:

As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi's Gulf Coast, it's worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush's iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2...
...Now we are all learning what it's like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.
In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour's memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast. [UPDATE: Alas, the reprieve for New Orleans was only temporary. But Haley Barbour still has much to answer for.]

Hopefully someone else can provide a summary of the response to RFK Jr.'s post.
This lack of initial coverage at the HP is despite one of their contributors, Harry Shearer, being a resident of New Orleans. Later that day, he weighed in with "Katrina and the Waves of Fear":

As an adopted New Orleanian, I sat glued to the news channels as the only way of knowing what was happening to my residence, my friends, and my favorite city. Thankfully, nature was kinder to New Orleans than the news channels, particularly Fox. At approximately 7:50 am PDT Monday, an offscreen Fox anchor declared that one of New Orleans' levees had been breached.
Had New Orleans' levee system failed, that presaged very serious flooding for the city.
However, just ten minutes earlier on CNN, a FEMA official stated plainly that the levee system appeared to be holding, and several hours later this Reuters report pinpointed the only levee break as occurring in St. Bernard Parish, which is not New Orleans... [...reporters get locations wrong...]
...But, scaring out of towners about damage to a part of New Orleans they've heard of (no breasts are bared in the CBD, after all) was a higher priority for much of the past two days for the news channels, though MSNBC played it straighter most of the time...

A commenter calls him on his blase coverage, and at 8/30 11:32AM he responds in the comments:

...I had the opportunity to take a "virtual car trip" around much of NO on MOnday, seeing raw tape footage of the city, so I know, as of Monday afternoon, that much of the high ground--the Quarter, certain other areas, had window, sign, sheet metal damage, but no serious flooding. What's breached now, according to a Corps of Engineer spokesman on npr, is a water wall along the 17th St. canal, not a levee. Reporting potential disasters before they happen is not news, it's fear mongering...

A couple hours later, a commenter adds:

Mr. Shearer, CNN and FNC are reporting 80% of the city is under water and the level is rising. (Of course this may just be a ratings stunt.) If you take any actual (rather than virtual) tours for the next few days (or maybe weeks) I would suggest it be a boat tour not a auto tour...

Another commenter mentions HAARP after that comment; note that the first Bush-bashing in those comments appears to have started on 8/30 in the morning.
On August 31, a commenter adds:

I must defend Harry on this one. Everyone got this one wrong. Even today, TUESDAY! I cannot believe the lack of coverage and consistency. Sure, they had the pictures of rescues and damage. That's fine. But I cannot believe they will not really discuss the end of New Orleans. At least the end of New Orleans for a really long time.

"Looting" vs. "finding"

On August 30, Yahoo News printed two photos of people wading through water: the first of a black man with a garbage bag full of stuff he obtained by "looting", and the second of a white couple with bread and soda that they obtained by "finding" those items.
This trivial difference was immediately seized upon by the left as proof of racism.
From Van Jones: "This is the kind of shameful bias that keeps the country divided, even during awful tragedies like this."
From Byron Williams: "The journalistic double standard is so obvious it does not warrant comment, but there is something more important than the apparent racism."
Snopes has demolished the claim of racism by printing the comments of the photographers involved.
Links to other sites that showed these pictures will be provided later.


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